Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Notes On Multi-Cultural Experience: Music And Growing Up

March 5, 2009

For a long time, as a writer, I have resisted writing about multi-cultural issues, or from a multi-cultural perspective. I thought for all this while that the reason I did not want to write like this was because I was not drawn to multi-cultural topics, and there was also, for me, something naive and hackneyed about it. The greatest cliche of all was that of the stereotypical cross-cultural experience, usually involving gaffes at a party and tensions in a relationship. I felt that these ideas had already been written about so extensively that I could do no better than sound the same tired aphorisms and come to the same, well-trodden, conclusions.

More recently, I started considering the possibility that I didn’t have a reason for not writing about multi-cultural issues, merely a rationalization for it. This realization about myself was itself revelatory enough, that it has inspired me to shake off a long-held moratorium on writing about multi-culturalism and plunge headlong into the thick porridge of thoughts, experiences, ideas and ideologies that had been brewed over many decades by writers of this ilk.

What is this rationalization? I believe it’s simply that because I don’t really know what “culture” means, or haven’t cared to come to terms with what it means to me, I haven’t actually been in a position to write about multi-culturalism. I have been incompetent and the trick was to pretend I was indifferent. That was where the rationalization came from. Perhaps also I was avoiding the troubles that come with grappling with the role of “culture” or “my culture” in defining who I am. Intellectually speaking, I have been performing a difficult surgical procedure of separating from my identity the very notion of “cultural conditioning.” It’s like pretending your skin doesn’t exist really, but I didn’t think it was particularly naive to think of myself as purely what I make of myself, rather than what my cultural background has made of me.



On The Question, What is Lint?

October 8, 2007

When you run your finger along the top of your entertainment center, you will find it coated by a thin, grey film of indeterminate matter. This will be part dust and part fluff and part who know what else, and will rise behind your moving finger in a plume that settles back hurriedly at a new place on the shelf, like a pack of vultures run out by jackals from the carcass they were feeding on, taking a quick hop away to a safe distance from where they wait their chance to re-alight on their dinner. You have just encountered lint.

If you stop to contemplate what just happened, instead of rushing away to the rest of your day or bringing a wipe with a mixture of shame, guilt and good intentions to thoroughly clean out your entertainment center, you will be surprised by a rich matrix of questions. Do we even know what lint is, to begin with? It defies a structural definition, for it is too small or too fragile for us figure it out by pulling it apart

Can it be defined functionally? No, because we have no idea what lint does, in the general context. It pretty much appears out of nowhere mysteriously, and then (more…)