I’m out

Today, this happened.

Basically, “studies” have shown that children who grow up in a married environment are more socially and mentally developed than those who are raised by single parents or raised by separated parents.

They go on to list factors, like the fact that single moms are statistically more likely to not have graduated university – which is an intellectual factor in the upbringing of their children. Or, that being around an environment of love and stability is more nurturing for the children.

As you can imagine, so many single moms and dads out there cried foul. But I’m going to cry foul on a different topic.

The most obvious one that I will rampage on about, is the fact that the news article boasted a more-or-less nuclear family as its head image. Oh look, a mommy and a daddy would be the ideal environment for socially and mentally “developed” children! But what if there are two mommys or two daddys? What if they loved each other intensely, not married, of course, because they can’t, but they’re together…would the children still be as socially and mentally “developed”? Now, the study has said nothing regarding a homosexual parent pairing, but you can’t help but get the feeling from this article (so published in ohoho The Herald Sun) that homosexual parents aren’t even going to be considered, cos we all know they’re going to raise socially delinquent and destroyed children anyway – much less socially and mentally “developed” children.

Secondly, what is with the statistic about college educated married mothers? The implication here, at least how I read it, seemed to be that a single mother became so because op, she got knocked up early on, deadbeat dad is never around to help, so she’s had to forsake education to care for her children. But are all single mothers like that? What if a woman wants a kid but just can’t find the right father? What if she’s got a freaking PhD but no ring on her finger? Would she be less likely to raise a socially and mentally “developed” child?

And what is “developed”? Why does it conjure the idea that children in a separated and non-nuclear family will be out in the Big World wondering, “gee, how do I love? I have never been around real lasting love before…how do I know if I am doing it right?”

I don’t know who did this “study”, but this is one of the most conservative and narrow-minded stories I have read in a long time that passes itself as social science.

Alex.

Madness? THIS. IS. PLAYSCHOOL!

I wrote a REALLY long post in my Uni blog today. (The title was “There’s a bear in there, and it disapproves”)

Without going into risky waters of likening anything to pedobear, I will clarify that yes, I am making a Playschool reference.

I was on the phone with a friend who is still in Yr 12 this year, and in the process of our conversation I mentioned that I actually used to watch Playschool up until I was 17. You know, when you’re reading a book in the living room and complete silence unnerves you (at least, it unnerves me) so you turn on the TV just for the sound. I used to do this during my school holidays, when my parents weren’t home.

In those days, we only had ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS and that other channel with the fish swimming back and forth for 5 hours each day. During the day, the only shows on the commercial channels were old-grandma shows, like Days of Our Lives (which I did end up watching during a period of time when I stayed home cos I was feeling a bit feverish and thought I had the Swine Flu but that’s another story), or those boring fishing shows for stay-at-home dads. I was a teenage girl. Those shows not only FAILED to capture my attention, they actively DESTROYED my SOUL.

SBS was usually showing a Russian news anchor firing off rapid speech, and for a while I thought he was recounting a particularly distasteful rampage of a rapist, he sounded that angry, but then the story turned out to be some old lady turning 90. (A bit of racist stereotype there. BY THE WAY, I totally got this off the Simpsons. I searched but can’t find the video clip to show you.)

So I was left with ABC. Remember, I had no amazing new choices like GO! or Seven2, or SevenMate for TV shows I actually like, and there weren’t two other ABC channels where I can watch more Arthur (which, by the way, is still awesome).

So, while reading my book, I would have ABC running in the background. As you would, you start to recognise all the shows, and you start sort of having this guilty pleasure in putting down your book when the familiar “There’s a bear in there” comes on.

I admitted to my friend on the phone, who is Yr 12, about to turn 18 and way too cool, that when I was in Yr 10, and I was watching one of the episodes of Playschool (my favorite playmate was Karen, the only Asian chick. Dude. She clearly was better) I actually learned, from Playschool, that avocadoes grew on trees. I had no idea before that. I didn’t know WHERE they came from but I didn’t think it was trees. So there I was, 16 going on 17, doing a VE&T course at Swineburne outside of my school hours, and I learn from PLAYSCHOOL.

When she heard this, my awesomely-cool friend (who we’ll name Brenda, cos that’s totally not her name or anything) started laughing hysterically. She was actually having difficulties stopping, and so I sat there for about 5 minutes while she wheezed with laughter at the other end. When she finally decided to breathe again, she clarified, “YOU learned from PLAYSCHOOL when you were SIXTEEN!?”

And so, 8 paragraphs in, I finally get to the point of this post.

I have spent the past…hmm let’s see…probably since Yr 6 I have been laboriously building an image of myself. Admittably, in Yr 9 when I changed schools, I threw away most of my work and tried to start anew. Still, the point is that, as a young adolescent, I spent quite a lot of time creating this certain image of myself.

And this included the stuff I bought and consumed. I started caring about my hair a lot more when my parents finally let me go to an actual hairdressers, and I cared about my clothes (though still not as much as most girls my age) near the end of Yr 9. I especially started caring about my media image (and this media I mean by internet and technology gadgets etc) by Yr 10, when it became apparent to me that my goals in life involved the Media heavily.

I deleted my old blog on Xanga (which looked great, but had horrid spelling and grammar and it was full of me bitching), and started one on WordPress after going to a Journalism Convention thing. I deleted that WordPress as well, but not because it was horrible like Xanga. You don’t need to know why. I got a new WordPress in Yr 11, and has kept that since (yes, that’s the WordPress that this appears in as well).

I held of getting Facebook for a while, because it felt like it was giving too much power to other people to mold what I appear to them – they comment, they tag, they like – but, in the end, for communications’ sake (and because everyone else was doing it) I got one.

I didnt hesitate in getting Twitter, because that, I felt, was me in power. On my profile, you only see what I posted. I may not have many followers, but it wasn’t like the follower count was at 0.

Finally, I got Tumblr. I got it on the basis that I felt my WordPress wasn’t pictorial enough, and I wanted more pictures. Tumblr gave me the power to follow people with similar tastes to me, and for me to repost what I like. This action of reposting what I like shows to people who subsequently follow ME what kind of person I am.

Brenda was a friend I’d met on Tumblr through mutual friends. The image she received of me initially was a sarcastic and cynical one I have on my Tumblr account. She told me that she thought I was rather “snarky” on Tumblr, because I wasn’t hesitant in shooting anyone down, and I wrote captions that were borderline rude.

She added me on Facebook, which didn’t change her opinion that much. I linked both my Twitter and Tumblr to Facebook, so whatever public image I create on Tumblr and on Twitter, I have to maintain it on Facebook.

But then she added me on MSN. MSN is definitely much more private than Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter. I am more like my physical presence on MSN. And it was there that she saw I was different.

Still, I kept a certain image of myself on MSN, as I do in every day life. I was vocal about how much I love TV shows like NCIS, Glee, HIMYM etc, and I wasn’t shy to admit I love Pokemon – anywhere. But one thing that I do not admit too vocally was my tendency towards children’s shows (Arthur doesn’t count). I like watching them to see what they consider approrpiriate codes to present to children, and also because it’s kind of funny to see grown adults play with dolls.

So when Brenda regained her regular breathing pattern, I realized that the image that I’d created had been slightly shattered by the fact that I apparently do something that goes AGAINST the ideology I created about myself. No matter what I said to her, I will always have the label of “Playschool lover” on my forehead.

I’m saying this out loud now, not only because it goes with the topic of branding through what we consume, but also because I don’t see how watching Playschool makes me a loser. It’s all subjective, right? I personally don’t get why people watch the Kardashians show, or that show with Snooki in it. I used to love the Idol and X Factor shows, but I have began to see them as contrived and fake. Playschool is purposefully fake, it’s purposefully staged, but I don’t see any underhanded influencing of the audience (yes, they promote mostly a heterosexual nuclear family, but I honestly don’t see any positives in confusing really little kids with the gay-rights thing. Teaching kids about gay-rights can come a bit later in life, and of course is solely dependent on their own parents).

I’m sorry for such a long post, but I really tried to not use big complicated words because I hate reading them too.

Alex.

In other news, and this I swear was not a request…haha okay it was a teeny bit a request but I’m more than glad to do it:

I think I’m a decent singer, but no way I have enough guts to lead sing in a band. My friend JAYMEE, however, has the guts. And, thankfully for her, the skills to back those guts up.

Check out her YouTube account: MyNameIsJaymeeNotAmy, and below is one of her videos. (And, no, I’m not running ads or plugs now, she asked me to and I think she deserves it. If I don’t know you and you randomly ask me to plug you, um, no.)

Check out her wild emotional hand gestures and her soulful eye closing!

Alex.

Retrace Every Wrong Move

[Easier To Run – Linkin Park]

Day 17 — Someone from your childhood

Dear Zhao Hui,

Isn’t it amazing I still remember your name! I even remember the fact that “Zhao” is actually written as “Chao” but is read as “Zhao” in your name and, oh, I’ve just proven how Asian I am.

Anyway, whether it’s from my childish wishful thinking or real memories, I remember that we were good friends when we were little. And when I say little, I meant we were good friends since Kindergarten. I didn’t actually have friends my age before Kindy, so in some sense you were my first friend ever (actually, to be honest, I vaguely remember there being another short girl being my friend before you but I don’t remember anything about her except that she’s short).

It’s strange writing to someone in a language that they don’t speak, in a letter they’ll never read.

I think when I was little, I worshiped you, because you were taller, smarter, and prettier. I think you’re also older than me – here in Australia I’m older among all my friends but in China I was the youngest, having just gotten into my year level. I remember that you actually had another friend with whom you were closer, either because you’re just better friends or because you’d known her for longer, that I can’t remember. That other friend went on to be the class captain in Grade 1, while I went on to be the kid that the teacher hated for no good reason other than the fact that I was smarter than she gave me credit for, and that I was lazy. So yeah, that made me look better.

My memories are only giving me negative thoughts at the moment, like I remember trying so hard to be your friend after we started primary school, but you’d already found the other cool big girls to play with and I was left with this really creepy guy who drooled a lot, and this other weird guy who bragged a lot about himself. I remember that once I was running back to class while grabbing the hand of that class captain I mentioned, but then I tripped and fell flat on my face, getting a huge cut on my nose.

I remember, near the end of my stay in China – I left in Grade 2 – that you’d once accidentally cut your eyebrow on a hair pin, and it bled a lot. And then after that you were trying to hide that cut, so you grew your hair long.

Actually, I think that part was just false memory. I think that happened to my cousin instead. I have no idea.

Anyway, that was a fun trip down memory lane.  I called you once in Yr 7 when I went back to China but we didn’t hit it off because of the language barrier – my Chinese was sucking at that point. But I don’t know, maybe I’ll try calling again the next time I go to China, granted you still live at home.

Take care,

徐如一