If ur sitting here reading this and ur white/upper middle class or old..just know u’ve probably got it very sweet. Firstly let’s address why: u ((predominantly) don’t give to charity, or have a periphery nation-esque struggle: i.e. trade and infrastructure is pretty fuckin’ decent. Also, u don’t often get racially profiled: like people ((security) following u around shops thinking u’ve stolen something coz ur skin tone don’t match theres. Then there’s also the empathy and pity that some minorities carry: it can manifest as an inferiority complex, or a post-traumatic slave disorder for some races and a constant need, and pressure, to ‘prove’ yourself. Still reading? Ok cool, sorry to be so provocative and controversial: but it’s the world we ((partly) live in. And, ((partly) it’s because a lot of it is true and we must adress these socio-economic/racial tensions – before it’s too late. ((unmaximising of profit/un-secure property  due to a surge in crime, inequality, health concerns due to an elitist health system, taxation issues because of a lack of proportionality/representation, equity, or fairness.. n also because there will always be a majority.)) If u is part of the majority u shouldn’t take it for granted, and could potentialise empathise with the afore mentioned, collective, minority rights issues (class/race) AND also champion them, instead of narrow-minded, self-perpetuating/reinforcing self-interest.

Cool, so now just like in democracy, a strong opposition is key. The afore mentioned ‘white’ majority wihch currently has an economic tyranny in our world ((due to afore mentioned cultural hegemonies, core-periphery, and economic chains and unconsunual permanently life long work contracts in order to just eat and obtain goods from the otherwise self-sustaining, subsistence agricultural industry, which there is A LOT of money in, but only a few keyplayers: super-markets/TNCs. But, u know on a side note u could create ur own/go to organic food markets/stalls that have been increasingly popping up as part of a part of consumer choice and market responsivity as well as partly a rebellion against the afore mentioned lack of choice, and the now newly, mentioned expensiviness yet paradoxically essential nature of the goods: fruits, legumes, vegetables, and chicken they sell. Livestock in particular could be demand-led to reduce supply intensive farming for instance. That would be an example of a majority: carnivores, conceding party to a minority on common ground: vegetarians and the idea that we need to be sustainable to avoid natural disaster and passing ‘tipping point’ with the Earth”s natural response/negative feedback and coping mechanisms which could potentially end the whole, collective of humanity as a species of animals.
Also, in this case the minority may never come intro the majority (nor should it, in the Hegelian/ugenics idea that history will produce the best coz, despite struggel, it’s like a 2:1 step back ting with the human race and humanity is ultimately, despite setbacks, headed towards a moral, ethical end goal. As opposed to fussing about the means overtly. Controversial again. Ok , so some basic ideas for revolutionary thought so far: 1)) avidly oppose, and critically, voice ur concerns about any majorities that seem to be running shit but u don’t know why/how and why no1’s calling them on their bullshit: like ‘formal  equality’ but substantial inequality.’ and also, how like fucking the undercurrent/subculture or non-mainstreeam are good to casue tension and breed/perrpetuate cultrual, imagined, change. ‘If u don’t stand for anything, ul fall for nothing.

– RIght so, now presumably the audience this has hit home with most is the poorer of us, or more humble and those of us from ethnic backgrounds/minorities. Right, so also no offence to any white people i am also half white but our race has fucked up. Gotta call a spade a spade right.
Cool, now also there is this, unsettling but overtly optimistic idea: if everyone’s fighting for equality how can we enjoy it?

So, we’ve come a long way, and women for example: can now vote because the suffragetes, and enlightened- predominantly Liberal /or Radical thinkers have campaigned avidly, and made it a life-long goal to help people like them. But now, that begs the question: why don’t women now enjoy the freedom they have. E..g. vote and get jobs. Number 1)) it’s hard to do so because most good people never get complacent and women still wanna smash it in terms of the job market: e.g. earn more than their male counterparts or be on some CEO/high earning/reaching or even influential position in their work and still juggle motherhood too with the help of a male paterninty leave or whatever. COol,  then there’s the idea of an unsatiable/relentless pursuit for better – ethically done of course – so some Liberal Feminists may say ok we’ve got the vote in this particular Euro-centric world view, part of the world is equal, but part is not, so the fight continues ((life-long pursuit 😉 yha see.. COol, and then yall say that it’s not enough just to vote – we want to over throw socio-cultural and indeed economic patriarchy; especially un-comprimising in some areas of the developing world still today. Different, but equal. And, then there is the idea that £) there will be creative destruction: when one majority gets overthrown a new one takes it’s place. And, as afore mentioned opposition is keyly crucial coz it ensures the majority coan’t just get it’s own way all the time and there’s like a pluralist battle as to what actually gets implemented/comes to fruition in politics, personal, and private, and political. SO in other words we, or someone will always be fighting against the stream: but that just means that some boats go the right way: and oppose the convention. But just like if u stop rowing u’ll drown, i’d argue untill we’re all economically free and equal : redistributing resources ((through wage structures and job markets changing, taxation, and projects by government/legislative tackled at key demographcis then we will never win. And, access: to education and better schiooling in the state sector in particular) $) as well as voluntary philanthropisits or private ventures fighting the good fight too.. and then we can have a more level playing field: with natural, but sustainable and motivational inequality. Not unjust, ahistorical and heartbereakign like what we have today.) $) Only the dead have seen the end of war.

this kind of peace, and equality, is realistically unattainable ((in practice) but very much desireable, and we can come close which is better than not travelling at all) ((in theory).

Thanks for revolutionizing/enlightening ur world view.

Che (fuckin’) Guevera .






The kid.

Dear Asian

Dear Asian,

So you’ve chosen to come to St. Andrews (replace/insert with demographically, tonally similar college) a wise decision, I should think. I made the same one. This little missive should serve to regurgitate a few hoary insights that my experiences have vindicated (if I, do indeed, suffice for you as an a priori authority) along with an offer of a few precious nuggets of wisdom ­ if you’ll humor me enough to pick through the dross. Don’t worry, I’ll try to spread them about, so to keep you continuously entertained.

For lift­off, we’ll begin with a candid contemplation of the cultural zeitgeist, as it pertains to matters of ethnicity and race. The hills and valleys of your face, be they rolling or alpine, shallow or deep, will immediately conjure the incantation of “Asian”. This is an unavoidable definition, but by no means an important one. It mostly depends on how you interpret it. By my experience, barring this one racist I had the luck to become acquainted with, the majority population in St. Andrews is kind, curious, and more interested in what you say, than how you say it. Accents will not overwhelmingly deter your ability to be expressive, or to communicate. Soulful interactions here are like lingering balloons, with their strings waiting to be grasped ­ and, good for us, they are available in every store of worth.

As I’m sure you’ll also find, it’s not in the lack of eager companionship that will haunt the soul. Very much so, it’s the superficial, minute things that keep the loneliness from leaving you alone. You may find that switching from your mother tongue will change your personality somewhat. To illustrate, take the case of humor. It requires a certain fluency in a language to be comfortable with irony and wit, so perhaps you might become less funny. Afterall, it is indeed true that the subtleties of humor differ colossally from culture to culture. But, there is some comfort to be found. The fact that everyone can laugh at the poor old man who painfully tripped is promising news, which proves that there is some common ground when it comes to the funnies ­ though perhaps not particularly sacred ground, if its only denizen is slapstick. Language, though, does constitute a lot of identity, so be prepared to change, and to be treated differently according to how well you can adopt their way of speech. Continuing on culture, not all the same things will be cool here. The majority consumes a different set of media than you probably did, and although there is some intersection, there might not be too much. Thus, there does exist a painful adjustment period, during which you’ll have to learn the intricacies of the locality’s vernacular and aesthetics. There is a price to be paid before you can be initialised into their ranks. But, I’m sure, you’ll fight through that gauntlet victoriously, and be rewarded with the prize of worldliness and, sadly, also a great deal more approval from your new comrades ­ one might imagine that they they would instead lament your loss of individuality, perhaps in another life. Additionally, you’ll notice your speech patterns will change ­ I for one have become lighter on my consonants, and vowels, to keep up with the swift splatter of words that every one of my British friends splashes at me. Well, at least I’m closer to speaking the “real English” now.

In continuation of the little things, which actually look pretty large at this point, forget any consistency of good tastes in your food. Culinary delights are far and in between in St. Andrews, only attainable for an extravagant price, or through a lengthy journey to the neighbouring Dundee. For the most part, if you’ve hailed from any of the exotic spots of Asia, you’ll be incensed by how lacking flavor is in this country. They can’t help it. So, be a good sport and don’t complain, just bring your own little packet of MSG; a bottle of your favorite soy sauce; and a salt shaker, that will help liven up your food, I’m sure. And, try to cook for yourself, when you can. You’ll find that the palette is some kind of arch by which you can travel through to visit home, if only for the duration of that short burst of flavor. Trust me, the taste of home is a good salve for the blues when you miss your mother’s embrace, or your father’s awful fried rice.

Depending on your type of Asian ­people forget how big a continent we are ­ you may be afflicted with the demonly Flush ­ which though may not hamper you too much during your drunken sprees, will, still, remain a thorn in your side. Don’t expect to be able to down glass after glass of vodka shots without chundering, and if you’re more seriously afflicted by the Flush, forget even that one glass of red. It’s simply unsustainable for most of us who possess the Flush to drink generously. Be wary of that devilish road ­ the flush is there to remind us that drinking, for us, is a much shorter trip to the cancer ward than it is for the unafflicted. If you insist, do drink a pint of water every two lagers ­ you can thank me later.

To end: when it comes to expressing certain cultural idiosyncrasies, there is only a small ephemeral window that you can speak through, once every few days. The global framework of diversity is a little insufficient at the moment, and so there will come moments when you wish to share your culture only to hit a brick wall. Additionally, to be frank, Freud tells the truth about the narcissism of small differences. The majority population has enough trouble understanding their (for now) European comrades. So perhaps hoping for a persistent curiosity about the qualia of your values might be too much to ask, and in fact if it were to truly occur, might even begin to irk you after not so long a while (after all, overarching values subsume the individuals inside). Maybe I’m exaggerating, because a few are always curious, and most are sometimes curious as well, which is always super duper cool.

An admonition: simply put, they might not accommodate your music, artistic tastes, or your hobbies. Not that they will shun or disapprove of them, but the Canto­Pop or Bollywood you offer will be, for the most part, treated as mere novelties and rarely seen without rosey lenses. Different cultures and languages, you see, that’s the rub. I think you should try, though, to explain your music to them, or whatever media you consume. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Russian and Tanzanian music through my friends who were happy to give me translations as well as comparative critiques. I’m sure you’ll be able to experience and provide the same. You may no longer be able to sync up your brains with your friends by blaring out the same song lyrics while stoned and pissed on the rooftop of a skyscraper, but you are compensated by being fed a spoonful of the consciousness of other cultures, which is a worthy trade, I think.

That is to say, though they won’t necessarily treat your reverence of Chinese calligraphy with the same appreciation they do for Tennyson, you can still share and learn from each other. Some day though, I believe there will exist an intervening moment when your culture can intersect with others in an equal way, without the overwhelming power of a cultural hegemony, where both participants can walk away with a smile, without one of them pulling a smirk and, or, suppressing a scoff ­ I imagine so, at least.

Before I part, I urge you to not take the easy route of finding the same people you knew at home, which you’ll very much be able to. Step outside of your imagination and meet new and interesting people, and broaden your horizons (gosh I’m filled with platitudes today) and exchange, exchange as much as you can, your world with theirs ­ it’s a wonderful and rewarding sensation.

Until next time.

3q for reading,

Adrian Ngiam