street harassment

*Just to be clear, this isn’t a male bashing post. But I am affected by recent events in my life and it may sound like a male bashing post. I know not all men are like this.*

99% of women confirm that they have been subjected to street harassment. This comes in the form of cat-calling, groping, leering, making crude gestures, being grabbed at, being told something sexually offensive and/or derogatory; and in the worst case, being sexually harassed or assaulted.

That statistic is alarming. But somehow, it doesn’t come as a shock to me. In a world where one gender fails to see the misfortunes and consequences of their actions, it really is no surprise that society has fallen to all new lows.

Men have leered at me. Called me names. Winked at me and thrown suggestive comments. They’ve cat-called. They’ve rolled down the window and wolf whistled. And all of this has been done in public. But until yesterday (14/12/2016 [fourteenth of december, 2016]) no man had ever physically touched me in the wrong way.

Yesterday night, while exiting the stadium where Coldplay had just performed and heading to the main road to our taxi, amongst nearly 50,000 other concertgoers, a man, who was not drunk, decided to grab my forearm and attempt to drag me towards him, saying “you’re coming with me”.

I have never been more terrified.

And I think the terror kickstarted my already high adrenaline, because I did manage to lose his grip, tell him to fuck off and proceed to speed walk with my sister, as fast as we could.

And let me just deconstruct the provocative dressing myth right here. Yesterday, I was wearing white skinny jeans, a white and blue sleeveless blouse with a modest neckline, a few rings and necklaces, and my chunky cut-out heeled boots. My hair was in a bun so I didn’t overheat while singing and dancing. There was nothing remotely provocative or alluring about my outfit. In fact, my blouse even covered my jeans covered ass, so nothing was really being presented to the man.

So I wonder exactly why he decided it would be a good idea to violate my personal space, demean me and harass me in the middle of a crowd.

What went through his mind to think it was alright to make a pass at a young lady who was heading home after a concert?

There’s always this afterthought to actions like this. “Boys will be boys”. “Boys are immature. It’s how they are”. “These actions are harmless”. And honestly? That’s the root of the issue. Excuses for this disgusting behaviour that forgive the atrocities that men commit is one of the most significant reasons as to why men continually street harass women. They don’t even need to be affected by a woman in a short dress anymore. They just pick on any woman they see walking down the street or talking on the phone. Because they know society will forgive their actions as an immature character flaw.

It’s a societal privilege inbuilt into our culture, that men are the more dominant sex. And therefore, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to make demeaning and/or objectifying remarks towards women. Because simply speaking, they can.

I had a 20 second encounter with that man yesterday. But in those 20 seconds, I felt so violated and uncomfortable. And objectified. To grab at someone and say, you’re coming with me, is a clear objectification. Street harassment and situations such as the one I just described, are perfect examples of men still believing that their rights, actions and freedoms are simply more valued and important than anyone elses.

So what now?

Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses for boys and men. Maybe it’s time to start teaching them, that if you want to compliment a lady on her outfit, then choose a way that doesn’t make us feel uncomfortable and sexualised. Maybe it’s time to start educating boys from a young age, that grabbing and groping women, and insinuating that they should bend to your whim and will is wrong and unacceptable. Maybe it’s time to educate men about the emotional trauma suffered my women on a daily basis, because of the effects of street harassment. Maybe it’s time to start drilling it into the heads of every boy and man that they have no right to objectify, demean or sexualise women.

It’s honestly fucking disgusting.

We’re heading into 2017, yet women still don’t feel safe and are continually violated, even in the most public of spaces.

xx Simran

 

on the election

Firstly, sorry i’ve been MIA. My finals took so much out of me and I’ve been a zombie for the past three weeks.

Also, this post is controversial. If you don’t want to read about the US election, my view of Trump and his campaign and things surrounding America, then I suggest you don’t read this.

Since the result of the presidential election was announced last Wednesday (for all of us in Australia), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. A LOT of thinking.

At first, it was disappointment and anger at the outcome. I was stunned. All around me, global stock markets were plummeting like my trust and faith in the world and in humanity. To think that one of the most important nations in the world could elect a businessman who’s gone bankrupt, who has no prior experience in politics and who was handed all his opportunities on a golden platter as their president was confounding. I had never found the American population more naïve.

But, I must confess. Hillary Clinton was not my first choice. I admire Hillary Clinton. Her eloquence, her prowess and her undebatable power and grace is something I believe all women should possess. But she wasn’t my first choice as candidate for the democrats. And not because I’m a woman hater and all that. I just preferred Bernie Sanders’ ideas and policies more. They resonated more with me. But I knew it came down to experience and the people. And Hillary Clinton had that edge because of her expansive political career. And at the outcome of the primaries, although I was more inclined to Bernie Sanders’ policies, Hillary Clinton had my support.

Hillary Clinton, whether one hates or loves her, commands the presence of her audiences. She is tactical and graceful and gets down to business. And for that, I wholeheartedly believed she had the expertise to become president.

And then the fate of America was sealed after Ohio, North Carolina and Florida gave their support to Mr Trump. America’s fate was in the hands of the GOP. The Republicans. After an eight year stretch under potentially the world’s most loved president, the tides have once against changed and America is now under the governance of the Republicans.

I think now, my emotions are more fear and curiousity. I still vehemently stand by the fact that I hope America is ready to deal with the ramifications of its actions. Isolationism doesn’t work anymore, and industries can’t just be brought back into a country because as much as one can hope and pray, globalisation has evolved too much. And I still stand by my judgement of Australia in this whole political saga. I hope we choose the right side to stay on in the imminent trade war looming. We have more at stake than the acceptance of one nation. And after Brexit, we need to be more careful then ever when choosing who we side with.

But fear still resonates with me. I live in Australia. But I’m still terrified. And I can only imagine how American people who are “different to the norm” to generalise a large group of people, must be feeling. In a nation like America, racism and bigotry has always been rampant. You can choose any period in America’s history and you will find racism and/or bigotry. It’s entwined into America’s discourse as a nation.

To give a comparison, the thing that terrifies me, is that people in America act out on what they believe in, no matter how controversial or misaligned with the rest of the world. With Mr Trump’s election as the next US president, individuals who are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted and narrow minded, have an outlet to act out upon their thoughts and beliefs, because they have a leader, who for the last twelve months, repeated the same rhetoric these individuals needed as a confirmation to start acting on their beliefs.

Women have been assaulted in public spaces because men “grabbed them by the pussy”. Latino and Hispanic individuals have been singled out and bullied, being told that they’re going to be deported home. And this sort of behaviour, this bullying, has been in kindergarten children. Children who are five or six, have been heard repeating this sort of horrific rhetoric.

Women who believe in the Muslim faith have been assaulted, verbally and physically abused. They’ve been ambushed and men shouting profanities and pro – Trump slogans have tried and sometimes succeeded in ripping their hijabs off. African Americans have been told to go sit at the back of the bus where they belong. Gays and those who identify with the LGBTIQA community live in constant fear because amongst the highest ranks of the Republican party is a belief that LGBTIQA individuals can be subjected to shock therapy to turn them straight again.

I am constantly afraid that something will happen to my family in America. It’s scary enough to know someone who was targeted by this sort of racist outcry. But I fear for my cousins and uncles and aunts who are still in America. And even as legal citizens there, they said themselves, they’ve never felt more displaced from society.

And Mr Trump isn’t even president yet.

At the heart of his rise to power is a call to nationalism. The rise of nationalist views and nationalism as a whole has been witnessed throughout 2016. With a slew of terrorist attacks and perhaps more significant, Brexit, the global community is becoming more united and more polarised under the guise of a nationalist mindset.

During his election campaign, Trump utilised the one thing he knew would get him votes – a call to nationalist pride. More specifically, white nationalism.

White nationalism, defined generally, is an ideology attached to the dreams and outlooks of a wholly white nation. White nationalism is an ideology that promotes the racial definition of a nation. And the support for white nationalism and as an extension, white supremacy, leads to violence and social insecurity or instability.

While Trump couldn’t come outright and proclaim he wanted a white America, his whole election rhetoric supported white nationalism. We’ll get rid of immigrants. Build a wall between us and Mexico. Deport the Muslims. Stop Muslims from entering and settling into America. Get our jobs back from India and China. Our president is actually from Kenya. Send the blacks back to where they came from.

Within these highly blasé statements is that poignant banner of white nationalism. Everything Trump advocated for hit home with white nationalists in America – the percentage of the American population that is Christian, primarily lives in the Bible Belt, and is above the age of 40.

Trump was quick to define his prototype American. Like many leaders in history, he too has a view of how the average American should be. And in that prototype, there are three key features – white, of a Judo-Christian faith and born in the US.

And the scary thing is, that Trump isn’t the first leader to display nationalistic outlooks in his campaign. It’s a terrifying reality, because the repetition of his belief that Muslims, Mexicans, Hispanics, Latinos, African Americans, Indians, Chinese and all other races and ethnicities that fit into the immigrant/job stealing category are these dangerous invaders who have to be feared.

And his rhetoric resonated with so many Americans who want the good old days – the days where the whites overpowered and the others listened in submission.

Trump and Brexit used very similar ways of appealing to their audiences. They tapped into the hyperbolised fear of POC individuals. They tapped planted fears in the minds of voters. And Americans listened.

To side track a little, while I was in South Africa, we befriended an American couple while travelling through the Eastern Cape. And one night, while we sat and enjoyed the sunset with incredible cheese platters and glasses of South Africa’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon (it was as magical as it sounds), we got onto the topic of media discretion and global knowledge. As an Australian, I have been brought up to be aware of what goes on in the world. I was taught about global and national history from the age of eight. Our media coverage expands to all corners of the world. We’re entwined what goes on internationally. But the American couple told us that it’s a very different story in America. Everything is so America-centric. Their media covers home base and rarely anything else unless it impacts America as well. Schools aren’t taught about the world at large.

And looking back on that intriguing conversation, I think that’s one of the root causes of why Trump won the election. Maybe I could be exaggerating. But Americans are so caught up with themselves that sometimes they fail to see what really goes on. Trump used Brexit’s rhetoric and people blindly followed. But if you really look at what happened post Brexit and what has happened in the world since Brexit, you can see that it was a campaign with all talk and no action. In fact, Brexit has been detrimental for Britain.

America from the outside is so wrapped up in this White, Christian, US born fantasy and it’s terrifying.

What’s also terrifying is the fact that America just elected a sexist, racist, homophobic bigot who has come outright and denounced the rights of women. What’s even more terrifying is that women (who are white) are so keen on holding onto their nationalist power, that they voted for a man who doesn’t believe in their equal rights.

So what now?

I think it comes as a relief to many that although the Republicans do hold all houses in power, Trump actually going through with even half of his ludicrous promises will spell the end of America as we know it.

I hope Americans can deal with the ramifications of their actions. Protesting won’t do shit. Complaining won’t do much either. If you are unhappy with the results of the election and you didn’t vote, it’s on you. If you’re unhappy with the results and you did vote, get out there and throw yourself behind causes and societies and campaigns that you believe will better a nation with no stable healthcare that’s on a steady path of decline.

Yes, the result is unfavourable. And 2016 will go down in history as one of the darkest and wackiest years, but what can you do?

Lets hope that Australia sides with the right teams in the imminent disasters that are going to occur globally. Lets hope society doesn’t collapse. And honestly, empower yourself if you aren’t happy with the result.

Yes looking into America, the situation seems scary. And for people who don’t fit the prototype American, it’s a time where you will have to be cautious. But you can get through it. You aren’t alone in this battle. The rational world is also behind you.

xx Simran

 

 

I can’t

We’re all fucked.

Thanks America. Once again at the hands of your stupidity, the whole world is fucked.

I have no words. I’m too emotionally strung up and stressed to write an election analysis post. That’ll come after my exams probably. But I hope America is ready to deal with the ramifications of what they’ve done.

And sitting here in Sydney, I can’t be more blessed to be Australian. I am so blessed that I have never had the chance to interact with the shitstorm of bullshit that is American society, nor will I ever. Because I don’t ever plan on going to that shithole country that has singlehandedly displayed how corruption, bigotry, sexism and racism still prevail.

I can’t. I’m sorry for my language. I’m just too emotional and stressed right now.

xx Simran

on debates

If you find posts about American politics and Donald Trump offensive or against your views, don’t read this very small, low key rant.

I really do not give a crap about what you might have to say about Hillary Clinton. Love her, hate her, loathe her. I don’t care. One thing is pretty clear though. It takes one hell of a person to be able to calmly and politely take Donald Trump’s bullshit in front of 100 million viewers. I was streaming the debate at work yesterday, and I had to pause and mute it multiple times so I wouldn’t break my highlighters and throw my computer and phone out the window because of the things that were being said.

As an Australian, I’m urging all Americans to register to vote and please, if you hate both, choose the lesser of two evils.

Damn, Australian politicians look so nice right now. And I still can’t believe I’m saying that. I must be delirious.

xx Simran

ANTI-GLOBAL

Content warning: this is a breakdown of Brexit and its impact mostly on Australia. I did not agree with what went down, so if you do, please don’t read or comment on this post. This post’s intent is for me to get my opinion out in a transparent and clean way. And we’re all adults here anyway. I understand that not everyone will share my opinion, and so this is just a heads up. If you don’t agree with my views, please don’t try to convert or explain why I’m wrong. We’re entitled to our own opinions on such matters.

I like to coin England’s decision to leave the EU, the largest monetary union to date, the great division. Why? Because on Friday afternoon (for Australians), we witnessed the break apart of a nation from one major economic power, and the beginnings of the breakdown of the United Kingdom. My prediction is that the United Kingdom will no longer be referred to as the United Kingdom, and soon enough all our history textbooks will regale with the tale of how England is now just referred to as “Kingdom”.

As you already know from my previous post, I was heavily against Brexit. For a plethora of reasons. And frankly, I don’t know whether to rejoice at the fact that our global economy is changing so rapidly, that my honours thesis when I do one, will have a large selection of topics to research and hypothesise upon; or cry at the state of our economy.

But emotions aside, let’s look at why Brexit came about.

Brexit was driven by a far right attitude to ensure Britain retained its sovereign power, and return Britain to the glory days of its colonialist era. Brexit was supported by citizens who saw the political power and monarchical advantage that the UK once possessed as a key issue to maintain. The regulation of the EU in terms of legalities and economic decisions were much too overbearing for the British, not to mention the issue of immigration as the crisis in the Middle East intensifies as the days go on. The fact that Britain was bound by the Lisbon Treaty, signed in 2007, where issues of regular and irregular immigration (such as in the case of migration during global conflict) must be shared equally amongst all member nations, was apparently too much. Moreover, the possibility of Turkey one day being admitted to the EU as a member nation because they already adhere to so many of the EU’s regulations seemed too much for the European sanctity (read Europid cultural domination) that Britain wants to uphold.

Honestly speaking, Britain hasn’t maintained sovereign power since India declared independence in 1947, and many nations under the commonwealth don’t really see the benefits. After talking to many of my friends, and having a frank discussion with my university tutors, we all came to the conclusion that the only benefit that’s come from being under the commonwealth is the mandatory public holiday we all get in June to celebrate the queen’s birthday. Other than that, there has been no real influence of power by England over any of the Commonwealth nations.

Brexit is a loosely coined term to present Britain’s separation from the EU. What Brexit is really about, is Britain retaining its Europid sanctity against the “bastardisation of its culture” (In reference Alfred Rosenberg and his study of why Ancient Rome as a powerhouse, crumbled to the ground. The parallels between Britain and Ancient Rome are uncanny honestly.) If Britain were to remain in the EU, the sanctity of their Europid power would come under question.

What terrifies me is how uneducated the masses were about the EU’s role in Europe. British IT and Securities released yesterday that millions of Britons who voted in favour of Brexit were now googling what the EU was, because they didn’t know what they were voting for.

http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/how-old-people-have-screwed-over-the-younger-generationin-three-charts–W1AA_n4nEb

These charts from the website above only prove to show that education is so important on issues like this. And that cultural insensitivity and a lack of understanding about the world and global impacts of actions can’t rule decisions. It’s a known fact that the youth will be dealing with the consequences of Brexit. And of Scotland and Ireland, and most probably Wales leaving the United Kingdom. Without the UK’s posse, there isn’t much to offer. The Pound is weak. Manufacturing is insignificant, and the UK doesn’t even have its own power supply.

The UK just lost the free transfer and movement of goods, services, money and labour and has lost so many strong trading partners. The youth will struggle to move through Europe to study or work. England will struggle to finance itself in times of economic hardship, and plans to print money will lead to hyperinflation.

Such a decision has proven that the xenophobic fever that latches onto many of the baby boomer era has clouded their sane judgement. To lose stability is the worst thing a nation could do to itself. To lose stability under the belief that you’re returning a nation to its colonialist, pure, Europid days is even more ludicrous.

So what does Brexit mean for Australia?

Britain has always been a major trading partner for Australia. For obvious reasons. Colonisation, the Commonwealth etc. However, after Britain was admitted as a member of the EU, we lost our free trading rights and simply moved to find better trade partners. However, as globalisation became more accepted, we used our connection to reach out to the rest of Europe, namely nations in the EU. Britain was our base for entry into the EU as we were sanctioned by trade laws and restrictions that all monetary unions would impose on non-member countries.

Brexit has caused vast economic turmoil. The pound plummeted to record lows – levels not seen since the GFC, and share prices in Australia devalued by up to 10% in the span of an hour. Because our financial markets are so interlinked, when decisions like this are made, the global market bears the brunt of the economic earthquake. Britain sneezed, and the Australian market caught the flu. If a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis ever graces our doorsteps again, Australia will have great difficulty in borrowing from Western European nations like it did in 2008-9. Many Australians with assets in England have seen their assets devalue significantly as the pound freefalls.

Perhaps the biggest downfall is trade. Without a stable entry into the EU, our trade will suffer greatly. And because our Liberal government is so against structural change, there will be little reconciliation and growth stimulation, only exacerbating the change of rising unemployment and lowering forecast GDP growth. Moreover, there were talks that Australia may try to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU. Without the support of a major trading partner, that deal is a dream.

While it may take up to two years for England to negotiate with the EU on how it’s leaving, the ramifications have already been huge.

Maybe my higher school education and analysis of WB Yeats’ poetry didn’t all go to waste. Because yes, the Second Coming – anti-globalisation, is coming.

And it’s been fuelled by a crowd of misinformed nationalists.

xx Simran

 

 

on referendums

I sincerely hope England is prepared to deal with the consequences of its actions, after choosing to leave the largest economic and monetary union formed to date. 

For what? What are the costs and benefits. Is immigration a large enough issue to shatter the stability of national and global economies?

And as for Australia, I suggest we become a republic, because apart from the fact that we get a long weekend for the queen’s birthday, there isn’t much else we can rely on now. Our safe and stable entry to the EU for trade is screwed. Our stocks have fallen, our dollar has fallen. And the fact that many of the pro-Brexit supporters were honing in on feelings of nationalism and the return of England as a colonising power speaks volumes about the consequences of the decision to leave the EU.

Our trade with England might become easier because we wouldn’t have to deal with the trading obligations enforced by the EU, but we’ve lost a lot more business in Western Europe.

There will be extreme short term volatility, not just here in Australia, but globally. Volatility not seen since the GFC is predicted to occur, and if that does happen, Australia will suffer in trying to gain funding for debt bail outs from other nations. Exports – one of our major growth factors will decline significantly, slowing our already abysmal GDP growth.

I do believe that Australia should seek to become a republic. We have no strong ties left to the rest of Europe. Our access point to Europe has basically dissolved. Any form of trade agreement between the EU and Australia will be highly unlikely because of our commonwealth ties. Our reliance on the commonwealth has essentially amounted to nothing now. Our economy is not as strong as they say. Reassurances are weak and the loss of trade, of both goods and services, will impact us on many levels. Also, travel will be a new concern, as well as migration between the two nations, and to western Europe more generally.

The aftershocks of Brexit lie in the fact that not one, but two strong economic unions will be broken. One, the UK’s link to the EU. And two, Scotland, and later Ireland and Wales, will seek independence as well.

If this was the way the UK believed a return to nationalist strength and the power they once possessed could be successfully and stably done through leaving the EU, I think a lot more consideration needed to occur.

xx Simran

Angels

*CONTROVERSY, GUN LAWS, AMERICA. IF YOU DON’T LIKE THESE TOPICS, DON’T READ*

Death has always been something that’s affected me a lot. I don’t deal with death well, and it doesn’t matter who the person is. Whether they were related to me, I heard about their plight through social media/the news, or there was a celebrity death.

Another thing I don’t deal well with is the loss of an innocent life at the hand of violence. Specifically gun related violence or incidents. Gun violence has always been a trigger for me. Guns terrify me and while I can bear with them in movies, seeing SWAT teams outside our train stations to catch criminals, with their rifles concealed but still visible makes me shudder. Seeing the army officials at every domestic and international Indian airport patrolling entrances with their M4A1 assault rifles terrifies me. I’ve never been near a modern day gun, nor have I been involved in an incident (and I pray that I never do). But guns have always terrified me.

I’m writing this post on autopilot. It’s been 18 hours since I was informed of the passing of Christina Grimmie, Voice 2014 winner, youtube star and angel. And I don’t think I’ll never recover. Like all musicians, Christina Grimmie told stories with her word and voice. I remember the first time I heard her voice, when she covered Nelly’s Just a Dream with Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider. It was then that I continually looked forward to her new content, her new music and her new covers. And to think that a young life, who was just beginning to fathom her success, was so cruelly taken away from us at the hands of a monster wielding a gun makes me sick to my stomach.

In light of yet another tragedy at the hands of gun violence, I write this post as a plea to the American people to reconsider their stances on gun laws. I write this as a plea for the American government to consider stepping away from their outdated 2nd amendment and look at the amount of tragedy being inflicted daily. Christina Grimmie’s story was publicised because she has an element of media power. But there are countless deaths at the hands of guns daily in America. More than 30 innocent lives are taken by the barrel of a gun every day in America. I write this post as a plea for society to understand that amendments created over 200 years ago cannot govern modern society.

How many more lives will have to be lost in order for Americans to understand that there’s a difference between owning a weapon for security, and misusing a weapon. No longer are guns owned as a means of security. Rather, they’re an abuse of constitutional power and fall into the wrong hands.

How many more lives will have to be sacrificed at the end of a barrel of a gun for sadistic pleasure? How many more lives are going to be lost because individuals who shouldn’t be in possession of weapons, or let out in general society, are roaming free with the intent of murder and crime, or the fact that if they’re committing suicide, others should die along with their plight?

I can’t stress the fear that wracks my body every time I’m informed of another gun related incidence in America. I fear for my cousins, my family and my friends who live in a country that’s so forward and so backward. Because I wouldn’t know what to do if I woke to the news that there had been a shooting in a university that my cousins attend. Or a shooting in a hometown. Or a shooting at a concert or event.

When is society going to learn that more lives can’t be lost, and that something has to be done about gun laws in America. This is no longer a matter of your constitutional power. Instead, it’s a matter of making sure more innocent lives aren’t lost.

I don’t know what else to say. The emotion is too much. The terror is too much.

xx Simran

limits

Is this controversial? I don’t know. Maybe. This isn’t a vegan bashing post. Just an opinion from observation.

There’s been a global rise in the amount of plant based eaters in recent years. And by plant based eaters, I mean vegans – those who do not eat or use anything with animal products.

That’s all well and good. Some go vegan because of allergies to food groups. Some go vegan to improve their health. Some go vegan because they want to.

If you are vegan. Good for you. Yay. Don’t expect me to throw you a party though.

What has also accompanied this rise is the need to proclaim your dietary status. And this is where the problem starts.

Our lifestyle choices aren’t things to be announced to the whole world unless they severely impact us. Being a vegan isn’t a gift from god, nor is it life threatening that everyone in your vicinity must know about it. I’m fine for people having diets and lifestyles that don’t incorporate animal products. But don’t preach to me. Please don’t preach to me.

I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat any sort of meat because I’m intolerant. However, I do consume a large amount of dairy in the form of yoghurt because milk and cheese don’t suit me as much, and I’ve begun to consume eggs for protein after growing out of a childhood intolerance to egg white. And honestly speaking, I love my dairy. I love having an omelette for brekkie twice a week if I’m bothered. And I would never be able to survive without dairy because I wouldn’t be able to indulge in the goodness of gulab jamun otherwise. And that would be tragic. In consideration of animal welfare, the eggs that my family purchases are organic, free range eggs as well. The company we buy from has been certified that their chickens are kept well and happy.

What really pisses me off however, is when vegans come to me and lifestyle bash me. They tell me off for consuming dairy and eggs because it’s unethical blah blah blah. You all are entitled to your own opinion, but please don’t police my lifestyle. My diet is the best for my health, and I don’t need you to tell me off. What’s worse is when they either police everyone’s food choices at a place to eat (only vegan dining places allowed) or they make people who eat meat feel bad for doing so.

Stop trying to be the bloody food police. You telling me that it’s unethical to eat honey isn’t going to make me stop and immediately cut out all honey from my diet. What it’s going to do is severely piss me off and then just to spite you, I will buy a 1 litre pot of honey and eat it right in front of you.

Your opinion is your own. Don’t try to change me or my lifestyle. That’s my decision. Not yours.

Next we have the issue of vegans becoming animal rights sirens. It’s like as soon as someone becomes a vegan, they forget that they once consumed a bacon and egg sandwich and now feel the need to broadcast simply horrific videos of animal slaughter ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA to prove how angelic and pure they are because they’re vegan.

We all know animal cruelty exists. It isn’t a recent occurrence. So you posting and clogging my timeline with horrific images and videos won’t do much except for make me throw up, and then block and unfriend you. Animal cruelty isn’t recent, and until 1 year ago, you weren’t frigging vegan. Where was your concern for animals when you were shoving bacon into your mouth like a dehydrated animal? Where was your concern when you bought a 20 pack of nuggets from Maccas cos the deal was so good? It clearly wasn’t there. So now, when you’re vegan, all of a sudden your eyes have opened to the cruelty. What a fking joke. Get a grip on yourself.

Don’t become a preacher and expect all your friends to change when you post these ghastly images because you doing that isn’t going to stop animal cruelty. The fact that you only became aware of cruelty when you became vegan speaks volumes about the shallowness of your argument.

And on this note, there’s a campaign that needs to be stopped.

The dairy industry in Australia is suffering at the hands of Coles and Woolworths. Farmers are suffering and their plight is heart wrenching. What isn’t ok is for vegans to come out with a ludicrous campaign to get rid of our dairy industry and send our farmers to hell. That isn’t even the bloody issue here. The issue at hand is that Coles and Woolworths in their dominance over the industry are underpaying dairy farmers, who are drowning in debt and don’t have enough to feed their families. Stop with your frigging animal cruelty preaches and look at the issue at hand! Yes animal cruelty exists but it isn’t the same issue. Boycotting our farmers won’t do anything to stop cruelty. It’ll crush our economy and ruin Australia. Get a grip on yourselves.

I respect your care for animals but preaching to me by clogging my timeline with horrifying images, sending grotesque images and trying to convert people to a lifestyle won’t do you any good.

Can you just calm the hell down?

It’s our personal choice to choose a lifestyle that suits us. No one has the right to force anyone into a lifestyle, and therefore, it isn’t cool for you to hate and preach all the frigging time. I respect your decision and your passion to stop animal cruelty but there is a limit. Shares on facebook won’t stop cruelty let’s be real.

And let me reiterate. This isn’t a vegan bashing post even though it sounds a lot like it. This is just a little bit of pent up frustration in an opinion. Our lifestyles are our own choices. No one can convert us. Preaching does nothing and please for the love of God, calm the hell down.

I’ll respect you and your lifestyle if it doesn’t impede on my choices and my lifestyle.

xx Simran

A note to privilege

It’s been a rough couple of days (weeks). There’s a lot on my mind, and it’s culminated with me essentially losing my mind over why people who are white (if we’re going to use layman’s terms) don’t understand their own privilege.

This is a controversial post. If you don’t like it, or are going to get butthurt over the truth, please don’t read. And don’t inform me about it either. Please don’t pull that reverse racism bullshit on me. Racism as a definition is an act where a dominant culture systematically oppresses the minority culture. This post doesn’t state that people with caucasian skin are exempt from the experiences listed below. But it doesn’t mean that the prevalence of these issues to other races/cultures/communities isn’t justified.

Let’s clarify something.

White privilege is an immunity badge that people of Europid ancestry wear, so they can be exempt from the daily misfortunes and occurrences faced by people of colour.

So what does a white privilege immunity badge entail?

  1. White privilege means you’ll have a good relationship with the authorities. Random selection doesn’t exist for you does it? But for me? “Random” selection at the train station every time I travel. “Random” selection on my trains so guards can check my passes. “Random selection”at domestic and international airports so they can scan me further, take me to a screening zone and full body frisk me, and scan my carry-on baggage for potential bomb threats. Because yes, having olive toned skin immediately makes me a terrorist. My Australian passport, citizenship and drivers license will never be enough proof.
  2. White privilege means you’ll never have the burden of being labelled a terrorist or being pointed out as a terrorism sympathiser. But me? I will. As a young Australian girl with Indian heritage, there have been numerous occasions where I was asked whether I was an al-Qaeda sympathiser, a relation to a bomber or a support of ISIL. My most recent encounter was on a train back home after university. I was minding my own business (checking out my biases and dying over how precious Conrad Ricamora is) when a white man asked if I was an ISIL sympathiser. He took one look at me, to come up with the ridiculous conclusion that because I have olive skin, black hair and hazel eyes, I must be a terrorist sympathiser. When I kindly responded with “No sir, but are you a KKK sympathiser?”, I was told to “fuck off back to my third world hell”. Lovely.
  3. White privilege means you won’t have to ever deal with the burden of stereotypes that have been engrained into our society. But me? Because of popular television and a general insensitivity to understanding culture, I’ll always jokingly be asked whether my parents have found me a husband yet, or whether my dad is the proud owner of a 7-11 or  that horrified reaction when people see how open and controlled I am around alcohol because apparently Indian parents are drill sergeants in their houses and alcohol is so taboo, that when Indian teens go to house parties and uni parties, they go wild.
  4. White privilege means you’ll never feel ashamed of having a heritage that’s different to your nationality. But me? There have been so many occasions when I’ve hated my olive skin with a burning passion, wanting nothing more than to get surgery and try and whiten myself. The feeling of being uncomfortable in your skin because you aren’t Aussie enough because of your hair colour and skin tone is horrifying. Being bullied over the fact that you have hair on your skin is something no one should experience. Being mocked over your cultural dress and traditions or the food you eat should be someone no one should experience. Wanting nothing more than to alter your appearance so you’ll fit into society is the most heart wrenching feeling I’ve ever experienced.
  5. White privilege means no one will make assumptions of your intelligence/profession based on race. But me? I’ve developed a shell where I laugh off the comments about the fact that I’m not an engineering or med student. I’ve learnt to deal with the snide remarks about my decision to drop sciences and pursue humanities instead. I’ve learnt to drown out the bullshit about whether my parents are ok with me not doing medicine. I’ve learnt to not give a shit about the giggles and laughter that emerge when I ask questions in class, because apparently as someone with an Indian heritage, I’m meant to be a genius.
  6. White privilege means you’ll never be discriminated in a professional setting because of your name, skin colour, religion or food preference. I’ve never experienced this, but I know many who have. And hearing stories about young men and women, mainly from Sri Lanka, India and the Middle East who were pressured into changing their names to a more white name so they can get a job breaks my heart over and over again.
  7. White privilege means you’ll never understand the feeling of being told you can’t hang out with someone because they aren’t white. True story. Imagine yourself in primary/elementary school where a group of girls tell you that you can’t play hide and seek with them because you’re not the same as them and their mothers said they can’t play with you since you aren’t white. How does that make you feel?
  8. White privilege means you’ll never be casted as a representative of your entire race. This is self explanatory.
  9. White privilege means you’ll never know the feeling of not feeling accepted in your skin because it’s too dark
  10. White privilege means you’ll never understand the true horror, shame and irritation of having your culture appropriated, when society blatantly shuns P.O.C. for wearing their heritage with pride. But me? I’m not the most Indian kid out there. But I adore my heritage. I love the fact that I can step away from who I am everyday and immerse myself in the colour, beauty and tradition of our festivals. But it’s a point of irritation when I’m made fun of for wearing a kurti in public as I stop by a florist to pick up flowers for the celebration I’m attending. It angers me when people make ridiculous comments about how henna looks like my hands are cut open, or when I speak Hindi, I sound animalistic. What also isn’t ok is for white people to make fun of our cultures and traditions when we partake in them, and then parade little facets of them at music festivals because it’s chic and boho. There is nothing Boho about wearing a bindi. There is nothing boho about getting henna done. There is nothing boho about wearing our bangles and anklets. And there is especially nothing hipster about getting Om tattooed on your body.And while we’re on this last point, let me once again point out the idiocy of fashion brands globally, when they think it’s cool to pick out random hindi words so their jewellery titles look hipster and edgy:tumblr_o6ztx7V6kM1tarapzo1_500As the tweet says, the name of the jewellery translates to Elephant (haati) tea (chai) leaf (patha). What sort of bullshit is this?
  11. White privilege also means you’ll never see the injustice of not having the right person cast for a role in a movie or production. And by this, I mean all the times books with P.O.C. that were transformed into movies were cast with white actors and actresses.

 

This post isn’t a guilt trip scenario to make white people feel guilty about having the skin colour that they do. It isn’t a white people bashing post. It isn’t meant to make you feel like every P.O.C. is putting the blame on you. I’m not trying to shit on your community or pinpoint that every white person is so ungrateful and horrible. Because they’re not. And I know that every culture, race and religion has good people and bad people if we’re going to keep it simple here.

All I am trying to say is that there needs to be an awareness and an acceptance that such things do exist, and that maybe, that’s the first step to cultural inclusiveness in society. Because there is nothing worse than not feeling at home in the country you were born in, brought up in and have grown to love, cherish and wear it’s nationality with pride.

Open your eyes and see the reality maybe.

xx Simran

 

 

 

Auspol and the budget

When the best thing about the abysmal 2016 federal budget (not sure what’s happening there) is Leigh Sales grilling and roasting Treasurer Scott Morrison on 7:30.

This is the fate of Auspol. And it’s a recurring motif with our budgets now. Leigh Sales has to be my favourite Australian journalist. She orchestrated the biggest roasting of Joe Hockey last year. Our economics class had a viewing party and were investigated by the principal because our howls of laughter were reverberating through the first floor of D Block. Apparently we were having too much fun :/

View the roasting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdCC1g2GfPQ

Leigh Sales is so wonderful to watch. Especially when she’s roasting the liberals on national television. It’s gotten to the point where Prime Minister Turnbull feels offended by her apparent aggression, claiming that it becomes an opinion when she’s so cut throat and has told her to tone it down to a more “respectable and docile” level of journalism. Because his mansplaining clearly had no impact on Leigh Sales, who continued in her slay all day way to roast him. Don’t you love when politicians feel the need to attack good journalists who

BUT THAT BEING SAID, if watching Leigh Sales do her post budget interview with the treasurer is my favourite part of budget night, that must indicate how shockingly tragic the budget is. In particular, I love how there are going to be further cuts to health and education (two prime industries in an economy and nation) because why not. University fees will continue to be deregulated, and the abolishment of HECS, while left unaddressed, doesn’t indicate that it still isn’t a pawn on the political chess board. With further cuts to funding for higher and tertiary education, universities will be allowed to set their own fee packages. Degrees that already cost a lot more then they should will just increase, causing more issues for students because the means to pay will become more difficult unless everyone gets a well paying job (which mind you, rarely happens while you’re in uni) and they don’t feel like their purchasing power has decreased. And if you’re an international student, you may as well give your bank account to the university because by the end of your degree, you’ll have a huge debt.

While I could easily write a 5k analysis of the federal budget for 2016, let’s leave it here. Anxiety at 8am due to Auspol never did anything good for anyone.

Yay for more tragedy.

xx Simran