dr anonymous's blog

Tidbit: Pakistan News Of The Week

By: on 14 Jun 2008

There's been a lot reported on Pakistan this week, so here's a brief rundown:

As you've probably heard, Nawaz Sharif and tens of thousands of others are demonstrating against the government for failing to restore judges that Musharraf removed preceding/during emergency rule. Sharif has called for Musharraf to be hanged. This puts Sharif on one side, and Zardari (of PPP and the Bhutto family) and Musharraf on the other?

Open Thread: Job Hunting Sucks

By: on 14 Jun 2008

Feel free to share your job-related experiences below. Been treated like a secretary because you're a (South Asian) woman? Been forced to act like the $hit because you look young or are a person of color? Deprived of unions? Not paid for a year by a former employer? Not paid at all by peoplle you did a freelance job for? Told you can't wear a kurta to work!? Felt forced to be closeted?

It's the wonderful world of capitalism!!!!!!! May it all go down in a blaze of rice and oil prices! Workers of the world, you have nothing to lose but your health care!

Bobby Jindal Called An Exorcist

By: on 13 Jun 2008

Bobby Jindal is being depicted as a weird exorcist by some of the center-left blogosphere. Ordinarily, I have some sympathy for figures that are Orientalized, but I'm a little unsure about what's going on here. So, I'll leave that judgement to others who might be more objective.

I also have no interest in arguing that non-modernist discourses you have to take time to comprehend (like the conversations about astrology that so many South Asian woman my age participate in) are off limits for understanding and/or useless. However, when they interfere with how you live your life and the extent of fulfillment you can achieve, they can contribute to the problem. That's what I think I see a glimpse of here: excessive and avoidant religiosity about loving relations, neuroses, and possibly sex. This is my best guess of what Jindal is engaging in in this 1994 essay about his relationship with a friend and how he performed an exorcism for her:

Though she had not said anything, I knew something was wrong. Susan and I had developed an intimate friendship; indeed, our rela­tionship mystified observers, who insisted on finding a romantic component where none existed.

Despite our intimacy, Susan and I had not spent much time together this past year. We had succumbed to pressure from our friends and de­cided we should not be so emotionally interdependent without a deeper commitment. To be honest, my fears of a relationship and the constraints of commitment had kept us apart; our friends' objec­tions merely provided a convenient excuse. Still, I felt comfortable asking her to come to the concert, and she accepted the invitation. Though Susan ap­peared composed throughout the concert, her sud­den departure in the middle of a song convinced me otherwise and affirmed my earlier suspicions.

Tidbit: Labor, Migration, and Corporations

By: on 13 Jun 2008

Satyagraha by workers
Click on the pic for more info from New Orleans Center for Worker Justice about the bad-ass hunger-strikers / migrant laborers / post-Katrina rebuilders and read their petition to see whether you want to sign.  More later on this.

Tidbit: Oman To Deport About 3,500 Surplus Indian Workers

By: on 10 Jun 2008

More news on the "South Asians building the Gulf" front.   According to PTI:

The Ministry of Manpower published a list of 3,497 Indians in a newspaper asking them to cooperate with authorities to facilitate their repatriation, failing which they will have to pay a fine and face legal action as well.

In November last year, following a request from the Indian embassy, the Oman government had agreed to allow illegally residing Indians to leave the country without paying any fines but subject to normal checking of their antecedents.

"Two lists, one with 5,541 names of persons wh

Open Thread: Are South Asian Closets Different?

By: on 6 Jun 2008

You'll have to forgive me if I'm a bit defensive or cloistered in myself in this post, because it's hard putting yourself out. It's a pretty uncomfortable position (like the back of a volkswagon).

About a year ago, I wrote about my participation in Upper Caste Supremacy (i.e. casteism). I want to continue this line of discussion (regardless of whether anyone else is interested) because I was encouraged to do so by a good friend whose judgement I trust on emotional matters. She suggested tying this analysis of neurosis to sexuality.

To be honest, I don't really understand it, which is why I made this an open thread. I can put forward some simple possible hypothetical relationships. body = dirty = shame. sexuality = bodily desire x desire for other bodies = double shame. And there's always Freud and Foucault and blah blah blah, but it's...a bit theoretical. A basic question I'm struggling with is whether or not something as personal as sexuality and specifically neuroses associated can be really be taxonomized with any degree of certitude, let alone "from below".

(haha, very funny, you think you're so clever--we all thought that when we read that phrase).

It's On

By: on 4 Jun 2008

At long last, the Democratic primaries for U.S. President are basically over, and Obama will probably be the nominee. Here are some reasons for radicals in the United States and outside to consider supporting the Democratic candidate:

1. Symbolic Reasons

The United States has never had an openly Black person or a Woman as a
Presidency or even Vice Presidency. In fact, it has had only one non-(White Anglo Saxon Protestant male who presents himself as straight)...and the big difference with him is that he was Catholic. Progress for 1960, but it's well past time to move on. There are myriad problems with looking to the Presidency as a salve for racial or gender or really any other woes, but it's at minimum a symbolic touchstone for people, and particularly young people, to look for some hope.

2. For Moderation

There is probably no way that someone can reach the level of power of the American presidency without myriad qualities, including charisma, a willingness to serve corporations, and a propensity for tolerating, if not actively enthusing for militarism and its accompanying violence. Without all those things, they would simply be unacceptable to an American populace and financial elite that has made and secured its well being on the backs of the oppressed for a long, long, long time.

With all that said, if the food crisis can spark positive revolutions or major policy changes in various countries, inadequate handling of it can induce both more political oppression and material suffering. If long-term systemic problems remain in the global and many national economies in ways that hurt the most vulnerable, who is going to do a better job of handling them in a way that damages less people? That both Obama and McCain serve the interests of capital is, as noted above, a given, but it is also important to remember that fairly minor differences in American politics reflect a vast divergence of policies.

A Club You Don't Want To Be A Part Of

By: on 31 May 2008

Why have India and Pakistan not worked out a deal amongst themselves to sign on to the cluster bomb treaty? They, China, the U.S., and Israel are the only five countries in the U.N. to not sign on.

Terms and Concepts

By: on 31 May 2008

If we had a category/tag for "petty annoyances", this post would be in there.

Tidbit: Dead, White, or Canadian?

By: on 18 May 2008

I was reading an article on possible first women presidents of the United States now that Hillary Clinton's almost definitely out.  Buried in the article is the name of the San Francisco District Attorney, Kamala Harris, whom I had never heard of before.  She's listed as an "African-American" woman but more specifically, she's mixed race--half Black and half Indian.  Harris was raised from age 5 by her Tam Bram mother Dr.

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