Thursday, 29 December 2016

SAVE ME FROM ADULT LIFE PLEASE

One day, I'm going to leave university.

In fact, that day will come in approximately six months.

By the 22nd of June 2017, I will have finished my last exams of my double degree course and be thrust into the deep end of the corporate pool, swimming among the flavescent faeces of other terrified millennials as we, packed like hungry rats in a tube, collectively rush towards a sad and abysmal reality.

Death by adult life.

Working in an office 9 to 5. Being a desk-bound indentured slave. Having to smile at old people you don't like. Discussing credit ratings and having to do tax returns. Smiling at more old people as they exercise their corrupt authoritarian powers, asking you to retrieve their bi-hourly caffeine fix then forcing you to fix their computer or some other tech shit. You stare at your watch, then back at your screen, then back at your watch, and start imagining what it'd be like to commit hara-kiri in front of your boss, blood spurting out of orifices like NYE fireworks, eyes bulging like Steve Buscemi, mouth agape like a man whose soul just got sucked outta him by the latest Dyson machine.

Fuck. It's so depressing.

And hey, it might not be that bad. I have plenty of friends who work in corporate and haven't  killed themselves yet, but you never know... some of them are, for sure, mentally flaying themselves.

WOW.

I know. I'm being unnecessarily pessimistic/nihilistic. It seems every third post on this blog is me complaining about corporate life and my own career path.

I'm sorry.

I can't help it. I'm at that stage.

Years of dealing with tyrannical bosses has left me a broken shell of my former self.

Oh why oh why!!

I can already see myself slumped over an office desk, dreaming about the good old days when I'd be in an Asian Studies lecture, seated with a pen and notebook, eagerly jotting down WWII stats in the Asia Pacific theatre, looking at old sepia photos of Japanese soldiers, or listening to the professor describe the exploits of Jodhaa Akbar. Analysing maps of Asian Empires and legendary military strategies. Watching Korean pop videos and explaining the success of the Korean wave. Discussing anime films and dissecting Asian pop culture.

Not just that. But...

The physical & emotional sensations of being in a history lecture. 

When it's so unbearably hot during the summer that even the asphalt looks like it's sizzling underneath the sun's gaze. 

But stepping into S4 - it's dark. There are no windows. The aircon billows cool breezes onto your face. You immediately feel the respite, and relish that almost as good as Lipton Ice Tea feeling as you relax in a large airy chamber sparsely dotted with students. 

It's quiet. 

Soon, the sounds of retractable wooden desks being opened with a soft 'bang' against its metal fulcrums heralds the lecturer's arrival. She's a Swedish-Australian with a quirky accent, and an expert in Japanese history. 

For the next hour, she relays graphic stories of wartime heroics and betrayals, of internecine rivalries and incompetent governments of the Japanese Imperial Empire. You listen intently to some of the most interesting and compelling stories you have ever heard. The battles, the soldiers, their families, their friends and enemies -- you are transported there. You experience it, and feel what they felt. Love, loyalty, anger, shame, fear, sadness. 

Then the hour is up. The lecturer says she will see you next week. 

You get out of your chair, brain reeling with indescribable imagery. Again, the sounds of wooden desks being slammed back into its retracted position fills your ears, and as you stand there for a few more seconds to process how much you fucking loved the past hour of your life, you realise you're the only one left in the lecture theatre, and that you need to get out.

You step outside, back under the sun, and breathe out deeply, with happiness, inspiration, enlightenment and fulfilment. Then, you take your wallet out and head off to go buy some salmon sushi from the cafeteria. 



Saturday, 5 November 2016


Thing I've experienced lately: 

It's one thing trying to reason with people so stupid, xenophobic and racist that they can't be reasoned with. 

It's another thing trying to reason with intelligent, educated, or at least generally 'good' people that possess minimum standards of compassion and respect towards others, and find that they are willing to support a man like Trump. 

When I hear friends, invariably white male friends, talk about how Clinton is so corrupt or that the status quo is so bad that voting in Trump, a complete idiot, or the other idiotic third party candidates, is actually a better option than voting in Clinton (because 'even if he's shit, at least he'll change things up and force everybody to reevaluate', I just want to slap them. 

And I don't even think Clinton is an ideal candidate. I think her foreign policy stance is really aggressive and worrying, but all else considered, she is NOWHERE near the level of 'corrupt' that many people make her out to be, and though she seems corrupt to some extent, there have been previous Presidents and other men in similarly high-up leadership positions that have done much worse and were never called out on it the way Clinton has. 

If you're going to argue that Clinton is corrupt, don't you fucking use that email scandal, or her changed stance on gay marriage. These are BOTH things politicians have done FREQUENTLY - i.e. deleting emails, leaking classified information, changing their stances on key issues. So if you're going to use these as justifications, FUCK NO. 

If you want to put her in jail for the email thing, put David Petraeus in jail, and thoroughly investigate Bush as well. If you want to attack her for changing her stance on gay marriage - remember that people change. I've had friends who used to slut-shame other girls in class, but are now staunch feminists who fight against this very mentality. I've had friends who were Christian and strongly pro-life, but having grown up, met different people at university, and learnt about the real consequences of pro-life policies for women, and are now pro-choice. When I was 15, I didn't think climate change was worth combatting compared to other issues, and was an anthropogenic global warming denialist. Obviously, I'm not now.  

If a person has changed, and is willing to fight for the right position now, how in the world is that a bad thing??? Even if, yes, Clinton is 'strategic' about her stances - this is not necessarily the worst thing. Being strategic is fucking necessary. People talk about idealism like it's actual realistic. No. 

Compromise is what's realistic. Being smart is what's realistic. And these. Aren't. Bad. 

Overall, Clinton is no Obama, but she is by faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar the most qualified, and the least harmful for America. 

To all the friends who would vote for somebody else just because they don't like Clinton - firstly, you have bought into the hyperbole. You are brainwashed. She isn't THAT BAD that TRUMP is the better option. You're fucking crazy if you think otherwise. 

And now I'm going to use that word that white males hate - 'privilege'. 

You know why I can't support Trump/Stein/Johnson (remember that a vote for a third party candidate basically just gives your vote away to Trump)??? 

Because I'm a minority. You might have felt prejudice once or twice in your life, but for me, for women, for gays, for Mexicans, Muslims, Indians, Blacks and other people who will certainly bear the brunt of the hate that will no doubt explode in massive ways as Trump rises, and which even he will not be able to control, is why I can't take the fucking cop out option of voting for Trump or somebody else other than Clinton, no matter how much we dislike Clinton for other reasons. 

WE. CAN'T. AFFORD TO. 

Already, there are Trump supporters hanging Black dolls from their trees in the front yard, simulating the lynchings of the 1950s, when the KKK was at its peak. Already, there are Trump supporters gearing up with an arsenal of guns and other weaponry, ready for a civil war if Trump isn't elected (this is true btw, there are undoubtedly people doing this and it has been reported). Already, even non-Trump supporters are goaded on by the blatant racism revealing itself on screen and in the streets, and in fucking New York, we recently had two Muslim women get kicked out of a restaurant, get verbally abused on the street, another Muslim woman get set on fire outside an upscale Manhattan boutique, and a Chinese-American man (who was an editor at New York Times) get told by a wealthy-looking white woman in the city centre to 'Go back to China!' and some other racist epithets. 

SO REALLY? ARE YOU BLIND??? ARE YOU DEAF??? Do you not SEE what's happening? Do you not UNDERSTAND what will happen and what is already happening? 

I feel the fear. Do you? You can't. You don't know what it feels like, do you? To have your family and your parents always feel insecure about being subject to racism. To be scared of walking home alone at night. To have friends care more about French people than the suffering of people in countries that many Australians come from. 

OF COURSE NOT. You're white and/or you're a man. You literally cannot feel how we feel. You just don't have to deal with the same problems. And I'm not being a crazy SJW here, but honestly, if you can still support Trump at this stage, or even justify him with a 'oh Clinton's worse' or 'he'll change things' sort of bullshit argument - get the fuck out. I am fed up with how blind you are. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

That time a guy lured me into his Aston Martin and was all like 'Do you like it?'

Please relish my true story of which I am relating due to intense procrastination that will probably result in me failing at least one of my upcoming law exams. 

Last year, when my boss pressured asked me to assume the role of MC at the company's charity ball, I got to meet Aston Martin guy - my co-MC. When I walked into the office that day to meet him for the first time, he was already seated at the table, talking business on his phone. He was very young, greatly resembled Andy Lau in physiognomy but much shorter in stature, his voice and manner of speaking exuding the sort of charismatic joviality you'd expect from someone who closes multimillion dollar sales in property (I wasn't aware of his day-job until much later), and wearing an extremely expensive, well tailored suit. He had neatly styled hair that was spiked up in a very trendy early 2000s way, otherwise known as an anachronism, and which I thought perfectly suited the caricature of himself as a garish thirty-something year old upstart in the alpha position of CEO at his own real estate company.

After I walked in, I sat down at the table with my boss and two other female colleagues. He got off his phone a few minutes later and something incredible happened. As soon as he started speaking, compliments about our beauty/femininity were thrown at us left, right and centre. These were half-ironic statements about how young my boss was for her age, how he was flustered being surrounded by beautiful women etc. etc. They ate it up. He even asked me why I didn't enter the Miss Chinese Melbourne beauty pageant, to which I internally grimaced and wanted to say: 'because pageants are stupid, sexist and embarrassing tools perpetuating the objectification of women for commercial and patriarchal value'. I obviously didn't say anything as scarily feminist as that, but I still said 'I think pageants are stupid', to which he presciently and again half-jokingly added 'ahhh yes, well that makes sense as I wouldn't expect an ambitious law student like yourself to enter something like that'. I grimaced again.

Apart from that thing about beauty pageants, he was saying a lot of very flattering bs that I admit, did make me feel good about myself. And I could see how much my boss and colleagues were enjoying having a handsome young man swathe them with witty, well-timed compliments. I thought to myself - wow. This guy is amazing. I mean, yeah, he's a stereotype, but that's what makes him so great at his job. He works with a lot of Asian businesses here, and with people who must be much older than him. I don't doubt for one minute that his Mad Men-esque charisma, where he can at any time switch on that rare old-timey gallantry and joke around with 'the boys', makes him a likeable character in a male-dominated industry where trust, connection and relationships can make or break a deal. And honestly, I didn't judge him too hard for the things he said because I knew he operated frequently if not completely within Asian business circles, and Asian business and networking culture is very different to what we young people would expect in more progressive western environments. So I understood completely if this was the sort of personality it took to win over his clients.

Anyway. So the second time we met, I still had no idea exactly how 'accomplished' he was, and faced with the existential throes of taking the bus home, I unashamedly asked him where he lived and whether it would be convenient for him to give me a ride home. 'Yes! That's fine!" he said eagerly. He said his car was parked close by. 'Maybe a 10 minute walk if that's alright?' He asked. That was definitely okay with me, since I would have had to walk 10 minutes home after taking the bus anyhow.

It was deception. Trickery. A trap.

Since he told me his car was 'parked' close by, I naturally assumed that he lived somewhere else. NUP. He took me to this newly built apartment complex a short walk away from my office. I was like 'uh...what?' And he's like, 'oh yeah, I'll take you down to the underground car park later. I'll just go up to my apartment and get some stuff.'

Apartment? He lives here? The fuck is happening?

I was slightly horrified that he was then making such a huge effort to drive me home. Horrified - not that I was uncomfortable, but because I didn't want him to be inconvenienced. He kept smiling and reassuring me that it was absolutely fine, and that I should just 'wait there', down on ground level. So I stood at the foyer for what felt like forever, until he came back down, and was like 'okay, let's go'.

We took the elevator down to the underground carpark, and before we stepped out, he's like 'so I drive an Aston Martin' or something. I'm like 'yeah ok haha'. And he went 'No, I really do.' And now I was like, LOL?!?!

We walked pass an unmissable yellow Ferrari. He said, 'that's my friend's car. Sometimes he goes overseas and gives me the keys. It's fun. We race a lot.'

Okay, so these weren't his exact words. After all, it's been a year since this happened. But for the sake of story-telling, that was essentially what he said.

Then finally, he led me to this obnoxiously shiny, conifer green Aston Martin DBS.
At this point I was still like no.... 
But then he pressed his keys and the lights lit up.
Then I was like oh... 

Of course, he opened the door for me on my side. I crouched in, proceeded to fall with a thump into my seat (they're really low), for which he apologised for not warning me about, and then I'm like. Holy shit. I'm in an Aston Martin. Internally, I was like WOOOOOOOOOOO! But externally, I was like, 'um yeah this is cool lol thanks.'

I vowed to myself not to be one of those girls. Because that was OBVIOUSLY what he expected.

We're sitting in his two hundred thousand dollar supercar, and he started scrolling through music. He settled on some super loud RnB track with heavy as fuck bass, and asked me 'do you like this music?' I almost burst out laughing, how ridiculous this shit was, but I'm like 'yeah, this is fine', playing it ice cool.

As we made our first turn out of the carpark, he gave the car a few good hard revs. And it's extremely, ostentatiously, hilariously loud for a semi-suburban street. It also felt fucking good. You can feel your entire body vibrating. It's that sensation when you're out a club or concert, the music is just blasting so loud the entire floor quakes beneath you, and this heavy narcotic sensation envelops your entire physical and spiritual being. Yeah. For like five seconds, that's what it was like.

Then he's like, very very unsubtly, 'You like that?'
I'm like 'What's not to like about this?'
And he goes 'Girls love this stuff, don't they? The fast cars... the noise... the music'

Inside, I was fucking dying. Dying of laughter. I couldn't believe how cheesy and contrived this entire dialogue was. Obviously, he didn't know me well enough to understand that I'm way too sophisticated and hyper-aware to be swayed by this sort of fuccboi flirting (unless of course, I was actually into it). I tried not to smile so hard.

Even funnier, after we turn out of the carpark, he completely and illegally speeds down the entire 300 metre or so stretch of the street, revving like Jamie Whincup in a V8 Rally, but not really because this was actually a part of Australian suburbia lined with Asian groceries and inhabited by lots of old Chinese women with shopping trolleys. I said nothing. We kept going.

We had a relatively tame conversation about work, saving money and financial success. The whole time, I tried not to show any sign that I was even remotely impressed by his wealth or being in an Aston Martin, which just made everything about this really funny to me. I was just like, yeah cool, I'm just a person having this totally mature discussion with you i.e. ain't gonna fawn over yo shit.

At one point, he was implying that if you work young, start saving early, you too can be like me. And I was like, but I just spend all my money on food. And he tells me to stop having brunch and dining at expensive restaurants, which he just totally assumed I was doing. Inside, I was like - um, I literally never do brunch and when I mean 'buying food', I mean spending all my money on Hungry Jack's 6 chicken nuggets for $3.00 and my favourite KFC original tenders box, with a special large potato and gravy upgrade cos I fucking love potato and gravy. I really should have said that, now that I think about it. It would have destroyed any fantasy he had of me being an easily susceptible, uber superficial, uber fit, Heston Blumenthal-crazy, Michael Kors-toting, pretty girl.

While I was being completely cold to his attempts to impress me, I did do this one thing that I couldn't help - I'd look at the people in the cars next to us and see whether they were looking back at us with envy/aspiration. Because if I were sitting next to a car as sexy as his, I'd want to see what the person driving it looks like. Usually, it'd be some fifty something year old white dude wearing a branded cap of whatever car he was driving. Ferrari? Ferrari cap. BMW? BMW cap. But here we were, two Asian kids - me, 21 wearing tank top and jeans, and him, suited up and looking barely over 27.

Anyway, for the rest of the trip, he had deliberately rolled down all windows, with music blasting pretty loudly. It was hard not to notice us. And then he dropped me back home. The thing is, at the time, I had been holding down a couple of jobs, and most of my bosses had expensive cars. They all drove some recent model of Porsche and Mercedes SUVs/sedans, and so for the last two months or so, I had been continually dropped off at my front door in these super expensive obsidian black, metallic blue, glossy automobiles. But an Aston Martin DBS was a major step up.

I wondered what my nosy as fuck Asian neighbours thought of this (they once dobbed me in to my parents after seeing me with my Sri Lankan (ex) boyfriend).

Outside my house, I said 'thanks for the ride', keeping the effusiveness on the down-low (usually I'm extremely grateful for a ride home from anyone), and he was like 'no worries' etc. Then I went in, and he left, visibly disappointed by my down-to-earth attitude.


The end.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

We are currently in a Seldon Crisis

To all Isaac Asimov fans:

We are currently experiencing a global Seldon crisis. Trump. Conflict in the middle east. Physical cuffs between India and Pakistan. That whole thing in the South China Sea.

But it's okay. As with all Seldon crises, we need only let the course of nature run its predicted route. And that is to let Trump win the presidency so he can get his hands on America's nuclear launch codes and bomb the earth back into reset mode. Make America great again? No man, he'll make the world great again. Start afresh - except this time, without humans and sprawling megalopolises. Finally, all of our planet's forests and animals will be free from the violent yoke of humanity.

On the other hand, having such a blatant threat of mass mutually assured destruction (MAD) could also result in the unification of the rest of the world, a need to defeat the monster called Trump, who may as well be the alien squid monster from Watchmen. Toeing the line of human extinction will be the wake up call we all need. We'll get rid of Trump together, and establish world peace.


So really, whichever way this goes, earth wins. Oh and I forgot to mention, you and I (the rational ones), will already be on Asgardia setting up our new Foundation. Once earth convalesces from nuclear MAD (if it happens), we can come back down if we so desire, and set up a new technocracy. Until the next Seldon crisis, we'll all enjoy about 100 years of peace.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Can't sleep

Okay.

Even though I say I hate people and that most people are generally dumb and lacking in basic introspective qualities (i.e. they're immature), it's only because of a few certain experiences I've had recently and Donald Trump. Apart from that, life had been pretty good because I was feeling really grateful about how many amazing new friends I've made this year. And I'm talking about friends you really click with. Friends you can have three hour conversations with about anything - life, politics, how dumb even 'smart' people are, (hating) law school, familial pressure, self-inflicted pressure, Trump, sex, romance, movies, books, science fiction, cyberpunk, 80s music, Snake Plissken, the history of hentai, astronomy, the singularity, AI, anime, feminism, drugs, money, marriage... we have a lot of shared interests/experiences. And I'm not kidding when I have had conversations where almost all of these topics have been covered within the time frame of an hour.

I love that I have these friends. In fact, I'm grateful that I have a lot of these friends. Sometimes it's not immediately obvious, but these are the people who keep you grounded. They're you're backbone. They bring a lot of joy and you know they'll be there for you, or more likely, weeping with you, when you start freaking out about life, careers, internships etc.

Probably like three people even read this blog. But still. Thanks guys.

The goddamn truth: people are f*****


I seriously might have to delete this post in the future. 

Every single fucking day for the past two months, I have been constantly disappointed by the sheer number of fucking retards that I've had to deal with. I'm not even angry. I'm just 

Every single fucking day I read any comment thread on the internet, it's like watching real-time retrogression of humanity, and the imminent end of our evolutionary vector, because god knows - Trump, a guy who advocates non-consensually grabbing women 'by the pussy', is that close to getting his hands on America's nuclear missile launch codes. But not just that, despite myself being aligned with left-wing principles, I am physically disgusted by the increasing aggressiveness of other left-wing activists ('social justice warriors') for yeah, living up to the stereotype of being absolutist and sanctimoniously shutting down any argument that doesn't adhere to their own superficial values. Some of the things vomited out by both the left and right wing have been... ridiculous. And it's fuelling each other.

You know what. At this point, having the earth bombed to a charred, ashen, marshmallow of a planet and toeing the line of human extinction might be the purgatory we all need. That earth needs. Fuck, I don't even care anymore.

I have a lot of sympathy with Adrian Veidt of Watchmen, and I have no problem sanctioning certain 'methods' against certain people that I know some of you more admirable and morally pure-hearted would never agree to, like downright assassination (but surreptitiously, of course).

I literally ranted about this in my previous post about how, because I've been exposed to a lot of shit (in life and in the news) when I was young, I am able to take the more realistic approach to certain issues. And of course, there are some issues so complex that I acknowledge it is impossible to take sides, but what we can do and should do is calm the fuck down and look at the facts. And here's a fact I want to reiterate: human nature is not a 'blank slate'. We're fucked. Admit it. Things like jealousy, insecurity, suspicion, anger, compulsiveness, truculence - these are the things that lead to conflict, potentially massive conflict. And frankly, these are fundamental human characteristics, and as with positive traits like altruism and empathy, they will always exist. You can never make it go away, except try and strike a balance. Unfortunately, however, it's the negative traits we all embody that result in greater consequence for society. Trust me, I'm not being cynical. I'm just being an adult. And it's why we all miss the blissful ignorance/innocence of our childhood.

And since I'm ranting....

Ever heard of Peter Scully? The Australian man who engineered a paedophile ring in the Philippines and for years trafficked young girls and raped babies in dungeons to produce content for his subscribers? I remember reading about this when I in high school, when some of the material he produced were merely 'urban legends' of the dark web.

Well, he deserves death. And not just death. But a slow, tortured, excruciating death. If I had the ability to carry this out myself, I fucking would. I would ... I shouldn't even type out the things I'm thinking because it is literally so despicable that I almost feel just as fucked up. But sometimes, I look at my friends, who have never experienced huge prejudice in their lives, or the friends who make cheesy posts about the Paris Attacks but ask them about what's happening in Istanbul or Pakistan, and they're like 'what?'... and you can't help but think - People. Don't know. Shit. 

Even me, ranting about problems like lack of Asian representation in the media. Yeah, I get frustrated at people who use the cop-out justification 'Hollywood is a business'. They clearly recognise there's a wrongness in whitewashing, or white saviour tropes (when you explain it to them), but because they've never felt it from YOUR point of view, they feel no need to speak up the way I do. So their automatic subconscious response is to kind of dismiss the petitions and rants they see popping up on Facebook, because it just doesn't affect them.

Now. Imagine. Being a black person in America. The problems they're facing. My problems almost seems like a goddamn privilege compared to the shit THEY deal with, and the dismissiveness THEY have to fight and have been fighting since they were goddamn shipped to America as slaves.

Anyway. Adulting. It's fun.

Friday, 7 October 2016

When people tell me Hollywood whitewashing is a commercial necessity...

This is basically me repeating the same arguments that I've made in the past few years towards anybody who says that:

jameseparsonsWhat are your thoughts on the new live-action remake of cult sci-fi anime classic Ghost in the shell? Have you seen the very short teaser trailers? Think Scarlett is right as lead?#ghostintheshell #anime#scarlettjohansson #manga#ghostintheshellmovie #scifimovies#MinervaCentury #scifi #movies #films


cincity2404Many comments on YouTube and from my friends show that people are generally very unimpressed with the aesthetics of the teaser trailer. One of the biggest complaints is that this window scene is extremely bland and completely lacks depth of field, losing the sense of awe conveyed by the anime. Most people are scared that it will come off as a cheap remake ala the Last Air bender or Dragonball Z. At this point, I am beyond ranting about opportunities to cast more Asian actors, or the fact that the studio tried making Scarlett's face look more Asian with CGI. Now I just hope Scarlett does a good job and that the movie turns out well


  • dora_the_explorer80Love the look of it. Looks creepy and more importantly it spiked people's interest who have no idea what GiTS is. Having a movie with a +$170 budget and a niche story - you NEED a big name to able to sell it globally. Unfortunately only a handful of actresses can sell a movie nowadays. So Johansson was the right choice imo.
  • dora_the_explorer80@cincity2404 the studio tried CGI to alter extras/ people in the background appearance not Johansson's. You think that they paid $20million for a big start then they go and change her face? SJ's look is one of the keys for her success.
  • cincity2404@dora_the_explorer80wow. Please actually READ and make an empathetic attempt to understand what I say next. If by SJ's look being that she's basically a white person, then yes, she would be a 'key' to success. Superficial 'Financial' success. But are you seriously going to sit there and deny that in the film the Major actually looks more Asian as opposed to white? I know there is a debate about whether the Major's body is even Caucasian but that is beside the point, and nor is it an excuse. Here, there was an opportunity to cast someone with an Asian appearance and Hollywood took great lengths to avoid it. Us Asians-Americans or Asian-Australians will still have to be subject to the insulting defence of Hollywood's 'commercial reality'. For many other films, studios have bothered to hold world wide auditions to cast the right actors. If they didn't take that risk, we would not have Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in Harry Potter, who were unknowns with little to no previous acting experience. But suddenly, when it comes to Asians, Hollywood refuses to take the same risk. In maybe a decade, things may change. Yes, Hollywood is a business and they answer to consumer demand. And you know what? We're not going to take this bs anymore. Look at what happened to The Last Air bender. Dragonball Z. Even the new Bruce Lee biopic got fucked up. And we have a right to speak up about Ghost in the Shell precisely so Hollywood will not take the cop-out and circumlocutory justification of 'oh but casting an unkown Asian won't draw in audiences and make money'. Fuck that. I will virtually pistol-whip anyone who actually can't see how wrong that is. Do you have any Asian friends? Do you know what we've had to accept growing up? My friend and I, when we were young, would dream about dating some handsome actor or celebrity (e.g. Daniel Radcliffe). But in our ACTUAL subconscious dreams, we imagined ourselves as blonde white girls, as it became unthinkable to place us - as an Asian girl - in a scenario where we would be deemed attractive for the leading man, who would invariably also be a white guy. So don't give me bs about financial reality. This was and STILL is OUR reality.
  • cincity2404@dora_the_explorer80oh, and any quick googling of the CGI incident will tell you that sources very close to/within the studio were the ones who leaked its occurrence (and that it had been used on SJ). The Studio had to respond to this specific leak, and denied doing anything on SJ's face, yet admitted they did do it to background actors. How the fuck does this make it any better? The wrongness of it still stands. And I apologise to @jameseparsons for the cussing, but honestly, certain responses I and the entire Asian community have had to deal with have been, as you can imagine, infuriating.
  • dora_the_explorer80@cincity2404Harry Potter took zero chance. They casts all british all white leads. The book was already a massive hit when they started the movie. The same with the new Star Wars - cast a white british woman for the main character. They could have choose anyone but they didn't. And these are the biggest franchises in the world. I'm not questioning how you feel that wasn't my intention. This is the ugly truth unfortunately. People need to go out and support smaller movies with diverse cast. Until then...😔 Also the Last Airbender and Dragonball Z was a piece of garbage that's why they bombed at the box office.
  • cincity2404@dora_the_explorer80well thank you for saying that. I appreciate it. We both admit that Hollywood movies are primarily in it for the business and I'm not going to force unreasonable expectations on the industry. I am a balanced person and it is why I acknowledge that the only reasonable way to get it to change is for us, as the audience and consumer, to demand change. This is why you and I should not just be like 'yeah ok financially it's the only way to work'. Or to take an otherwise complacent attitude. As your later comment illustrates, you also recognise that even what I think are 'risky' castings nowadays are still for white actors. At least Star Wars cast Boyega! Kudos to them cos we all saw the depressingly massive racist backlash/jokes on social media. Only when we start casting more non-white actors will 1. people get used to the idea and 2. actually have big name actors to cast in the first place!
  • cincity2404Big name non-white actors★
  • dora_the_explorer80@cincity2404 yes, Hollywood has been slow to catch up. American television has way more diversity for sure. But I have high hopes for Disney's new live action Mulan. It should give audiences / world a young talented asian actress. Just like Jungle Book found Neel Sethi. She could & should become a big star ⭐️! Known globally.
  • jameseparsons@cincity2404 and Dora thank you both for your own very personal and honest views about this film project. Sadly there can be many questionable issues with big films like this but yes positive change should happen with opinions put forward

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Well. It's 7.30am and I'm still awake - as in, I haven't gone to sleep since I woke up yesterday. The secret to my vampirish lifestyle? A golden chalice of Red Bull-fortified virgin blood every evening. I mean, obviously.

I just watched two episodes of Madam Secretary because I was procrastinating revising for Evidence Law. Damn, this show is great. It's so good I'd put it on par with The Good Wife, which was an excellent show (save for the terrible finale that caused richter scale waves of disappointment among the fanbase) and similarly featured a lot of contemporary social issues and dramatic office politics. So yeah, Madam Secretary is a smart and highly relevant show. It makes me instantly want to become a politician and just smack every opposing party member in the face with a charming smile hiding a cobra-like sting of coercion. I definitely recommend the show for anyone with better taste than Suits or Agents of Shield, the latter of which features such cheesy acting and can stoop to such unbelievable dumbassery that I was like - yeah, that's definitely Joss Whedon directing.

Can somebody invent a line of cocaine that will help you stay awake and prevent epithelial outbreaks resulting from unhealthy circadian rhythms?  I think L'Oreal needs to get on this shit. There's a huge market to be capitalised on and it's of way more social utility than the current trend of thick flagellum shaped eyebrows that have now progressively become:
Image result for angry birds


If I stay up any longer my skin is going to burn.








The effects of exposure to the dark web, 4chan and sex, violence, and gore

My ability to tolerate other people and their shitness is amazing. Actually, my ability to tolerate the stupidity and ignorance of worldwide society is amazing. If you've actually read my previous posts, you'll know I've had a lifetime of training for this. And not just because I've had to deal with atavistic adults in my personal and professional realm, but because I am also (or used to be) an avid commenter on contentious news articles and intrepid explorer of the dark web. You might laugh but the latter is mostly represented by 4chan (being the springboard to even darker material), which I used to check up on a lot to smirk at politically incorrect jokes, many of which would have broken provisions in the Racial Discrimination Act/your souls. But I also go on to analyse the fascinating psyche, attitudes, opinions and beliefs of this much derided and hormonally imbalanced community.

The reason why 4chan is interesting to me is because it is a no-holds barred communication platform. Under anonymity, people say what they really think and feel. And they can be as ragey as they want. Obviously, there's a lot of racism, sexism, homophobia etc. that's prevalent on the threads, but being aware of how ingrained these attitudes are among certain 'lowlifes' of our communities, and how secretly they hold onto these attitudes, is in itself a highly valuable sociological insight. If you can handle the porn and shitposting, sometimes you do come across some very serious and personal stories about family, romance, academia... usually, these are really sad stories from lonely and depressed people who have nobody else to talk to. Being able to look through this window into another person's most deeply held fears, insecurities, or experiences, is something that I think most of us would find interesting to read. And it does make you a little bit wiser when interacting with other people. You never know what sort of pain others are going through, and if you go into 4chan with full awareness of its nature, you (ironically) become more attuned to the effects of bullying, family violence, and depression.

Secondly, 4chan is the birthplace of many of the internet's greatest urban legends, catchphrases, memes and global online movements, including the now infamous hacktvisit group, Anonymous. I mean, how can you resist? Even if I weren't a journalist and an intensely curious/voyeuristic person, I'd still be like 'whoaaa, this is so cool, I'm actually watching people talk about how they're going to take down Sony'. And then days later, millions of Sony accounts get hacked, causing a worldwide shitstorm. The Sony hacks were stupid, but what was exhilarating was watching the progression of individual hackers and self-proclaimed shitlords come together online for the first time and hatch a global-scale rebellion, against a powerful corporation, a politician, or just some celebrity they don't like (e.g. Justin Bieber/Taylor Swift). It's not something you get to see every day within the peeling confines of your staid, quotidian lecture theatres - teenagers and college students manipulating big agendas. 

Apart from 4chan, I frequently browse LiveLeak, which is a video-hosting website for uncensored content that wouldn't be available to find anywhere else. LiveLeak is the sort of place you go to find the latest uncensored videos of police brutality against black people, the immediate aftermath of an airstrike hitting and maiming Syrian children, the wanton bashing of a woman to death inside a McDonald's located in a bad part of China, gang fights between members of different Colombian drug syndicates, scenes of people being shot during the Paris Attacks, a couple of cruel adolescents in Scotland pissing on a classmate in the schoolyard... It's where you go if you want to stare the cold hard truth of humanity in the face. And accept human nature as it is.

It would sound very sad and very pathetic if I were to just go up to a stranger, or even a friend, and be like 'yeah, I grew up surfing 4chan, LiveLeak, Encyclopedia Dramatica...'. 4chan in particular, obviously has a reputation for being 'the asshole of the internet' and a place where pubescent idiots congregate. But personally, and almost hilariously, I'm a better person for it. I know exactly how fucked up people can be. I know exactly the sort of suffering humans willingly inflict upon each other. And in knowing, seeing, and virtually sensing the full brunt of bigotry, pain and physical or sexual violence around the world, I know that I analyse things more clear-sightedly, and more pragmatically or realistically than other people. 

I see beyond the surface of mainstream media. I learn to question what I'm reading and not simply accept versions of the 'truth' espoused by outlets like The New York Times or The Guardian, which can be ridiculously leftist; CNN, which is journalism's sobriquet for 'international tabloid'; NowThis, whose popular Facebook videos are edited in ways that are often grossly and actively manipulative (please for the love of god treat NowThis as an editorial, not a news source); New Statesman and many other British news publications, (at least in the past) that are dominated by Eton and Harrow educated male editorialists; and well, every media publication because every writer comes with their own bias. Including me, though I try to be as balanced and self-aware as possible. 

Additionally, because I was exposed to a lot of violent imagery when I was young (e.g. my parents making me watch a film on The Nanking Massacre when I was 15 so I got to see dead babies on the street and women being raped by sticks and other foreign objects) is an absolutely pivotal reason why I feel so passionately about human rights and just generally, stories of injustice, and why I chose to pursue journalism and law. When you're so young, and you see a dead boy who was bashed so violently by KKK sympathisers that his entire front face had caved in (Emmett Till), or the puny hunched figure of an emaciated Sudanese baby crawling inches away from a lingering vulture (Kevin Carter's 1994 Pulitzer winning photo), you. Fucking. Change. There was no way I could fathom a future career in finance, banking, or some other blood-sucking industry that won't somehow allow me to address the wrongness I saw in society. Just by the way, I think the finance/banking industry is one giant corrupt as fuck dickhead that needs to be castrated or at least sterilised by some hard-hitting laws. I seriously wouldn't mind going all Saw 1 on some of Wall Street. And I can't help feeling physical disgust towards all my peers who worship Big Banks and Investment Bankers. 

Anyway, the last thing I have to say is that going on all these sites and witnessing or partaking in these brutally honest online exchanges - I've learnt to listen and be empathetic, and soft when I need to be, but savage as fuck when the time beckons. Or perhaps I don't need to be 'savage as fuck', but I've learnt a lot about how to approach people, to stand up for myself tactfully, to learn when to hold back from spraying somebody with expletives or vocabulary they don't understand, to embrace machiavellian social strategy (hitherto only in work life) like winning over the loyalties of your enemies' friends and subsequently overturning power dynamics (lawl), and just in general, being a more realistic and socially attuned person. Also, thanks to that one friend I have who, purely by me observing her, taught me how to be much more 'life smart'/street-smart. 

Having said that, this was just my personal experience, and more likely, those who surfed 4chan as adolescents turn out more immature than mature. But yes, it is certainly a fascinating world. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

After WWIII



Every time I see this picture, I imagine this weird story. 

It's the year 2107 and several major events have altered the course of human history.

Firstly, Earth's population was almost wiped out with the outbreak of World War III decades earlier. The war itself stemmed from a fatal conglomeration of pandemic disease, bad politics, pro-anarchic hacker movements, and nuclear weaponry. 

Secondly, China became the first country to assert territorial claim over a chunk of Mars, galvanising a furious space race that almost killed the precarious detente being negotiated between superpowers in the aftermath of WWIII.

Thirdly, mankind has begun to slice up and colonise Mars, with multiple countries pouring resources into a universal terraforming process that will take at least another twenty to thirty years to complete. However, most of the terraforming and other technology being used for interplanetary administration is being funded by a powerful technocracy led by tech giants in Silicon Valley and Zhongguancun. 

At present, Earth is being viewed as a backwash for the underprivileged. Those who are wealthy and educated book their tickets to Mars. Mars, where the technocrats have enforced stringent migration checks and requirements to ensure nobody 'undesirable' is able to penetrate the new intellectualist-socialist-democratic utopia they've started to build. 

On Earth, few cities remain standing, and even fewer still function under a recognised government. Most others were pulverised completely during the war, or have fallen away to anarchist groups and self-serving warlords.

In those still functioning cities, the people are gripped by a widespread dysphoria. People are depressed, lacking in motivation, without hopes and dreams. Because dreams of peace and the future now belong on Mars. On Earth, all there is left around them are architectural ruins and pockets of ongoing violence and civil warfare. 

New York and Washington no longer exist. Seoul and most of Southeast Asia is being occupied by belligerent Chinese and Japanese administrations. Much of Europe has succumbed to disease and is cordoned off as an extreme quarantine measure. After the war, many 'modern' first world cities turned to rubble, and have become just another graveyard for lost souls.

However.

In the midst of all the political bickering and daily threat of warfare, somewhere in the tiny and unassuming West African country of Gabon, this picturesque glasshouse stands. 

It is a sunny afternoon, and pleasant zephyrs roam the air. The owner of this seemingly misplaced glasshouse, an ailing 103 year old WWIII veteran, strolls slowly in her wheelchair next to the potted plants, flowers and manicured hedges she had installed herself some decades ago. She comes to a stop at the far end of the glasshouse, taking in the colourful vista before her, admiring a scene of bliss that at the moment, very few people on Earth or Mars would ever be able to enjoy. To sit there without a worry, among beautiful flowers, and hear nothing but birdsong to break the tranquil rhythm of softly flowing water from a garden fountain, was an unthinkably lavish privilege. 

A young boy bursts through the doors of the glasshouse. He looks about 16 years old. The veteran turns around, and says she's been expecting him. The boy blushes, apologising profusely for his tardiness, and then reaches into his bag, pulling out a weirdly shaped cylindrical instrument that is a holographic recorder. He has only been allocated 15 minutes for the interview.

Actually, that is incorrect. He won those 15 minutes through a lottery. 

He will be the last person to speak to the world's only remaining WWIII soldier. And there is no leeway to stretch the time, as after those 15 minutes are up, she will die. She has chosen to die at a very specific time, having taken the necessary steps to implement her death.

He bumbles through his questions, knowing all too well the importance of her last words. They are the usual questions one would expect him to ask. What is your strongest memory of the war? Do you believe the war was ultimately meaningless? What do you think about the new Martian society? Do you have family or friends on Mars? What would you say to those in control of admission to Martian society? Do you think they are repeating the mistakes that led to World War III?

It is not long before those 15 minutes are up. The boy gulps in nervousness, thanking the veteran and stowing away his recorder. As he steps towards the door, the veteran asks him to stay. 'Please stay,' she smiles, 'and enjoy the sunlight with me.' When the boy nods in agreement and slowly steps back, she smiles even more broadly, her wrinkles twitching. 

She sits in her wheelchair. He stands next to her. Both of them tilt their heads up to watch a flock of birds dance near the trees outside. In the further distance, hippos walk across the savannah plains. He doesn't dare peek a glance at her until minutes have passed. 

When he finally musters up the courage to face her, he sees that her hands are clasped on her laps, and her eyes are firmly closed. She has fallen into a deep sleep from which she will never awake. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

#angst

Last night, I accidentally stayed up till 3am reading Isaac Asimov's Foundation. I read 105 pages in 90 minutes and didn't want to stop. Eventually, I put the book away at what must have been an even more ungodly hour, and then went to sleep. I forgot to set an alarm and ended up missing all my classes today, despite having packed my bag already.

That is the price one pays for reading.

Well. Not that I'm too fussed about it. Reading fiction, especially from profound science fiction writers like Asimov, has been a much greater cognitive adventure than anything I've ever found at law school. Which in fact, is setting the bar quite low, because all the things you've ever heard about law school 'stretching the mind' and teaching you 'how to think' is spectacular grade A bullshit.

Law school teaches you how to think - adversarially - systematically - within the boundaries of a legal system. It narrows the scope of your lens so that everything you interpret must either be legal or illegal, right or wrong, black and white. Grossly manichean. Any grey areas are glossed over with whichever perspective best suits the interests of your client. Then - proceed to pursue that line of argument with the zealousness of a stereotypically (and often romanticised) hawk-eyed and ethically decrepit hot-shot lawyer.

On the other hand, the best and most life-changing fiction I've ever read have been firmly focused on challenging systems, questioning the world or society's expectations, and exploring those very real and sensitive grey areas. In exploring grey areas, these stories also describe with great eloquence the unbridled power of emotions and relationships. At the end, it encapsulates the best and worst of human nature, and alerting the reader to the critical importance of empathy.

Yes, empathy, something very lawyerly. *rolls eyes*

Bleh. I'm sorry. Every time I blog now, I end up ranting about how I look down on law students and well, people who are mentally incapable of idolising anybody other than Hugo Boss clad investment bankers or senior law firm partners. If that's you, please fuck out of my life right now. Or better yet, complete mandatory volunteering at homeless shelters and refugee camps so you'll have something to think about when you're sitting behind your antique mahogany desk at Barclays, signing off on a lucrative account with some corrupt as fuck billionaire Chinese CEO. Because I damn well know some of you idealise that lifestyle lel.

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

P.S. just wanted to say that people have every right to worship power and money, but don't expect me to entertain you with my time if you're such a person.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

I'm dead

Last night, I felt obliged to attend a Dungeons and Dragons session with my Shanghai study abroad group of friends, and ended up having lots of fun but getting around four hours sleep due to subsequent academic commitments. 

Firstly, D&D is exhausting. You know how many bloody hours it takes to just get out of a cave and go sell some junk for gold pieces? Apparently, three hours. 

Secondly, I was already physically/mentally exhausted, sleep deprived af and would have skipped the night if I hadn't missed the last session a fortnight ago. Our dungeon master (i.e. the game's MC) is a beautiful person who has put hours into designing the campaign and writing up stuff for me to read. 

I would have felt really bad if I missed D&D again, and also, I didn't want to miss out on another three to four hours of campaign progress. After all, I do have the physically strongest character of the team - Harper Lee, a half-elf (half-human) paladin who was once third in command of a legendary mercenary group. I pretty much based Harper on a fusion of the main characters from the medieval fantasy anime Berserk, namely, Gutts, Casca and Griffiths. So yeah. My character is mightily charming, headstrong, and the embodiment of brute strength. 

Anyway. 

I need to die right now. Like, on a bed. All warm and snuggled up. 

With cocaine a cup of hot gen mai tea and a copy of Snow Crash.

But I can't. I have to go meet my friend, who is going to teach me how to use iMovie and edit videos properly (i.e. not have it look like a pile of shitty jump-cuts). 


City of Stars + a scenic drive in Melbourne

I just put all my songs on Spotify to play on shuffle.

How apt that the track to come on right now would be Logic's City of Stars.

The first time I heard that song, I felt like Spike Spiegel, leaning handsomely against the large window of their interplanetary fishing trawler (The Bebop), slow-burning a cigarette, and staring out into a swirling mass of glimmering stars, an insouciant expression hiding deeply felt pangs of existential awe. Spaceships hover in the distance, infinitesimal dots of colour interspersed among the hugeness of the universe. Words cannot possibly describe the feeling, but it tugs profoundly at the heart, and at the parts of the brain which process pleasure.

Anyway.

When I first heard it, I asked my boyfriend to take me on a drive. It was late at night, and with City of Stars pounding through the car's speakers, I felt a strong hedonistic need to see the city lights. We ended up doing a slow drive down Yarra Boulevard, in Kew.

You know. I've never done any drugs (unfortunately). But there are times where I certainly feel like I am on some. This usually occurs when I come across some exquisite concept art, or watch a really visually striking film. Blade Runner. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Tron Legacy. Dark City. 

A conglomeration of colours, evening textures, restrained pacing, and haunting music will make for an overall atmosphere of psychedelic paradise. And I wasn't kidding when I said it tugs at the heart. A physical weight comes over me. The experience, for me, is both extremely cerebral and wonderfully somatic. In other words, it feels fucking amazing on every possible level. #betterthansex

So we're driving down this winding boulevard next to the Yarra river, and I had turned City of Stars up to dangerous volumes. I had obviously never been down the boulevard before (apparently it's a popular meeting place for drug dealers), and didn't even know such a scenic drive existed.

For a while, we were just driving in darkness. There weren't any lights because the boulevard was technically, located within the Yarra Park reserve. All I could see on either side of the car was bush and shrubbery. Well, black lumps and shadows that swayed against the crepuscular, purplish shade of the night sky.

Then. All of a sudden. Boom.

There it was. The Melbourne skyline, rising majestically above the jagged outlines of the foliage that festooned the entire length of the boulevard. It was like watching an 8-bit cyberpunk city come to fucking life.

The skyscrapers appeared to shoot out of the ground right in front of us. From our elevated perspective, the city indeed looked deceptively close. As the car continued forward, I would crane my neck back, admiring the blue, red, silver lights. And the crane! A brightly lit construction crane, with the construction company's name emblazoned brightly across its shaft, positively glowed against the city backdrop.

Yep. It was like drugs. Or how I imagined MDMA might feel.

Even reminiscing this night is making me feel all sorts of awesome right now.

Oh, and it turns out that Logic's album - The Incredible True Story - the one with City of Stars on it? I could not fucking believe it when I found out.

The entire album is a fictional story set in space, on a spaceship, with a rat-pack crew of friends. One of the characters that speaks before a few of the songs? Is the actual fucking guy who voices Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop (Steve Blum). AND it turns out that Logic is a huge Cowboy Bebop fan.

This is why that album will always be one of my favourites. Or even my favourite album of all time.

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Kill.

'Who the fuck are you??!' yells the fat man with the cigar hanging out of his mouth. 'You ain't supposed to be in here lady!' He starts to get out of his chair, his left hand still gripping a bottle of Johnnie Walker King, his right hand clutching the game's winning set of cards - a Royal Flush. Well, how unfortunate for him. 'Fuck bitch! I said get ou-'

BANG. BANG. BANG.

One two three. Heads explode. Bodies drop. Blood splatters an expensive Persian rug. And all over their Spring 2015 Armani suits. I stroll over to their table, once host to a poker game, now petri dish for brains. I pick up a partially cracked shot glass, quickly take a sip of straight whiskey, gulp, exhale, cough like a fifteen year old taking their first hit of weed, then proceed towards the next anteroom.

'WHAT IS HAPP-'

BANG. BANG. 

One two. Beautifully splayed out like pirouetting ballerinas on the black marble floor. Skulls caved in. Eyeballs missing. A romantic embrace by two decapitated lovers from the grave.

'SHE'S GOT A FUCKING MAGNUM!' shouts a voice from above. 

BANG. BANG.

Shouldn't have spoken. Idiot.
I hear kerfuffles from the balcony. Many men. Moving. Organising. Arming themselves. 

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

Silence. 

I have shot all the lights out. Time for fun. Time to party. I put on my night vision goggles. I scurry up the stairs like a ninja. 

Ahhh... look at them, so bewildered, so scared, huddling like little animals at the abattoir, about to be butchered, skinned, diced and cubed. Open season just began.

Snaking my way nimbly through the crowd of blind suits, I reach the bar and take my place beside the quivering bartender on the floor. I bring my magnum up. Breathe. Focus. I stand up and all I see are their backs. This will be easy.

A deafening series of blasts rock the darkened room as I let loose a tsunami of metal, copper and lead that's off the fucking seismographic charts. I smile as dozens of bodies shake and vibrate, dancing to the bullets perforating their flesh like sex. The bartender cries, pissing with fear, and covering his ears. I shoot him in the chest. 

I return my gaze to the front, and finish a few of them off. Some are hiding. Behind sofas. Behind shelves and cabinets. Hmm. I don't have time for this. I grab a couple of little lovelies from my belt, hit the 'detonate' buttons, and throw them into the centre of the room.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

The high-tech grenades fry them to smithereens. Limbs fly majestically. Juices flow like the Nile in the summer. Beautiful, haunting, operatic music, echoes within my brain. It was Deliverance. 

I walk out of the bar, turn right down an empty corridor, rip my goggles off, and make my way to the The Office. 

Shoots the fuck out of the double mahogany doors. Kicks them open. He is cowering behind his desk.

'Hello Vitaly.'

'WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?? WHO SENT YOU?!!' his eyes dart frantically. 'YOU HAVE KILLED ALL MY MEN. ALL OF THEM.'

'But I haven't killed you.'

'I CAN GIVE YOU MONEY! RICHES BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION! JUST SAY WHAT YOU WANT! I HAVE EVERYTHING, ANYTHING! JUST-'

'I don't want your shit you motherfucking pig.' I step towards him. 'You don't remember me?'

He pauses for milliseconds. 'W-WHO...ARE YOU?!?!' He pauses again. He stares at me, intently. Thinking. Revising. Scanning memories. Then his eyebrows furrow in alarm. 'Ana??? Anastasia?!! I'M SORRY! I'M SO SORRY... PLEASE, PLEASE FORGIVE ME...'

I look at him, dead serious. We stay like this, locked in a trance. Slow, taunting moments pass by.

I suddenly burst into laughter, thumping my gun on his desk, scaring him shitless. He was about to erupt with tears, looking sweaty and pathetic. What kind of mob boss was this?

'Who the fuck is Anastasia? A long lost daughter you used to sexually abuse, Vitaly? A woman whose family you ordered to be slaughtered? Perhaps a demon, rising from the shadows of your conscience, come to take you to the ninth circle of hell?' 

His eyes bulge, watery and round. He clasps his hands together as if in prayer. 'P-PLEASE...'

I press the cold steel tip of the magnum to his forehead, grinding it into his filthy, wrinkly skin. 

'Just fuckin' with you old man. I don't know you. But salutations, from my boss,' I wink.

'Wh-'

Bang.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

I just laughed really loudly for 20 seconds straight because I saw this on GoodReads:




Oh god. You have no idea how hilarious this is.

Movie: Eye in the Sky



Premise: 
Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a young girl enters the kill zone, triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.

(Edited out of my post a lot of swearing and top-notch insults...there's still a lot of swearing)
------------------------------------------------------------------

I just finished watching this incredible movie. All that I can think about right now is this.

Every single international relations student needs to fucking watch Eye in the Sky. 

Actually, every single person who holds any opinion about war, politics, and human rights needs to watch Eye in the Sky.

I am not kidding. 

You know how many people think they know what it's like to make a judgement call in the heart of an ongoing war zone?

To think that wartime actions can be critiqued through the black and white lens of moral absolutism (i.e. "this act is always wrong" and "this act is always right")?

To think that their personal interpretation of an intricate military or government decision is somehow an 'obvious' one, and more credible than those held by the people who actually knew all the available facts, have experienced war on the ground, and have to bear real-world responsibility for their decisions? 

A LOT. Because I had to debate such persons (friends IRL) with such views on Facebook recently.

Eye in the Sky, a consummately woven and utterly compelling story, will make what I think is already totally fucking obvious even more obvious. 

Wartime decisions, especially under tight time frames and unforgiving public scrutiny, are extremely difficult to make. They also and very often involve moral ambiguity, and moral relativism. Sometimes, it is as impossible to decide on a wartime action as it is to answer the biggest philosophical/ethical questions of our time. 

e.g. THAT 'trolley problem':

There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the most ethical choice?


I feel like everything I'm typing out right now is so commonsensical and shouldn't even need to be stated. I feel like a fucking pedagogic, tautological dickhead even pasting the trolley problem here, and bolding certain lines that I think are important. I don't want to come off patronising and yet... 

The fact that I had clearly intelligent friends not understanding or unwilling to recognise this concept of 'yeah, sometimes there is no way to decide on right and wrong, and thus it is probably not a good idea for us as privileged first-world netizens to impose our opinions onto other people with more knowledge than us, relating to problems that they personally deal with' - was immensely frustrating.

Of course, it would be acceptable that somebody make a moral judgment AFTER they take into account every possible factor (that is available to them) about the conflict. But frankly, we're twenty something year old college students living in the most liveable city in the world. Come on.

There is simply no way we are in any position to know everything about a freaking war occurring 3000 miles away in a country, and then comment authoritatively on a morally ambiguous situation occurring in its midst. 

Anyway, Eye in the Sky is a MUST WATCH. It is just a beautiful film. I weeped for a few seconds at the end. 

KIND OF A SPOILER (pretty obvious ending anyway) (the most apt summary of Eye in the Sky):

Tear-stained politician:

"In my opinion, that was disgraceful. And all done from the safety of your chair."

A Lieutenant General stands up, preparing to leave the room. In a deep, measured tone, he reminds her:

"I have attended the immediate aftermath of five suicide bombings. 

On the ground, with the bodies. 

What you witnessed today, with your coffee and biscuits, is terrible. 

What these men would have done would have been even more terrible. 

Never. Tell a soldier. That he does not know the cost of war."