Politicising Desiness

By Shiran Illanperuma

The term Desi is a social, cultural and political identity that applies to the peoples of Southasia and their diasporas. Derived from the Sanskrit word for country, it evokes a primordial relationship between diverse peoples and their vast motherland. Gaining unique currency in the diaspora, the term has come to be a rallying point for socialisation and politicisation of Southasians abroad.

Modern nation states being social - and often colonial - constructs, immediately problematise an identity as broad as Desi. Where does Southasia begin and end? A geographer, a politician and a linguist would each answer this question differently. In a region that was artificially consolidated by imperial Europe and then torn asunder by successive independence, secessionist and separatist movements, what place does a universalising identity like Desi have? Particularly in spaces of displacement like the diaspora, is it possible to truly claim allyship on the base of ancestry in a land that is historically and contemporarily scarred by division and competing nationalisms?

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Also, check out this great post from Mike Turton.  It appears more and more like the KMT decided in 2008 that it would use prosecutions as a way to discredit the opposition in the public’s eyes.  It certainly felt that this strategy worked excellently in the case of former President Chen (they couldn’t go after Lee in the courts but sure as hell wanted a way to historically slur and forever blacken the name and reputation of the first DPP President who dared to wrest from them control of THEIR nation).  This may have backfired though by a) making the public suspicious of further prosecutions that are increasingly later found to be false and b) undermine the reputation of the ROC judiciary and the public’s trust in it despite having claimed on entry to office that they would restore its honor and neutrality.  

Result: more and more Taiwanese are now of the opinion that the ‘we’re not the same old party’ KMT are in fact both untrustworthy and unreformed.  If democracy is a choice between the lesser of two bad choices then perhaps Taiwanese will at least choose the candidate and party that genuinely has Taiwan at its heart rather than the one that merely says it does.  

Are you a transgender artist/ actor?

The Donamar are looking to cast a young (early 20s) transgender man in a play later on this year.

Advert says:

“It’s to play an American student at an East Coast University. Politicised, highly articulate, quite reserved and then suddenly very galvanised into protest. It’s a good part in an ensemble of good parts, although not huge, so it might well appeal to someone who hasn’t any acting experience yet but was interested in starting a career onstage.”


020 7845 5802

New Post has been published on The Rakyat Post

New Post has been published on http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2014/09/18/racism-heavily-politicised-say-malaysians/

Racism heavily politicised, say Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18, 2014:

Racism among Malaysians has been something widely debated and talked about in recent times.

Something unheard of in the past, this evil has slowly, but surely been creeping up on us.

The Rakyat Post spoke to a host of Malaysians on what they felt about racism in our multi-racial society.

A number of those interviewed felt it was mainly the lawmakers who used the race card for their own political agendas.

Syasri Baheramhasa, 67, self-employed.

“The race card is something our Malaysian politicians use to stroke their egos. For the intellectuals, racism and religion is thrown out of the picture when it comes to progressing together as a nation. I was only 10 years old when the country achieved independence. I have very vague memory of that day, but what I can remember is the fact that the spirit of being Malaysian was very strong. I am disappointed that the independence of the country is now being taken for granted.”

G.S. Lee, 50, consultant

“I feel it is mainly the lawmakers who rely on racial issues to get by. It is not something felt between me and my friends. When I read what they say or do, harping about religion and race, and when I sit down with my multi-racial friends, it is a whole different story altogether. What the media, social media and lawmakers portray about Malaysians being racist is incorrect. Why is the racial card being played now when nothing of such is really taking place?”

Razali Ahmad, 28

“Based on my observation, these racial issues began the moment the 13th General Election ended in May last year. After that, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call on “what else the Chinese wanted” led to several other politically affiliated non-governmental organisations (NGO) to join the racist bandwagon. There is definitely a hidden agenda behind the recent racial calling between lawmakers from both divides. In Sabah and Sarawak, racism has no place as we all see each other as equals. It is a different story here in the peninsula.”

Shanmuga Devi, 69, housewife

“To me, racism is prevalent but in a very subtle form. She explained her difficulties in obtaining a Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) trust fund which she claimed catered only to the Bumiputeras. While Najib calls for 1Malaysia, here we have trust funds being given to only the Malays. I find it unfair as I’m not a well off person. Poverty transcends racial and religious barrier. The racial card is also played when my friend’s son tried applying for a job where they only preferred Chinese. In the end, if you remove the identities given to the body, we’re all souls who would go back to God when we die. So why the need to label one another.”

Prabakaran Velautham, 30, technician

“The best method to nip the issue is by introducing lessons on every race’s culture. Education is key if we are to move together as a nation. There should be focus in teaching every Malaysian about each others’ religion and culture so that we find the similarities with one another.”

Izzat Farhan, 18, student

“Vernacular schools should make way. Everyone is welcome to learn whatever language they wish to learn, be it Chinese, Tamil or even a foreign language in a national school.”

Betty Lim, 60, housewife

“Despite what is being reported by the media and said by politicians, Malaysians are generally a united lot. I think Malaysians generally aren’t as racist as what the media makes us to be. There are many of us who silently know and understand that the racial and religion cards have to make way but it has to start with the lawmakers themselves first. Focus on pertinent issues such as education, health, infrastructure and not petty ones such as racism and religion.”

Diana Ramzah, 14, student

“I am worried racism becomes a big deal in the future. There are many young ones like us who can tell that this is all politics in the end. But if not curbed, it can be very dangerous for my generation in the future.”

Taiwan's Political Polls

There’s a delightful example of the hilarious use of polls in Taiwanese politics in the news today.  The context is the recent scandal surrounding the lifting of restrictions on the import of US beef, alleged to contain unsafe levels of ractopamine.  Two polls were published related to this.  First, the Taiwan Brain Trust, a well known think tank broadly allied with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party published their poll showing a large drop in support for the recently reelected President Ma:

The Taiwan Brain Trust think tank on Monday released a poll on the performance of Ma’s administration that showed the president’s disapproval rating had reached 62.1 percent in the wake of the government’s plan to erase a ban on US beef containing the controversial feed additive. Taiwan Brain Trust chairman Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) said such a high disapproval rating for the president at the start of his second term illustrated the president’s incompetence 

Naturally the KMT came out guns blazing accusing the Taiwan Brain Trust of being a stooge of the DPP and tarred it by associating it with now jailed former DPP President Chen.  For good measure they suggested the public take any TBT polls with a pinch of salt as they were obviously produced to provide political capital for the DPP.  For good measure they also hacked at TBT’s criticism of government polls showing public support for US beef. Which brings us to the the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission under Taiwan’s Executive Yuan (Cabinet) poll:

A survey by the commission, which polled 1,084 adults from March 6 until Friday, showed an increase of 22 percentage points in support of imports of US beef containing ractopamine when four conditions established by the government were factored in, while the disapproval rate declined by 19 points.

What I love about this poll is the sneaky ‘four conditions’ element. They didn’t just ask the public what they thought. No, that would be too risky.  Instead they chose to ask the public whether, in the event of the Government putting in place four conditions (e.g. regular safety checks, greater oversight, tighter import controls, higher standards), the public would like US beef imports to resume. The Government get’s the polling results it wants, gets to look like it is serious about protecting the public’s health and is under no political obligation to follow through on said conditions.  This could well be a play book for later polls:

In the event of political negotiations between the ROC and the mainland area do you, given four conditions of eternal peace and prosperity, protection of sovereignty, retention of freedoms of movement and speech and defence of democracy, agree that President Ma should sign a peace treaty allowing the Taiwan area to join the PRC in a political framework akin to the Hong Kong model?  

63% say yes? Yay! Unification here we come!

the thing is, australian history is interesting. it’s fascinating. it’s dark and it’s light and it’s good and it’s bad and a history is what helps make and unite a nation

the problem is that it’s a) incredibly heavily politicised and b) that affects the way it’s taught in primary and high school and then there’s relatively little knowledge or audience for it amongst the regular population

australian history includes

  • the frontier wars
  • tens of thousands of years of indigenous history 
  • chinese immigrants fighting to get to the gold fields
  • the anzacs and the battle for greece and crete in wwii (including an attempt at holding the pass of thermopylae. yes, that thermopylae)
  • the development of coffee culture due to the influx of greek and turkish migrants
  • two hundred years of indigenous resistance, past and present
  • AIF volunteers fighting in the russian civil war
  • australian involvement in the vietnam and korean wars
  • forced adoption within australia (babies taken from unconsenting, unwed mothers)
  • forced relocation of british children to australia
  • bushrangers who were both indigenous and european (that’s right, ned kelly wasn’t the only one)
  • the ten pound poms
  • the battle for “who invented the pavlova” (it was the kiwis)
  • the national divide over conscription that raged in the 1910s and 1970s and literally split the country
  • the development of abortion politics (in many cases it was seen as a necessary procedure by both medical professionals and the working class as far back as the 1920s)
  • the influx of american GIs in the second world war as australia became the allied stronghold in the pacific theatre
  • the australian civil rights movement including the freedom bus rides
  • the invention and proliferation of vegemite
  • australian war brides of the 1940s
  • the rum rebellions
  • the 800 splits of the labor party and the rise of the liberals
  • the 100 years of friendship between australia, new zealand and turkey after what happened at gallipoli
  • it’s all there if you just dig a little deeper
  • go past eureka and ned kelly and gallipoli and the first fleet and the endeavour
  • go forth and google 

anonymous asked:

hi I'm an Chinese Australian and recently my school got a classroom associated with the Confucius institutes. My politics teacher is so suspicious about and he said some stuff that made me feel really iffy? Like he told the whole class that one in three international students from China were sending info about our curriculum to the ccp. I feel a bit uncomfortable with his comments and I don't know what I should do about (esp. if his concerns are valid...)

There was some controversy here in Toronto over Chinese language + heritage schools being Confucius Institutes. A lot of the opposition was from members of the local Chinese community.

Based on what I’ve read, I have my own qualms with Confucius Institutes, but like almost all things to do with criticising the CCP, I’m also frustrated by non-Chinese voices on the matter. 

I think there are legitimate reasons for criticism. I have issues with the ambiguous politicisation of such Confucius Insitutes – or rather, ambiguous non-depoliticisation. 

In a way, this is unavoidable when it’s a government funded institution and the government it’s funded by is at ideological odds with those of Western governments. 

The issue here is that almost anything to do with China as a nation is eschewed as being suspicious. While there are valid criticisms, hyperbole like “1 in 3 international students are communicating with the CCP” is ridiculous and frankly xenophobic and reminiscent of Yellow Peril discourse that resulted in things like the firing of a Taiwanese American physicist over fears that he was a spy for China

When it comes to Confucius Institutes specifically, would I prefer they cease or alter their activities here? Maybe. Probably. 

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett were criticised for their (very minor!) participation in the 2008 Olympics and had this to say:

Hewlett and Albarn included characters from Monkey: Journey to the West in an animation sequence titled “Journey to the East”, used by the BBC as a trailer and the title sequence for their coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing.[14] They regarded criticism of their cultural engagement with the event as hypocritical, whilst acknowledging human rights issues in China. According to Hewlett: “If you start to boycott China…America has to be next”.


New Post has been published on The Rakyat Post

New Post has been published on http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2014/05/03/govt-told-step-gst-awareness-drive/

Govt told to step up GST awareness drive


With the goods and sales tax (GST) scheduled to be implemented on April 1 next year, the government needs to be more aggressive in holding information campaigns on the matter to consumers.

Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said so far the information dissemination programme on GST was seen as not being implemented extensively.

“In addition, the GST issue is politicised by the opposition as a tax system that is a burden to the consumers and, hence, the relevant authorities must intensify efforts to provide indepth information to the community on its implementation,” he told Bernama here today.

He said PPIM was also organising information programmes concerning the new tax for consumers and hoped the community would not hear rumours or be influenced by the negative perception that was being brought up by irresponsible quarters.

The media reported that many of the participants who gathered at Dataran Merdeka to protest against the GST implementation on Thursday did not clearly know or understand it.

Many participants, when asked, said the GST implementation would only raise prices of goods and suppressed the low income group.

Meanwhile, Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) Communications Director Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the government should issue a list of the goods and services that were charged with GST and those exempted as well as an accurate comparison on price changes before and after its implementation.

Mohd Yusof said during a seminar, organised by Fomca recently, participants were still confused on the goods that would be imposed with GST and the changes on price of goods after the implementation.

“Previously, the GST information programme only emphasized on the advantage of the system on business while focus on the consumers were given less attention,” he said.

Young Malay Generation Force (Agenda) president Mohamad Zaidan Abdul Rahim said the GST implementation was vital in the development of the country, which was currently moving towards achieving developed nation status by 2020.

“If this matter is being continued to be politicised by the opposition, which is trying to fish in murky waters, it will cause the people to be confused and give rise to other problems.

“Even though the GST implementation is viewed by the people as a less popular move by the government, it must be insistent and respond to every allegations by the opposition on the matter,” he said.

As such, he said a comprehensive information needed to be implemented in stages to give a better understanding to the people nationwide.

“We will support every campaign that is conducted by the government relating to this GST implementation,” he said.

Kelantan Graduates Assembly (Himsak) President Mohd Faizal Daud said Himsak would be holding several roadshows to provide information to students at public and private institutions of learning on GST.

“We will go down to the grassroots level, especially among the students to provide information that is easily understood to them on GST,” he said.

He said Himsak would try not to emphasize on the technical aspects of the GSP implementation during these ongoing programmes.

When presenting the 2014 Budget in October last year Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a rate of 6% for the GST to replace the existing sales and services tax with an overall rate of 16%.

main beef w anzac is the politicisation and spectacle and money spent associated with a horrible event that should never of happened. that and personally any form of nationalism/patriotism makes me honestly SUPER queasy. i have no beef with respecting the thousands of people who went to war (which is honestly horrible and makes me super sad). but it was because of the stupid decisions of people in power, just like it is today with John Key sending troops to fight ISIS, a subject im still super conflicted on. 



nightwish, my favourite band, collab with richard dawkins. that’s ok, it’s their band, they do what they want. he’s got an interesting voice and i know they like overlaying music and poetic monologues so i can deal w that. what i don’t expect the first time i bother to sit through the IRREVOCABLY boring “greatest show on earth” (which falls embarrassingly flat of their other long songs like poet and the pendulum or ghost love score, by the way), i do NOT expect a fucking lecture of how bad abortion is

“oh all the unborn people could have grown up to be amazing poets and the amount of people who have not been born but should have been outweights the number of grains in the sahara desert” i’m sorry nightwish, you’re my favourite band but that’s just not fucking on. don’t politicise your music, i’ve never listened to something like this and i’m angry that i’ve had to, i feel like i’ve been tricked into it

honestly i was expecting another good rock/metal album and you just fucking blew a stinking pro-life cumshot right into my face and i’m pissed off

sorry followers who know nothing abt nightwish im just A N G E R

Hard Left is a project which marries together decades of experience in underground guitar music. The member of Hard Left have helped steers labels such as 555 and Slumberland into the history books, but they have more in common with The Clash, The Ruts, Sham 69 than any indie group around today.

With politicised punk rock and an jagged anthemic edge, the group ignited last year with two limited edition singles, and now they’re set to release an album. ‘We Are Hard Left’ will be released on May 11th, while the new single ‘ Hard Left Rules OK’ can be heard above.

June Workshops a-go-go!!

Hi babes,

I will be returning to London with a week long Summery Workshop this June. Don’t all scream and run at me at once! Here is the info…

Monday 1st June – Friday 5th June 11am-5pm

I am looking for 12 participants to participate in some hardcore art making. Its an intense but beautiful week; the ones we did in winter really were special.

Turns out I am fast developing my own techniques in making theatre work and I am seeking smart and fearless participants to come on a journey of discovery with me, as I continue to unearth how this can be passed onto other artists.

If you are about to make a new piece of work, are looking for inspiration or need to take a bit of a break to go back to the roots of your art passion then this is the week for you. A carefully selected group of people will delve deep for a week of love, action, politicisation and conversation.

I will touch on individuality, concept, style, creating new material and dreaming big as well as how to write about your work, how to brand yourself, how to engage with your audience, possible wrap around activity for your practice and getting your work noticed by producers, promoters and press.

If you feel you need an overhaul in direction, if you feel your degree never actually taught you how to be an artist or you just the time and space to discuss, write and cry with a group of strangers then join me this June!

Send you CV along with a couple of paragraphs why this sounds beneficial for your practice to amy@bryonykimmings.com by Friday the 8th of May at 5pm.

The fee for this workshop is £250.

Venue: Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London, NW8 8EH 

Love you 

Bry xx

PS. If you need a little convincing here are some testimonials from the Winter Workshops:

“So refreshing, a little bit nuts and seriously good value for money!”

“I learnt more about making my own work and discovering myself as an artist during one week with Bryony than during my entire three-year Theatre degree.”

“Bryony Kimmings is like your dream artist facilitator - all creative realness and no wank. A week working with her is transformative, you leave on a high, hugely excited about the potential of creating new work.”

Yes the hugo’s malarkey has roots older than the gamergate malarkey and it would be disingenuous to suggests that the awards had not previously been ‘politicised’ – as is any area of human endeavour esp. where money, prestige etc are at stake. But recent events are a clear escalation, moving things from the ranty-blog-post-and-vitriolic-comments-section level to the physical-threats-and-actual-harassment level – that this upgrade in hostilities has been linked explicitly to gamergate by the people who the put together the list of things to vote for together can come as no surprise to any one who’s been watching the whole horrific gg thing unfold.

Aside: it feels like for a while the whole hugo’s process has been moving from direct democracy to a kind of ad-hoc party politics (which I suspect is the worst kind of party politics) and this latest furore represents a kind of phase shift.

Gajendra farmer committed suicide (?) at AAP rally in the presence of Kejriwal, who politicised issue but miserably failed.