Tag Archives: prose

Minor Earth, Major Sky

As a hobbyist dilettante writer, I have been writing this and that on my beloved blog for four years. Despite English being my Second Language, I dare to write in it against criticism of solecism regarding all the prescriptive rules of the most popular language of the Indo-European linguistic superphyla. The reason I continue to and love to write is no more than the justice of my meek self, smothered under the mask of exoticness that has become my sole identity, and a written touchstone for the neural activities of the mind. I sometimes wonder affected by the progress of neurological or physiological maladies as I slowly walk toward the end of the mortal journey on earth. So, I want to leave the mark of my existence. Welcome to My Invisible World, the Minor Earth.

The provenance of today’s post comes from my reading of a Saturday edition of the Guardian subscription on my Kindle two days ago. It featured a book review of Must I Go by Yiyun Li, exultantly described as a cracking read written by a Chinese-American woman writer deserving of the commendation. The article began with her illustrious academic background as an immunologist and a recipient of a prestigious MacArthur grant bestowed on geniuses. While such introductory curriculum vitae is undoubtedly relevant to denote her intellectual brilliance, I wonder if such a decorative prerequisite is necessary for the book’s worth. What if Li were just an obscure Chinese writer delving into English writing without the decoration? Such a hypothetical question might be regarded as nothing but an incoherent rambling of a jilted would-be writer. Yet, I have noticed that ordinariness is off-putting, unglamorous, and unworthy of recognition. Call it a groundless presumption or jealous subjectivism even, but it’s the truth. Charlotte’s Bronte’s author’s tenet of faithful allegiance to truth and nature seems to apply to the otherness of the Far-Eastern writers whose ordinariness is merely invisible and regardless. That is, they exist in an invisible habiliment of mysteriousness from Shangri-La.

The review analyzes Li’s literary reality of uprooted sentimentality in the background against America’s wilderness, so to speak, in which her existential question of who she is based. Li also rides on the crest of the waves of cultural identity, as is the principal thematic element of most Far-Eastern writers. Rather than striking the chords with the universality of human life, they tend to focus on the egoistic litany of alienation with their selfsame egoist emphasis on otherness. In this regard, Far-Eastern writers themselves foster this strangeness, this otherness, these less-than-ordinary images based on their literary tenet they believe truthful and appealing to selective, not universal readers. That is why I, who is also from the far east tend to eschew their stories, void of the common ground of empathy, no other than the shared physical reality.

Enter Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day, whose literary world is not limited in his racial and cultural backgrounds. A good writer is capable of travel and metamorphosis beyond the existential terra, where the vision becomes a reality of its own. Ishiguro wants to be all that he can be away from his physical context to manifest his views on human nature, which aims to chime the bells of universal emotions. However, such transfiguration of physical reality into the universal realm of consciousness does not betray Ishiguro’s ascribed biological characteristics because creative force, in conjunction with desire for aesthetic values of literature, is mightier and higher than physical reality. In this sense, Ishiguro gloriously triumphs over racial barriers, and splendidly demonstrates that what you look like and where you are from cannot confine you who you want to become.

I still write despite my imperfect command of English simply because I love the act of writing as a valve for opening myself dying for a fresh breath. My book has sold only five digits of a hand. I recently received a comment on one of my book reviews I posted three years ago on amazon with 32 likes that callously slighted my ability to write in general because of minor violations of grammar rules. Yes, I am an amateur writer of Far-Eastern backgrounds with an ordinary job as a legal assistant with a B.A. in English from a state university. Yes, my English is far from the perfection of English Undefiled. Yet, writing is no longer a prerogative of the academically privileged whose selfish seclusion of lettered cases is adulated. Writing is a democratic vehicle in which anyone can morph into whoever she or he wishes without restraints. Take Tolstoy, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, and Jane Austen, all of whom put their literary aspiration into reality despite their spelling weakness. No one shall bully my writing skills, nor belittle my volition to write for universal readership. Forget how I look and speak. It’s the heart’s passion and satisfaction of reason letting out of the cocooned physical reality that deserves manifestation. For this reason, I write with or without public recognition with a myriad of likes.

P.S.: I don’t believe that you can follow my blog without liking what I have written. Also, even if you fulfill the requirement above, if you are regarded as a marketing puppet, then I will drive you away. Therefore, I will not treasure your subscription to my blog if you just press the button on caprice and whims. Certainly not for my blog.

Isn’t this irony?

Our post-modernist culture is nuanced with anti-establishment of anything traditional and proper, such as decorum, mores, and codes of chivalry. The result of degradation of the values under the pretext of establishing a New Brave World is illustrated  in the following cases of Manifest Grand Irony of Liberalism that is supposed to be synonymous with altruism and niceness.

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A Nazi sympathizer? Are you kidding?

According to this week’s edition of The Spectator, an anonymous former British Prime Minister revealed his hatred toward Theresa May by saying that she should be stabbed or done harmed in the most despicably atrocious fashion that reminds me of the gruesome murder of women by the Reaper of Whitechapel in the late Victorian period. Then there is a British conservative party leader named Esther McVey, who was maliciously excoriated by John McDonnell, a British Labor party politician instigating the mass in public to “lynch” her. Also, the First Lady of the U.S. Melania Trump was criticized for her supposedly apocryphal colonial fashion in Egypt by the media which also prompted the subsequent rebukes from the public. And this does not stop in the West. The first female president of Republic of Korea, Keun Hae Park was preposterously ousted by her radical left-wing contender Jae in Moon on the count of accepting bribery from a prominent business conglomerate based on unfounded grounds. Besides, Moon’s myrmidons maligned her reputation with indecent computer-generated photo-ops of her to destroy her political career as well as her personal life in prison because she was a leader of a conservative party.

What the aforesaid ladies have in common is not only their conservative affiliations but also their social defenestration from their societies that show neither sympathy nor solidarity among the members of the parties and of the humanity in general. But then, woe betides anyone declaiming against the faults of the demagogues! Criticism of a political rival on different stances with courtesy is countenanced and actually encouraged in democracy, but contextualizing it in the egregiously violent words toward the women amounts to terrorism and therefore should be publicly deplored in full force and effect. Besides, however strong-willed and imperturbable the aforesaid women might seem in public, they are “ladies” deserving being treated with courtesy, for none other than being women because they are women. Where has all the honorable, respectful chivalry gone? It’s a code of honor, civility, respect toward womanhood that is transcendent of geographical, cultural, and racial boundaries. Just because they are conservative does not give anyone a license to harass them with malicious verbal remarks or gestures marshaling a mass prompting for the behoof of their political hegemony.

To top it all off, the aforesaid betrays the usual faux-pas of declining against their contenders ad hominem, not on the ground of substantive factors or evidence, as Shakespeare corroborated thus: “Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it?” So it’s not altogether based on the standard of Reason but the manifestation of appetites, the raw emotions, the unbridled egos. Sounds antiquated, abstract, or even priggish? – Maybe so, but the men speaking about the women in the aforesaid manner are beyond the pale because it IS a violence of men in power against their women peers in a form of sordid verbal harassment. And it makes me wonder why #MeToo tweeters seem to connive at it, doing nothing to mobilize the supporters for pillorying the guilty men as usual.

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Equality vs Civility

Re: July 21, 2018 issue of The Los Angeles Times on “Paramount TV President fired over comments” by Ryan Faughnder

The article surfaced on the last Saturday’s edition of the paper in tandem with #MeToo movement that had gone viral in the Cyber Sea of Internet. The incident reported in the article illustrates a current phenomena that became all the rage by a willful destruction of a bete noir character whose strong, offbeat views and opinions irked some of the audience in their circles. The gist of the article relates a grave disregard for the principle of civility and a hackneyed understanding/conception of equality – i.e., what constitutes Equality in its pristine essence – by putting the case on the balancing scale of Lady Justice.

Amy Powell was fired following her inappropriate comments made on the upcoming series of “the First Wives Club,” which is expected to feature a predominantly black cast. During a phone call discussing the project, Powell was allegedly said to make stereotypical comments on blacks, especially black women’s being pugnacious. This incident came to light, thanks to a studio assistant’s eavesdropping of the phone conversation and reporting thereof to the department of Human Resources forthwith. Powell denied the out-of-context allegation and said she would be vindicated.

In fact, the ousting of Powell was followed by a series of bloodcutting of the business tycoons along the lines of their allegedly racially motivated faux-pas unearthed from within. Take Netflix’s firing of its chief communications officer for using a racial slur on two occasions. Also, John Schnatter, the America’s number one pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc Chairman, was forced to step down from the company that he founded and grew with sweat and blood after the acerbic and acrid public accusation of him as a racist all because of his comments on the black footballers’ inappropriate behaviors during the national anthem. The aforementioned companies expressed their concerns over such incidents because what they had said were not in line with their values as companies and therefore were detrimental to esprit de corps of the companies. They said in harmony that the salubrious and comfortable work environments should take priority over individual contributions and experiences consummate their capabilities and other personal assets.

Notwithstanding the above statements made by the companies and their measure of justice to enforce a total domain of equality to create salubrious working ambiance, the gravitas of misappropriation of equality and the absence of civility in our society looms large in the imbroglio of incivility and distortion of liberty at its best. With respect to equality of human condition, of course it is among the greatest and most uncertain ventures of modern mankind. However, we have bastardized its pristine nature and the meaning of the sovereign privilege of mankind by applying to just any and all aspects of our contemporary life ad nauseam. The more equal conditions are, the less explanation there is for the differences that actually exist between us. Equality will simply be recognized as a working principle of a political organization in which you are normal if you are like everybody else, and vice versa. It is the perversion of equality from a sacred sovereign value into a mere social concept, politically influenced, conditioned, and shaped by a great social Leviathan vested with all the power to persecute all abnormal you.

Speaking of the importance of civility, the elimination of the aforesaid individuals contextualizes just how the society in general mistakes incivility for racialism. It’s about a lack of courtesies generated by the informalization of civility in the sense of benevolence and respect for others. It’s the manners that take place of the gaps left by the law. For example, there’s no law against cutting a line or importuning of a panhandler to customers in a coffee shop. And this is where a role of civility comes in. Civility in essence is about strangers being able to live a communal life in society. It’s about being able to disagree without being disagreeable, as Obama once said wisely. And just as this presence of incivility takes a heavy toll on keeping the society in an orderly system, our society should endeavor to educate the citizenry on the subject of public civility instead of prompting the public to eavesdrop their coworkers or colleagues and encouraging them to inform their colleagues on the ground of racialism that may not be objectively true because reality is always another way of looking at the world in multifarious ways.