Surabaya + Neglect + Pandemic

I have been neglecting this blog on purpose. I have been reading, but I haven’t been updating. And even with the reading, it was just mediocre.

My last update – Was two days before I flew out to Surabaya, Indonesia. I went there to escape Lunar New Year. I went there to escape a whole lot of things. I went there to escape reality. I succeeded, and I came back with a new tattoo. A tattoo that says “Avec Toi, Je Suis Moi”.

Last night, I finished reading Black Boy by Richard Wright. Started on The Gift of Anger by Arun Gandhi. It’s not going to be an enlightening read for me. Simply another read about another person’s journey.

I’m rather fortunate to have travelled right before the pandemic hit. It was quite a stupid move, but nevertheless, it happened, and so it happened. My wanderlust is no longer that strong, and I do not care to explain why, although I know why. I did visit the Russian submarine, of all places. And yes, the tattoo. Made new friends too. Had a blast using Gojek travelling around the city and also ordering in. I lived opposite Tunjungan Plaza, and yet I ordered in. Like I said, the wanderlust – wasn’t with me this time around.

This pandemic has taught me nothing. I am so numb from life that it has taught me nothing. 21,000 deaths today, but that’s just “official figures”. We know that’s not believable. Come on, you’re not that stupid, are you? Do you know how many people died in 1994 in Rwanda alone? Do you know how many people died in the 2004 tsunami? What about Syria? What about Sudan? What about Xinjiang? What about history?

One thing reading has taught me – is to be resilient and keep an open heart for the poor, the weak, the oppressed. They are the ones who always suffer the most. Literally, the most. If I die from this virus, my eldest, who’s living with me, might perish, too. But if he doesn’t, it will be devastating to him, but he will carry on, just like the rest of the world. I will soon become a distant but loving memory to him. I will be missed. Life goes on.

The least I could do, right now, is remain indoors – so that the frontline heroes can do their jobs better with one lesser covidiot (if I go out, I will be one), and go home to their loved ones and live to fight another day.

That’s all for this post. That’s all.

Read: Men We Reaped; Gypsy Boy

Men We Reaped

Worst part of the book? I think it’s about the Chinese girl trying not to get bullied and hence chose to hate on blacks so that she could “be” left alone by the whites – by hating on the blacks. It’s disgusting, having to publicly express hatred toward another race in order to survive in a f*cking school. A f*cking school. Only in America? Don’t think so. I didn’t go to school with kids from other races until my teens. Even then, they were considered ‘exotic’ because there were so few of them. We actually wanted to make friends with them, because their culture is different, intriguing, something we don’t get to experience probably because our country’s school system is so segregated it’s f*cking ridiculous.

Gypsy Boy

Before reading this book, I never had to have an opinion about their way of life, their culture. After all, I live in Asia. There are no Gypsies here. While I’m aware of how certain people hate them (why, what for), I never dug deeper beyond the stereotypical “all Gypsies are thieves and uncouth” line. I did have first-hand conversations with Europeans (friends, ex-colleagues) about the Romany people, but they weren’t white supremacists so there weren’t much to hate on beyond those lines. So I’ve finished the book – Still no opinion. It’s their way of life. To the normal society, they are in dire need to change or “be changed” (i.e. continue to be discriminated against until their culture vanishes altogether). It’s sad, it’s tragic. It’s no different than oppressed little girls forced to go through FGM or marry old men at the tender age of 5.

Currently Reading: The Marcos Dynasty

“The Marcos Dynasty” by Sterling Seagrave

Mind-blowing, and I’m barely at 1% (the book’s 506 pages). Having relatives from the Philippines, growing up in a multicultural, multiracial community, and being next door neighbors with them, I literally had no idea how bad (read: fake) it was. And this is only page 14.

However, having highlighted this paragraph (along with 12 others), I find myself unable to identify with it, though I was born and raised in (“Malay”) Malaysia. On the contrary, having lived in Beijing, China, for nearly 10 years, I agree with it, almost completely.

99% to go.

Added TBR: Between The World And Me

I’ve been seeing endless raves on The Hate U Give in my online book clubs, nearly the entire second half of 2018. Today’s the day I finally gave in (can’t take it anymore) and asked the following in yet another OMG-The-Hate-U-Give-was-so-good thread:

Is there a similar read but nonfiction? Please recommend, thanks!

And that’s how Between The World And Me came about. Thank you, fellow bookworm!

So far, though only one recommendation, it seems powerful and good enough.

The thing with books is that there are so many great reads, that when a new read becomes famous, presumably something that wasn’t written addressed before, we forget to seek, dig, or even ask for similar reads in a different genre.

So this time, being the nonfiction nerd who can’t seem to digest fiction, I asked.

And it was answered.

p.s. I have an ant farm on my tbr, I know and I don’t care. As long as I already own it, I’m at some peace even if I can’t get to them just yet.