"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Friday, July 29, 2011

Courtesy and Creativity.

What is courtesy? Courtesy is stuff we do that pisses people off, in the name of not pissing people off. Courtesy is the socially accepted form of annoyance.

It is impossible to be a creative person whilst maintaining a courteous facade. Creative people can't stand being *interrupted*. I can't stand it when people barge in to my little private world, and ask stupid questions like 'why do I talk to myself' and 'do I know that they can hear me singing in the shower?'. I said I was creative, not dumb.

Speaking of dumb - I absolutely cannot stand dumb people. We are the species that conquered the world - we invented everything that wasn't on the periodic table. Unless you are medically retarted, you're just being fucking lazy.

Why are people so stupid? If you can't hold a decent conversation at the age of sixteen then you're a lost cause. Sixteen - you're legally allowed to be mothers at sixteen. I weep for humanity.

What has happened to humanity? You take one look at refugees - or specifically, how we treat them - and you feel almost as if humanity has failed.

What is failure? Perhaps I have failed. Perhapse we are all failures. But how do we know? How do we know otherwise?

The Joke's On Me.

Australia is a racist, xenophobic, sexist and religiously-intolerant place. We have a whole history of racism - towards Asians, Aboriginals...anyone who's not white, male and Christian. We're good at being racist, and we're good with being racist.

We are also famously good at denying things and pretending we're all democratic and lovely.

The problem is jokes. We somehow think that we can say whatever we want, as long as we say 'it was just a joke' afterwards. Actually, no, you don't even have to say that. All you have to say is 'LOL!'.

Australians have to wake up and realize that a joke is not an acceptable pretext to say something that is racially or otherwise insensitive. Growing up as an Asian and as a woman I've had the most appalling things said to me, but they get away with it because they always say it was 'just a joke'. I'm tired of the joke always being on me. It's not my fault that I am what I am. I am proud of what I am, but most importantly, I am proud that it is my right not to have to put up with this fucking bullshit. A smile can't erase scars.

It's not funny to say to a woman 'go make me a sandwich' or 'get back to the kitchen'. It's not funny to call me a slitty-eyed or an Asian cunt. I am a citizen and as a citizen - fuck, as a fucking human being - I was taught by proper decent parents not to take the mickey out of race, or sex, or culture. Apparently teaching Australian children to grow up and behave is beneath us. It doesn't matter if you say you don't mind if it happened to you, because to be honest, it doesn't happen to you unless you've spent your whole life being a colour. I have lived my whole life with white teachers and white students saying that they're not being racist, and being upset when I say that they are. Why is it my fault, huh? I'm trying to stand up for myself, and you knock me down. And call me a chink and a slut whilst you're at it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Can of Worms #3

Worm #8: Should young women stop dressing so slutty?
The long and short of it: No.

My Say: First of all, I'm almost sure it should be 'should young women stop dressing so sluttily', but never mind that. As an advocate of topfreedom and against the burqa ban (weird combination, but hey, I never pretended to be normal, or sane) I believe that we all have the right to choose how to present ourselves. Besides, what is 'slutty'? If you go to an Islamic nation, wearing shorts is slutty. Whereas here everything short of nudity is sorta A-OK.

Besides, it's a terrible assumption that all young women dress like sluts. I'm a young woman and I think I dress pretty appropriately for my age, but that's besides the point. All women are people, and all people have a libido and an interest in sex. Feeling and looking attractive is a natural desire for everybody, but for some reason it's perfectly fine for men to walk around in nothing but a pair of cutoffs and we have to start wearing tents.

I believe that laws and society do not have the right to dictate the personal choices of any individual - choices which, if you think about it, really don't matter in the whole scale of things.

Worm #9: Does telling a racist joke make you a racist?
The long and short of it: Yes.

Discrimination against race, sexuality or gender ranges from lynching to laughing, and it's the little things that count.We have no right to tell jokes at the expense of someone of a different race, and I personally think they're tasteless and vulgar. I also think that it is a case of from little things, big things grow - I truly believe in the power of words. Hitler was inspired in his ruthless persecution of Jews by one disparaging comment about some rich Jews in Vienna during the Great Depression.

I will continue posting my responses to worms here, but if you have a worm of your own I'd be happy to pull it apart in the most controversial, left-wing feminist way possible :).

11 reasons why I advocate topfreedom.

topfreedom: a cultural and political movement seeking to advance gender equality by the recognition of the right of women and girls to be topless in public on the same basis that men and women are permitted to be barechested.

1. The chest is an erogenous zone for both sexes. 

Most women would be lying if they weren't turned on by a guy with no shirt and ripped abs, but the majority of us have the etiquette to behave acceptably around half-naked men nonetheless, and men really should return the favour. The whole human body, essentially, is designed for mutual attraction. Why can't we just get over it?

2. Breasts are for children, not for ogling.

Topfreedom would allow for a greater acceptance of public nursing and intimacy between mother and child. In many primitive tribal cultures men as well as women go topfree or naked, and there are greater levels of closeness and intimacy between people and less instances of sexual harrassment and rape.

3. We should take greater pride in our bodies. 

In the name of gender equality and social libertarianism, it would benefit not only women but society in general if we all loosened up about our bodies.

4. Boobs are only sexualized because men never see them.

We all want what we can't have. I've seen so many barechested guys that it's not a huge deal anymore, and I bet the hype over breasts would die down if topfreedom was commonplace.

5. Sometimes it's so bloody hot. 

Do you know how jealous I am of guys who can just strip on really hot days? But no, we've got two sticks of wire, about three feet of padding plus a t-shirt between us and the breeze.

6. We all have the right to choose what to wear, and what not to wear. 

As a woman I have the right to choose whether I want to cover up or not. Everything from nudism to Islamic dress should be accepted as an individual right. We have the right to choose how to present ourselves.

7. Bras give men the wrong idea about breasts. 

We all look bigger when we're, ahem, supported. In reality, breasts are just as ugly and irregular as an arm or a leg, and we all have to learn to get over it.

8. Topfreedom isn't going to kill the clothing industry.

It's legally and socially acceptable for men to go topfree, but of course most do not - and it would be the same for women. It's not going to start a nudist subculture, or kill the clothing industry. Get over it.

9. If women can't do it, then men shouldn't do it.

Making topfreedom legally and socially acceptable would be a huge milestone in our battle for gender equality. If men can go barechested, then why can't we? 

10. Women don't go topfree to appear more sexually attractive or erotically appealing. 

Women should not be penalized for indecent behaviour for not wearing a top. People have no right to feel uncomfortable or threatened around a topfree woman, and if they do, studies have shown that they get over it if topfreedom is commonplace and accepted by the community.

11. Dress or conduct is never an excuse for rape or sexual harrassment. 

Men who blame sexual misconduct on the dress or conduct of their victims should be burned alive. There is never any excuse for murder, so why should there be an excuse for rape? It is immature for men to attempt to control women's bodies instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. We are all responsible for our own actions, and so topfreedom should be pursued in lieu of educating men to stop making excuses and keep their dick in their pants. Sorry, but it just had to be said. I'm sick of people - men, women, anybody - blaming others for their own behaviour. It's childlike and immature and completely beyond the pale in this day and age.

Julia, the Bible is not the be all and end all of everything.

On the surface Australia is such a progressive, modern country. We've got an unmarried living-in-sin atheist female PM from the supposedly left-wing major party. Yippee.

Or really?

You would think that democracy was a surefire way of getting what the majority wants, but no, apparently not. Our prime minister seems to be content in pissing off basically everybody in the country - first she pissed off the Christians by refusing to swear on the Bible, and then she pissed off the atheists by using the Bible as an excuse for her homophobic stance on gay rights.

Australia is supposed to be a secular country with secular politics, but we're anything but. Bible this, Bible that. You can't use religion as an excuse for everything, especially if you claim to be atheist. It just doesn't work.

There is only one place for the Bible - Christianity. And there is no place for Christianity, or any other religion, in politics. But why does it feel like I'm the only person who sees that?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Religion and Tradition. And Heresy, Sodomy and Femininity.

People underestimate teenagers. People treat us as though we have no capacity for independent thought or opinion. And you know what? A lot of us are snotty dimwits who really should be put in a home until further notice. But a lot of us have a lot to say. Including me.

After becoming a teenager I formed some very important ideas and opinions. I've decided I hated the education system and the education system was determined to hate me. I've decided that boys my age are cold, cruel and heartless and have decided that I am not good enough for them, so, conversely, they are not good enough for me. I've analyzed the sex war from all angles and I've decided to brand myself a feminist for better or for worse. Hitler and Mao Zedong have both scared the crap out of me so I'm on the other end of the spectrum - social anarchist, apparently. Whatever that means. But most importantly, I've decided that God and I are not really the best of chums and I'm better off just winging it alone.

I just find religion so confining. Religion is bloodstained and plagued with scandal, infected with corruption. With religion comes power, and power corrupts, holy or no. I've never been able to find peace in religion; being atheist I feel as if I've cut out the middle man. As much as I would love to lean on a higher order, seek comfort in the bosom of God or blame/rely on some kind of spirit to will things to my favour, I feel vulnerable at the idea of surrendering my control of my life to something I don't fully trust. As soon as you've got someone or something between you and your destiny it is too easy to become angry, or defeated, or overly dependent.

But I still have respect for religion, and for religious people. I always wonder if I'm missing out on something truly magical by turning away from all that is sacred and holy. I'm still not quite sure whether I'm blind or religious people are deluded. Sometimes in utter desperation I pray against prayer that someone is watching over me, but I've never fully been able to convince myself of the fact. A broken heart learns not to believe fairytales - for better or for worse.

But the thing that gets me most about religion is that as a society we cling to ancient, often outdated thoughts and opinions fed to us through holy texts, which are all old and obscure and strangely anonymous. We would not have such prejudices against women, or against homosexuals or blacks or Asians or any other group if we did not have these books telling us that we should. Society must move, people must move forward, the community must continually, eternally change. Humanity is not a static, stationary thing - it is fluid, always moving and changing, and this should be the same for our laws and societal mores. But no. We do the same things people did centuries, millenia ago - all for what? For the love of God? For the love of tradition? We all have blood on our hands. Holy blood is still blood.

Whenever I ask religious people why they are against gender, racial or sexual equality (discrimination and religion is not mutually inclusive or exclusive, but nonetheless, too commonplace to be 'coincidental') they honestly don't know. People have all these ridiculously strong and outdated opinions, but when you ask them why, they've got no answer. They just accept it as a given. They don't think. I'm sorry, but it takes more than a book and a God to make me make excuses for a bigot.

I feel, as an irreligious person, that I have clarity of thought. My thoughts are my own, and I can think straight. I'm not always a logical person, but I have my own reasoning. What is heresy? Sodomy? Femininity? Nothing, really. I would like to say that it's all in the mind, but it's not. It's all in the Book.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Suck it up, Ladies.

As much as I believe that men these days are more chauvinistic than chivalrous, I still think some ladies seriously have to suck it up, princess - just a little.

We're not going to achieve gender equality if women constantly expect men to be doormats to their every whim under the pretense of 'feminism' or whatever. I mean, seriously, the way I get treated by some men, and the horrific way women across the globe are treated by some men, even equality seems like too much to ask, let alone a complete dash of the status quo.

Women have to learn to hold their own, and not expect men to give up big chances and opportunities just to give you a bit more padding. Sure, walking curbside and opening doors and offering to carry heavy goods isn't really gonna hurt nobody, but in a competition situation gender is not an excuse for dibs.

A week or so ago on Masterchef Hayden Quinn was picked on by the press for being a little snappy at about-to-be-eliminated contestant Sun Etheridge, who in the heat of the competition didn't organize her time properly and ended up being the fourth person vying for a three-person fryer. Sun later, rather understandably, described his reaction as 'suck it up, princess', but rather unreasonably some have jumped to her defence, saying that momma's-boy Hayden should have been more courteous. What was he supposed to do, lose the competition so that the weakest link won? If the genders had been switched nobody would dare jump to Sun's aide.

I do think some people are taking this a little too far, picking on contestants on reality TV shows who cry. I know this looks bad on television, especially in a competitive setting, but seriously, crying is a natural reaction to stress and we gotta be a bit more understanding. We can't automatically assume that it's all an act, or that it's all a female act - I mean, c'mon. Hayden was crying last night.

It's sad in this day and age that we expect so much and do so little for the opposite sex. I know I'm not really practicing what I preach, but the world could do with less cynicism and more kindness.

Norway Massacre

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the 2011 Norway attacks. Know that hearts all around the world go out to Norway tonight, and that we stand united in times of peace and in times of war. We stand united against the threat of the Extreme Right.

Lady Solitaire
July 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sexy Phantom

I am, amongst other things, a huge POTO fan. But being a bit new-age, I'm actually  huge fan of the movie, because I think the portrayal of Phantom and Christine, and their relationship, was right on the money.

In the book Christine is sixteen, young, beautiful, talented and sheltered. Excluding first and third point, I am Christine in the flesh and in a position to say that the Phantom is actually pretty damn appealing if he didn't look like Michael Crawford.

The Phantom is supposed to exude dark, restless masculinity and profound sexuality, and that is his appeal to
Christine, who later learns through kindness and compassion to overlook his physical deformities. To be honest, I don't think the musical really cuts it. Gerry Butler's Phantom hasn't got Luciano Pavarotti's vocal range but he's an artist, he's a composer and an architect - a really behind-the-scenes guy. If he was such a spaztastic singer why would he want Christine to sing in the first place? There's this hint of danger about the movie's Phantom, a sense of superiority coupled with vulnerability - and I think the Phantom's mystery and sheer power is what is most appealing to a girl like Christine, who, at sixteen, probably isn't the world's most butch feminist. Michael Crawford's voice is undeniable, but he hasn't got that rock star crooning that people have criticized so much about Butler. Michael Crawford's elderly uncle appearance doesn't really make him a viable love interest - the Phantom is meant to be eye candy. There's supposed to be something sinister, slightly unhealthy and Lolita about Christine and the Phantom but Michael Crawford lacked the sex appeal for the role, and it made it just too avuncular and pedophily.

So there you go - why Gerry Butler is my choice Phantom.


I confess I am a bit of a compulsive liar in that I may be lying dead in a ditch somewhere if I didn't tell little white lies all the time. I think I was born a storyteller, because I always exaggerate things - you know that cut? Yeah, I was gonna die of blood loss.

But this whole Murdoch phone-hacking scandal thing has made me realize that there are writer's out there that don't write honestly. Honesty is the purest, most honourable trait in a human being, especially in writing because writing is a trade in a reader's world - and readers need to trust writers, honest writers. This is a reason why I actually hate Rita Skeeter over Lord Voldemort, because Lord Voldemort never pretends he is any less grotesque than he is. But real life Rita Skeeters? This is unbelievable. I look at the people this scandal has hurt, the money it has cost, everything, and it really makes me sick. Not from a legal/ethical point of view as such, but I am a writer and this is all that is dear to me. I'm sure there are many people in the food industry who died inside when that Chinese baby formula scandal rose a few years back, purely because they have corrupted what is the pride and joy of many people - this is the same for me. I know that there are people out there hijacking writing for monetary gain, and to be honest, I don't really have a problem with that. But when you start crossing people, and when you start crossing the law...art cannot be used as an excuse for criminal behaviour.

I acknowledge that art is essentially lying, especially in acting and writing - but there's a right way to do it. There's a difference between fiction and backstabbing. There's a difference between fantasy and reality. There's a difference between killing off characters and hurting real people and I'm shocked that grown men and women fail to see this.

I know I'm a little green - I'm young, I haven't even graduated, I don't write for money because at this point I don't really need to. I write because I love it, and because I'm good at it, but I know that there are others who do not have this luxury and I respect that. But there are plenty of writers - artists - who have a roof over their head, food on their tables and a clear conscience. Writing should not be about backstabbing, about infringing privacy and damaging lives and reputations. Writing shouldn't be about law suits and angry parliamentary debates and uproar. I write because I love it - and everything I write comes from my heart and soul. Writing is something I hold dear to me; it is my weapon through this war of life, and my friend through times of utter desperation and heartbreaking loneliness. Writing is something very personal, but also very pure, and it kills me that people abuse such a talent in such a way. I acknowledge that Murdoch and the people in his empire must be incredibly talented people, but talented people don't hurt others; talented people don't get thrown into jail and splashed across the news because they have broken an artist's code.

Rome: Naming Conventions

Okay, I was writing something about Roman naming conventions - I'll get back to that.

But firstly

How cute is Hayden from Masterchef?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rome: Borders

The borders of the Roman Republic is hard to gauge as Rome had differing levels of power over different parts of what is now considered the Mediterraenean (can never spell it) and Europe - for example, Egypt maintained its monarchy but was obliged to supply vital grain to Rome in exchange for military support, and was thus considered a 'vassal' of Rome, and this continued until the death of Cleopatra which coincided nicely with the rise of the Roman Empire. By my reckoning Rome controlled, either as 'client states', provinces or vassal states, the entire Mediterreanean by the eve of the assassination of Julius Caesar - this included Spain (Espania), the Italian penninsula, Northern Africa (Numidia), Egypt, Turkey (Asia), and Gaul, which is essentially France and Belgium. There is other stuff, but I'm lazy. It is said that Rome controlled one-quarter of the known population - the rest were tribal or Chinese :)

Rome was a city state so was not considered a 'capital' as it is today, but as a state within itself. Only those born in Rome and descended from Romans were considered true Romans, and they were fiercely proud of this fact, although other places in Roman control, especially the Italian penninsula, were given full or partial citizenship.

Rome: The Late Republic.

The History of Rome is divided into basic eras:
  • The Roman Kingdom (753 BC - 509 BC) and the Etruscan civilization (800 BC - 300 BC)
  • The Roman Republic (509 BC - 27 BC)
  • The Roman Empire (27 BC - AD 476) and the Western Roman Empire (285-476)
  • The Byzantine Empire (395 - 1453) 
And this is where Wikipedia fails me :)

A popular era of study is referred to by Scullard as 'From the Gracchi to Nero'. This refers to the time of the Brothers Gracchi (2nd century BC) to the Emperor Nero (1st century AD), and so is the late Roman Republic to the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of the Roman Republic. So far I have studied up to the First Triumvirate, but my particular area of interest is from the First Triumvirate to the fall of the Fall of the Roman Republic.

Please don't feel bad if you didn't understand any of the above.

I don't really want to zero in on particular events or dates because, to be honest, I'm neither an expert at those nor am I particularly interested. However, as a rough guide, my writing should apply to the period from the Brothers Gracchi to the fall of the Roman Republic - the period which I consider to be the Late Roman Republic.

Rome: My Study

I grew up not knowing much about Rome, not being very interested in Rome - my main passion, history wise, was, is and always will be the Tudor Dynasty of Renaissance England. But yeah, I knew who Caesar was.

I didn't study history formally at school until this year because a) my primary school sucked and all we did was Australian history, which is so short and so boring especially studied seven years straight at a primary school level and b) because I wanted to dabble in other social science subjects last year like politics and philosophy and the history classes were full anyway - if I had applied I probably would have ended up in economics or geography.

Last year I chose my six subjects for the next two years: Literature, English, Modern History, Ancient History, Politics & Law and Psychology - and history has been a huge part of all six subjects. Modern and Ancient History speaks for themselves, but you'll be surprised how much history pops up in the others. One thing I love about history is that it encapuslates everything - everything you study, or listen to, or read, every person you meet, has a history.

My study of Ancient History got off to a shaky start. One thing that got to me was that world was so long ago, and so different from ours - other problems included everybody had the same name (seriously) and the sources are not as clear as I was used to in my self-study of later eras.

My lifesaver was the TV series ROME, which as an R-rated epic saga of the late Roman republic I had affectionately nicknamed 'prehistoric porn'. But it really made me see into the world and mindsets of the Ancient Romans, who can blame Shakespeare and Hollywood for attempting to marry a savagely pre Judeo-Christian polytheistic society with the virtues of modern-day Christian capitalism. First Man In Rome was on my booklist because my teacher is a fan of Colleen McCullough, and although it took me a little while to hack into I enjoyed it very much, and I've now read Caesar's Women which I also liked a lot - I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the rest of the series.

I am currently (narrowly) at the top of my Ancient History class, and I believe that to study history successfully you need the help of all kinds of media, even media that is more on the high-budged fictionalized side of things (but let's face it, Plutarch is hardly unbiased or reliable either) and something which I still feel is lacking: sources written at your level - sources that are easy to understand.

I am by no means an expert in this field, but I am attempting to create a set of sources that cover the society and culture of the late Roman republic aimed at high school and upper-primary school students. Please don't use this for PhDs...although given the academic inflation recently, why not?


Well, you may or may not have noticed that I was trying to write something about Rome.

I will still do it, but at the moment I've deleted that post because, well, I haven't actually gotten around to writing anything yet, and I think that post will look stupid just by itself. But it is the holidays, I have got a lot of time to play with and I don't underestimate my knowledge of Roman society (even if I suck at names and such) so I will do it. Promise.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Can of Worms #2

Worm #6: Should you allow your seventeen-year-old to drink alcohol?
The long and short of it: Yes

My Say: I know there is a huge drinking culture here and around the world, especially amongst teenagers, and I do not condone it at all. I am fifteen and still a good three years off the legal drinking limit, and even though I'll be in uni for a whole year under the legal drinking age I don't think I have it in me to be such a delinquent - I mean, hey, I'm surviving year eleven with a whole cohort of horny sixteen-year-olds (16 is the legal age of consent here). That being said, I am a teenager, I have tasted alcohol several times before, I do quite like it and I do look forward to a time when I can drink openly - in moderation, of course. Anyway, it is inevitable that teenagers (who, on the whole, go out a lot more than I do) will run into alcohol and I think the important thing is to educate, accept the inevitable and take the novelty off alcohol - I think part of the slight temptation for me now to drink is the fact that it is illegal and it is something my parents probably would not approve of. An important factor to consider is that alcohol and teenagers is dangerous, but alcohol, teenagers and secrecy is worse. I think if parents and children can be more open about the drinking habits of all involved it would be very healthy - certainly much more healthy than a blanket ban and secret underaged drinking, which happens more often than parents like to think. Kids these days think outside the box - I know a boy who, aside from bringing his own teabags to school, also makes his own liqueur from fermented lime juice - the edibility and alcohol content of his concoction is debatable, but the thrill is there, and that's what matters. Binge drinking should never be encouraged or tolerated, but if your child would rather shoot himself than admit he had a glass of wine or half a lager to his own parents then, really, is that good?

Worm #7: Is lying good for a relationship?

The long and short of it: No.

I've lied once in a relationship, and I've been lied to once in a relationship - sad, isn't it? I've only had two, and really, both don't count once I get someone who sits and stays for more than a bloody fortnight. I lied that I was ready for a relationship at the age of eleven and I was lied to by the age of thirteen and ended up being the rebound girl. So in my experience, lying and relationships never work. Then again, two for two is hardly reliable data.

I tell white lies all the time - I think we all do. If we didn't, we all would have shot each other. I have no qualms telling white lies to even my closest friends and family, because it's natural and human and necessary and frankly, I do it because I can. But I have the stomach for honesty, and I think if you don't, or you don't think your partner does, then that is a serious flaw in any relationship - I would much rather a boyfriend said that I looked terrible and I changed before we went out rather than look unwittingly atrocious in public. Cheating is bad but lying about it is worse - cheating is a dealbreaker for me no matter what excuses he can spout but lying about it will be the motive in my murder trial.

I will continue posting all the worms in the Can of Worms series but if you have any questions of a similar nature or anything about anything juicy and controversial - like feminism, religion, etc. - please comment and I would love to give my opinion and hear yours.


I just caught the last bit of the Q&A Faith special (polly free!) - must find the repeat somewhere and watch it in full. And I also watched tonight's episode of Can of Worms. Oh, and I also watched Masterchef :) I swear, they're setting it up to make it look like Ellie and Hayden seriously have something going on - whether that's the case or no I'm in the dark as much as you are.

Anyway, so the two main arguments from Q&A concerned Children and Religion and Women and Islam - two very controversial topics.

I am an advocate of secular education and I believe that religious education is completely inappropriate for government-funded, supposedly secular multicultural public schools. I also think that school prayers, etc. are completely out of whack too - and I speak from personal experience. Private schools here offer sex-segregated, religious-based education, and that's fine - because, after all, that is what a private school is and is marketed to be. But as an atheist, a second-generation immigrant and, particularly, a non-Christian, I was offended by the religious (Christian and televangical) undertones of my school. Religious people have no right to preach their religion to anyone, especially the young impressionable minds of children that are so easily indoctrinated, brainwashed and intimidated.

Children do not understand religion, and I believe it is unfair that children are expected to blindly follow whatever religion that they are born into via the family and the community. Religion, or the lack of it, is a choice; a choice that must be made when the time is right. Religion is dangerous when misunderstood or followed blindly; and the innocence/ignorance of childhood cannot mix properly with the complexity of spirituality. There have been things in my life that has persuaded me to turn my back on religion entirely, and I have absolutely no qualms doing so - religious freedom, like so many other things, is a right that I deserve to have. I've grown up in a largely Christian Anglo-Saxon community, but I reserve my right to be an atheist. My family is Asian and non-religious Buddhists, but I still reserve my right to be an atheist. Even though I am underaged and living in this community, living in this family. Because despite our membership and our allegiance to our kin and to society as a whole, we are all individuals regardless of who we are and how old we are. Whilst it is impossible to remove family impact on religion and religious choices, parents should always keep in mind that at all stages of childhood and adulthood, your child is an independent human being and the most precious gift you can give them is choice.

As for the other matter, perhaps it is more complex. Islam has garnered a reputation for misogyny and the suppression of women's rights, and I believe that this reputation is not wholly deserved or undeserved. The nature of Islam certainly has the potential to lead to the mistreatment of women (and humans in general) and this is certainly the case during the Taliban regime and other times and places; but then, this holds true for almost all religions. During my short life I have not known many Muslims, but the girls I do/have know/n are perfectly normal and aren't mistreated at all - so it is a very foolish assumption that all Islamic women are treated badly, especially here in Australia. As for the wearing of headgear and facial covering for religious reasons, I don't agree with it, but I understand the logic behind it and I respect everybody's right to wear whatever they want for whatever reason. As for the Islamic headscarf in particular, as a feminist I don't think that wearing it purely so that God will love you or others will love you or you think that people will only think well of you if you wear it is right, and I certainly don't agree with the wearing of any religious gear being forced upon anyone, especially onto women by men. If women feel obliged to cover up because of the sexualisation of society and the increasingly lewd behaviour of men, well, that's a sad reflection on the world, isn't it? But if any garments, religious or otherwise, are worn as a free and independent choice then, as a feminist and as a person, why not?

I have pretty strong religious opinions...actually, I have pretty strong opinions about everything. But above everything I am a humanist, and I believe human rights should be respected above everything. And so, I believe that everyone is allowed to do anything they want, as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of others.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Third-Wave Feminism.

I know men are scared of feminism.

Everything from homosexuality to the Carbon Tax is muddled with misconceptions - anything remotely controversial has sprouted almost every myth and legend possible. Men do not fear women, or the empowerment of women per se - they fear the unknown. We all do.

We've lived a particular way for milennia - we've always lived in a world where men rule. Men still rule, even though they've taken to pretending otherwise. The fact remains that the sex war is, my friends, far from over.

Nobody asks 'what is feminism?' anymore, because we all think we know it. But the truth is, hardly anybody I talk to truly knows the pure goal of feminism. Feminists, such as myself, aim to discover an equal society based on mutual respect between men and women. We don't want to see a shift in power; we want to see a balance of power.

See, now, that isn't so radical, is it?

Equality is not exactly doing the exact same thing, or being counted as one and the same. Of course the sexes are distinc, separate and...beautiful in their own way. But difference should not lead to inequality as it has done across the time and geography of history.

People often ask why, if given the opportunity, I would not be in favour of a heavily matriarchal or gynocentric society. The answer is simple: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We can quibble as to which sex, if any, is more resilient towards power and corruption; but we must agree that we will all eventually fall to the forbidden fruit. Equity, fair distribution of power, equal rights and societal respect of the genders is the only way forward.

I feel that laws may have changed in our favour, but societal values have not. I'm still more an object than a person, and I feel as if women have no socially acceptable way to express their sexuality without being labled in ways that men are not subjected to. I feel almost as if we have a predisposition to favour female purity and turn a blind eye at male promiscuity. Puberty hits us all, you know. At the moment this is the main reason why I consider myself a feminist - the inequality in the societal expectations of male and female sexuality is astounding in a community that considers itself liberal and sophisticated.

I've been attacked fairly often for my feminist stance, but more often than not it's not because of what I believe in and what I stand for, but because they think I subscribe to some lesbian female domination theory etc. etc. I'm not a feminazi, and it's unfair that I am treated as such. I am only trying to stand up for my legal and societal rights. I have the right to be equal to any man who thinks he can better me.

Not so long ago suffragettes were faced with imprisonment and torture for standing up for what is right. Now we the third-wave feminists suffer utter indifference. I feel as if nobody cares about the thousands of women, every day, who are objectified, suppressed, raped, denied their basic rights. Even I, as a relatively well-off, educated girl in a wealthy society, face the senseless discrimination just because I am a woman and proud of it. Not only do we not care about this, we pretend that the situation is otherwise. We are far from equality, so why do we say we are? Look me in the eye and tell me that we've reached what is obviously a far-off goal. We the mothers of humankind should not have to put up with this - I have the right to be what I am and not be branded as a slut, or a feminazi. I am not a nun; I am not made of stone. I have the right to be human.

Good Music for the Holidays :)

Blue King Brown feat. Queen Ifrica: Women's Revolution (Reggae)

"in our resistance freedom finds a place to dream..."

Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody (Rock)

"I don't wanna die, but sometimes I wish I'd never been born at all..."

The Masterchef Holy Pickle

Yes, I am one of those people who watches Masterchef.

It really shouldn't be a big deal, but I go to a school where everything mainstream is being shunned for the sake of being mainstream. Like, seriously, I think we're gonna start shitting in the park because too many people use toilets.

Anyway, the Dalai Lama is set to appear on an upcoming episode, and the challenge is to cook a vegetarian dish for him and Kylie Kwong - vegetarianism is a part of strict Buddhism, which is kind of expected of His Holiness. But what's even more wacko than the Dalai Lama appearing on Masterchef is the fact that one of the contestants refused to address the Dalai Lama as 'His Holiness'.

I no longer consider myself a Buddhist, but it would nonetheless be an honour to meet the Dalai Lama and I would of course observe all the formalities.You just have to refer to the Dalai Lama as 'His Holiness', just like you refer to the Queen as 'Her Majesty'. You can't call the Dalai Lama 'Dalai'. It just doesn't work. It's like calling the Queen 'Lizzy' in public.

It has been a personal choice to consider myself an atheist and I firmly believe that there is no God, no karma, nothing up there smiling down. But I have always prided myself in my respect for religion and I always try to respect the religious freedom and rights of others. Religious leaders may stand behind Gods and deities and holy philosophies, but at the core of every religion is the pursuit of truth, peace and serenity, and I respect that goal even if I agree with nothing else. Unlike Kate from Masterchef, my personal religious beliefs never interfere with common courtesy. Kate was not just disrespectful to the Dalai Lama himself, but the whole Buddhist community, and by referring to the Dalai Lama as 'His Holiness' she would be saying, in effect, 'I think this and you think that, but let's just agree to disagree, okay?' But no, apparently that's too hard. The title of 'His Holiness' is not proof of one deity or another, it's recognising that this person is in pursuit of truth and happiness through religion, and I respect that. It's something I could never do.

We all have the right to believe in whatever we believe in. Whether you pray to God, or to Jesus, or to the Buddha and the Dalai Lama really, in the end, should we quibble over names? Whatever makes you happy, I say, but just don't piss off the world whilst you do it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


You could just say sorry.
You walk with the wounded pride of a fallen soldier.
Even though it's knives out we
Can never be enemies.
I can write you out but
Bloodties weigh me down.

I've never seen you cry.
Even though we've tired of your constant seige.
Even though we speak poison we
Can never be enemies.
I can drown you out but
Bloodties weigh me down.

I know you better than you think.
Sometimes I wonder whether you're made of stone.
Even though I don't love you we
Can never be enemies.
I can't bleed you out;
Bloodties weigh me down.

It's hard to see you through
Too many years of bloodstained marching
I've had enough.
Bent double with
Guilt and pain.
Because I should and I shouldn't.
I could and I can't.
For every smile
I have shed ten tears for you.
Love and blood have failed me.

Fear cannot manifest love:
If I protect you from the Devil
Beelzebub has it in for me.
Bloodties connect us

Monday, July 11, 2011

Can of Worms #1

There's a new show on Channel Ten called Can of Worms, which is an interesting concept, even if the presentation is a little shaky. I'm not sold on the unfunny host and the guests are a little strange, and the twitter feed...let's say that the QandA twitter feed is a little more active. But the topics that are discussed are really interesting, so I'm going to experiment and post my own responses here, on the original Lady Sovereign Word Vomit Dump.

Worm #1: Is porn just a healthy part of a normal life?
The long and short of it: No. 

My say: I'm saying no on this one because I don't know of many people who openly indulge in pornography - then again, I am a fifteen year old at quite a prudish school. I don't see anything wrong with pornography, not that I'm addicted to porn or that my ambition is to become a porn star, but I do think that we are a little too prudish when it comes to sex in general - porn is, after all, just entertainment. I don't think there should be restrictions to porn access for adults but of course it's not really an appropriate medium of entertainment for children. Like any addiction, porn addiction is neither normal nor healthy, but the crowd that I hang out with (read: underaged and nerdy) aren't really into that kind of thing, so from my POW there's nothing wrong with porn, but it's not normal and has the potential to be unhealthy.

Worm #2: Is it okay to spy on your kids online?
The long and short of it: No. 

My say: On the show it was specifically 'is it okay to spy on your teens online', so I'm saying no, you cannot spy on teenagers online. Why? The answer is simple: in this day and age, children are introduced to computers and the internet at a very young age, and you have more than enough time before the teen years to drill in the basics of internet safety. If the message hasn't sunk in by the double digits then you've failed as a parent or you've got a dud kid. Simple. I think that anything you can do from another computer, such as looking at a facebook or twitter page, a blog etc., is fine because after all: that is internet publishing and your child is putting this information out to the world. What's not fine is if you actually use your child's computer and internet identity to snoop around: that means checking internet history, word documents, emails, etc. And whilst we're on the topic, snooping around phones and other private paraphernalia is also a no-no. My logic behind this is simple: adolescence is a time when children grow up and start to depend less and less on their parents, and this in turn means that trust between parents and children is a little shaky. By going behind a teenager's back is automatically assuming that they're doing the dodgy, and is one surefire way to ensure your kid becomes dodgy. I know all parents are concerned about their children's safety (or, at least...they should...) but adolescence is that funny time when you have to start respecting your kids as well as loving them to pieces, and the consequences of not doing so can be as potentially deadly as negligence or abuse. So, no, please do not spy on kids, especially teenagers, online.

Worm #3: Is it offensive to call someone a bogan?

The long and short of it: Yes.

My say: I have called people bogan before (cough Sam Worthington) and I have privately labelled many people as bogans, but it's not something I would say to a stranger or even somebody that I just didn't know really really well. It's a very touchy thing, especially here in Australia, where we're supposed to be classless but we're anything but. And I would be offended if someone called me a bogan, because I don't think I am one: although I have spent the last four days in my pyjamas, so you may beg to differ. So I wouldn't use the word too freely, no.

Worm #4: Is the burqa out of place in Australia?
The long and short of it: Yes.

My say: Yes, but it shouldn't be. For a country as multicultural and supposedly tolerant as we're meant to be, we are a rather racist, sexist, xenophobic lot. The only burqa-wearers I have a problem with are those who don't like non-burqa-wearers, or those who are forced to wear the burqa or niqab against their will. But we all have the right to chose what to wear and what not to wear, and this includes the burqa. I don't agree with the religious aspect of it, but I also believe in religious freedom, which is more of a preach but not practice thing in some places. So, I wouldn't wear a burqa, but if you want to wear one (want to, not have to) then wear one, but this is'nt really the voice of the people. Just a note: I'm slightly on the fence when it comes to court rooms and such.

Worm #5: Do Australians swear too much?
The long and short of it: Yes.

My say: I don't have a problem with swearing, and I personally swear on a regular basis. I draw a line at the c-bomb though; I don't think it's ever an appropriate word at all. Aside from that, I don't see the problem with swearing: I'm an angry person, and swear words are angry words, so it makes sense. Anyway, bad language is subjective and it's almost impossible to open your mouth and not piss of somebody, so I've kinda given up on the whole notion. But when you spend most of your time amongst highly obnoxious year eights and various other potty-mouthed individuals where every second word is 'fuck' (example: hello fuck you fuck this fuck that where the fuck is my fucking pencil etc.) then you realize a whole new meaning of OTT.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Boat People.

If you are reading this, right now, I'm assuming that you have internet access. I'm assuming you have clothes on your back and a roof over your head. I'm assuming that when you get thirsty, the water you drink won't kill you. I'm assuming that when you get hungry, there's food in a fridge that belongs to you, and works. Stupid assumptions, you may say. But there are people in this world of which those most basic assumptions would prove to be false.

We, as Australians, have no right to turn down refugees as we do. We are so cold-hearted and narrow-minded. We dehumanize refugees, we process them like we might process meat, we fear what they will take when we have everything to give. We have to stop thinking of this as a war between the races, between the nations, between the classes. This is not a black vs white game, this is not rich vs poor. This is man to man. From the moment we are born we have the responsibilities to help our brothers and sisters across the globe and save humanity. At least, that's what I was taught. How has the world failed you, that you refuse to do God's work? That you refuse to do the work that is our responsibility? We must help others because we all know that if we were them, we would like to think others would help us. What's mine is ours, that is the oath we take when we come into this world and we are only released from it when we depart this life. What's mine is yours. I have given everything to this world, and you know why? Because none of us, man or woman, rich or poor, black or white, gets out of this alive. So we have to stick together.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Music War.

I studied music for nearly ten years, since I was five. Now I no longer study formally, but music is still a huge part of my life.

I love classical music. I love Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry. I love Queen and Paramore and Blue King Brown and the Black Eyed Peas. I love the Phantom of the Opera and Yiruma. Some bands I only like one or two songs: Evernescence (or however you spell it), The Goo Goo Dolls, The Calling, Lady Antebellum. My music love spans, literally, centuries.

I can't stand people from other eras picking on 'modern music'. Modern music is always crap to old ears. I'm not a cheaper or a tackier or a shallower person for listening to Katy Perry and Queen and loving them both. Taylor Swift is just as romantic as Grieg.

Music is the must beautiful and subjective art. We can't be expected to love it all, but I shouldn't be made to feel like I shouldn't be listening to what I love.
Love is...
Love is hoping
Love is dreaming
Love is praying
Love is wanting
Love is crying
Love is bleeding
Love is dying
Love is...

Love should be flowers
Love should be roses
Love should be sunshine and daisies and poems
Love should be bitter
Love should be sweet
Love should be you and
Love should be me.

Love is that equation that I've
Never been able to solve,
Love is that word that
I've always spelt wrong.
Love is the switch that
Keeps turning off,
Love is this poison that
Makes me think I'm in love.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

i'm just gonna come out and say it.

i haven't been blogging For a little while because i've become too good foR my old Insecurities. you know whEn you've got something brilliaNt to say to people you love, but you're afraiD that you'll Sound stuck up? even when you've eArned what you've got, and you've eaRned thE right to Say it?

speaking Of that, have you eveR thought About how many people think of you? how many people dReam of you? i think of a lot of pEople, i dream oF a lOt of people; i wRite of a lot of people. if soMeone thought of mE, even for a heartbeat, it would be the greatest compliment. think of me, think of me fondly when we say goodbye; and i wonder if i ever croSs yOur mind, for me it happens all the time.

do you know what the most satisfying feeling is? it is i told you so. when one has many skeptics as i do, it is the most fuzziest feeling when you can say 'i told you i could do it'. when i die i think a lot of people will say 'i never thought she would Be ablE to do aLl that'.

so I'm on this incrEdible high at the moment, but i'Ve madE a lot of eneMies, and i've lost a lot of friEnds. it's a very lonely climb to the top, and sometimes i'm very very tired of solitude. but i live dreams, i eat dreams, i drink dreams. i am addicted to dreaming. the dreams, if nothing else...the dreams keep me going. there's a light at the end of the tunnel noW, and for tHe first timE all the tears, all the drama, all the sleepless Nights and heartbreak, all the math sums and faIled chemiStry tests All meant something. everYthing means somethIng, especiaLly in this wOrld where nothing really matters. 

i'Ve always known what i want. i've always had a plan. and so, this is whEre You and i differ; i've always fOund the impossible to be mUch more exciting. i've never overestimated myself, not in the granD schEme of things; i'm not in the hAbit of letting myself down. i'm good at taking Risks; i know how to pLaY this game. and there is nothing i do better than revenge.