Monday, March 26, 2007

I would if I could, but I’ve got a boyfriend back home

Once again, I am grateful to those of you who sent in comments and emails in relation to my previous post.What you are about to read may not be as easily palatable as you may prefer. However, it is a life scenario which needs to be confronted with the highest level of care and maturity one’s emotions would permit. What I will attempt to capture (in what is hopefully a nutshell) is not a generalization of long-distance relationships but rather an analysis of a dilemma which many of us face during our youth and the manner in which it affects our decision-making in later years.

As adults, we often find it reasonable to conclude that higher importance should be attached to the challenges we face within our own age groups. Parents seldom admit that the issues their children face can compare to the problems of maintaining a household and supporting a family. Married couples rarely remember the troubles of courtship and the petty woes of childhood love. Working professionals hardly notice the stress and sacrifice of young students. The pattern is always clear in each example. As we grow older, we forget the lessons we learn and the hardships we overcome during our childhoods and the impact they have on the rest of our lives.

The transition from teenager to young adult is never appreciated as a truly transformative period in an individual’s life. Many of us consider this period as “just another phase” in life. The truth however is that this period often “makes or breaks” an individual’s quality and forges a path in a direction which is rarely amendable. It is the exact point in which the moth is set to emerge from the cocoon. It is within this volatile timeframe, that we find the curious notion of “young love”. One may immediately question the writer’s choice of subject matter, but I pray that one does read on.

It is no coincidence that Shakespeare preferred the eternal iconic figures of love - Romeo and Juliet to be teenagers. So it is difficult to comprehend why society fails to appreciate the gravity and importance of life decisions made by young people. One clear example of this lack of empathy relates to the decision of continuing in a long-distance relationship when one of the parties has selected to pursue higher studies abroad. Make no mistake that this decision is often a life altering one which may even determine the ultimate happiness of the individuals involved.

This is the point at which the reader would be tempted to say “so what?”
Well, my issue is one which deals with fidelity in long-distance relationships and the expectations of such that is placed on the parties concerned. It is not a question of what ought to be the ideal scenario, but rather one which challenges the conventional wisdom behind compelling one individual to be obligated to another who resides a thousand miles away. I stress on the words ‘pressure’ and ‘obligation’ since where this arrangement is completely voluntary, one cannot question the success of the relationship. It must be admitted however, that the possibilities of a relationship lasting on the shoulders of these two words alone are very slender.

It is under these very circumstances that the temptation of infidelity arises. I am in no way justifying infidelity. Infidelity stems from a deep-rooted habit of selfishness which should not only be discouraged but also abhorred in its entirety. However, notwithstanding our personal sentiments towards it, infidelity may be explained by the context in which it takes place. So rather than providing fertile soil for the seeds of infidelity to grow, it is far wiser to refrain altogether from placing our so-called loved ones in these precarious positions. To be precise, it is my opinion that individuals should not be obligated to remain faithful when it is “too hard” to do so. The results always lead to either a clandestine compromise or complete breakdown in the relationship concerned. Thus it seems clear that long-distance relationships should be reserved for those serious about commitment, since a relationship which perpetuates solely due to obligation can only result in hurt and loss of both trust as well as pride.

There is no justification in succumbing to the fears of losing someone, at the expense of curtailing his/her freedom against his/her true preference. Though many of us will remain faithful to someone waiting for us back home, the majority will rather have had utilized that opportunity to explore new frontiers. It may be argued that staying faithful merely on the strength of obligation only results in resentment and often leads to regret.

In conclusion, I can only chastise society as a whole for placing these numerous conditions on our youth. Whether it is reserving social acceptance for those in committed relationships, or establishing age deadlines for marriage, the list of pressures on the young people of today grow ever longer. The result of this social conditioning has been the immergence of a confused, discontent and disoriented generation that finds life as a whole one tiresome and mundane experience. The coffee is brewing, it’s time we all smelt it.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Buggers in Disguise: A Three-prong approach to duping hapless lasses

Firstly, I wish to thank all my readers who visited and commented on my previous post.

The thoughts I will present are based on an interesting conversation I had the other day with a male friend. His perspectives are submitted through my own prism of understanding. However, the terminology I have used is based on what I have come to accept as common usage amongst the societal circles concerned.

Before I begin, it is important to understand that these views are based on a number of generalizations, which admittedly have certain restrictions in applicability.

This post relates to four generalized groups of individuals. a) Intelligent Women; b) Attention Seeking Females; c) Impostors disguised as ‘buggers’; and d) Buggers. I wish to make it absolutely clear that this list is non-exhaustive and should be considered merely as a descriptive categorization. It is probable that some individuals would find themselves unable to relate to any of the categories. It is also possible for an individual to find personal applicability in more than one or even all of the above categories.

(NB: This remark pertains to my schizophrenic, transvestite and gender-confused readers.)A short description of the four groups is perhaps necessary. My sincere apologies to those of you who dislike the use of acronyms.

An Intelligent Woman (IW) finds pleasure in all forms of stimulus and is aware of the many elaborate schemes hatched by her male counterparts to “get into her pants”. If any male actually succeeds in achieving this feat, it is merely because the IW intended for it to happen in the first place. This is a real category since I myself am acquainted with a number of such individuals. Needless to say, exposure to the opposite sex as well as a keen measure of self-esteem may be considered prerequisites to falling within this category.

An Attention Seeking Female (ASF) is one who craves the attention of men and women alike and who is willing to compromise on an assortment of values as well as a good measure of self-respect to achieve this. I am tempted to attach naivety and the lack of maturity as source traits for this behavour. However, this conclusion may be slightly premature given my own inability to relate completely to such females. An ASF is most often oblivious to the larger game being played around her, and is, under ordinary circumstances, a prime target for exploitation. It is however possible for a life lesson to transform an ASF into an IW, given her ability to alter her outlook on relationships and avoid the radical feminist trap of “men-hating after one bad experience”.

A Bugger in Disguise (BID) may be characterized as a sleeper amongst his friends, who lays dormant (in terms of expressing his true views) until an opportunity is provided in which he may move onto greener pastures. His main ambitions are to find acceptance within the “coolest clique of men” and achieve admiration and appeal amongst the “hottest clique of women”. However, it must be appreciated that a BID is both cunning as well as versatile in terms of the impact he has on members of the opposite sex. Though not always the case, it is very likely that good looks supplement a BID’s methods of operation.

A Bugger is a genuine, straightforward “man’s man” who is neither skilled in nor bothered about fallaciously enhancing his image in order to win favour amongst those around him. His main appeal relates to the fact that people are paradoxically attracted to this sort of nonchalance. A woman that loves a Bugger appreciates him for his lack of ambiguity about his true intentions, whether it be simple friendship or a strong desire for coitus.

Now that the groups have been loosely defined, the interrelationships between them must be addressed. An IW will most often ignore or patronize an ASF. When it comes to a BID, an IW may indulge in his company for short, bearable spells at a time, only to follow it up with laughter bordering on hysterics once he leaves the room. An IW will only date another IW, a Bugger or some other category I haven’t referred to in this particular post.

The real problem however resides in the relationship between the ASF and BID groups. Since the often politically incorrect honesty of Buggers is not easily palatable for an ASF, it is sometimes branded, and rightly so, as “chauvinist”. However, an ASF fails to identify the subtleties adopted by a BID when he deliberately sullies the image of a Bugger in order to win favour amongst his ASF constituents. The methodology most often observed is the “Three Prong Approach to Duping Hapless Lasses” found in the official BID handbook (or so I am told). They are as follows:

1) Get amongst some Buggers and befriend them by exploiting their trusting nature
2) Get to know their friends, acquaintances and even girlfriends who fall within the category of an ASF

3) Establish the “sweet guy who likes them for who they are and listens to what they have to say” image. This may involve a number of other sub-activities which could include lending books, CDs and DVDs, pretending to share interests, and making disparaging remarks about Buggers they know.

In any case, a BID is very successful with the ASF category since he skillfully sheds his “Bugger disguise” to reveal his second and equally convincing “Sweet-guy disguise”. One is often tempted to wail out warnings to ASF victims, but the restrictions in terms of effectiveness are too overwhelming to achieve results.

I must admit I am curious to know what lies beneath this second disguise - Perhaps an individual who suffers from deep insecurity and constantly needs the acceptance of his peers.
It would be unfair to simplify the issue by attempting to explain such behaviour merely in terms of attracting the opposite sex. Rather, the problem seems to lie with a genuine lack of substance in terms of personality and self-belief. It relates directly to the fact that we now live in a society which fails to recognize honesty (not merely to others, but also to one’s self) and honor as being quintessential features of building lasting relationships with both the opposite as well as one’s own sex. The majority of relationships we now crave are entirely superficial, based more on money, sex and recognition than on trust. Who are we attempting to fool?

Thank you for reading.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I have no problem with dark girls, but I would never date one

I have often been tempted to compare human beings to onions. They contain many layers but no real core. However, my experiences have taught me something entirely to the contrary. Thus the following critique is wholly applicable to the complexity of human opinion and indeed to my own long-held views.

We all have sentiments we do not wish to share in public due to the fact that they are politically incorrect. But we possess these sentiments nonetheless. Many people in Colombo have deep prejudices based on race, religion, class and surprisingly even colour. However, we carefully choose the forum in which we voice these prejudices.

The present era of seeking a politically correct method of expressing almost every single thought and opinion has posed a serious threat to the nature of individual conscience. This is due to the high level of hypocrisy that has crept into our language, usages and mediums of expression. A simple example will illustrate my point. The other day I read a rather interesting web-log posting on certain chauvinist remarks made in the university I studied in. As it turns out, these comments were made in private and were probably meant for a private audience. It seemed to have been made within the context of a safe haven for politically incorrect honesty, though this is only my personal reading on the anecdote. The question that arises however is whether or not individuals should be permitted to hold such prejudices.

True liberals would agree that individuals should be permitted to feel bias but not in any way be permitted to act on such biases. So let me make it very clear that this posting relates solely to bias contained in thought rather than in action. Where one draws the line and how one ascertains the point at which thought translates into action is open for debate. I also wish to clarify that I do not in anyway advocate public or institutionalized expression of prejudice. This posting is further limited to private individual opinions containing bias.

How many of us are truly unbiased? It is blatant hypocrisy for so-called liberals to point to other individuals who are openly biased within private circles, whereas they themselves hold on to certain prejudices which remain unexpressed.

Example: “I have no problem with dark girls, but I would never date one.” This is termed “preference” but is only labeled so to escape the reality that it is in fact bias against skin colour.

Example: “I have many burgher friends. They are all super buggers. But I will never want my sister to marry one of them.” Though not as clear cut as the previous example, this is another sentiment which is often accepted as “preference” as opposed to prejudice. However, it is founded on the preconceived notion that all your burghers friends are fun-loving and do not take life seriously enough.

So everyone possesses prejudices in some form or the other. We draw an invisible line amidst all these sentiments and divide them up based on a fictitious criteria we term “political correctness.”

Now think carefully. Who are we proposing to fool here? Every single one of us are lightening quick when it comes to judging chauvinist remarks, though men-bashing is looked upon with a certain sense of accommodation. We find statements containing Christ’s name acceptable as part of every day speech though cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammad is seen as preposterous. To take the question overseas, African Americans calling one another by the term ”Nigger” is considered mildly amusing, while a white comedian using the same language would be considered a step towards slavery.

Who are we attempting to fool?

Here is where the misunderstanding may arise. As a writer, I do not in any way advocate censoring speech in order to prevent men-bashing, or using the Lord’s name in vain or even using the “N Word” amongst the Black community in the US. What I am advocating is an attitudinal change towards understanding that the expression of prejudice or couching views in politically incorrect terminology is in fact a more honest option than attempting to send it underground. This relates to widening the scope of tolerating bias opinions rather than widening the scope of intolerance towards prejudices.

I entirely disagree with the notion that intolerance is educative. It only seeks to condition the brain into believing that politically incorrect statements must be wrong.

Take a moment to think this through. Does one “cure” a MCP if he is informed that his sentiments are not going to be tolerated? The answer is no, due to the fact that he is not convicted about the ‘wrongness’ of his sentiments, unless he is conditioned into believing that the majority’s views must be the right ones. Instead the MCP must be permitted to perpetuate his comments until he, through his own life experience, is convinced he is wrong. There should be no attempt to reform his opinion. Rather, a mechanism to prevent him from acting on them (which includes publicizing them in a manner which infringes on the rights of others) should be established. It is crucial to appreciate the complex notion that each individual is entitled to believe that his views are correct, until he himself, void of social conditioning, ascertains for himself that his views are incorrect. If this process is not followed, then the logical sequencing follows that an MCP may in fact be correct and everyone else merely imposing their views on him.

So where is all this leading us to? Quite simple. It relates to the classic notion of taking your own plank out before attempting to clear the chip in your brother’s eye. Clich├ęd as it may sound, this is the exact problem we presently face in our society, and particularly Colombo’s blogsphere. We need to constantly question ourselves before passing judgement on the prejudices of others. After all, life is about choice. To choose is to prefer. To prefer is to be partial. There is no such thing as being politically correct. We can only assume to be politically correct, when all we are doing in reality is perpetuating a myth wrapped in hypocrisy.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thank you for Reading

This evening I decided to take the plunge. Mid way, I realized it wasn’t that deep a plunge to take. It had been apathy that kept me away from the web-log world. Pure and simple. Life has changed dramatically over the past ten years about which I have so much to say. Why not share it? As the line between private thought and crying out in the town square grows thinner, I realized building a larger cage is more effective, and certainly more interesting than living in a box. Once we set the boundaries of thought wide enough, greater results may be achieved as opposed to the common curse of self-censorship.

I don’t suppose I would interest many of you out there with my perilously obscure and often logic defying thoughts. But I guarantee you this - my perspective is my own and I don’t make a habit out of quoting other people.

My ambition is relatively small, yet probably unattainable. It is simply to establish the need amongst us all to begin thinking afresh. What I mean by fresh is not mere novelty. It is to unlearn to the greatest degree possible that which we have already learned, and attempt to figure things out from the very beginning. Social conditioning blinds us. It blunts our senses.

I see this form of expression as a means to fight what I call “the condition of life”.
Thus, I dedicate this web-log to my own alter ego. One which is truly free. A refuge for honesty in its purest form. Something we all fight each day to contain.

Thank you for reading.