Saturday, May 05, 2007

I'm in the office over lunch and I really should be taking a nap, but well, as coffee would have it, my mind is spinning at speeds that would put formula one to shame. I jitter.

I've been doing a lot of thinking again, and I find myself gravitating toward the same issues: Identity politics, and Christianity. Now I know that these are topics that have been flogged over, and over and over again. But...

Singapore and I

It's been a journey. And while it's not over yet it doesn't hurt to pause and look back over the path you have come by. In taking the plunge away from my red passport and pink I.C., I have drifted (or swam, faltered whatever...) around the confusing pool of my identity politics. While sharing my (not-all-that-unusual) story with different people, I have noticed a similarity in responses: These usually dance along the range of:

'Why on earth then did you give up your citizenship?'
'So do you regret giving up your citizenship?'

And no matter how often I hear these responses, I can't help but react with a sense of incredulity. How did you come to the conclusion that this would actually matter to me? I mean of course it hurt having to surrender my passport, it hurt knowing that henceforth I was no longer 'local' but rather 'a foreigner'. It was a form of institutional violence wrecked on my identity to say the lease. But it still stands that

a) I gave up my citizenship as there was no option of keeping it. My Canadian birthright was a perimeter within which I exercised choice and options, not an option in itself.

b) I do not regret as my conception of what the Nation-state actually is does not give space for such an orientation of remorse.

I do not see citizenship (of anywhere) as an end in itself. It is not the cumulation of my identity and ought not to have bearing on my personal construction of selfhood. Unfortunately, the power of 'the state' has extended beyond fulfilling a person's individual needs into the realm of naming a person's individual identity. Now, we would die for a country's autonomy, our way-of-life, the right to be -insert whatever national identity here-. And, well... I don't quite buy into that. I mean it's all fine and good to be known as 'A Canadian' or 'Singaporean' or whatever, but at the end of the day, it is something that clashes with my value system (either that or it's a classic example of sour grapes).

It basically boils down to my personal faith as a Christian. I believe that the concept of being a 'citizen' has overridden many other constructions of identity (of course this is a point of contention and I'd really like to be challenged on this one). Economics, freedom and politics become bounded by national borders and it is within these borders, power is defined and eventually identity, is created. Hence as a Christian, I do not see my identity belonging to any country (I have no patience for people calling to make Canada a Christian nation) but rather to a greater community (the church so to speak) that transcends that tangible boundaries of borders, economics, culture and race.

That being said, it would follow then that my goal for self-actualization would have little to do with which country to belong to. My passport and my nationality is simply a matter of chance, a matter of convenience or otherwise. What I want to do and who I want to be would not be contingent on what my citizenship is, but rather my identity in Christ. God-willing, I'd go anywhere and be anything.

All in all, my journey wrestling with these questions has found me here at a point where it really doesn't matter. I am Canadian, but I love Singapore so much more. I have no permanent address in my passport country and am only allowed 30 days at a time in the land where my family and loved ones are.

The fact that I did not retain my Singapore passport over my Canadian doesn't mean that I love Singapore any less. It simply means that I'm ordering my life around different principles. Principles that, for the most part, remain indifferent to these questions of allegiance.

So anyway, I've thought about it a little and I think I want to study the Church in Cambodia.

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's 12.30 on a quiet Thursday afternoon and above all, I want to have compassion and grace.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Happy brithday Mel!

[Edit : 5 minutes later]

Mel as in M.E.L. not ME. Not Hannah. Mel.

But thank you for the enthu birthday greeting Dustin. I really appreciate it. You make me laugh!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I received expected news today with unexpected reactions within me.
I shrugged my shoulders and extended what I thought to be necessary.
But dark shadows crept around me still while I carried on my daily chores without skipping a beat. I do not want to believe that this means anything more then that.

But other things weighed more heavily on my mind: am I spending the summer wisely?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Summer's Limbo

I find myself drifting from sunspot to sunspot, my world collasping into placid walks along perfectly manicured lawns. The fluffy summer sunlight showing the world to be comfortable patchwork of blonde and blue. There are cute speckled birds.

But there's a restlessness that wrestles inside me. I am not what I was bred to be. If the unversity could be personified into a single being of human calibre, he would look upon me in amazement and ask "So how is it that you don't know what NATO is? Why did I give you a degree?" On one hand, insecurity squeeks like the annoying hinges of an aged door. But that's just it, it's annoying, but insignificant as, afterall, I'm about to under go another 4 years of school. But for now, I answer calls and write proposals.

There is a sense of meaningless rotation in my life that is yet... meaningful in itself. I was thinking of my profound loneliness today. So profound it's not there. I have a loving boyfriend, a wonderful family and numerous confidants all aroumd the world. I am the least lonely person there is.

So I smiled and enjoyed the flowers.