not much to say in particular but here are some recent eye-catching headlines that may or may not have received some additional commentary from yours truly.

“BP to drill giant middle finger into the Rockies; mourning period for Gulf of Mexico practically non-existent” <http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/06/15/bc-bp-drilling-rocky-mountains.html>

(cf. http://www.ifitwasmyhome.com/ for size of oil spill in reference to [ie. smack-dab on top of] your hometown and/or current location – funtastic!)

“‘Female genital cutting’ university studies done on girls aged 5-6 to ensure so-called ‘normal’ sexual development; ethics approval board allegedly horrified into silence because how the hell else was this able to get past them?”  <http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/06/16/female-genital-mutilation-at-cornell-university>

“Gay-bashing occurs in Vancouver; society collectively bands together to shrug its shoulders” <http://www.theprovince.com/sports/amateur/university/Thugs+beat+punch+bite+Vancouver+couple/3150119/story.html>

[edit] – in hindsight this seems to have been a little too depressing, so have some of this, and maybe a little of this for good measure.

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f.o.g.

June 2, 2010

wondering why the title says “fog”? well, it stands for fresh out of graduation…and foggy it is! immediately after my convocation ceremony people started turning around to their neighbours and asking the dreaded question:

“so what are you going to do now?”

it’s a terrifying thought to cross your mind, especially for those like me who have mostly only known “school” in their lives, having gone straight from secondary to university without any stops. after suddenly being spat out by your university as fresh job market meat, the road ahead does seem mighty foggy for the unexperienced fillet.

personally, I’m lucky enough to have scored an awesome summer placement at an organization that does advocacy (and representative) work in the line of corporate responsibility. but even if I do know what I want to happen in the next year or so, nothing’s guaranteed past these next four months, and oh yes, it is scary. nevertheless it must be tackled – it would be a shame to want something but not find the strength to actively work for it!

the most important thing to keep in mind after graduation, I think, is not to stagnate. it’s hard to kick yourself back into gear, especially after those 4+ years of hard work, but this time frame is so crucial in establishing the tempo of the a.g. (after grad) era of your life. it doesn’t have to be the standard “get a job” – it could be starting small;  doing temp work in the field you want to get involved in, taking some vocational classes, even going overseas on a trip to volunteer or just explore new cultures and expand your mind. of course, we all deserve a big break from work…just don’t let that “break” become permanent.

so to all recent grads, conGRADUATIONs (see what I did there?! I know! I’m hilarious) on all your achievements, enjoy the summer (the weather is finally picking up on my end), and don’t let all that f.o.g. get in your eyes!

point and laugh.*

*Actually the appropriate method is to not appear horrified, but calm. Streakers are usually looking for reactions; acting disgusted or surprised will only encourage the behaviour. Instead, just remain calm and if possible, tell them that you are sorry that they have this problem and that you think they should seek professional help. But wasn’t mine so much funnier?

so I’ve been taking a humane sexuality course just as an elective before I graduate, and it’s been awesome so far. besides the basic anatomy lessons I’ve learned a lot about how to take care of and maintain your health, and one such topic that we recently covered was the issue of doing self-examinations on the breasts/testicles.

not only did I find a lump on my right breast, which I am going to see a doctor about in less than a week’s time (hopefully I’m just paranoid), but I also explained to my 50-something year old dad about how to do testicular self-examinations in the shower…using the combination of an apple and a tapioca pearl from my japanese green milk tea drink to demonstrate. and somehow, it was much less awkward than I thought it would be.

anyway, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and make sure you’re doing self-examinations or going in to see a doctor about your sexual health! there’s nothing to be embarrassed about – love your bodies!

(ps: if you’d like some more info about how to actually do the self-examinations, drop me a comment or an e-mail and I’ll send a response back, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it was already somewhere on Google)

the sexism of languages.

January 31, 2010

currently in the middle of some academic craziness, but this link was too interesting not to share (I am definitely not endorsing the website, but it did provide the only translation to English that I could find of the article, which was originally posted online in Chinese).

I found this particularly intriguing because it represents a cultural parallel to a certain claim in Western feminism that I previously thought was isolated to that society in particular. I’m referring in this case to the argument that discourse is etymologically biased against women.

for instance, in English we used to use the template “<profession/position>man” to describe somebody working in that profession or position (like “salesman”, “chairman”, or “businessman”). this androcentrism (the use of a masculine point of view as the default) also makes an appearance in the way that most of us were implicitly taught in our younger years by example to use “he” when writing about a general anonymous person. some people have even declared war on the word “woman”, railing against it because it purportedly means “of man” and by that virtue implies that women are derivative to men (to my knowledge there is no proof of this, but I welcome anybody who can shed some insight on this to share) and instead choosing to replace “woman” with “womin”, “womyn”, “womon”, etc. in written works.

there has been some progress in the English-speaking world in regards to this, given that now more and more people are more conscious of the gender disparity in our discourse and will use “person” instead of “man” to describe professionals, and “she/he”,”he/she”, or “their” (which is recognized as grammatically correct now, I believe) instead of simply “he”.

given my limited literary skills in Chinese, I never really learned enough to notice this etymological pattern of gender inequality, which (after reading the article) appears to be much more actively discriminatory in the Chinese language than the English language. what I mean by using the word ‘active’ is that in English, the issue with some of the words seems to be that women are excluded, whereas in Chinese the meanings of the 16 words featured in the article which use the “female” character in their structure have negative connotations (“greedy”, “evil”, “presumptuous”, etc).

hopefully there will be some recognition of this disparity in the Chinese language with the advent of this post, and subsequent efforts to raise awareness and address the problem. kudos to Ye ManTian, the lawyer purported to have written the article.