Despite the cold and late hour, there were many kite runners around me. A salesman insisted that I try my hand before committing to any purchase, and I did. Once I finalized the purchase of ten small kites, I shared the one I was already flying one with a most adorable boy.
He thanked me, then asked me not to play with his hair.
Earlier, at Tiananmen Square, I had watched throngs of people giddily roam
the vast expanse, snapping endless photos in front of the Gate of Heavenly
Peace, in the Imperial City and around every monument in the Square.
one thinks of Tiananmen, why does one only conjure visions of hordes of
protesters and gangs of soldiers? The bloody scene is used time and again to
single out China as an anti-democratic regime, juxtaposed conveniently
against Western ‘democratic values’.
Considering the heat and humidity, this was not surprising. The point remains that aside from a standoff at a major Bangkok shopping center, the rest of the metropolis seemed to operate as normal. A Thai man struggled to communicate his political views on to me in English.
I had found him watching a video on some social network website. The video featured a dog and a cat, the cat representing the Red Shirts, and a dog, the current government. They barked, meowed and hissed, but they didn’t physically engage.
The man laughingly commented,
Then, in a more somber tone,
True, but it also seems that Western media cares little about these countries, outside of a very narrow context.
The story of China is only
worthy if it involves government restriction (e.g. of Google), or economics,
i.e. how China’s economic growth will affect Western economic recovery. Even
if the story is related to art rather than politics, somehow it finds its
way back to the same old theme, for example, the government censoring
It would take an economic crisis,
rigged elections, or even a tsunami to bring it back as a story worth
telling. In the meantime, the country will return to its convenient role for
the West - a cheap destination for adventure-seeking travelers with some
money to spare, a topic in blogs advising ways to get more money for your
buck, or baht, and clever ways to dodge Thai con artists.
The news makes it easy to quickly imagine
Malaysia as the most dysfunctional and unfortunate society on earth.
Thus ‘democracy’, ‘elections’,
‘government restrictions’ and ‘terrorism’ are the usual buzzwords.
Newspapers in non-Western societies depend on coverage provided by Western news agencies for their international news. An Indonesian friend recently commended on my ‘bravery’ for going to South Africa. For him, South Africa is just ‘Africa,’ where ‘primitive’ people, along with lions and other wild animals prey on innocent white tourists.
Thank you, Hollywood, for perfecting the art of
The images were
unfailingly gory. Even the ‘positive’ images amongst them were disturbing
We can only challenge the abhorrent narratives about us when we start to present our own truth and experience, and support others to do the same.