books i wrote

I went on a small research binge last month on Fiji Indians + being constitutionally locked out of land ownership, and some about Chinese Indonesians + pogroms last week. I was interested in the pushback that happens when an ethnic minority has a lot of economic power in a society. I had lunch with a friend this week and talked about this, and he mentioned that one of his friends was reading a book on this very thing – Amy Chua, who calls these groups market minorities, has written World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability, which I checked out of the library a few hours ago. I’m ~40 pages in and excited about this (I’m unsure how much of her conclusions are correct, I’ll read the critics when I’m done with the book).

Chua’s thesis: introducing free market capitalism and democracy at the same time to a society that has a “market minority” (an economically productive ethnic group) leads to escalating tensions as the market minority gains more economic power & the majority population gains political power, mutually fucking each other up more.

Markets concentrate enormous wealth in the hands of an ‘outsider’ majority, fomenting ethnic envy and hatred among often chronically poor majorities. In absolute terms the majority may or may not be better off, but any sense of improvement is overwhelmed by their continuing poverty and the hated minority’s economic success. More humiliating still, market-dominant minoroties (along with their foreign investor partners) invariably come to control the crown jewels of the economy, often symbolic of the nation’s patrimony and identity: oil in Russia and Venezuela, diamonds in South Africa, silver and tin in Bolivia, teak and rubies in Burma. …

When free market democracy is pursued in the presence of a market-dominant minority, the almost invariable result is backlash, typically taking one of three forms: backlash against markets, targeting the market minority’s wealth; backlash against democracy by the market minority & allies; violence, sometimes genocidal, against the market minority.

The book opens with Chua recounting the murder of her Chinese-Philippine aunt Leona by her chauffeur. I found this part sickening in every way and fascinating as hell:

[One of my uncles] replied tersely that the killer had not been found. His wife explained at the Manila police had essentially closed the case. I could not understand my relatives’ matter of fact attitude. Were they not more shocked that my aunt had been killed in cold blood, by people who worked with her, lived with her, saw her every day? Why were they not outraged that the [complicit] maids had not been released? My uncle was short with me. “That’s the way things are here. This is the Philippines – not America.”

My uncle was not simply being callous. As it turns out, my aunt’s death is part of a common pattern. Hundreds of Chinese in the Philippines are kidnapped every year, almost invariably by ethnic Filipinos. Many victims, often children, are brutally murdered, even after a ransom is paid. Other Chinese, like my aunt, are killed without a kidnapping, usually in connection with a robbery. The policemen in the Philippines, all poor ethnic Filipinos themselves, are notoriously unmotivated in these cases. When asked by a Western journalist why it is so frequently the Chinese who are targeted, one grinning Filipino policeman explained it was because “they have more money”.

My family is part of the Philippines’ tiny but entrepreneurial, economically powerful Chinese minority. Just 1 percent of the population, Chinese Filipinos control as much as 60% of the private economy (!!!!!!!!!!!), including the country’s four major airlines and almost all of the country’s banks, hotels, malls, and major conglomerates. …

Since my aunt’s murder, one childhood memory keeps haunting me. I was eight, staying at my family’s splendid hacienda-style house in Manila. It was dawn, still dark. Wide awake, I decided to get a drink from the kitchen. I must have gone down an extra flight of stairs, because I literally stumbled onto six male bodies. I had found the male servants’ quarters. My family’s houseboys, gardeners, and chauffeurs were sleeping on mats on a dirt floor. The place stank of sweat and urine. I was horrified.

Later that day I mentioned the incident to my Aunt Leona, who laughed affectionately and explained that the servants – there were perhaps twenty living on the premises, all ethnic Filipinos – were fortunate to be working for our family. If not for their positions, they would be living amount rats and open sewers without even a roof over their heads. A Filipino maid then walked in; I remember that she had a bowl of food for my aunt’s Pekingese. My aunt took the bowl but kept talking as if the maid were not there. The Filipinos, she continued – in Chinese, but plainly not caring whether the maid understood or not – were lazy and unintelligent and didn’t really want to do much else. If they didn’t like working for us, they were free to leave any time. After all, my aunt said, they were employees, not slaves.

………gah. I did not grok how it must feel to have a bunch of foreigners come into your country and somehow take up all the resources and good jobs and make a living off the land that used to be yours and you’re barely keeping afloat buying the things you need to survive from them, and you want them gone you want them out – before the first thirty pages of this book. I went from a culture where immigrants aren’t really a thing to a culture where (our less powerful) immigrants are great and we love them! That this book has been so eye-opening so far probably speaks to my failure of imagination/empathy.

I’m currently on the chapter on Myanmar/Burma, where the situation is similar – the Chinese own e v e r y t h i n g, especially since the US has been boycotting Myanmar on human rights grounds. The Sino-Burmese that were already there (plus Chinese immigrants who came down and bought identity papers to work there) have collaborated with the military government to profit from deforestation / drug trade / gem exports. After South Asia, Chua’s book will also cover market minorities in Latin America, Russia, Africa, the Middle East. I’m psyched and will probably post excerpts again.

Why is it that the things we tend to write the most about are the things that always end up hurting us?
And why is it that the things that hurt us most are the things we can never adequately explain?
Words flow from our lips and our fingertips daily, yet we never find inspiration in the things that matter to us.
We are not the cause of our own pain, but we let it devour us to the point it is all we think about and all we write about.
Why is it we think writing our pain down will save our souls from the misery they’re going through?
None of us may ever know the answers to these questions and more, but take faith in the knowledge that you aren’t alone in them.
—  Adrian D Epps // Why is it?

1. WHAT GOT YOU INTO SLBP, AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN THROWING MONEY AT VOLTAGE?

I’ve been playing slbp since mid-October. I was minding my own business, see, innocently maintaining a modest little otome harem, when @nijigendiaries and @o0w0o kept mercilessly throwing these ikemen samurai dudes all up on my dash. 

The fiends. 

One day, after reading one of their posts where some guy named Yukimura was all “b-b-b-b…br…br…breasts!?” and some white-haired dude was all “here, read this book I wrote,” and some dude with a red ponytail was like “wait! instead of reading it…let me give you a demonstration!” so I was like “yeah, okay. aaaaaand download complete.”

I have been in the corner since.

2. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER, AND WHY? WHAT FIRST DREW YOU TO THEM? 

Tokugawa Ieyasu

Me, while reading Ieyasu’s preview:

Tsundere spotted! 

Tsunderes are my weakness, so I knew I had to do Yasu’s route next. Beyond that, Ieyasu makes the greatest change of heart of all of the characters. He is also extremely consistent with maintaining that change, literally starting the very next day and struggling to keep going without backsliding.

Because he is a tsundere, the way he shows affection for his MC is highly stylistic. He absolutely can’t stand to see his MC cry or be in danger, but he teases her all the time to hide his feelings. Tsunderes are always so fun.  

Like a true tsun, he keeps his thoughts mostly to himself, but he lapses into fluff with ease as well.

I like how he’s so earnest, and yet cantankerous. Post-Metamorphosis Yasu is surprisingly forgiving and inclusive. 

Other slbp favorites: Inuchiyo, Saizo, Nobu, Mitsunari, Hideyoshi 

3. ARE YOU STILL PLAYING THE GAME ITSELF, OR ARE YOU JUST ACTIVE IN FANDOM?

Yes to both.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE VOLTAGE FANDOM?

Everyone is fun to talk to. Also, I love reading all of the stories. You all are a talented bunch.

5. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D SEE MORE OF IN SAMURAI LOVE BALLAD PARTY?

Smut, fluff, pov’s, slice of life, less war stories and less everyone’s got the plague stories. I really love the comedic moments. Those are some of my favorites.

6. END WITH A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

I’m just someone who loves to read, play otome games and watch lots of let’s plays. 

@belxsar, @frywen-babbles, @viridian99, @akanojikan, @irina291992, @cottonballwithmustache, @arimii and @passengersaraht have you done this, too?

I’m very close to 3,000 followers so i wanted to ask a question! i’ve been playing with the idea of publishing a book with works that have been seen and unseen. i want to spread my words to people so they don’t feel alone in what they are feeling and going through. would anyone read and purchase a book i wrote? 

I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”

And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.”

And though your eyes
Are not blue like the sea
And are instead the colour of the forest
That is fine by me
As I have never longed for
The smell and the taste of salt water
But I seek stable ground in
The form of forgotten trees.
—  another thing i wrote for my not girlfriend // Adrian Diane Epps
You will wake up one morning and you will want to live. You’ll be happy again, I promise you, my dear. I know the sun is nowhere to be seen right now but it is right around the corner. It is ready to shine when the moment is right so be patient, my dear. You will be happy again.
—  ck.writes (on Instagram)

one of the greatest crimes of the harry potter movies was the absence of dobby wearing a million socks and hats. i have never seen a more relatable character and i am so offended 

There was a crack in her voice and her words got swallowed up by her tears. She had never done this before, wear her heart on her sleeve showing just how vulnerable she was. But it was him, she loved him, and she would do anything to never lose him, “look at me,” she told him, “you could fall for me, you should fall for me, I can give you the world.”
—  c.f. // “her one and only plea”
he’s like a cigarette in my idea. i’ve lit the cigar once and everytime i do, i get more addicted. everytime i stop and look at him, i want to get to know him better. the more i get addicted to the cigar, the more i fall for him. i suddenly realize i’m at the point where i’m so addicted to the cigar that there is no way out. i’ve fallen so deep in love with him that it’ll be hard to move on. he’s just my cigar, and i’ve lit it once too many times.
—  my opinion.
He likes someone. A girl. A girl who won’t treat him right. A girl who is rude. A girl who is possessive over him. A girl who is only sweet to him “sometimes.” A girl who has an ugly personality. A girl who isn’t me.
—  Excerpt from a book I’ll never write #2

Honey he left you.

It’s as simple as that, he left you. Because if he cared enough, he would’ve never put himself in a position to lose you; so don’t get fooled by that ‘I’m lost’ or ‘I don’t know what I want’ bullshit - he doesn’t want you, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t hundreds of others that don’t. You deserve better, you deserve the same exact love that you want to give, and maybe even more. You have the rest of your life to fall in love, you don’t need him.

—  c.f. // “what I wish I knew a few months ago”
I gave up on you because you didn’t do enough to make me stay - I gave up on you because you just weren’t worth fighting for anymore.
—  c.f. // “i hate this part”
The sun is starting to shine again so maybe I can too.
—  ck.writes (on Instagram)