Artwork by Foong Keng Wah
Artwork by Foong Keng Wah
Written by Ilfa
Written by Aashka Murdeshwar
Ever since I can remember I’ve identified as a feminist. I never really understood what this term meant but I guess through various medias such as television, social media, school, etc. I just blindly adopted the term; my thought process being, “Well I think being a woman is awesome so of course I’m a feminist” For me, an understanding of equality was always omnipresent, mostly due to the privileged lifestyle I grew up in where gender discrimination wasn’t ever blatantly present. However, one day when I was sixteen in my Extension English class, one of my male classmates said, “Feminists are so annoying, they all hate men. Men and women should be treated equally”. This statement left me slightly perplexed; I believed in gender equality, and I definitely wasn’t a “man- hater”, was I not a feminist?
After years of hesitation, late night Internet research, and then some more hesitation I can proudly say I’m a Feminist as opposed to an equalist, humanist or any other common variant of the word. The simple reason being that Feminism is defined as the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. (I’m not just saying this, it’s in the Oxford Dictionary and that’s as legitimate as you can get!).
So why call it Feminism? Many would argue that this term is irrelevant and to some extent almost contradictory to what feminist claims advocate. Why does a term that is defined as the belief of gender equality skew to one gender? To understand this it is important to understand where this term originated from. The word Feminism comes from the French word ‘feminisme’, and was first used in English during the 1890s in association with the movement for equal political and legal rights for women. Now before you stop reading this article and think, “See! It’s all about women, not about equality” just think about what exactly the equality of both genders means. Gender equality is what I believe to be the right for any person to make decisions without pre-conceived notions of gender influencing those decisions. Throughout history this did not exist, and it was the female gender and stereotypically ‘feminine’ attributes that were undermined. Yes, Feminism was originally a movement begun by women for women, but its aim was to uplift women to the same position of power men were already in.
If you flip through the pages of any history book, it is very evident that men had acquired a position of power from the very beginning and did everything in their power to maintain this position of privilege. However, within their desperation to maintain their privilege, they inadvertently begun to damage their own gender by demeaning qualities that were not hyper masculine, i.e. any expression of sensitivity or emotion other than that of dominance and aggression. Feminism was the only movement in past times and -to a certain extent even in today’s time- that aimed to educate and advocate that the exhibition of emotions other than of dominance was not a sign of weakness but just a sign of being a fully functioning human. Furthermore, feminists also tried to demonstrate that just because some women were less likely to exhibit aggressive and dominating behaviour; it did not mean they were incapable of holding positions of influence or being of equal or higher intellect than their male counterparts.
In our present times, Feminism is still a relevant movement. I agree that in comparison to the past, both men and women have reached a position of greater equality; for example there is less stigma associated with people entering careers that were originally associated with genders opposite their own and the wage gap has significantly decreased (though it still does exist; according to Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in 2015, women earned 79c for every 1 dollar a man earned in the US). However, a disparity still exists. For example, in 2015 only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by women (according to CNN Money) suggesting that in the corporate world the glass ceiling does exist, sure it’s higher than what it was 20 years ago but it is still present. These examples just encompass the status of the privileged women in the West, however, in other parts of the world, many women are still fighting for basic voting rights, education and driving privileges.
Written by Rudimentary Ecstasy
(Inspired by: EDEN – Man Down)
Huddled inside a long, metal snake, two bundles of fur pressed hard against each other. Their cheeks were stained with frozen tears, and where skin was exposed it was raw and red. Strong gusts of biting cold blew through the countryside, filling the vast emptiness with wailing howls. The wind was fierce enough to strip away the upper layer of snow, carrying with it pebbles and small rocks that smashed against metal in an endless torrent of harsh pings. Thick, suffocating clouds blocked off all natural light – the moon and the stars -allowing Darkness and Despair to mark their domains, their flags of conquest in the form of dead, frozen bodies.
There used to be twenty of them; now, they were only three. The young were the first to go, and the old were the last to leave. Seven brave had trekked away from their stalled train, grim determination fueling their steps. Now they lay with outstretched hands and silent screams, their graves the harsh blanket of white. Another three had already wasted away, falling into an endless slumber, their eyelids encrusted with ice. Four had taken their own lives, sharing one blade passed from each slit wrist to the next. Two lovers froze over and died with fingers intertwined, forever locked in a heartfelt display. One more simply disappeared, his Fate left unknown.
It was going so well. They had finally gotten this train up and running after a long period of hard work, and for the first time in ages, the people of the Small Hamlet had a beacon against the dark. After the passing of a dreadful blizzard, almost like magic, the townsfolk stepped out of their doors to find a train on the tracks, a steam locomotive with three attached carriages. The religiously-inclined took it as a sign of their answered prayers, and so wondrous was the happening that even those that had turned their backs against Heaven and Hell began to think back to a long-lost God. A town assembly was quickly called to order, followed soon by the order for an inspection by the local mechanic and his teenage son. Anxious faces sat huddled together in wait of the results, counting every tenuous second that passed by. The pastor tried to soothe their souls, and it was midway through one of his sermons when the doors to their building burst open. Painfully cold air rushed in and with it came the teenage son as a harbinger of fortune.
“There’s some critical parts that broke, but Pa can fix it no problem,” he announced, and the room erupted to a chorus of cheers and boisterous laughs.
Their mayor rallied up every able-bodied man and woman to pile food and water onto the carriages, and selected a few volunteers for the more… grisly task of body disposal. Rumor was that the last group of passengers had succumbed to starvation, but so overwhelming was this surge of hope that not even the discovery of corpses on board could dissuade the men from their tasks. Stories of survival and perseverance were in the back of everyone’s mind, each one of them thinking himself to be a part of the next grand tale. As boxes and bags of supplies were piled onto the train, spirits were lifted and heads were held high. They were going to make it!
The corners of the girl’s lips curved upwards, bitterly smiling at the memories of their delusional past selves.
“We were fools, weren’t we?” she questioned, her voice almost inaudible amidst the blizzard howls.
“I suppose we were,” came the reply from the man sitting next to her, coughing vigorously at the end of those few words.
Resting her head against his shoulder, she waited for him to settle down. A small sigh escaped. She felt his fingers slide between hers, and she squeezed her hand against his. Her eyes trailed over to the frozen bodies that were seated in front of them, a sight that prompted wistful thoughts.
“Are we going to die like that?” she asked gently, looking up to him. “I can’t help but see us in them.”
The man gripped her hands a little tighter, letting his head fall to rest comfortably against hers. People always said that their heights were perfect for each other, and no amount of snow was ever going to change that. They could have some comfort in that, at least.
A few minutes of silence passed before the man began to speak. He too was looking at the two frozen lovers, as well as the small pile of snow that had begun collecting over them, courtesy of the broken window and billowing curtains up above. He felt her snuggle into a more comfortable position, and he closed his eyes to focus on the feeling of her beside him.
“What do you see when you close your eyes, Aeries?” he mused. “For me, I like to imagine that I’m besides a warm, crackling fireplace. Someplace with -”
“With you,” interjected the girl, finishing his sentence for him. “With you, and with a glass of brandy.”
“Am I being compared to alcohol now?” he quipped in response, laughing.
“You’re just as addictive. And you warm the soul just as well,” she replied, joining in with his laughter.
The two of them found within themselves a small spark that still allowed room for such joy, and their laughs echoed through the silent train and out its broken windows, valiantly pushing back against the encroaching despair. Together they shared the special moment, seizing it to warm their hearts. And after it died down, they snuggled up against each other once more, settling back into the sweet spot that they were in, basking in the remnant warmth of their laughter.
“I’m not going to let you die,” she heard him say.
“That’s what they all say, Marcus.”
“But I have a plan.” Slowly, he reached into his front pocket to pull the object out. The first thing she saw was its cylindrical barrel.
“That’s a better way to go than a slit wrist, at least,” was her delayed response.
She felt it pushed into her hands, and her fingers curled around the handle. Her eyes still transfixed upon the sight, her mind slowly working through the possibilities that this object had brought. Only when he began speaking did she finally look away.
“I said I was going to save you, not kill you. It’s a flare gun. I’ve kept it as a secret from the seven. When you see any sign of anybody, just pull the trigger”
The two of them locked eyes, and she saw in his face the pain and the cold. He pulled her into a hug, and she embraced it with all her might. Burying his face in her shoulder, he continued to speak, choking on the tears that began to flow. “I’m sorry I can’t do more than.. than simply tell you to wait and pray. I want to protect you, to protect you and our son, and I hate it. It hurts that I can’t do more than this.”
His wails filled the space around them, adding to the cries from the world outside. It was a symphony of broken spirits.
At the mention of their child, Aeries too broke down in tears. It was as if something inside of her had suddenly shattered, its piercing pieces exploding out. Sobbing, she gripped Marcus even tighter, her fingers clawing his back.
As she cried, one thought for her was hauntingly clear: she couldn’t remember the last time she felt the baby kick.
“So you’re saying that there’s a train full of survivors?”
“Listen here, I’m saying that there was a train full of survivors. When I walked off, there were only three left. A man, a woman, and the child inside of her.”
“Do you happen to know where this train is situated at?”
“Hell no. God only knows how long I’ve been walking for blind in that storm before bumping into you guys. And I ain’t even a local to these parts.”
“Says here in the report that one of my men almost ran you over. Stopped right in the nick of time.”
“Damn near gave me a heart attack.”
“Well, you better thank the Lord in your prayers tonight. Come noon tomorrow you’ll be on your way to one of the designated safe zones for civvies.”
“You bet I will. Hell, I’ll even add Vishnu and Buddha to that list too.”
“Anything that helps you find your peace. Thanks for your cooperation, you’re free to go.”
“Say, don’t take this the wrong way, but you gonna go back for them? They’re good folk, you know.”
“Lots of people in this world are good folk. That doesn’t mean we can save every one of them.”
“I understand you have lots going on at the moment, but think about it, yeah? Hell, just give me a map and I’ll see if I can figure out where we stopped. It’s the least that I can do for them.”
Written by R.J
1. Life Is A Masquerade Party, And You’re The Idiot Who Thought The Masks Were Real
Sometimes, people are just waiting for a reason to validate their feelings. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Underneath the elaborate confessions of care, the gentle gestures of kindness, and the bubbling laughter and shoulder bumps, you can see it. The way they look away when you smile, the few seconds of hesitation every time they’re about to say “Yes”, the carefully interlaced pretense in their words. They just needed one reason- no matter how trivial -to shed the masks. You can’t blame them. The burden of deceit tugs hard at their seams, threatening to undo.
No one ever remembers when the masks are peeled off. Or maybe they never existed. Maybe we merely became bored enough to bother and look past the shiny surface of decorum and exaggerated coat of closeness; became bored enough to peer into the cracks and take a look at the ugliness inside. Although, ugliness like that is never hidden. It already made its appearances during situations of anger and annoyance. It was always excused as mistakes –meaningless words.
But you’ll learn that there is no such thing as empty words. Even those made in jest, passed off as light remarks: those are the ones that dent.
Do you know that poem by Robert Frost about the diverging roads? Well, you’re standing at the fork of one. Do you continue this tedious game of pretense, claiming that this is nothing but an innocuous flu in your otherwise healthy friendship, or do you drive a wooden stake through its heart?
Consult your mother. She knows best.
I find it both funny and utterly horrifying how the qualities that you once valued the most in a person become the ones you abhor. Are we really that fickle? To be able to transform goodness into malevolence, smiles into sneers, memories into scars. That requires an immense amount of resentment, and I’m terrified that we contain it.
It’s near comical in its trivialness, and almost as stereotypical as a bad breakup.
But there’s nothing comical in bitterness, and nothing stereotypical in heartbreak. Because when you taste the sour remnants of a friendship you only feel consumed. Tired. Lonely.
Gather your courage and sheath your will. It’s going to hurt. Oh, it’s going to hurt badly.
But once you take that step back, once you start building that wall to keep the immigrant thoughts at bay, it might sting a little bit less.
The first time I’ve ever mourned something was when I forgot my teddy bear 1,986 km away in another continent. I tried for months to persuade my parents to buy him a flight ticket. One day, I finally spotted him sitting on the shelf of a random shop. He finally arrived!
Several years later, after I realized that what I’ve had all this time was a mere replacement, I had the opportunity to reunite with the real one. I was disappointed. I liked him better in my memories.
Nostalgia is a skillful fabricator; she’ll paint your memories gray and then present them to you in a coloring book, and ask you to fill it using your favorite hues. After you’re done she’ll strip it away, and throw the real, dreary version at your feet, cackling at your disappointment.
Some people are better off in gray. Your colors will lie.
Synonyms of friendship: companionship, bond, closeness, tie, familiarity.
Synonyms of friend: companion, supporter, confidant.
Too bad we’re antonyms now.
Written by Firdaus Abdullah
Just like The Incredibles, it took more than a decade for Pixar to make a comeback with this sequel of Finding Nemo, which for me, was worth waiting 13 years for. But, just in case you had already forgotten how good Finding Nemo was, let me refresh your memory. This fishy sequel was awashed with emotions and profoundly immersed with natural comedy and a great number of bright spots that will definitely catch the attention of the audience, Finding Dory has similar takes as Finding Nemo but with a different spin this time. The main characters include the kooky, googly-eyed creature Dory (Ellen Degeneres), Marlin, the constantly nervous clownfish (Brooks), and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence).
I must say, the animators of this sequel had a bit of fun creating exciting new characters like Hank the Octopus voiced by Ed O’Neill who has chameleon-like powers, as well as sea lions, wacky birds, beluga whales and lots of other fish. As some of you might recall, Dory suffers from chronic short-term memory loss (which also affects most of university students during exams). Other than her name and the fact that she is separated from her parents, Dory cannot remember what it was that she forgot a moment ago. However, things are about to change as she gets bonked on the head and starts seeing flashes of her past.
One clue, a flashback that shows her a Sea World-like institution in California, eventually brings back a tremendous flood of memories of her parents. Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find her family, this time with the help of Nemo and Marlin. She also receives help from cranky Hank who depicts another dramatic yet emotional character that progressively catches your heart along the way. Dory’s intuition leads her to a touching family reunion after saving her mom and dad from captivity. However, Nemo worries that Dory’s reunion with her family will separate him from her after they’ve become a family themselves throughout the years.
Similar in concept to Finding Nemo but with a different twist and take on characters, Finding Dory is an immersive one hour forty-five minutes underwater adventure that is simply breathtaking. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s explore the sequel, ‘”Finding Dory” while going down memory lane and remembering the popular adventure of Finding Nemo -unless you are amnesic like Dory.
Finding Dory by Disney Pixar in Cinemas starting 16 June 2016
Written by Soulless Cake
The North’s passage is terrifying indeed.
Written by Andrew Octavian
Each and every one of us must have come across at least one medical condition which one might consider ‘cool’. We have prepared 4 medical conditions that we think are the quirkiest of the quirkiest. Recognize any one of these.
Upon being hurt, humans are designed to heal on its own, with time that is. Some humans however, just take it to the next level, going so far overboard as turning damaged body parts to stone. The extremely rare condition known as Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) involves a mutation of the body’s repair mechanism, which causes damaged muscles or ligaments to ossify. Sadly, operations on injuries of people suffering from FOP will only cause additional bone growth. In the most extreme cases, patients may be rendered completely immobile within decades.
Never feeling any pain sounds amazing, huh? You might say that it’s the best kind of mutation or disorder there is, but that might not be the case. Congenital analgesia or congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP) is a condition in which an individual cannot and has never felt any pain. Often children that are affected by this disorder acquire terribly debilitating injuries as a result of clawing themselves, biting off their tongue, or walking around on broken bones, resulting in some children with this condition not making it through to adolescence.
Humans have, throughout history, scoured for ways to prolong life or to reverse the effects of aging, but sometimes aging just comes way too quickly. Progeria is a rare genetic disorder in which children present aspects of aging at a very early age. Children with Progeria maintain age-appropriate intelligence, but start to look elderly as early as the age of two, suffer from the same ailments as the elderly including arthritis, and rarely live past the age of thirteen.
Finally, something positive (insert irony here). The trail that scientists have gone through in curing HIV/AIDS has actually enabled us to just drop that stigma on HIV+ individuals. Luckily, some people with a genetic mutation that enable them to disable their copy of the CCR5 protein are VERY resistant to this detrimental viral infection. HIV uses that protein as a doorway into human cells. So, if a person lacks CCR5, HIV can’t enter their cells, and they’re extremely unlikely to become infected with the disease. Yes, they are resistant, and no, they’re not immune.
Written by Yi Ann Cheow
Silence is the loudest scream
Written by Whatever Lah
In an organization or some sort of establishment, there are always people who sit behind the desk, do the thinking and contribute ideas relevant to that of a common vision. They are the think tanks of the organization that they’re in, assuming the highest of positions and make hard decisions which regular people like us don’t or are simply too afraid to make. In a nation, we label these people as the government. The government create jobs, provide healthcare and also education to feed young minds. We call them the law makers and peace keepers because they put people behind bars and keep everyone else safe.
…….However, they also make mistakes like how we all do. And consequent to that, disputes arise. People start taking sides and the promise to protect and defend the nation now seems to be turning into a mere preservation of their own ideals. Economy starts to weaken and food becomes scarce. Amongst us, our friends, brother or father are chosen to be in the frontline.
…….Politicians are often seen as a congregation of people who bask in the glory of governing the nation. Still, when it comes to the defending the nation, soldiers are the ones being sent out. An army of 10, 000 people whom we used to be living with are now the ones pledging their life for the sake of the nation. They bear the backlashes of badly made choices and pay the ultimate price so we can still live another day enjoying the comforts of home.
U.S Army Veteran – Photography Project by Betty Wu
…….As a citizen, I deem highly of these people who have chosen hope over fear. The path that they choose to walk on has never been one for the faint hearted. The courage mustered to sign their life away in service for us common people. These are noble acts in which politicians will never ever come close to making. Instead of writing papers and giving speeches, soldiers patrol in the far desserts and distant mountains. They guard the shores of our sea and watch overnight the borders of our land. In the harsh times of their service, they have certainly faced perils that we can only scarcely imagine. Thus, they display the true embodiment of the spirit of service. They walk miles and carry heavy loads just to ensure that the precious gift of freedom and independence that is passed on still remains.
…….And it is with this that we can have the confidence in them to ensure our safety. And also the unwavering faith that we can have in them that someday our children’s children will not ever live to taste the wrath of war. Thank you for your obscure yet profound labour that we seldom see and appreciate. It is because you have given your life away in service that we can still hold on to ours every day. You are our hero.
They guard the shores of our sea and watch overnight the borders of our land