Aug 23, 2016

Living A Plus Size Life

I had a rather unexpected yet interesting weekend after discovering a post on FB on what was supposedly or should I say apparently a FAT SHAMING advertisement by Hewlett Packard on their Spectra - the world's thinnest laptop.

This was brought to attention by fat-positive feminist, sexologist and author Virgie Tovar of USA who says HP's new ad is unacceptable, absurd, and body shaming and that its tagline "Power To The Thinnest" is an insult to the fat community - yes you read that right, a laptop's tagline is an insult to the fat community.

In my amazement of this new world I discovered - a world where people are offended by adjectives used to describe an innovation that has no life within it, a machine with electronics and processors, used to connect with other people and do complete work and create more creations, is being condemned for being hailed thin and light. Really? I did have a hilarious time trying to understand this last Friday. I mean it's a laptop for crying out loud!

Should I feel offended that the laptop is thin? Or that people like a thin laptop? Or am I offending other plus size people if I go buy a thin laptop? Would that mean I am supporting HP in shaming people who are big like me? Hmmm... wait let me see...  I have a Mac Book Air, if apple had any lighter and thinner MacBooks which I could afford, I'd go get that because my God it's a LAPTOP!!!!!! It's not like I'm out shopping for a groom or bride! And if you're walking down the street and you see this ad, how on earth can people think - "HEY! WTF! HP! YOU'RE FAT SHAMING ME!" How else are they going to word their world's thinnest laptop?

What's with the obsession over words that mean the opposite of large? Can't people use them to state a measurement fact? Must the plus size community be so sensitive that it pisses people off thinking we are being ridiculous, expecting the world to change its vocabulary just to accommodate us? It's not a bra they are promoting you know, it's a laptop!

If HP had advertised its ultra thin laptop in the hands of an ultra thin model and said 'power to the thinnest', ok then go get pissed if you want, yes, fat people buy laptops too. But HP did not do that!
Even with the above image, a slim model wanting to have the laptop - can you imagine if they had put a larger guy in the picture and the laptop being the thinnest in the world, that would have been another cry of insult, definitely claiming it as fat shaming too. Why must a fat guy be subjected to this? You know what, if we live our lives being pissed at everything, we'd be best locked up in a room with nothing around us.

So if you go get all upset about how an advertisement has worded their products, ask yourself, is that product a living thing? Should I get offended that people want things small and slim while I'm not either one of those? Is it fair to myself and those who might be depending on me to feel positive about themselves to go all berserk over an advertisement that has nothing to do with plus size humans?

Do I have to give all these words power over me? The power to destroy my self-esteem? If it were that easily destroyed, then I would think, I don't have any to begin with.

If you are big, as I am, and have no reason to believe you need to lose weight (I don't think that way by the way - I'd like to lose the weight I gained due to child birth and an inactive thyroid but I'm no less confident and I am happy with the woman I am today!) and is happy with the figure you are in; you celebrate life just the way you are, then don't go around expecting changes in things that don't fall in the category of true shaming towards you as what is put out by Virgie, or her followers.

I believe it is important to chose your fights. Don't scream discrimination over everything and anything without seeing it from a different, non absurd perspective. Keeping such an approach can only drive out all the seriousness placed on your cause (body positive) even when it truly means making people stop fat-shaming.

Empower the younger generation and the old by showing they are above adjectives! We don't need to customise the world to make it perfect for us, we only need to make sure HUMANS treat other HUMANS of any size with respect - this includes the plus sized not insulting the thin!

Jul 7, 2016

Of Pandas, Boyhood and Pictures

I guess I can say that I lost the liberty to watching a movie on its release date the day I delivered my first child. No, I am not complaining! I'm merely stating a fact. As much as it was fun doing the things you can do before you're entrusted with a little baby in your life, watching a movie after a year or two or a decade later is still a good thing than not watching one at all. Anyway, since it is the Raya holidays this week, I managed to catch up on my movie viewing and watched Kung Fu Panda 3, Boyhood and Movies & Pictures.

KFP3 had many mixed reviews online, but the thing about me, is no matter what others say about a movie, I need to be the judge of it. Anyway I loved it! As I did for KFP1 and 2. It was funny and inspiring as always. The connection between all three movies I believe flowed well.

Credit: Dreamworks

Then there was Boyhood, that was a 172 minutes well spent, but it would have been torture for anyone who hated constant silence as was the case for this. I guess the part that made meaning to me was when the mum screamed her anxieties at her son just before he left her apartment for college.
End of the day, you wonder what life is suppose to be about when you've completed your duties in raising your children and they head on with their own lives. Are we suppose to think, ours is over? I highly doubt so. Motherhood should be about discovering and creating yourself and when your kids have their own wings to fly, shouldn't we take flight to?

And finally, Words & Pictures, the movie I have been waiting for, for so long! Finally watched it and the wait was worthwhile. Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche played their roles so nicely and watching him whisper words of intellectuality after their evening together, clearly defines the meaning of saposexualism - being attracted to someone's intelligence. In the end, I believe, art and words are essential and if possible, one should not be without the other. 

Jun 3, 2016

Your Name Is Your Shield

It's a wonderful opportunity to revisit Alex Haley's book - ROOTS in the reimagined series by History Channel that was aired first on Memorial Day in the US.

Growing up, I remember the weekly anticipation my family experienced in watching Kunta Kinte in action. We never called the show by its actual name - Roots (1977), we named it Kunta Kinte.

It was a highly memorable period for many families who owned a TV set back then. Emotionally intensed and heart breaking at every point in every episode - learning how slaves were traded and treated like animals instead of humans. How a family struggled from one generation to another. How no African slave had the right to their own life, and how within 24 hours, one's fate could change tremendously for the worse. 

Now after 30 years, watching Roots (2016) on TV with my little children, the emotions are even more intensed for me. With age of course you begin to understand the intensity of history. Of how things happened to shape the world we live in today. 

In Roots (2016), phrases such as 
- your name is your shield
- family matters most
- honour your ancestors 
- live in dignity and honour
- behold the only thing that's greater than you (the universe!);
all these speak loudly to its viewers through this series.

Evaluate our present lives and we'll see how little people care for such substance and how unwilling people are to fight for our loved ones, our name, our roots. 

Night 3's episode where Kizzy says goodbye to Marcellus, choosing her son and daughter-in-law over love shows how much a women sacrifices for the safety of her children and would do so even if it kills her. That was an honorable and heart-breaking scene to watch especially for a woman who was raised so gracefully by Kunta and Belle and had her life turned upside down because she was caught being able to read and write. 

My 9 year old son, upon seeing Kizzy dragged away, sold off to a new master because they found a letter of freedom she had forged for her boyfriend Noah, asked me what's wrong in knowing how to read and write? Knowledge is power and if you have it you are a threat back then. Even now not much of that idea changed. How governments control what we can and cannot learn. Segregation of elite and non elite groups. It's pretty much still in existence. Whenever I read about how women were persecuted for being able to read, I always tell my children, you have the opportunity to be educated so don't take it for granted! Remember the many who yearn for it and get persecuted instead. Educate yourself and use it to make the world a better place for your children! 

Hence it sickens me when I hear people question why their children need to study certain subjects in school. There are even teachers who make statements like this on subjects such as ICT & RBT, calling it a waste of time. Really? When people in some parts of the world get shot for wanting to learn, here we have a different, more privileged way of taking education for granted.

I'm not an African American, but this history touches me very deeply. History has a lot to teach us when we evaluate the story told wisely. Of course it has to be history with a true account and not one manipulated by politics. 

Here's something I cannot help but compliment after reading it on FB. The caption to this post is very true. Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it. We are suppose to make something better of our lives than the ones our ancestors had. They fought to break the chains bound to their hands and legs; to break free from the masters who owned them and abused them. Remember their trials and let not your generation now and the ones to come be bound to the unseen masters that insidiously destroys one's existence, one's root! 

Live and don't waste your life!


May 31, 2016

Citizen's Arrest

With everything that goes on these days, the words common sense being uncommon keeps sounding again and again in the media and in casual chats among friends and family, so often that we don’t give a damn anymore about it.

While being able to say what is and isn’t sensible, not many are willing to reprimand a wrong doer. Why? Is it because they don’t have the guts? Do they feels it is not their business or think someone else will deal with the correctional actions? Does it only become a hot topic of discussion on a social media site because most people are all about talk and not action? We just allow people to do what they want and give a blind eye to it - it’s more convenient that way because you want to avoid being physically injured by the other party for telling on them.

Imagine if we still practiced citizen's arrest?

How many people would be summoned for all the wrong things they do?

For littering (including throwing trash out of their vehicles) and illegal waste dumping, for vandalising public property, for peeing in open areas, for double parking, for smoking in non-smoking areas, for being drunk and disrupting public peace, road bullying and so many more.
If only we had the right to apprehend them.

Everyday, without fail, you will see people taking things for granted and being so irresponsible towards nature and breaking the law on so many micro matters that if continues long enough would show insidious results.

It’s as if education was wasted on them and since education is not making citizens ethical, what else would?

Jan 14, 2016

21st Century Educators

Being a teacher in the Internet era is a completely different ball game with  information being accessible to students at the tip of their fingers. 

Being an educator in the 21st century, we need to keep ourselves updated and convey knowledge that is credible in order to gain our pupils' respect and this is not confined only to science and technology subjects but everything in the curricular including art. We need to be able to incorporate different teaching and learning methods to continuously capture the attention and interest of our students. 

Are we technology savvy enough to be functioning as educators of the 21st century? 

We live in the time where learning and learners are no longer the same as yesteryears. We've evolved so much that even projects and presentations are no longer made on art blocks, manila cardboards or PowerPoint but made as video presentations and podcasts.

We need to watch what we say when we teach - say something ridiculous and parents who are no longer Grade 6 school leavers will come after you. I know I do with my children's teachers - no not because I want to act smart but when I know for a fact something is taught wrongly it needs to be corrected for the benefit of all learners of that teacher's - present and future. 

What's horrifying is how many teachers fail to improve themselves and when they are questioned, queried or even spoken of on social media (which is the in-thing these days) they get offended! 

We should move up with time. We no longer live in the era where teachers are synonymous to almighty. We need to know what we are talking about in order to survive this fast paced world. Lag and we'll fall flat on our face and we'd only have ourselves to blame for the joke we've made of ourselves. 

We can't keep blaming the system when a lot truly lies within the hands of the educator itself. 

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