Cutting Ties Sunday, Dec 21 2008 

My parents try their best to be family oriented. We were the first ones from both of their sides to come to Canada, and the first to immigrate to North America. We pretty much set the stage for several family members and their families who have moved here. Two of my parent’s siblings who moved here were assisted by us during their first months in Canada. Both of those families treated us badly and have bad-mouthed us to relatives “back home”. These families have settled in the same city as us, which makes it awkward at times, especially since family members abroad don’t know how much we don’t associate with each other. Despite all that these family members have done (and there is a lot) my parents continue to leave the door slightly ajar to them. I do not understand this. I understand the value of family, or affinity and loyalty. But I also believe in the privilege of family, the privilege of support and the privilege of having someone always there to help you. I certainly believe that a family member can lose this privilege and in my opinion, these members should.

I think that my parents believe that by leaving the door slightly open that they are teaching my sister and I the value of family loyalty. But really all it teaches me is to guard myself. What is the point of putting myself out there if I can get hurt so badly? There are those I trust, but why should I give the time of day to assholes who have shown their stripes? In many ways I feel that my parents are foolish and deserve to be kicked again for allowing any contact with these family members. This happens time and time again even though my mother keeps saying that she won’t put up with any crap this time. Right…and then she gets hurt again. It makes me angry. I don’t care if they are blood. I want to cut them off.

Christmas is coming up and of course comes the dilemma about who should be invited over. One of the downsides of living with my parents is that if they choose to invite these family members that I despise so much, I have to be there when they come over. I secretly want to throw eggs and them and tell them to never come back, but I have to hide my anger behind a smile and polite “hello uncle and aunty” talk. I know many people use Christmas as a time to forgive, but forgiveness doesn’t have to include a memory relapse. They are horrible people! Why do my parents keep inviting them back into our lives? Forgive and cut them loose.

Thanskgivings Wednesday, Nov 26 2008 

This weekend is Thanksgiving in the U.S. Personally I like Thanksgiving better in October since the stores start playing Christmas music in November. It’s kind of nice even though it’s also excessive. Since it’s American Thanksgiving my dad got to come home early this week. He works out of the U.S. since his department deals with their American clients. Even though it will be nice to have him home early this weekend it sucks that he doesn’t get Canadian holidays off. Canadian Thanksgiving for us was cut short because he had to fly out Sunday afternoon. I understand that he works for American clients, but can’t they cut him some slack and let him have one day to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family? I hope they will at least give him Boxing day in December because it would be ridiculous for him to have to stay there for Christmas Day so that he could go to work on the Friday.

Indian Inspired Wedding Cakes Wednesday, Nov 12 2008 

I just found an article called “Indian-Inspired Wedding Cakes”. It was pretty cool and I never really thought to incorporate my background and my fiance’s background into our wedding cake. It’s something I’m considering now. The post was by a person who has married a Kannadiga, and it’s my first time finding a blog by someone else posting about Kannada/Karnataka related things who is residing in North America. It excites me.

Terrorism & Family Wednesday, Nov 12 2008 

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been keeping myself busy with things. I am currently unemployed and it is surprising how busy I am because of it. In addition to wedding planning and job hunting I have found myself to be the gopher of the family. I am asked to conduct tasks that other family members can’t because they don’t have the ‘free time’ that I do. At least I’m not bored out of my mind.

Something that has been bothering me lately is POC that conform to right-wing justifications on the war on terror. I’ve noticed this with some of my to-be family members. As I’ve mentioned before, my fiance is of Taiwanese descent while I am of South-Indian descent. Just like some of my family members, some of his family members are very conservative, right-wing individuals. We used to be too until we received a broader perspective of the world through our experiences in the past couple of years. So these family members constantly justify the ‘war on terror’ and the fight against ‘terrorism’. One of the things that bothers me about this is their lack of recognition that ‘terrorists’ is often times used as a synonym for dark-skinned Asian peoples (or those that look like them). I know what it is like to be looked at with suspicion because of the colour of my skin. I’ve watched as my family was constantly stopped for a ‘random check’ when we tried to cross the American border while White families easily passed through without so much as a blink. I saw how my father struggled to find a full-time job (he is highly educated and experienced in his field) and how he didn’t get hired until he shaved off his beard. I’ve seen how people would only make eye contact with my White friends while avoiding looking at me while they spoke to all of us. The fact that our family is Christian, that we support charities, that we pay our taxes, that we are proud Canadian citizens, that we work hard does not matter. To those who scrutinize us and question us on our terrorist capabilities all that matters is that we look like those terrorists. Those who killed ‘innocent’ Americans. All they see is our skin colour and our ‘foreignness’.

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Eating With Hands – Uncivilized? Thursday, Oct 9 2008 

I was watching Jon and Kate Plus Eight earlier today (or should I say yesterday) and Kate said something that really annoyed me. She was talking about manners that they enforced in their household and she said something along the lines of, “we don’t eat with our hands because we’re not dogs.” This really pissed me off. It reflects a prevalent ethnocentric belief that proper table manners are only Western table manners.

I remember once when my university roommate, an international student from Japan, told me of an incident where a girl asked her why Japanese people continued to use chopsticks since the fork had been invented (implying that forks were a superior utensil to chopsticks). Comments like these are just reminders that cultures that don’t conform to mainstream Western practices are seen as uncivilized, backwards and abnormal.

Why is eating with your hands considered below human? Most Indians I’ve seen eat with their hands. In many ways it’s more sanitary than using utensils just like how squatting over a hole to relieve yourself is more hygienic than sitting on a public toilet (or even your home toilet). But of course, these practices are seen as barbaric and only part of primitive societies. And of course no civilized person living in America or Canada would dare to eat with their hands! Pizza, chicken wings and “finger foods” are still acceptable though and still allow us to maintain our human status [read: sarcasm].

It is really disheartening that comments like this go relatively unnoticed and are regarded as acceptable while those who do not conform/assimilate are subject to the harsh reality that their cultures continue to be mocked and dehumanized by white privilege. And for the record, in addition to the previous examples I stated, I refuse to accept the following bullshit: no elbows on the table, no picking up bowls off the table to eat, no slurping food (noodles taste better slurped!), no cutting your food with a fork.

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