Church bells

She runs down the cobblestone street, hand reaching blindly forward, the other clutching the copious tulle of her gown. Blackened tears streak her face, joining freckle-dots as they flow towards the corner of her reddened lips. Daisies and yellow dahlias line the streets, her hand grazing the stone wall and she runs.

That is how you picture her when she ran away from you. Like you want her to be hurt the way it hurt you.

There are church bells in your memory, from some long-ago. You were there once, almost.

 

(from an experimental exercise with Jason Beckman)

Playing with majoritarian fire

A friend of mine in the US mentioned that Trump standing for elections and being extremist is some tactical political manoeuvre for very different aims (than getting DT elected). Whatever the motive is, it is truly terrifying to see the US using the same shameful tactics used in Sri Lankan politics where majority prejudices are toyed with for political gain. Whatever comes out of this, no foresight from the US players can control the beast they’ve unleashed on their society.

Let Them Stay

It’s 1965
and Nancy Prasad is to be deported.
So Charlie Perkins hides her, holds her
hostage, demands the government
pay the ransom of her safety


It’s 2016
and Baby Asha’s turn has come.
So 200 people hide her, hold her
hostage, demand the government
pay the ransom of her safety


The girl-child sits, as strangers pass above her,
debating the course of her life.

Artist & Empire: Facing Britain’s Colonial Past @ The Tate Britain

This article was originally published in the SOAS Spirit, the newspaper of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, U.K.

Firstly, ‘past’ is a misnomer, no? The tactical use of Britain and not the ‘U.K.’ hides the fact that the empire still continues in Northern Ireland. Interestingly enough, to align with this historiography, there are no exhibits of any aspects of empire in Ireland in the exhibit.

So does the exhibit do what it claims to? To ‘Face’ Britain’s colonial past? Of course not, even though other popular reviews in the media call is daring and blunt and other words associated with bravery. Continue reading

Commemorating Survival Day, not celebrating Australia Day

Growing up in Australia, I had no idea what an Aboriginal person looked like. There was a boy in one of the parallel classes who was brown, but not with facial features similar to mine, and I remember thinking as a child, ‘is that an Aborigine’? Many years later, while on exchange in France, I introduced myself as an Australian and a Frenchman asked me whether I was Aboriginal.

When my other Australian and New Zealander friends laughed, he realised his mistake and tried to cover it up by saying it was because I look like Cathy Freeman

Cathy Freeman
I mean, I wish I was that babin’ but I’m clearly not.

For either 6 year old me or my 23 year old friend, the common denominator was ignorance. There is such little talked about Indigenous rights, current affairs, or history that it sometimes becomes impossible to know unless you look for it. For my five years of primary education in Australia, I really don’t remember much attention given to talking about Indigenous people at all. This is devastating, of course, because it is an on-going struggle and one that is gaining momentum in a remarkable way. Continue reading

Parents vs. Skype

My parents are well into their sixties and make do with technology by asking my brother (a total techie) and myself (more technologically inept than my parents) to help them set up Wi-Fi, show them pictures on Facebook, and so on. While my 84-year-old great-uncle marvels at his Uber application and the paradigm shift in economy that such apps are causing, my parents still struggle to sign into Gmail. It’s frustrating at times but mostly endearing. 
Continue reading