Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Racism: Subtle, Soft and Sickening

The little bell on the door tinkers lightly as it swings open. A gust of cool air sweeps in. The chatter of brunch-goers, along with the clang of cutlery sets a cheery ambience in this small coffee shop. At this very moment however, one brunch-goer is experiencing something unpleasant. She stays quiet, she doesn't want to bother her companion, who is tucking into her smashed avo without a clue as to what is happening mere centimetres from her. A couple sitting one table away are making snide remarks about her. About what exactly? Her race. 

There is no doubt that racism towards Asians is alive and well in 2018 Australia. Racism towards those of Asian descent has become much more subtle over the years. While it is no longer socially acceptable to call a Chinese person "ching chong" (you won't believe how many times I heard this in primary school) and a shift away from the portrayal of Asians as the token nerd who tries but ultimately fails to win over a Caucasian love interest, we cannot deny that racist attitudes are still thriving. 

A friend of mine told me about a subtle incidence of racism she experienced recently. She was at work when she, along with other colleagues, met with someone fairly important. This fairly important guy shook hands with the Caucasian colleagues and my friend stuck out her hand, expecting the same handshake. Almost as if she had become invisible in that moment, the fairly important guy turned his back on her outstretched hand and proceeded to walk away. This situation can be explained very simply. In this guy's mind, someone of Asian appearance is immediately less worthy of respect, more likely to be incompetent and generally speaking, socially subordinate. Not to mention, this friend was female, which means (quite logically) that she is far less capable than her male colleagues, probably emotionally unstable and "bossy" (because she's assertive). Sorry- got side-tracked, back to the racism. 

What I want you to take from this is that racism comes in all shapes and colours. Racism is not clear-cut; it's not just the man who walks past you on the street and screams "get the f*ck out of my country you f*cking [insert race]" (based on a true story- we were walking out of a restaurant in our local area when a man started hurling abuse at us, honestly was quite frightening). Racism can be discreet; it can be overlooked even by the people who are victims of it. It can be a seemingly innocent question: "No, but where do you really come from?" or it can be a certain contemptuous tone of voice directed at you and your kind only. So the next time you see someone displaying some subtle bigotry while you're peacefully brunching, make sure you do something about it. Don't let it slide. 

P.S. check out the sibilance in my title! also it's been almost 2 years since I last posted something! wowee

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Why Cate Campbell should be proud

Cate Campbell continues to amaze me.

It's not her athletic prowess, her gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay or even the fact that she holds the world record for 100m freestyle.

It's the way she's handled herself in the past two weeks. 

In the face of scrutiny and criticism by the media and Australian public over her "choke" in the 100m freestyle final at the Rio Olympics, she has been stoic and courageous. I cannot begin to imagine the pressure that Cate was faced with in the days before the race. But mostly, the pressure she placed on herself to succeed. A dream she had been chasing after for many years. Years of early mornings and hard work in and out of the pool. And to have that crushed in a matter of seconds must be awfully painful to deal with. 

While Cate wasn't able to grab a gold medal, she was able to do something much more difficult and valuable, and that was to remain dignified in the face of failure. Not once did she make excuses for her performance. She didn't blame anyone, rather, she thanked everyone for their support. And when she said to Australia, "please still love me," I thought, how can we not? You are the definition of a strong female athlete, one that all young women should look up to. 

It would be an understatement to say that the countless interviews asking the same questions and unwavering media attention have been overwhelming for the young athlete. It would be mentally exhausting. It would be totally reasonable for any person under that sort of pressure to snap. Yet Cate has held herself beautifully.

If there's one word to sum up Cate Campbell's run at the Rio Olympics, it is RESILIENCE. What a wonderful attribute to have developed and been able to showcase in the face of adversity! A few days ago, news came out revealing Cate's hernia. Cate swam at the Olympics with a hernia, which can be terribly painful and won a gold and silver medal and set a world record, feats not to be diminished.  

Still, she has been harsh on herself. Too harsh. With time the wounds of coming up short will heal. It is important to remember that while Olympic athletes are elite performers, they are human first. And humans are fallible.

Thank you Cate, for swimming for Australia. But mostly, thank you for inspiring me to be a fearless competitor and remain dignified in the tough times. If you do swim in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Australia will be rooting for you, cheering you on as loud as ever.  

Monday, 22 February 2016

Why I Support Sydney's Lockout Laws

You don't have to be an avid reader of the news to know a bit about Sydney's new lockout laws (if you live in Sydney, that is) and have heard about the massive backlash that has followed. Just today there has been a Keep Sydney Open protest that involved more than 8000 people. What is their argument? That Sydney's nightlife will be crippled and our reputation as a thriving metropolis will be tarnished forever. How devastating.

If you're unaware of these new laws or don't really understand what the fuss is about, let me simplify things for you. The NSW Government introduced these laws in response to high levels of alcohol fuelled violence on our streets. These laws state that:

1. After 10pm you can't buy alcohol from shops 
2. After 1:30am no new customers ie. 1:30am lockouts (small bars and most restaurants exempt) 
3. After 3am no more drinks served ie. 3am last drinks 
4. 48 hr temporary bans on troublemakers 

Ok, perhaps they seem a little iffy. Have they had any positive effect on alcohol-fuelled violence rates in Sydney, you might ask? Wonderful question! I'm so glad you brought that up. In fact, these laws have made an immeasurable difference:

- 32% decrease in assaults in Kings Cross
- 26% decrease in assaults in Sydney CBD

So I think the real concern should be, why are so many Sydney-siders throwing a hissy fit over reforms that are saving lives? Perhaps the incredibly inspiring movement of Keep Sydney Open should be renamed Keep Violence Happening? Or maybe Keep Letting Avoidable Deaths Occur

Most people would agree that an alcohol fuelled one-punch assault is an absolutely heinous crime. But when the government finally steps up to protect innocent people from becoming victims of such a crime, all that can be heard is the incessant whining of those who refuse to give up a sliver of their "personal liberties" to potentially save lives. 

However, it must be acknowledged that there are still improvements that should be made to Sydney's lockout laws, including relaxing the rules for live music venues so that musicians can continue to thrive, but in a safer environment (and a bunch of other things that I can't be bothered mentioning).

Perhaps we should be worrying about Sydney's seemingly out of control drinking culture and spend more time advocating safe drinking and rallying for even better alternatives rather than slamming these lockout laws at face value. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

9 Things I Learnt in Japan

In November I was lucky enough to visit Japan with my family, namely Tokyo and Osaka and it was definitely an experience to remember. I ate a lot of ramen as well as some ramen and did I mention ramen? Without further ado I present NINE THINGS I LEARNT IN JAPAN:

look at all those lanes of traffic!
and the other side!
on the surprisingly uncrowded train
the amazing trees of japan!
  1. Barely anyone can speak English but everyone is willing to help a stranger. The Japanese are incredibly friendly and very polite. Bowing is the norm. Workers will bow when leaving a shift, salespeople will bow when you look at them and bow so deeply that their nose touches their knees if you buy their product.
  2. Everything is smaller in Japan. Living spaces, buses, cars, restaurants, etc. They even have mini trucks that look like they belong in the Lego Movie. Everything is also cuter in Japan. Even their police stations have adorable cartoon characters of police officers positioned outside. 
  3. Peak hour is 11pm. The nightlife in Japan is well and truly alive.
  4. Everything is cheaper in Japan. Food is cheaper, even souvenirs are relatively cheap. This is in comparison to the cost of living in Sydney (which is apparently one of the highest in the world :/). Strangely, the sushi in Japan is more expensive than, say, at a Sushi Train in Sydney.
  5. Japan is NOT the most environmentally friendly country. Anything you purchase will be wrapped in plastic which is then placed into another plastic bag and sealed with plastic tape. They might even slip a few plastic bags into your plastic bag for future use.
  6. The Japanese love their beef (and their fish of course but definitely the beef too). Also, almost every restaurant we went to gave us a glass of ice water upon arrival which I found surprising because I think I expected cups of steaming green tea (oops)
  7. Many Japanese smoke cigarettes. And it's allowed INSIDE restaurants! Let's just say I've done my fair share of passive smoking the past week and found myself smelling like a smoker afterwards. 
  8. Stairs, stairs and stairs. There are an infinite amount of stairs everywhere in Japan. In the train stations, in museums, in parks, in shopping centres, there is no way to escape them. I think my legs are more toned than ever from all the stairs! 
  9. Japan has beautiful trees. 

the view from the bullet train from tokyo to osaka

This post is not intended to offend anyone. It's simply what I observed during my time in Japan which admittedly is a limited view of life over there. Please forgive my generalisations. All the photos were taken by ME so yay for me. I will hopefully be posting a review of Japan's Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter soon! If you've been to Japan or you found anything interesting, comment below! 

P.S. Sorry for all the exclamation marks in this post, I was simply too excited to share all this!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

How To Survive Your Final Year Of Highschool

1. Do not attempt to retain a social life. This advice is gold and if you're like me, it won't be too hard either. There's no point trying to balance five things at once when clearly you are only capable of doing one thing at a time. Quit every single sporting activity you currently do. Get rid of any friends you have clinging to you. Family is the exception but try to get rid of as many of them as you can too. Oh, do you play an instrument? Quit it. Now. You want to have fun? Now's not the time.  

2. Procrastinate as much as humanely possible. This is a hard one to master but once you get the hang of it, you'll find yourself performing this task subconsciously. Procrastination has been scientifically proven to improve your intellect and can boost your marks in a matter of weeks. Just watch those rankings fly up! Make sure to start working on assignments two days before they are due. Three days is excessive and one day is extreme. Don't be an extremist.

3. Eat copious amounts of food to cope with stress. This is an obvious one and if you haven't already starting using this technique, you're going to fall behind! Winter is fast approaching (if you're in Australia) and fattening up and preparing for hibernation is essential. Fast food, lollies, chips and soft drinks are particularly effective in increasing those cholesterol levels that will lift your academic abilities. Healthy food- no one has time for that junk! (that was a pun btw)

P.S. If you haven't already realised, this post is not intended to help you in any way. In fact, you should disregard everything you just read for your own health and safety. Do try and retain your social life, avoid procrastination and eat healthily. I was only kidding (: 

Also, here is an irrelevant picture that I found on the internet because I feel like there's an unstated blogging rule that says one must include an image in a blog post.
story of my life