The disrespect of selfies

Just seen this post shared on my friends Facebook page and I find it rather important to share because it has bothered me for years how disrespectful some people have become in the age of social media and other modern technologies.

Why would you climb and jump around at  a memorial site just so you can take a fun picture that you can share on social media. For likes? Sorry, no. That’s a big fat dislike from me.

Why would you go and hunt down pokemons at the site of a former concentration camp? To level up? Sorry, no. That’s just all kinds of levels down – personal levels.

So, please check out Yolocaust and the news article I kindly “stole” from my friend. I won’t be posting the pictures directly, as they are really bothersome and disrespectful.

 

TV shows to watch?

In the past few weeks I have had the chance to watch an embarrassing amount of television because a) holidays b) minus 15°C – how dare you suggest I have a social life at those temperatures and c) sickness.

One of the only shows I had still been watching and enjoying this year was actually Penny Dreadful, which I highly recommend to anyone. The thing with Penny Dreadful is that I usually don’t watch period pieces and I usually don’t like the horror or supernatural being element on my fictional entertainment. But London is always rather charming and Eva Green is just mesmerizing as Vanessa Ives. Also, to quote myself: “I could listen to Josh Hartnett reading the phone book.” That’s how I recommended the show to a friend of mine.

tvrecommendations

Nonetheless, after the demise of my dearly beloved Penny Dreadful, I found love in a hopeless place … which, now that I think about it, is quite a good description for most (if not all) of the following shows.

Stranger Things

I had just come home from dinner with a couple of my friends, and wasn’t tired yet, so naturally I turned on the TV (or Netflix for that matter) and I saw Winona Ryder staring back at me. I’m a kid of the 1980s, so Winona Ryder was my childhood hero. I think I watched just about every 1980s and 1990s movie with her. Anyway, I thought I’d just check out the first episode because it was already 10.30 pm or so. But I stayed until the end – at like 3 in the morning. I was just so in awe of the entire cast and so drawn into the story that I couldn’t wait.

So in conclusion, because it’s a well known phrase to use when talking about the show: Justice for Barb.

Humans

What makes us human? Well, who knows, really. I have to admit, I fell in love with this show during episode one and I was fascinated by the Mia/Anita character (played by Gemma Chan). But than came episode two of series one, and Niska (played by Emily Berrington) caught my attention. I personally do love the supposedly “evil” characters because I’m fascinated by the journey the writers take them on to humanize them, make them more vulnerable, make the audience understand their point of view. And Niska to me is the most human out of all the humans and non-human characters on the show.

For me personally, the show could probably not do any wrong with replacing all but four characters, i.e. Max, Mattie, Sophie and obviously Niska. I think Max would normally annoy me quite a bit because he’s too perfect – albeit a Synth like Niska – but he reminds me of a friend of mine who would always drive me crazy at the beginning of our friendship because to me no-one could be 100% charming, friendly, cheerful, helpful, positive, caring all the time.

Crazyhead

Ah, what can I say … you make me laugh out loud in the most inappropriate moments (if they were non-fictional) and you made me fall in love with you in the first three minutes (guess that’s a record). Also, you were a warm welcome from the dreadful The OA. For reference see my instagram post. As mentioned before, I’m not good with the element of supernatural beings but I occasionally even I can turn a blind eye on those things. The dynamic between the two lead characters Amy and Raquel (played by the marvelous Cara Theobold and Susan Wokoma, respectively) is also very endearing.

Sweet / Vicious

This. Is. A. Must. Watch. For. Everyone.

I know, it’s an MTV show. And I’m way too old to watch weird MTV teen shows like … I don’t know what else they broadcast. But this show is such an important show to watch, with such important social issues to talk about. And those of you who have read some of my blog posts know that I write quite a bit on sexual assault, racism, gender issues, mental health, etc. This show is making a statement on all these issues. To be honest, not even too lightly spread across the shows storylines but the comedic element of the show does at first make it a bit easier to digest. But still, you will come back to the real life elements talked about in today’s political arenas. You will want to talk to your friends, colleagues and family about certain things touched on in the show’s episodes. It basically is this and this in a fictional drama with comedic elements.

Like Crazyhead, this show will make you laugh when you shouldn’t be laughing. I mean, who can belt out Wicked‘s “Defying Gravity” after murder? No-one, except for Ophelia and Jules (played by Taylor Dearden and Eliza Bennett, respectively).

Westworld

I’m only on episode six. So … And it actually took me weeks to move from episode one to episode two because the most annoying of all period pieces: Damsel in Distress in the Wild West. Episode two started out nicely with the ever so charming Jimmi Simpson as the ever so charming William. Also, the remarkable Thandie Newton as the very fascinating and intriguing Maeve is very captivating. I had my doubts about Dolores the Damsel (and I believed for the first 4.5 episodes that Evan Rachel Wood would be quite underused) but it looks like she’s finally opening up to the world.

Can I also just say, as much as I hate the Ed Harris character (whatever his name may be), I find it rather curious (for the lack of better word) that the father of The Truman Show is present in this world simulation show.

 

I think I’ll finish Westworld this week because it’s still cold outside and I’m still sickly, so if anyone has any recommendations on how else to spend my couch / bed-ridden days, please leave a comment below. Also, you may or may not have noticed that all the above shows only have 10 episodes or less. This is not much of a coincidence as I do have a fear of shows that have like 24 episode, each running 45+minutes.

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HAPPY WATCHING EVERYONE!

Moving Forward …

Finally.

So, at the end of last year I struggled quite a bit in my personal life which led to a lot of health issues. And after having been fed up with just about everything and to get my act back together I had this spontaneous but crazy idea: writing a children’s book. This basically came out of an experience that is akin to five days in hell (for privacy and anonymities sake I won’t go into detail) – which says a lot considering I had been in a highly medicated dark place for the past three months at this point.

Anyhow, I had asked my friend – who in her spare time paints pictures that are exhibited at another friend’s café – to do the illustrations. And she happily agreed – until life happened. Which seems to be the biggest problem for creative minds who have to juggle a full-time job and family. So, the book project went on an eternal pause. And then my computer decided to die on me and with it my completed story for the book, which naturally meant that the project had now reached its expiration date.

Come October 1, 2016. I finally managed to book my flights to go back to Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. Because why not?! I had been feeling ok-ish health wise and thought it would all get better. Unfortunately my body hates me dearly and so I had feared that I would not be able to actually fly out only three weeks later, which meant that I had to get a lot of last minute medical check ups, new medications, strict diet and a couple of vertebrae having to be cracked in the day before my flight. Naturally, I was out quite a bit during my time in Malaysia – with the added 24 hours of boiled tap water poisoning. (Here a picture of my constant feelings during those days –in street art form.)

But once I was back home in New Zealand, I was at my usual ok-ish state despite me being attacked by the country’s flora and fauna every single day. Bees, poultry, flying tree branches, dogs, cats, fleas… you name it. Still, it was so much fun catching up with my friends and seeing their kids (some for the first time and some all-grown).

The biggest impression, however, made my friend’s 11-year-old son on me. I had just arrived by bus back from Tauranga and he had looked all bruised up because some nasty boys at school had beaten him up. Earlier that week his mum had hinted at him being bullied at school but I didn’t know that this would go beyond verbal / emotional abuse and instead turned rather violent at times. And I was shocked that at the dinner table the adults in the family – two medical professionals and two working in education – admitting that they would’t want to confront the bullies’ parents or that they weren’t allowed to have a proper conversation about this with the principal or any other school employee.

So, after dinner, while everyone was hanging out in the lounge watching TV, I actually set outside on the patio with this young boy – who turned out to be quite remarkable. He started out telling me about his weight loss regimen, which included way to many athletic activities for my liking, told me about wanting to be a mechanic when he graduates school so he can afford to get his own place and save up money to go and study archeology. At this point he became my hero for all eternity – because my anthropologist’s heart was pounding in sheer joy. And then, he told me about the fantasy novel he was writing. Hello!? After that we just started talking about writing books and getting them to be read by others.  And I told him about my misery with the missing illustrator to finish off my book.

Surprise, surprise. My illustrator is no longer missing. He has agreed on the spot to do the drawings and I actually took a picture of his first drafts of whatever creatures I came up with in my mind.

Yesterday, I talked to his mum to see if he still wanted to do the drawings. And she said he’s so keen on it because he wants to raise 4,000 NZ$ until November 2017 so he and his school can go on a trip to Japan. And the book sales will contribute to reaching his goals.

I do hope he knows that I’m not a Harry-Potter-Style scribe. I hate to disappoint this amazing young man.

Off she goes to editing the draft her painter friend sent back this morning and editing it into that best-selling master piece that will send Mr B to Japan and finance his archeology degree.

 

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Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Remarkable Young Women

A while back I wrote a little piece on another remarkable young woman

Yesterday I had multiple flashbacks to the Stanford survivor and her letter while a) watching the documentary Audrie and Daisy and b) a very well-known video platform suggested I watch a video in which her letter is read out loud.

I actually felt the need to read up on some of these real-life stories. Because I need justice to prevail and not some inhumane / illogical capitalist rhetoric. I don’t want to hear things like “20 minutes of action” instead of the proper terminology aka sexual assault or rape. I’m not interested in the “severe impact” a (fair) sentencing will have on the rapist while everyone seems to be ignoring the severe impact this crime has already had on the victims and their loved ones. I’m scared to see that the apparent only common sense most of the community possesses is one of victim blaming and shaming. What kind of world do we live in? What kind of justice system have we opted for?

Is it really surprising then that most sexual crimes remain unreported or are “resolved” outside of the court room? Do we really need to wonder why many victims and survivors who have been assaulted at a young age only come forward many years later – which often means that they are considered to be even less believable.

Why do people keep suggesting that it’s the victims’ fault when they knowingly got drunk at a party? Because they should have known that someone will take advantage of them? I never understood that kind of nonsensical logic. I’m not much of a drinker, to be honest. But I’ve been to parties where the girls felt the need to get drunker than the boys. Oftentimes I was the only girl still standing, even left the party to return later and check on them. Not because I didn’t trust the boys but because I didn’t trust their ability to return home safely or not to vomit all over the floor. But most of the times the boys had everything under control.

The only thing I know for sure is that all those who have survived a sexual crime are incredibly remarkable. I personally don’t know if I had the strength to “overcome” such a thing. I still feel inflicted by one isolated incident of bullying (literally just happened once) I had to endure like 20 years ago. The kind of bullying that you can’t simply brush off as idiots shaming you for your religion or nationality/culture (which is a thing I had to go through quite frequently as child but have learnt to live with as an adult).

So, to those remarkable women (and men) I’d like to say: You’re beautiful, you’re strong and you’re not alone. I believe you!

And to their communities: Stand with these remarkable women (and men), never against them.

BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER!!

Looking for Travel Advice

It’s that time of year again (after three or possibly more years)… I have saved up plenty of vacation days and nowhere to go. I promised my friend half a century (or slightly less) ago that I would stop by Malaysia again for some delicious food, the exchange of my local chocolate for her local coffee, and just a simple catchup. Yet, this time around she suggested that I decide which tourist attractions to go to and now I’m lost.

I never was one for Kuala Lumpur but my time spent at the world renowned research institute of google has opened my heart up to the architectural achievements of the city as well as the photogenic mosques of the country. Specifically these two.

putra1

Putra Mosque

MalaccaStraitsMosque

Malacca Straits Mosque

Oh, what to do, where to go? The anthropologist in me tells me to go on a more cultural adventure (and so does my friend) but … the interwebs make it all look so beautiful.

If you have any suggestions on what to do in Malaysia for a week and also where to go for another two weeks, please let me know. It is very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

British Exit – BrExit

I’m still a bit baffled by what happened a bit more than 24 hours ago in Great Britain. I’m especially confused since all my British friends kept on saying that they would vote for remain in Thursday’s EU referendum and they were even campaigning for others to make the right choice by publishing article after article to support their arguments.

Yesterday morning, my entire feed was in shock, both the Brits as well as those living or having at one point lived in the UK – like myself. So, this is all very bizarre.

As I’m still trying to make sense out of all of this, here are some visual notes to lighten the mood.

Brexit - Eurovision

Brexit - Still Life

I’m not sure if we can all really predict what’s going to happen. Scotland seems to want to remain part of the EU, others may want to leave the EU as well. It’s all just too early in the game to say anything, really. It could still go either way.

Also, I read this article on “Operation Croissant” this morning. My comment below the picture.

Brexit - Croissant

“Ceci n’est pas qu’un croissant” – this an electoral-fraud offense. Magritte would be so proud, my dear Homicide and Major Crime unit of London’s Metropolitan Police.