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Punch More Nazis

December 1, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos is coming to Melbourne on the 4th of December, next Monday.

While the Socialist Alternative and CARF (Campaign against Racism & Fascism) are all busy peddling on his celebrity to get themselves some of it, the rest of us are busy trying not to die at the hands of fascists.

See, there’s been a spate of white journalists waxing romantic about Fascists, all in the name of trying to understand why and how they are the way they are. We have seen that these white liberals are not actually interested in stopping Fascism, so I am really left to conclude that what they are really invested in, is giving Fascists an endearing face and a bigger platform to spread Fascist ideas and values.

Unlike them, I’m not interested in understanding Fascists-only in punching them.

And you should be as well.

Tee from @teepublic

Watch this amazing video by @aamarrahman on why punching Nazis is something you should definitely be doing.

Not A Race: Beverly Wang

October 7, 2017

I was interviewed by Beverly Wang for the Season 2 of the Not A Race podcast coming out in November! We talked specifically about #Chinese Privilege, how to functions in Singapore, and what it means for a larger, international audience.

Race, racism, identity, culture, difference — let’s talk it out. It’s Not a Race, with host Beverley Wang, is the ABC podcast Australia needs right now.

Not A Race is an amazing exploration of issues surrounding race, identity, culture and language, and it’s not just for Australians, but for people all over the world.

Catch up on Season 1 of it here before Season 2 comes out soon!

Why is the Singapore Presidential Elections of 2017 making Singaporeans so upset?

Presidential Elections

Stop calling this year’s Presidential Elections the ‘first racially reserved’ political anything.

Postcolonial Singapore elections have always been racially reserved–for the Chinese. When the highest office in the country is openly racially reserved only for Chinese people, why is the PE the one being talked about as if it’s some anomaly?

It’s because reserving political office for Chinese Singaporeans is seen as a norm, and is supported by the majority of Chinese people, while reserving even a toothless political position for a minority rankles Chinese people so much that they’re all suddenly discovered racism in Singapore.

Tell the truth about racial reservations in Singapore. If you haven’t made noise about racial reservations for Chinese people in politics, in employment, even the fact that we have racial reservations for entire schools in this country, you really shouldn’t be talking about the Presidential Elections.

Chinese people only hate reservations when the seat isn’t being reserved for them.

MWF: ASIA WHAT? Roundtable

September 10, 2017

Asia What? Melbourne Writer’s Festival 2017

 

“I am Sangeetha Thanapal, a Singaporean-born woman of ethnic Tamil-Indian ancestry. My forefathers were brought to Singapore as ???coolies’ or indentured labourers. Indentured servitude is a form of labour in which people are employed against their will, under threat, due to debt bondage—it was almost impossible to fulfill or escape from. Indentured labour came about after the abolition of slavery in England. People often did not understand the contracts they were signing, and were shipped off to the colonies (in our case, Singapore) under conditions similar to slavery. My ancestors remained in Singapore and my parents and I were born there. I was educated in Singapore and then the United Kingdom, and now live in Melbourne due to threats to my safety and freedom by the Singapore state. I am—to some extent—an asylum seeker who had the capital and ability to come here on a plane, for which I will be forever grateful.

My creative practice is quite specifically political—it’s meant to challenge and build consciousness. Current global race discourse is a) American-centric and b) white vs the rest—this is not my material experience, where my direct oppressors are Chinese.  When I started my anti-racism work, it was to theorize how racism functions in a country like Singapore, where those holding all the economic, social and political power are not white, but people of colour themselves. I created the term ???Chinese Privilege’, which situates institutionalized racism within Singapore.

I write fiction and nonfiction work as well; my themes often deal with questions of race, revolution, gender, diaspora and the body. I am also trained as a Bhrathanatyam dancer, as well as in hip-hop and jazz. I see dance as quite a political practice, especially in terms of how transgressive the movement of certain racialized and Othered bodies can be in any given space.

This has been one of my long-term criticisms of the term ???Asian,’ as well as People of Colour (PoC) spaces; proximity to whiteness ensures that the most light-skinned and white-passing amongst us end up with the most visibility and representation. When the term Asian is monopolized by East Asians, where does that leave South and Southeast Asians, who are predominantly Brown?

The word ???Asian’ becomes synonymous with East Asian, despite the fact that East Asians are complicit in wanting to maintain the cis-hetero-patriarchal white supremacist structure, and often are just as discriminatory towards brown and black people, sometimes even more so, in a bid to assimilate into dominant white culture. East Asians buy and promote the ???model minority myth’ which is often used against other PoC. So why should they be the face of Asia?

We need to to realise that Asia is a huge continent with thousands of cultures and languages held within it, and simply boiling it down continuously to East Asians is erasure. I think it is important to push back against the domination of East Asians in Asian spaces, and to start centering Black and Brown Asians within them.

I think authenticity is such a loaded word. It is both exclusionary and redemptive at the same time, which means it occupies a fairly interesting position. To tell the truth, I don’t grapple with issues of authenticity the way many Asian Australian artists do, and that is because I grew up in Asia, with easy access to my people’s culture, language and religion. I speak my second language fairly fluently, and it took me a long while to realize that this was not the common diasporic experience. My connection to my people and my ancestral land is very strong, especially in terms of my understanding of our culture and history. Growing up Tamil in Singapore, there is a strong influence to assimilate into Chineseness, but I have never succumbed to it.

I believe authenticity is an issue borne out of disassociation. There’s this idea that those who grew up outside their motherland must feel some sort of distance from it, which then festers and manifests in them trying to be more ???authentic.’ Like Dominic says, this comes out as selling yourself to whiteness and white capital in your work. It is definitely a trope, and white people love to consume what they believe to be ???authentic’ culture, no matter if it is or not, and we ultimately become complicit in selling it.

I think a lot of POC in the West love rediscovering their culture, especially as a way to resist white assimilation, but at the same time, they cannot help but come to it through a colonial viewpoint—even if they are actively resisting the demands of whiteness.

I am interested in authenticity without a gaze, without seeking or requiring validation; within communities and people, in a loving and non-judgmental way, bringing those seeking their roots together with those who have never been uprooted.

I find allyship discourse at the moment to be quite boring. As it stands, it is now seventy percent cookies and thirty percent self-flagellation, and neither one of those things appeals to me. Where are the accomplices, the collaborators, the disruptors? That’s what I consider as my responsibility to Aboriginal peoples.

I think about the fact that I came here seeking asylum, and Australia gave me a way out of that situation. I am grateful for this, and I???m not going to pretend that I have not immensely benefitted from the Australian government’s preference for the ???right’ sort of migrant.

At the same time, I am cognizant that it is not the people of the Kulin nations that invited me here, and it should have been. I think it is possible to hold two narratives at one time; that, for me, colonial Australia—which is a country founded on and that continues to function on the genocide of its Indigenous people—saved me from certain imprisonment in Singapore. However, I am incredibly critical of whiteness, white supremacy, settler colonial complicity, and our duty to Aboriginal people. I think my biggest job is to speak to my own, which means to always speak out against anti-Aboriginality amongst Asian and settler populations, and then to support organisations like RISE, which staunchly backs Indigenous rights to this land and want to build a long-lasting relationship with its native people.

 

Recently, the Sydney Peace Prize gave an award to the women behind Black Lives Matter. BLM has never been a hate group and deserves every accolade it gets.

However, I would like to use this opportunity to point out that Black people exist in Australia, and that black organizations here have been working tirelessly for Black people as well. Why aren’t the Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance being given this prize? Instead, why do we constantly see people scream ‘black lives matter’ in Australia while denying the genocide that underpins this country?

I’d like for people, especially Black people in America, to think about how solidarity with them is actually about using BLM as a means to deny other people their due right.

Think about Sinhalese people who just hate Tamil people but who use “pro-blackness” as a means to hate on MIA. Or upper caste South Asians who love the ‘wokeness’ of BLM but deny the caste system because one gets them accolades within the performative ally progressive scene, and the other doesn’t.

What I’m saying is that not all support is what you think it is; it isn’t pro-blackness, sometimes it’s just anti-someone else.

So while hurrah to the Sydney Peace Prize for recognizing the wonderful women of BLM, maybe they need to stop erasing and shutting down indigenous Black voices here, and recognize the Black women doing this work at their very doorstep.

Outside

April 30, 2017

 

Society arbitrarily normalizes something, then it places a stigma on those who are without/exist outside said thing. This is meant to make people feel like they are lacking/inferior if they are outside/without said thing and then makes people believe that being without/existing outside the thing is the problem. Sometimes it tells them if they buy a product/buy into an ideology they may be able to gain access to/become said thing, but this is always a lie.

They build a broken system, but then they make you believe you are the one who is broken. And you spend your whole life trying to fix yourself instead of focusing on the system, which is what it intended the whole time.

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