I always maintained that this blog was a place of positivity, and somewhere I share the lighter side of life – what I eat, where I ago, what I read and watch. And while I still love writing about all of those things (in fact, there’ll be a list of “to-dos this season” post soon that will probably be entirely frivolous), I can’t help but feel like part of the reason for my on and off absence lately is due to my mind being on other things. I would sit down to write up about a restaurant or other random musings, and my head would be filled with things too far removed and the motivation would dissipate.
I’d never considered myself to be a particularly political person, probably because I‘ve never voted and can’t yet see a future in which I will have a voice in the country I call home. Especially now, in this political climate and the bitter aftermath of Brexit, E and I feel more and more uncertain about what our lives would look like if we stay in the UK – one day, we hope to have children who will be half Japanese and half French, and it’s hard to say whether a country that is seemingly succumbing to an intolerant, xenophobic society would still have more advantages than disadvantages. Most importantly, we’ve both experienced the privilege of growing up in an multi-cultural environment, where tolerance and respect to all races and religions were simply instilled through living and breathing in such a melting pot. But things are changing.
Of course, being an Asian woman, I also got used to being subject to racist remarks (made mostly by drunken or sleazy men, or clueless teenagers who I hope now know better). They mostly went over my head, and I put up with them believing that they were just the cards I was dealt and there’s far worse out there (true, but doesn’t make it any less offensive).
But it just feels different now. I haven’t been personally subjected to any verbal abuse since Brexit, but I know others have and it’s disgusting. People like Farage and Trump, whose faces are plastered across the news whether we like it or not, have given a voice to those who harbour such views to begin with and essentially, given them the go sign that leads to, “if they can say it, so can we.”
I spent most of my school and uni years in international institutions, and I now work with kids of all nationalities. I care deeply about how their education will be affected because of Brexit and its political and psychological repercussions. And although I’m sure that none of them are following the US presidential election as intensely as I am, I also worry about them hearing the frankly revolting words that come out of Trump and his surrogates, and the subconscious impact it could have on the more easily influenced of the children and teens. Of course, I want to believe that this is all too dissociated from their daily lives and by the time they are adults, sexism, homophobia, and other should-be-outdated-by-now issues will have moved along further still, but who can tell the consequences of an election year where the words of a presidential candidate of the USA have to be censored because they are that appalling and indefensible?
On the bright side, after diligently following the campaign for the last year or so (don’t ask me why, I’m not American and I have no say in the matter! I’ve just always been somewhat fascinated by their politics). I feel well informed of Hillary Clinton’s past (positive and negative) and her visions for the future, and I for one will definitely stay up on November 8th to watch the first female president of the US get elected. It’s a shame that the race has had to be against a man who has zero moral compass and acts like a (sexist, incompetent, tyrannic, ignorant) bully in a school playground, but hey. All the best stories need a villain…
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but I think by unloading my fears and anger, I can probably go back to writing about much sunnier things. I’ll be back this Thursday with a more cheerful post! In the meantime, let’s be kind, let’s listen and let’s move forward, even while some are desperate to turn back time.