Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MANY times when I am asked—or I’m motivated—to speak my mind about how I feel about America (or the west in relation to east/Asia/rest of world)… I’m left with two natural options.
[1] KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT, stay glued in my “ethnic” community’s comfort zones, and “mind my own business.” Bothersome… since, this would mean that – if I opt to be safe and silent and distance myself from what’s going on around me, that’d be tantamount to willingly plastering a duct tape on my spirit’s mouth. Have you ever hogtied your own hands and arms on a concrete picket fence? Probably, you did—but clamming up our own mouths is gross self-abuse. Sado-masochism.

ERGO: Beyond the popular thinking that a proverbial evil came with colonization and invasion, somewhere—I also saw a light of wisdom that inched through the cracks when the beautiful, articulate White Man landed in the islands (of my birth). With a saintly smile painted across his immaculate face, the White Man persuaded the Brown Man to come out of his warm, easy shell—and inspired/coaxed/motivated the native dude to speak his mind and trade crafts, arts, food, merchandise and all that good stuff—with him and the rest of the world. Beautiful synergy.
So White Man, Brown Man talked.
In no time at all, the White Man provided a gorgeous ship for the Brown Man to reach America. The Brown Man farmed the earth for apples and grapes, cleaned frozen fish for canned food, leveled the mountains to usher railroads, hopped in another kind of ship to help fight his friend’s adversaries in war, etcetera etcetera.
While doing work, most Brown Men chose to keep quiet and minded their own business… Yet, some were thinking otherwise. They saw the beauty of speaking their minds out—in music, poetry, art, media, activism—despite the risks and dangers and discomfort that “free speech” may invite. The sublimity of speaking one’s mind is a hallmark of American Democracy, they reckon—but why is it, as a koolcat dude named Cat Stevens once sang, “… from the moment that I could talk, I was ordered to listen.”
So, the Brown Man was called so many English words that he never knew before: Judgmental, critical, condescending, rude, narcissist, arrogant, disrespectful, egoistic, inconsiderate, loud, unreasonable, holier-than-thou, one-tracked-mind, asshole.
Sadly (or fortunately), I belong to that Brown Man Group. 

[2] I SPEAK MY MIND—the way I feel it.  While many favored (and took pleasure) from my words, some vehemently resisted them. While I heap praises and acceptance about/to so many stuff and things—ie FREEDOM—in America, I also pose so many contradictions and anomalies around it. But it all sums up to: As we savor the freedom to agree, we also exalt the freedom to disagree. Take it or leave it—everybody has their own community and sectors and friendships and cults and religions and circles to dance around with.
When people speak their minds in a social forum or work of literature or media that is shared with the public, I don’t believe it is an imposition of political advocacy, religious dogma or personal aggrandizement. We speak because we have a mind that beats and functions as deliverer of messages. If we are mute and deaf, we will find a way to express our inner truths… Unless we let the nuzzle of a  gun or the blade of a machete to express that truth, “speaking”—no matter how people’s ears reject them—is a gift of humanity.
I doff my hat to those who dared let their spirits fly with words than those who choose to be nice and quiet… Wake up and speak!

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