Monday, January 10, 2011

Can right-wing hate talk lead to murder?

With our 20/20 hindsight we can look back onto this Salon article from over a year ago and locate all the warning sirens and flashing lights.  Chilling words from Joan Walsh in 2009: "If I were a marginal, unemployed, angry, racist white man right now, I'd be hearing a lot of mainstream conservative support for my point of view. Can that help create a climate for more violence? I don't know. I hope not, but I don't know."

I thought it was interesting that a right wing senator commented that he would continue business as usual and not let the attack on Gabrielle Giffords change his routine or cause him to worry.  Well of course you shouldn't have a reason to worry; it seems as though all of the attacks and death threats are coming from within your party and from the far right.

I grew up as a staunch Republican but after all of the hate mongering in the last ten years I could not stomach it anymore.  I feel that I should put it out there while I state my opinion.  I am not neutral on this subject.  With each passing day I grow more liberal.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Girls' night out

2 1/2 years after returning to Hong Kong I experienced some of the female camaraderie that I have been desperately missing.  It has happened just as I have finally realized that I was going about this all wrong.  I do miss my girlfriends from the States.  What is not to like about women who play sports, debate about critical theory, drink beer and band together to create all sorts of interesting art projects?  But these women are so partly because of the environment that we grew up in.  Here in Hong Kong we don't have time for failure.  What I mean by that is that there is so much pressure here to succeed and so much competition to be successful that there isn't much room to make a mistake, especially if the mistake is on purpose.  My stateside girlfriends and I are more so the products of our mistakes than our successes.  When things go right I accept them as a good idea but when things go wrong I am forced to look deeply into why they went wrong and how to resolve the problems.  I would definitely say that I learn more from the mistakes.  My girlfriends are similarly flawed, multidimensional characters.  In the end our fearlessness for going into new situations has been based on our abilities to overcome obstacles and challenge our situations.

As I have spent more time here I have become aware of the pressures placed on my local friends do succeed and I have learned to appreciate our differences of opinion.  When I talk about things that haven't gone as expected it is not the same thing as saying that I don't care or that I am unconcerned about success; I simply have another way of learning.  When they spend all their time preparing and studying it is because they are trying to make the most out of their opportunities- because these opportunities may only be given once.  I can respect that.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

technicolor dream

Russia in color, a century ago:

I have seen enough historical photographs to be conditioned to expect black and white or sepia so this was a welcome surprise.  The images are quite beautiful and mind boggling.

to be resolved

So here's the list for 2011 (and beyond).

  1.  Travel more.  What is the use of being on this side of the world and staying pretty much on one tiny island with a bazillion other people? 
  2. Look for another home that has a decent kitchen with an oven.  The view here is spectacular but SB needs to eat.  Or fix the kitchen but we're renting so it would be an investment with low return.
  3. Invest in RMB.  Sorry dollar but I'm not holding out much hope for you in the new year, especially seeing the national debt counter.
  4. Figure out my long term goals with SB.  Does he still like my dream of going off the grid with two dogs, one cat, ten chickens, a fig tree and a strawberry patch? Did he mention something about a goat?
  5. Work to live instead of living to work.  I don't know how I will pull this off but my health has been suffering from the Hong Kong style of working.  I will grow a spine for starters.  If the boss wants me to work on the weekend he will have to at least ask me.  My time is valuable, dammit.
  6. SB has got to meet the parents.  We have been planning this for 3 1/2 years now and the situation is getting ridiculous.  In all fairness, the move to Hong Kong was quite sudden.  Then we need to figure out the appropriate time after the meeting to get officially engaged.  We don't want to end up like our friends S & T who ended up staging a wedding in front of their families two years after they really were married because of similar issues.
  7. Finish that damn revision of my thesis.  Then it will be over with.  Until I decide to revise it again.
  8. Start studying again.  No, not another degree but something to give the brain some exercise.
  9. Roast a pig.  I have always wanted to do it.  Now for the first pig, will it be siu yuk, kalua, lechon, porchetta, or some other variation?
  10. I'm trying to come up with a number 10 resolution just for the sake of having 10.  I will leave this open for a memorable achievement in the new year.