?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Alphaforum [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
alphaforum - alphabetical journal of ideas

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

U [Sep. 7th, 2004|04:18 pm]
alphaforum - alphabetical journal of ideas

puccadoll
Umbrellas. I have a copy of Milton's teeth and Ovid's Umbrella. It means "little shadow" (latin: umbra = shadow, suffix: ulum = little). Its status as symbol of power derives from its use as protection of those of higher rank in Asia and the Mediterranean, whether from view of the masses, or from the common sun. The symbol of the British businessman is black umbrella and bowler hat.

In the back of the book is a terrific little sketch, done in blue biro, of a bespectacled person and two floating hands. One hand is thumbing pages and the other is holding a cigarette.
linkpost comment

V [Sep. 5th, 2004|03:42 pm]
alphaforum - alphabetical journal of ideas

puccadoll
Vi (Vee), an abbreviation of Victoria. When I was small I had a British comic book with a heroine who spontaneously shrunk, often at the most inconvenient times. Her friends and family called her Vi, but I used to always pronounce it in my head as "Vie". I still have many such mispronounciations. That's what happens when you read more than talk and listen.
linkpost comment

W [Sep. 5th, 2004|03:19 pm]
alphaforum - alphabetical journal of ideas

puccadoll
Ah, feeling lazy. Edited part-post on 'whiteness', September 2, 2004.

The aesthetic of whiteness in Chinese cultures is a confusing one for me and for many (anglo-saxon) Westerners. I grew up wanting to be 'white' (anglo-saxon), then tanned on discovering that asian women are exoticised by the west for, among other things of course, their brown skin, never sure if it was the right thing to desire desirability in this way, but racial-sexual harrassment seemed like a nice change from racial harassment. When we went to Malaysia a friend and I spent the bulk of our time with English and European people who idealised brown skin as an indicator of too much leisure-time born of wealth. Working on a tropical island we couldn't help but get very brown and the English manager would comment that we were looking healthier and more 'authentic' for the purposes of the resort's image. We were business assets - asian eyes, 'asian' skin and english language to give westerners that 'authentic' experience of the tropics, without the communication difficulties. It wasn't until after, when we were in the city of Singapore that we experienced doubled and even tripled marginalisation. Having grown up in a very white city we were looking forward to blending in with the crowd, but our tanned skin was not welcomed in some of the more upmarket areas. Brown skin is not as it is in the west - a sign of the wealth that permits leisure, but is an indicator of second class citizenry. It means you have to do manual labour because you don't have the money to buy a higher existence. The desire for whiteness is not a desire for 'whiteness' or anglo-saxonry, but a class-based desire. White skin as a sign of beauty is a symbol of being able to better yourself socially (such as by successful marriage), and white skin is itself the sign of success. And yet, although our behaviour was western, we didn't seem to get the same service as other anglo-looking westerners. Also, the asian currency crisis of '97 was still going on. In Malaysia, we were told by a family friend that, our status as Chinese was seen as a muggable/kidnappable quality, as was our status as westerners - the moneyed classes in south east asia. Having grown up between cultures we found ourselves in a more complicated cultural space, with more race anxieties than ever before.

There were clinics for laser skin whitening, and bleaching soaps, creams and lotions. I even bought some (ah, they don't work). I also noticed advertisements on walls of agencies that I thought were pages from mail order bride catalogues giving such details as height, weight, age, number of children etc. But they turned out to be ads for a maid agency, for ordering women from less affluent and darker skinned asian countries like Burma and the Phillipines. The Australian couple we stayed with in a million dollar apartment in Holland Park had one. In the papers that came with her was the permission to slap her if she misbehaved. The couple didn't want one, they wanted to make their own instant coffee, but it was the thing to do in Europetown. They wearily gave in to keeping up with the Joneses. By their early 30s they were ready, both financially and emotionally, to retire.
linkpost comment

X [Aug. 18th, 2004|02:46 pm]
alphaforum - alphabetical journal of ideas

puccadoll
The 'X' factor. I was reminded of this recently while watching a ballroom dancing program on ABC. That indefinable Xtra quality.

The X generation. What are they? the children of the baby boomers? the baby boomers did it first (technologically) so what do the X generation have to identify with?

X is used a lot in text messaging and other similar means of shorthanding. X is a lazy way of expressing "cks".

It is edgy, foreign. It acknowledges that we don't have all the answers, and boasts that we don't want them.

x is a soft kiss, St Andrew, I think, was the first to use x's as an endearment in letter-writing. Where then does the 'o' come from?

X is a rating, an unspeakable classification.

X is a void, a nullity, a crossing-out. X is a negative, an incorrect, a mistake.
link1 comment|post comment

Y [Aug. 18th, 2004|02:36 pm]
alphaforum - alphabetical journal of ideas

puccadoll
I like this letter. My surname begins with it, yet when I spell my name to people they often find themselves writing 'w'. It is an enigmatic letter, it asks and states. It stands for '?'. I never got a 'Y' necklace when they were about, but I still desire a 'Y' t-shirt. But there are endless fonts and colours and styles I think I would need a whole wardrobe of 'Y' t-shirts. It is the second last letter of the alphabet so I always found myself nearly always at the end of the roll call list at school. Often my name was never called out as I was always present. The only exception was when a European name beginning with Z was in my class. People like to lengthen the vowel in my name - they are more comfortable with European sounds and lengths. With the elongated vowel, it sounds like a very common French name.

One of my favourite kids shows was called Y. It was a science show, much like the old The Curiosity Show but with attractive young hosts. Many of those hosts have gone on to do journalism for adult current affairs and travel programs.

I've never much liked the colour yellow.

I think the term Yellowface should be used more often.
linkpost comment

Z [Aug. 18th, 2004|02:22 pm]
alphaforum - alphabetical journal of ideas

puccadoll
"zzzz's", as in the way deep slumber gets written in comics. It's supposed to be onomatopoeic, I suppose. Open-mouthed, it sounds more like a wheezy 's' whistle to me, or through the back of the nose and throat sort of like a softly plosive 'k'.

There is a restuarant in Hobart called Z's. I think it's the one that is a favourite of my sister and her partner. It has a little courtyard out the back and is ideal for midsummer, being quiet, slightly out of the city. I went there with them twice on two different trips back to Hobart. We took my brother there once when we were all trying to escape our mother. My boyfriend was there. We ate heaps and drank a bit. I don't really remember the food, just our attempt to turn everything into tapas or a banquet. The time previous to that there were mosquitoes.
linkpost comment

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]