4 am Thoughts

Up at 4 am doing some research for my assignment when I decided to take a break and scroll through Facebook ( like I did four minutes ago.Shh). I quickly go through my timeline, trying to resist the urge to NOT take another Buzzfeed test and then I come across a certain post.

Let me just say that recently, I was writing another article to post up on the blog about how we ought to understand one another better and not hate the other person for having a different opinion – whether or not that opinion is them supporting Trump or thinking women need to stay at home. I said in the post that if we all learned to respect what someone else had to say no matter how much we hated it or how offensive it was, that maybe we could change their minds for the better someday.

But that is so so difficult to do when you come across people on your very own friendlist who blatantly post things they know will hurt you. And trust me, I only keep family and close friends on my Facebook, so this person belonged somewhere in between. He isn’t just some stranger, we are technically family.

I’m not saying you need to refrain yourself from having an opinion with the fear of offending someone (in which case we would have to stop saying anything altogether), but I think you can do it with a little more tact and respect. I like being blunt, but I stop short when I know it will hurt or discriminate someone else.

I’m not one who gets offended easily. In fact, I make fun of people who do and most of the time, I’m at the receiving end of my own jokes. But heck, every once in a while like right now, it gets a little too much. I’m tired of seeing stereotypical posts about Muslims and Muslim women on Facebook. I’m tired of seeing people confuse an entire culture as a representation of an entire religion – they are two very different things. Tired of all the political hate and everything else. I want a week where the worst thing we will see on the news is a puppy being rescued from a tree, or a cat. Whatever.

I don’t understand. You criticize Muslims and Muslim women and you view them from this little peeping hole. I would get it if you don’t know any Muslims at all, but you do. You know me and you know I don’t fit into that stupid stereotype you group us all in. But you refuse to believe in that because it’s not what you want to see.

Why are we so hateful ?

 

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Irresponsibly responsible

I started this blog as a means to keep writing and to make sure I do not lose my touch again. I beautifully failed at doing both those things. I allowed my assignments and my need for quiet time get in the way of doing what I truly love and in the process, got a little rusty with this. I used to blog more frequently up till two years ago. I realized that the old blog had too many posts about people I would rather just forget about.

Even so, I could not bring myself to delete it completely, so I just made it private. With all the written memories of friendships I no longer wanted to hold on to locked away for me to read about someday, I thought I would start anew. But obviously, it is not the same.

I’ve had trouble keeping up this time around. I used to be a lot more funnier back then too. Oh well.

Unlike my old blog, I chose to keep this private. My first post on moderate Islam was posted on my Facebook page and some are pinned on my twitter account, but I stopped at that. I realized that there were many things I wanted to write about in my old one that I couldn’t because I knew exactly who was reading it. While that made it super easy to direct a post to someone I chose, I could never be completely honest with my content.

Whenever I got emotional, such as when I wrote about my grandfather, I felt like I wasn’t being sincere in the words I said. A part of me wondered if whether I wrote and said the things I did because I felt it, or because I knew everyone else was going to read it. And I hated that.

I like this way better. Although I’m sure I have some weird friend who comes back here to see what I’m saying when I’m not writing longg political posts on Facebook, I would rather keep it going this way. Also, I like my site address and I don’t intend on changing it anytime soon.

It is 3.30 in the morning here in Malaysia. Honestly, I would just like to eat something right now and think about what else to binge watch. But, somehow I felt like writing here again. And that is a good thing, because I do not know when I will write next.

Which is what brings me to my new year’s resolution. I pledge to write on here as often as I can – for real, this time. I usually keep to my resolutions each year, but 2016 has been a real bummer.

2017 will be better, I know it.

 

Ramadan, Bazaars and Racial Unity

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The past month in Malaysia has been full of opinions and discussion from Muslims about what is proper and what is not.

This coming Wednesday marks the end of Ramadan – the Muslim holy month. In case you’re not familiar with this, Muslims spend the month fasting from food and water (among other things) from sunrise to sunset. In a nutshell, this is to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are less fortunate – to know what it’s like to want what you can’t have, basically.

On one end you have extremos telling your non-Muslim friends to not eat in front of them and on the other you have normal Muslims like me who try to tell you why that defeats the sole purpose of Ramadan. The again, this worrying mentality is slowly becoming another norm in Malaysia lately.  When we’re not arguing about racial politics, some religious folks will try to justify why their way is better than yours. It makes me sad that a country I was always proud to be a part of for its beauty and diversity is slowly birthing self entitled assholes from every corner. Our new generation is disgusting.

Then again, it’s not always like this.

With Malaysia being a Muslim majority country, Ramadan is kind of a big deal here, whether that person is Muslim or not. There are non-Muslims who fast with their Muslim friends too as a sign of solidarity or just for fun.

But the best part about all of this would have to be the Ramadan bazaars found in almost every housing area. The delicious food spread and colorful drinks are worth drooling over.

These bazaars consists of families and businesses serving their food on tables, with royal blue tents, shielding them from the sun. It’s usually very noisy due to everyone talking about their day at work /school and the sound of  ladles hitting against the frying pans – the sign of food being freshly prepared for customers.

Oh yes, the food! Don’t get me started on the food.

They have everything from kuih lapis, ondeh-ondeh, seri muka to nasi lemak, deep fried squid, ayam golek percik, asam laksa,  ikan bakar and a spread of traditional malay curries and sambals. The drinks range from coconut water to blue lemon drinks – they tend to go a little overboard with the coloring on this one. But well, after 14 hours of hunger and thirst, you’d be surprised at what you walk out of the bazaar with.

Seeing multiracial shoppers (yep, you could call them that because everyone comes back from it with morbid amounts of food that make them look like they just walked out from a sale) walking together, laughing and interacting. Everything seems so simple and calm. Nobody seems to be divided by the politics or bothered with the outside world.

I’m sorry if I made you think Malaysians are racist during the remaining 11 months. We truly are not. But like I said, a lot of things have been happening lately. Ideologies are being spread, religious teachings are being corrupted and people of faith are being stereotyped. Even when someone doesn’t openly state what they truly feel towards a certain group of people, it’s not something you can hide. Sometimes, even I get tired of the constant bullshit.

It’s so easy to hate, isn’t it?

Which is why I look forward to the evenings just to see this calmness amidst the crowd. Yesterday I saw a lady donate money to a man in the bazaar and then I watched as a couple of women walked down the street in their old fashioned kebayas. One stall started blasting old Hari Raya music. Everything about that day felt so good.

This morning in the wet market, an elderly woman randomly made conversation with my mum and I while we were busy picking out chilies. She asked us what we were cooking and I told her it was for the beef rendang. And to think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning due to having only two hours of sleep last night. I just felt better instantly. She lady’s friendliness really did brighten up both my mum’s and my day.

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Picking fresh fish from the market this morning.

Too bad this month is coming to an end in a matter of days. I see racial and religious unity around me in the way my friends and I respect each other all the time, so I’m no stranger to the beauty of it. But there is truly nothing better than seeing different people bonding together over food.

xx

Kelly

P.S: Hari Raya literally translates to ‘day of celebration’ , which is the Malaysian way of saying ‘Eid-il-fitri’, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Thoughts on Modern Feminists and Feminism

Hello everyone! Sorry it has been awhile since I wrote here. The days just fly by so quickly sometimes and you forget how long it has been since you’ve done anything.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, I thought I’d write about my own thoughts on feminism and feminists. The timing, in my opinion, couldn’t be more appropriate to address the matter and why it is both embraced and controversial.

Many men and women will have their own unique interpretation of what the ‘F’ word means to them, most of which usually comes back to the social, political and economic equality of the sexes – sometimes the exact opposite.

With that being said, let’s start with what makes it so controversial.

For starters, the name itself. Feminism. 

A lot of people I’ve spoken to tend to point out or simply question why something that is supposed to work in favor of both sexes named itself after women only.

I can’t lie, that is a good point. However, not to be biased, but seeing as how the movement started off with the goal of diminishing the double standards faced by women a long time ago and how some social issues such a unequal pay is still a problem today, I think it’s only fair. Or justified. For now at least, since there is still some unfinished business and it may come off as somewhat disrespectful to the founders and women who fought hard for the rights we have today.

I know it sounds like I’m defending the name, but I’m not. This entire paragraph is literally my thought process right now. With all that being said, does the name of the movement really matter? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. That’s up to you to figure out and let me know. Because I’m a little conflicted over the idea myself.

Secondly, a lot of the controversy with feminism today can mostly be attributed to modern/radical feminists and man-hating propaganda.

A lot of the self proclaimed feminists I see on social media, especially on comment threads, appear to have tons of negativity to spread. I can’t tell you how many times I saw a man-hating remark made by radicals and how I once cringed and foolishly allowed myself to get into an argument with one.

I watched a College Humor video the other day about Jeggings. It was made in good humor, poking fun at the ridiculous and inappropriate trends youngsters come up with today. But one lady  pointed out that the video was simply objectifying women and their choice to wear whatever they want, when in reality the skit revolved around both boys and girls and was clearly satirical in nature.

After a while, the idea of feminism becomes somewhat irritating because of stuff like that. It makes you feel like as if you’re associated with the exact kind of mentality you’re trying to get rid of – sexism.

Ironic, isn’t it? It’s just like how some fight fat shaming with indirect skinny shaming. E.g: Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass.

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…” -Friedrich Nietzsche

The problem with modern feminists for me, is the fuss they make about the little things before they get down to fixing bigger problems. Why take away the focus from what’s truly important?

Women In The World’s Facebook page uploaded an article with the title “Was Bernie Sander’s Snap at Hillary Clinton Sexist?” in reference to him telling her “Excuse me, I’m talking!” in a moment of heated exchange. Now, if you watched the #DemDebate, you would remember that this was a response to Hillary interrupting Bernie. In a reverse situation, the reaction from the same group of women on Hillary instead saying those words might’ve been very different.

There was no issue to begin with, but if you’re going to turn it into one, might as well analyze it from both sides. That’s what I do. I take a step back and analyze a situation as it is happening and simultaneously visualize what if it were the other way round and then react to it accordingly.

Trust me, that helps when you’re trying to spread an important message to different parties.

Thirdly, the unequal awareness on issues affecting both genders. 

I find this point to be the one that bothers me the most.

For example, rape.

We spend a lot of time highlighting rape and abuse on women but not nearly as much effort is done for men.

Another example would be body shaming where we talk about unrealistic body images and expectations from women in the media while completely disregarding the ‘six pack abs’ expectation on male models or how little diversity on body types we fight to see when it comes to them.

Those reasons above, to me, are why the idea of the ‘F’ word is often rejected. It doesn’t feel inclusive enough for all parties to participate. But that can change.

As for why feminism is embraced, I’ll speak about why I need and support it.

Like I said, different individuals bring different sets of ideas to the table. But for me, feminism is about freedom and opportunity.

I support feminism because I have a brother and male rape is a real issue and there are men and boys out there who won’t come forward for fear of being laughed at or ridiculed.

I support feminism because I might have a son someday and I want him to know that it’s not okay for a girl to abuse you and that male domestic violence is a real thing and should be taken just as seriously as those done unto women.

I support feminism because I want society to acknowledge a girl for what she brings to the table, like her education and skill, before her looks.

The freedom to do something ‘unladylike’ or ‘unmanly’ without being called those exact words.

It’s funny because I didn’t always identify myself as a feminist. Like many others, I always thought the movement was reserved solely for the welfare of women, when I on the other hand wanted true equality of the sexes. Having a younger brother played a heavy influence on my perspective.

With that being said, I have a very subjective view on the topic.

Gender equality, not female superiority.

While it felt great to align with a powerful movement,  I recently began to understand why many people wouldn’t. Reasons of which, I have already stated above.

I am a feminist. But I understand why some of you refuse to call yourself that. I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as you and I share the same ideals on the matter of gender roles and respect.

This article was not written to convince you to call yourself a feminist. There is no hidden agenda, nor anything of that sort.

Being a feminist is a huge part of who I am as a person and my outlook on life. But I’m not fond of how that also associates me with radical ideas today.

So I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that a tiny amount of extremists do not represent a group of people as a whole.

I cannot stress how important this movement is to both genders. Because of that, we should all take a moment to learn and educate ourselves before we form an opinion on the matter.

This women’s day, my wish would be for us to shift our focus back to the things that truly matter and not the things we should laugh about.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the strong and kind women out there!

Moderate Islam Does Not Exist

This is not a post with figures and statistics. If that’s what you’re looking for, you might get them here . This is simply a long overdue vent. 

There is no such thing as moderate Islam.

To say that such a fraction of Islam exists would be equivalent to saying that there is a part of Islam that’s radical.

Following that simple logic, this would mean that at least a billion of the Muslim population are colossal sinners for disregarding such a large part of the religion’s teachings.

The second a Muslim chooses to take the words of the Quran out of context and self interpret it according to their view of the world, they are forming an ideology.

Like Reza Aslan once pointed out, if you’re a sexist, you’re going to find scriptures in the Quran that support that. The same thing applies if you’re a terrorist, a bigot or racist. We interpret things according to how we want to see them to justify our way of thought.

“How you read scripture has everything to do with who you are,” Reza said.

We often overlook the thin line separating religion from ideology don’t we?

Terrorist groups such as ISIS, were formed on extreme and violent ideas and as such, have no place in ANY society. To say that they have taken their Islamic teachings out of context would be a massive understatement.

Let me tell you something. In my country where Islam is the official religion, I was obligated to take Islamic religious classes for the 11 years of my primary and secondary education. There was nothing in any of those classes that anyone could simply misinterpret for something violent or incite murder. If any of my classmates ended up turning into those two things, it would have come from influences outside the classroom. Perhaps from friends, the movies they watched or private ‘religious’ sermons they attended. Again, it is a person’s misconstrued idea of how the world should work that slowly births the rotten products of what we see in the news today.

Since the attacks in Paris, I found myself feeling obligated to share anything positive regarding Islam in relation to the assault in the French capital..Anything that points out the obvious logic, that this is not an Islamic problem, but a terrorist one. It is a problem committed by radicals who used an easily and already victimized religion to justify their actions because the Western media has made it so easy to do so.

This has become routine for me and other ‘moderate’ Muslims on social media. We end up on some comment thread discussing what originally starts off as a debate that ends with us defending our religion from bigots.

It’s either that, or we end up trying to prove our innocence by releasing statements such as “Not all Muslims are like that” and apologizing for something we didn’t do when in reality, it’s 2015 and we shouldn’t have to explain these things anymore. Not to adults.

I’m so tired of having to defend my religion and the other 1.6 billion Muslims in the world every time an act of terror is committed. Like as if we had a part in the heinous crimes these animals do. I’m tired of having to explain time and time again that Islam does not advocate for violence or the murder of innocent people. I’m tired of telling society that Muslims are nothing like what the media paints us to be.

I hate that it has somewhat become the responsibility of Muslims to be the ambassador or spokesperson for terrorism.

To my fellow Muslims, please stop apologizing. It is not our fault that we were born into a brutal world with endless stereotypes.

For those questioning why there aren’t enough Muslims speaking up against ISIS and their reign of terror, stop.

We don’t speak for them and neither do they speak for us. They do not represent Islam, the same way Jim David Adkisson or the Klu Klux Klan do not represent Christianity.

We are supposed to send condolonces, write messages of love to the families of the victims and partake in campaigns alongside our non-Muslim brothers and sisters  in taking a stand against a group of cowardly dingbats.

Their Islam is different from ours. It is alien, even to us. It is merely a shell of a name, nothing more. If you desperately want someone to speak up against these acts, get an IS recruit to do it.. Not us.

By the way, we’re called Muslims, not Islamists.

With that being said, the word ‘terrorist’ is for people who commit acts of terror, or someone who brings terror to the mass or a certain community.

Was James Holmes not a terrorist?  Did Vincente David Montano not bring terror to the people in that Antioch theater? What about the two teens who went on a shooting rampage at the Columbine high school? John Russel Houser?  Oh right, those are called mass murderers, not terrorists. You need special qualifications if you want to join the ranks of the latter.

Before I end this, let us remember that there is no such thing as moderate Islam or radical Islam – just Islam.

People can turn radical and they can also choose to practice their faith moderately, but that ultimately has nothing to do with the faith they practice.