truth nugget #70

there are not enough words to describe the failure of “the system” all over our world; the hatred and fear that has led to human beings showing the ugliest side of our nature. it’s only when we realise that we are ALL being played – the black men AND the cops, the “Leaves” AND the “Remains”, the corporates AND the creatives – that we can get to the actual perpetrators: the ones who have built the machinery that runs on us always believing one group of us is more entitled than the other, has more value than the other, which leads to us wanting to cancel each other out because someone must win. someone must survive. 

this sounds like a conspiracy theory, and maybe it is. but I see the system thriving on using our differences to inspire our terror of and against each other, and we need to wake up to this grind and stop serving a system that long ago stopped serving us. 

truth nugget #70

truth nugget #69

what Bernie says in this article seems idealistic. but why is justice and common sense utopian? why has it always seemed like fairness for everyone is something no one should expect? how can idealism be so out of reach, that things that are right and true are things we simply must accept that we should live without? 

read the article: Bernie may be far left, but he’s right. 

truth nugget #69

truth nugget #68

people laugh at me when I watch international competitions like the Euro because I am such a child of the world and have so many connections, that I have so many reasons to support so many nations. here’s what I know – my grandpa’s surname is de Cruz and Spanish, and his mother’s side was of Irish descent, and when he traced his family tree, he found out he also has Javanese blood. my Grandpa’s aunt married a Dutchman and thanks to that, I have wonderful Dutch family in Holland. my Grandma’s surname is Chamerette and her father was French-Anglo-Indian and her mother was of mixed Portuguese descent. my Grandma’s sister married a Pakistani. Singapore was a British colony; and I refuse to be a victim of that, so I’ll just say I’m thankful for the infrastructure that was setup; so I grew up unabashedly-hard-core supporting England in football etc. my Goddaughter is Welsh and her family (my aunt, uncle, cousins and now their children) have lived there since I was a teenager. my partner is German.

and then of course, half of me is South Indian Tamil Catholic and my cousins on that side of the family are half-Chinese, half-American, half-Filipino, half-German etc etc etc. what I don’t know is whether my African roots come from me just being a human being (and black as black under it all) or whether my father has some legit African blood, judging by the dope fros he and his brothers kept in the 70’s. either way, I know my natural ability for jazz and the blues comes from somewhere. I also have very close family living in Australia, New Zealand, America and very deep friendships with people of all races and nationalities who live all over the world. to top that all off, I am a child of Singapore and I speak a language that mixes Chinese, Malay and Tamil, and I grew up in a mess of culture and religion that I love and respect as a whole, despite perhaps, not understanding (and sometimes not liking) parts of that whole.

and to top even that, my brother-in-law is Chinese, and my niece whom he and my sister created, is a mix of ALL OF THE ABOVE and then some.

which is why it breaks my heart when people act out of fear and prejudice, voting to separate instead of to unite, voting to hate instead of to accept, to judge instead of to try to understand. we are so different and there’s a reason that we don’t always get along. but not getting along doesn’t mean we need to hate, it just means we need to keep trying to understand – which is different from simply tolerating. it means we need to put ourselves in each other’s shoes more often. putting up more barriers just makes that harder and harder and makes the world a more and more dangerous and volatile place. and I cannot breathe easy knowing that this is the world that my nieces and my goddaughter and my nephews are growing up in.

I know I am extremely privileged to have grown up with no prejudice, to have been told by my most openhearted family, even as a young girl, that when someone discriminates against you because of the colour of your skin or anything else, it means they were not taught to be accepting and all you can do is your best to show them what you’re made of so as to change their preconception. I know many people don’t have access to that kind of thinking. but it’s one of the main reasons I always feel a responsibility to write long and winding posts like this. we need to step up, because our future generation deserves a much, much, MUCH better place to live in. WE are the generation who has the resources to do this but somehow it seems like the hate is greater now than ever, and it makes no sense to me. the world SHOULD be a free zone, EU or not, America, South America, Russia or China or South East Asia. Africa is so ridiculously beautiful, I don’t know who could have the heart to exploit it. and the children of the Middle East are so ridiculously beautiful, I don’t know who could have the heart to hurt them. but I do know that if you feel like me, you need to spread the love a bit and not just keep silent, and if you have a chance to vote for inclusivity, get your vote counted and don’t be indifferent and think your one opinion doesn’t mean anything. it’s a weird damn time and we need goodness and empathy to be the louder voice.

truth nugget #68

truth nugget #67

I am so sorry, Paris. I am so saddened to learn of the lives lost and the pain and trauma. it’s so frightening because that could have been any one of us innocent people, in any one of our cities, gunned down or blown up at a concert or a restaurant. I am so sorry that it happened. 

I am also so sorry, Beirut. and Syria. and all affected countries in the region on “the other side” of this war. innocents gunned down and blown up, not just by the same terrorism we just witnessed, but also by first world weapons and drones – this is their daily reality, and it’s been going on for longer than some of us have been alive. which media covers that play by play? what is the death toll there? how many Muslims are the victims of THAT terror? I am also so sorry this continues to happen.

after so many years of political and military manoeuvres, this “War On Terror” is far from solved, if anything it encourages the extremism and I don’t know when it’s going to stop. the First World needs to step up to the fact that we are as big a part of the problem; the greater the divide between rich and poor, privileged and underprivileged, educated and uneducated, and the more we think our methods are the best and only methods to “fix” the problems in places we only see as desperately hopeless, the longer this war will continue. and then when will the healing ever, ever begin?

truth nugget #67

truth nugget #66

I’ve been thinking about this City Harvest Church case and what I’ve heard about the continued support of their congregation – their “flock” still believing they did what is best for the church and for God. there is such a disconnect between that and what Christianity started off being about: a man who wanted to love and treat people right (not Bob Marley, I mean Jesus Christ, of course, but Bob generally had the right idea too. ;))

why do we revere people who are selfish and dishonest and continue to alienate the humble people who actually keep our societies functioning? we continue to allow people who practice prejudice to dictate what rights people have. we continue to exalt the ones who are taking everything away from us, instead of the ones who are giving us everything. 

here’s something to put things in perspective, in case you can’t already see this off the bat:

IF SHE IS A DOMESTIC HELPER, CHANCES ARE SHE IS RAISING YOUR CHILDREN. 

IF HE IS A CONSTRUCTION WORKER, CHANCES ARE HE IS BUILDING YOUR HOME. 

IF SHE IS A NURSE, CHANCES ARE SHE IS EXPOSING HERSELF TO DISEASE TO KEEP YOU SAFE. 

IF HE IS A BUS DRIVER, CHANCES ARE HE IS STRENGTHENING YOUR WORK FORCE. 

IF SHE IS A CARETAKER, CHANCES ARE SHE IS LOOKING AFTER YOUR PARENT OR GRANDPARENT. 

IF HE IS AN ELDERLY SERVICE STAFF, CHANCES ARE HE IS SOMEBODY’S GRANDPARENT. 

IF SHE IS A POLITICIAN, CHANCES ARE SHE IS PART OF A SYSTEM THAT IS LYING TO YOU AND STEALING FROM YOU. 

IF HE IS A LANDLORD, CHANCES ARE HE IS PART OF A SYSTEM THAT IS LYING TO YOU AND STEALING FROM YOU. 

IF SHE IS A JOURNALIST, CHANCES ARE SHE IS PART OF A SYSTEM THAT IS LYING TO YOU AND STEALING FROM YOU. 

IF HE IS A CEO OF AN MNC, CHANCES ARE HE IS PART OF A SYSTEM THAT IS LYING TO YOU AND STEALING FROM YOU. 

IF SHE IS A BANKER AT THE TOP OF THE CHAIN, CHANCES ARE SHE IS PART OF A SYSTEM THAT IS LYING TO YOU AND STEALING FROM YOU. 

IF HE IS A PASTOR OF A MEGA-CHURCH, CHANCES ARE HE IS PART OF A SYSTEM THAT IS LYING TO YOU AND STEALING FROM YOU.

there are many honest people trying to make an honest living as bankers, lawyers, journalists etc. I’m just saying we have the whole thing backwards so it’s time we wake our minds up to this everyday. think about every choice you make that empowers a system that discriminates and exploits a person who serves. think about what you do everyday that promotes vanity instead of protects goodness. and change it. 

The Truthsayer xxx

truth nugget #66

truth nugget #64

I’m not a Hindu but I have many friends who are. they consider Thaipusam, a Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the God Murugan, to be a sacred celebration and much preparation and devotion goes into the procession that is held every year at this festival. devotees walk a predetermined route, some carrying milk pots on their heads, others with piercings of limes or leaves, and the most glorious to behold of all, the kavadi, where spears pierce through flesh to carry the heavy tiers of all sorts of different symbolic decorations. in order to aid the devotees on their trying journey, music is played, and I have heard it before, wonderful rhythms on the drums and beautiful, holy chants that touch the hearts of even non-believers. Singapore is the only place in the world that has placed a ban on music, alleging that it incites public disorder. an appeal was just rejected with the judge stating that “religious practices have to be practiced in accordance to laws regulating “public order, public health or morality”. bollocks. there is NOTHING disorderly, unhealthy or immoral about music, Judge Tay Yong Kwang. 

I am a Singaporean and I live in a country that professes to be multi-cultural, multi-religious and a society that claims to practise racial harmony. those are misleading claims, and the evidence to support that is blatant. 

my neighbours are Taoist. in fact, they’re pretty damn staunch and the mother of the family goes to the temple almost everyday. and yet, they never burn their offerings during the Seventh Month in the bins downstairs nor on the sidewalk where so many people seem to think it’s ok to do so.

the father of the family told my mum that he went to speak to the Town Council peeps to tell them that the bins right below our apartments are ridiculous and they need to do something about them because the smoke and ashes come right into our houses and we have to spend all day with our windows closed in this heat for almost a month. we also have lovely trees outside our corridor which are browned by the smoke and there are bats and birds who live in them and are affected terribly by the burning. my neighbour’s beautiful plants, which he takes so much pain to nurture have also, over the years, been destroyed by the fumes. let’s see what happens to my mum’s lovely plants now that she has just started growing a little garden. 

guess how the council replied? “sorry sir, we cannot do anything about this situation because people cannot be told not to follow their culture and religion.” he was indignant and of course tried to remind them he’s Taoist himself, so they thought they would placate him by saying, “ok sir, we will remove the bats.” and when, exasperated, he tried to explain it IS the bats he’s concerned about, they said, “ok sir, we will prune the trees, then.” seriously? totally missing the point, again. 

we live in a Singapore that hypocritically flies a multi-culturalism flag and waxes lyrical about tolerance and racial harmony but allows for this sort of inequity where one group of people is told it’s absolutely their right to pollute public space and the air we breathe, where at 11pm on a Sunday night, the Taoist wake happening in the void deck right below my bedroom window is crashing cymbals and blowing horns and fanning the flames of the biggest bonfire I’ve ever seen (meanwhile my cat’s having the shits) and another group of people is told that they don’t have the right to beat the drums or play traditional music loud enough to overcome the sound of traffic, just once a year at a very important Hindu festival. this has made my head roll from the time I was old enough to understand discrimination but nothing has changed. 

I am so thankful for my neighbours, who care about nature and their fellowpeople, and I wonder what it is about them that makes them who they are and so different from all our other neighbours who don’t see things the way they do. and so different from a government and all their paper pushers in all their many spineless, bodies that exercise authority over this country. 

something’s gotta give, Singapore. you so afraid there’ll be more riots? why don’t you give people fairness then? you think disorderly conduct happens when people are treated with respect? 

EH, PRIZ. USE YOUR BLAIN AH, USE YOUR BLAIN. 

truth nugget #64

truth nugget #61

so I’ll just come out and say it. it still bewilders me that in our long history, we are still fighting for rights. it’s absurd. but what’s more absurd than the fight for rights is fighting for one right that inevitably ends up cancelling out the right of another.

in very wealthy, high-tech Singapore, we are still fighting for a disturbingly overwhelming amount of things. we find ourselves needing to fight for free speech, performance spaces, the right to our savings, the right to medical care, the right to retire, support for the arts, transparent press, privacy, racial equality, gender equality, proper punishment for animal cruelty, the truth, minimum wage, understanding, sex between two consenting adult males, and more more more.

I’m a musician and a writer. I’m not just a performer, I consider myself an artist. I do my own fighting for my rights and the rights of my fellowpeople through my music, my poetry, my writing. to me, rights are what they are: the right to be who you are, whatever gender, nationality, race, species you identify with, and to live exactly that way without apology. but what is the point of exercising that right if it limits someone else’s right in the process? I’ll give you an example.

a musician genuinely wants to push his career. he understands how the industry works and he knows its tendencies to exploit people in the process of making people stars and making everybody money. but he considers this his right to his “art” and to his potential musical legacy. so he decides to produce a video that enlists consenting women who are not opposed to be shot in outfits that can be interpreted as exploitative, knowing this will give him the hits and fame he desires. all parties were participating within their rights and it doesn’t seem like anyone got hurt.

however, the rights of women all over the world are continuing to be bashed by incidents like this because it’s hard to explain to your children why it is counter-productive to behave in a way that is being glorified by their music and film idols. and it’s hard to make the distinction between sex offenders and gangsta rappers who fondle women in their laps.

I’ll give you another example.

a well-intentioned group exercises their right to spend their money as they see fit and organise a music festival/art exhibition/fundraising endeavour. again it is within their right to set it up as they see fit, bring in whichever artists they want and fund whomever they want. it’s also the right of every participating artist to go in guns blazing and get what they need from it. but when people play favourites (because it’s their right to do so) and the same artists get all the press and all the funding and the less-celebrated art-makers have to deal with the scraps, it doesn’t seem like a fair system. and my question is, whose right is THAT to come in and mess that up?

these issues are not new. but that’s precisely the point. why are they still here? why are they still in our faces? why is it still okay? why, despite our heavy histories of prejudice and slaughter and war and persecution is it still acceptable to exploit women and minorities and jungles we have no claim over and animals who can’t fight against our guns? why is it still acceptable to deny people education and standards of living and water and ownership over their own bodies? why is it still acceptable to destroy one’s reputation and one’s self-esteem and one’s rice bowl and one’s passions?

one right does not have dominion over another. the right to one’s art or one’s wealth or one’s health cannot exploit another’s right. and here’s what this is really leading to. we live in this shithole because we confuse brattish entitlement with rights. we are not fighting for our rights, we are fighting for power over each other. so let’s call it what it is. no one has the right to be an asshole, no one has the right to exploit someone else even if that other person doesn’t know any better and is allowing it. no one has the right to take away someone else’s integrity. if you are behaving in a way that does these things, it is not your RIGHT. you may be feeling entitled but you’re WRONG.

truth nugget #61