2016-11-21

Civil Society?

Oh Maria. All my prose in quotes. Not fact-checked, mostly rhetorical.

I don't know who you are, I don't know what you do. But if you can't handle four weeks of solitary confinement in a windowless cell... you just haven't been practicing. Not that you would be expected to be in practice... but if you were an opposition leader in a facist country, surely you would have thought to be prepared for such a short stay?

Comment chats:
I hope this doesn't turn into a dildo in the supreme court omg Malaysia please don't go there.

Then the feedback came in, of course from the bleeding hearts.

So to provide a less cryptic response, I think the primary intention of the post to cause discomfort has been fulfilled.

Aside from that, I find the response telling about what you care about, so it is informative to me. I do not care about many of the concerns that you express. So I think we are each successful in standing on each other's work here...

... you as an activist, who wishes to change the world, and I as an observer, who is interested in watching it whether it changes or not... (I do find it amusing, to think about the divergences of our separate ethical positions in very dry terms, but I will avoid going there in chat unless you really need more distractions from your work, which I doubt).

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Each must follow their calling.

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I suppose you're free to filter your friends based on their agreement and empathy with your being; and I'm free to filter my friends based on whether they are simply interesting or not (for inherent amusement, or in a commercial sense).

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I think it's tough for both sides - and I say that with complete honesty. But one does not pretend to care for what one does not care about... (And one does not befriend what one does not trust... so I may lose friends, I guess.)

... so if my privilege is that I'm middle-class, a freeloader, and that I live in a pseudo-facist-democracy where activists want to roll themselves up to the war on achieving fair and free elections... I'm really just taking the position that you know, as Magneto says, in chess the pawns go first. I'm going to wear my privilege on my sleeve here. At the same time I'm going to say that my activist friends (whom I regard as such, even if they don't regard me as such) deserve full credit for being war fighters in this theatre.

I myself find it a tad boring - so that's not my theatre. I DO like to say, call me when there's a real war. Give me a gun. But that may be fanciful thinking - and I may be overpromising. But it may be the case that's who I really am. I don't like peaceful protests - I like quick results. Usually those are accompanied via large boxes of money, or explosives.

DISCLAIMER: Neither of which I have in my possession at this time.

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And taking this to its necessary conclusions: look, by the LETTER OF THE LAW, it is in fact folks like me whom they should be putting under investigation, and locking up. But they do not - they go pick on the avowedly non-violent opposition leaders instead (if you have a facist government, civil society and democracy are DE FACTO opposition).

What does this tell us about my country? Potential threats and criminals walk freely, while the innocents are prosecuted. But this is HOW WE HAVE BEEN FOR DECADES.

Sigh. The irony of it all - that people do not realise it.

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[New trends will come.]

no lah... civil society has been struggling for decades. It will be up and down, but it does not stop. The government would be on track to turning over to the Opposition already if not for Najib being more violent in his actions than Mahathir. So N is doing the right thing in his interests. But soon it may be that the party will devour him - or will it? Rules for rulers at play (the video - you saw it?). Textbook. He is doing well for himself - long he may rule. I don't mean that it is my preference - just an observation.

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[Hypocrisy.]

- for some it refers to those who desire change but do nothing about it (to avoid clouding the waters, I typically phrase my position as "ok fine, stay this way, I'm not going to do much about it under my current circumstances")
- for some it refers to those who believe that MARCHING will achieve their goals, while being unwilling to take up arms against the objects of their discontent
- for some it refers to people who say "status quo!" but vote Opposition, and vice versa

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[Optimism.]

Well you saw the 2008 election results - I figured those were on-track. Would have needed 1-2 more elections to actually turn over.

Now they're going to be a bit off-track... since the new gods have a tendency to invoke "sudden death" on individuals - which is what I expect to see more of in the months to come.

"Back in my day, son, they would lock you up and call you a faggot. Then put on a t-shirt and attend your vigil. These days, they just kill you."

2016-11-20

Letters

To a writer at the Atlantic, who invited comments.

I tweeted about this earlier:

1. Where did Pence's tickets come from? The VP-elect does not simply attend a venue of artistic expression hosted by those *widely known to be his political enemies (or at least, folks whose cultures have been actively disenfranchised by his past policy-making)*. Was it not an act of solidarity for him to even bother reaching out to attend in the first place? Was it an invitation by a third party, a personal effort, or that of a professional PR team?

2. The same questions about who's Tweeting the Donald's reaction should be immediately asked. Is it the Donald himself, Parscale & co., or some other strategic *sic* advisors?

Those questions invite answers that are fundamental to untwisting the post-ness of the truth about these matters. As Trump's career plays up the degree of irony expected to be the new normal in American public discourse, English majors may suddenly have found their commerciability - in having been trained to rationalise and decipher wads of narrative that are neither written to be read literally, nor inviting of singular interpretation. In simpler terms: it would be DELIGHTFUL to see publications such as yours laying out the narrative space, delineating in simple terms the meanings of all public appearances by these newly elected leaders.

Non-American citizen here - I run a coffeeshop in Malaysia, but have lived in Kentucky and Maine for almost five years. Hope I'm not commenting completely out of context.

Thank you for smoking.