Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Flail of a Wail: The Malaysian Government’s Desperate Squeal for Control

Government near collapse as international critics and confused, angered Malaysian citizens alike heavily condemn its democratically questionable actions — but on what grounds?

From the 1MDB financial conundrum, to the harsh retraction of Malaysian freedom of expression, to the political backlash Najib Razak, prime minister of Malaysia, is facing — the times beg the question: what exactly is up, Malaysia? The spotlight of international concern and criticism of the Malaysian government’s tackling of human rights issues does not seem to be fading anytime soon, with the Human Rights Watch just releasing its 148-page report titled “Creating a Culture of Fear: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Malaysia” in urgent and impassioned response to the ridicule perpetuated by the vicious crackdown on vaguely seditious cartoonists, “anti-governmental” newspaper tribunals, such as in the Sarawak Report and the brash The Edge Finance exposé. The recent Malaysian freedom of expression repression has purportedly provoked an onslaught of notorious scrutiny in just over a few months, being featured in prominent international journals like The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and CNN.

But why? This isn’t news. The Malaysian government has, since its inception and independence in 1957, been infamous for the gleichschaltung of its cutthroat policies on zipping up the poor mouths and souls of those who don’t fawn over the government mindlessly. Why are these incidences still surprising? Recently, Malaysian citizens’ litost has imploded on social media, with Facebook statuses of Malaysians discussing —  and by discuss, I mean blindly throwing cuss words — around the word “Najib” and “government”, displaying themselves as the people of a nation choked to death with their necks snapped by their own leaders.

This presents us with a harrowing paradox: While recent attacks on freedom of speech in arguably “more democratic” countries like France, such as the contemporary Charlie Hebdo cartoonist charges, have received a response of unparalleled solidarity in the movement to protect makers of art and twisters of language, and to free the words of journalists who are capable of rocking the system and entrenching ideas that work to undermine the federal government’s authority, a prominent Malaysian cartoonist who publishes defaming comics about the ridiculous political situation in Malaysia, Zunar, has received such an abyss of widespread approval that he was only condemned to jail for 43 years in Britain under charge of Malaysia’s moderate and logical Sedition Act laws.

A good question to now bring up is: Why are we comparing ourselves to these liberal Western standards of journalistic transparency when Malaysia has its own more reserved, less open norms and cultural values in regards to openness of discourse? What a more collectivist society like Malaysia (it scores a measly 26 on the Geert-Hofstede individualism scale, compared to a dominant 91 in the US) relies on is the chain-link control of language, because its fundamental values of democracy and faith towards the government are so insipid that it fears one illogical criticism of its Prime Minister will topple the opinion of the entire nation. Collectivist societies function on quiet agreement and harmonic consonance, and the Malaysian government tries hard — albeit badly — to keep the conversation about politics homogenous to keep this accord. If there is no general unspoken agreement on what is true, if there is a deviation from the standard thought bubble, the ultra-collectivist Malaysian society falls apart. That’s one theory to delineate the Malaysian governmental necessity to keep shameful un-orthodoxies down and under control — even if it means using the force of broad and vague law to maintain this elusive, perishable illusion of order.  

Unfortunately for the government, the strategy of forced ambiguity in the legal system, when it comes to implementing laws pertaining to freedom of expression and assembly such as the anger-mongering revision of the Sedition Act in 2015, is turning into shreds as the current orthodox opinion of the Malaysian society is gravitating towards suspicion and distrust against the government. Anarchy threatens in Malaysia, as strife-free rallies evolve into tempestuous uprisings either decrying or defending the legitimacy of the government. Good — they are finally realising their freedom to assemble without uncalled for police brutality. Albeit small, this is change, at least.

In order to realise their fundamental dignity, Malaysians need to move apart from their agreeable, collectivist roots and continue to dissect, scrutinise and criticise any information they are given by the government, and any laws they are unjustly subjected to. This is not a call for Malaysians to move in the direction of Western liberalism: this is a call for Malaysians to realise their human dignity and the worth of their words — whether vomited or doled out in a pretty spoon from the mouth. They need to stop their bickering amongst themselves and realise that if united, if they keep this restless state, they will win the fight against their common enemy: federal corruption, power greed and discriminatory injustice in the parliament.

There is nothing and no amount of articles Human Rights Watch can publish about the fraudulent nature of the Malaysian government that will induce the government to undergo a radical and structural inner revolution without war or bloodshed. That issue stems from long established notions of unquestionable authority, rooted deep in the culture of Malaysian collectivism: one we are only finally beginning to challenge and one from which we are only beginning to cultivate enough courage to call bullshit on.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ladies' Fashion Style Icons

While I don't appreciate or buy into the subculture of mindless fawning over individuals or celebrities, nor will I ever straight-up copy someone else's sense of fashion, I do believe that subtle inspiration from renown "style stars" is key in initially shaping and forming our own personal aesthetic sense. Remember -- learn the rules first, get your ropes in, and then break them.

Having a base icon is like having a mentor -- of sorts. Having a Ladies' Fashion style icon will inspire you to establish your individualistic style. In the end, really, you are your own fashion icon -- but you're like a hedgehog; you take bits and pieces from everywhere and from within your own brilliance and mesh it together into your own uniquely grand finesse.

Let's look at some fashion icons who have incited the thirst for me to dress relatively well over the past few months.

1. OLIVIA PALERMO 


Olivia Palermo's outfits exude class and fine taste with their muted palettes and greying textures, while at the same time radiating personal quirk -- who would wear a black flowery flare dress over a white corporate top?




2. BEYONCE

Is there a day when I don't want to channel Beyonce's fierceness and her IDGAF attitude? Will there ever be a day when I don't sort of just want to wake up and suddenly inherit Beyonce's royalty? Nope. 

Her street fashion is an aspect of her identity that's not as constantly brought up and drooled over as her bling tour outfits and her empowering femininity, but it should be. Exhibit A:  


Exhibit B: 


3. JAMIE CHUNG

Actress-turned-stylist and fashion blogger, Jamie Chung (@jamiejchung) has a message that resonates through her every new movie, every new Instagram post and every new #OOTD: She is not a force to be reckoned with... but she's still chill with you if you are with her. Her immaculate, well-balanced earthy tones are reminiscent of Californian waves sounding beside every step she takes. 

source: whatthechung.com 



4. TAYLOR SWIFT

I still jam out to You Belong With Me every time it comes on, and so does everyone around me when it does... You can argue that Taylor Swift's casual, no-fuss no-muss style has reached a similar level of popularity and fame tantamount to her music, with pictures of her blasted every morning in her signature "I'm leaving my NYC apartment to meet my adoring fans and have brunch with my supermodel posse" aura.


5. OLIVIA LOPEZ

Olivia Lopez (@lusttforlife) never ceases to amaze me with her ability to string almost any piece of clothing together into a seamless, cohesive look, with a tropical hue and heat-strung filters added to every piece. 



6. BLAKE LIVELY

Although long graduated from her role as the troubled socialite Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl, Blake Lively still upholds her high standard of fashion off-screen.



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Sunday, September 7, 2014

The beginning of IB Life @ IGBIS

If you've been following me on my social networks & my blog previously, you'd know that I've started school recently on the 18th of August at IGB International School. It's been about three weeks and I have actually been having a lot of fun. I'd have to attest that fact and accredit it to the wonderful people (don't feel flattered if you're reading this guys), the environment, the teachers & really good classes.

My subjects at Higher Level are: English Language & Literature, Biology & Economics. At Standard Level (SL), they are: Psychology, Math & Mandarin B. Surprisingly I am enjoying the subjects I thought I was the worst at: Mandarin & Math. But I guess that's because it's only the first few weeks & we haven't gotten to the craziness just yet.

Also, the way the IB structures its syllabus -- and generally the whole IB concept -- is just so admirable, it's making me feel like a much more profound person even if it's only been a couple of weeks. You'll learn that everything links to everything and you'll learn to actually think while you're studying, and not just to absorb everything you're given to work with. A skill which is so important in life.

Despite that I've been so busy lately -- so many presentations and assignments going on! I wouldn't say that I have NO time to blog, because that would be a lie (sorry), but my leisure time has been severely decapitated from 7 days a week to 2, so that's been slightly daunting on my time left for blogging. But I'm trying!!! I may have took a long break but trust me, I'm back for good!

All in all, my transition from my gap year to starting IB was actually really smooth. I didn't feel like my brain was so empty that information would just pass through it and I definitely don't feel lazy all the time -- in fact my gap year was really very energising in that it made me actually feel like learning: something I definitely wouldn't have felt if, let's say, I immediately cruised off to pre-U in January, fresh off the IGCSE boat.

I'll fill in on the rest with photos <3

Obligatory cute cupcake photo which probably sums up this post!

A bunch of you have asked me for a uniform photo - and I've aready posted this on Instagram but yeah here it is! 




We had this impromptu photoshoot for a university handbook -- and yeah









Track & field at IGB = a beaaaaut <3 

And here's a panorama of the theatre during the orientation day!

I'm joining Theatre & Performances & we're putting up a production this year so I cannot waiitttt to be performing again! 

There's also a 50m & 25m pool (!!!!) 

Funny thing is: On the first week of school the guys & the girls were super isolated. Like we did talk to each other individually but during lunches & classes we all sat separately HAHAHA. It was like "kindergarten all over again". And then after we all went out on Friday night and during the weekend it was all good and fine, no more gender based awkwardness haha. 

At Izzie's house & around Valencia last Friday: 





Then we went to Publika & had dinner at the Red Beanbag with everyone else!





 And Barfly after <3











I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO'S IN THIS PHOTO besides Simran AHHAHAHA #scary

















Okay that's it for now!
I'm gonna try my best to keep up with my blogging endeavours throughout the IB.

Here are my upcoming posts:
1. Some beauty reviews
2. Food reviews
3. More documentations of outings/MUNs/celebrations/Good Vibes Festival etc.
4. An everyday no-heat hair curling tutorial!
5. Outfit inspirations
6. List of favourite books (& most recently read ones)
7. Why you should take a Gap Year
8. An overview of my own Gap Year

Ask me anything in the comments below & I'll answer :)

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