Punching up and down

Some people I have interacted with despise the concept of punching up and down. They believe everyone deserves to be criticised, regardless of how truly marginalised they are. This concept, they believe, is just an excuse to silence those with unpopular opinions.

I partially agree with the sentiment.

I do believe everyone deserves to be constructively criticised. But, the thing is I don’t know how others define punching up and down. In my mind, they are all about destructive criticism. I mean, the word “punch” is used here.

There are ways to “punch” people. You can either satirise them or straight up mean-spiritedly insult them. Doing either or both means you insinuate that they are the number one source of problems in our societies.

I am comfortable about targetting certain groups like white Christians in the west, Muslims of indigenous lineage in Indonesia or cishet people in every country. They have two things in common: they are the demographic majorities and they dominate the ruling classes.

If both traits apply to your group, then you directly or indirectly shape your societies inside out. Inevitably, just like how you can take some credits (SOME) in your societies’ achievements, you are also directly or indirectly to blame for their problems.

Of course, because humans don’t live in vacuums, marginalised minorities also have their share of blame. But, because they are numerically smaller and politically weaker, their share is far smaller.

If anything, due to their small share of power, they are often among the biggest casualties of the societal problems.

To sum it up, be careful when you criticise groups of people. Make sure to not depict them as more powerful than they really are.

Unless, of course, you are idiotic or bigoted enough to believe the persecution complex narratives.






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Two bad reasons and one good reason to explain your faith

Bad reason 1: wanting to fight off prejudice.

Some people may harass you into explaining why the religious extremists -who happen to share the same label with you- do the things they do. And you may think civil engagements will prevent them from demonising you.

How cutely naive of you.

The fact that they already try to lump you with the extremists without even knowing you show how they already have their beliefs set in stone and the only thing they care about is affirming them. The more you explain everything, the more they feel their beliefs affirmed, regardless of what you actually say and do.

If you assert that not all of your fellow believers are evil, they will accuse you of denying the existence of extremism. If you have proven yourself as one of those good guys, they will insist the extremists are the true believers and you are the fake ones. If you are a Muslim, they will accuse you of Taqiyya -a word that they keep on dishonestly misdefining- and perceive every single one of your word as a lie, unless you willingly become their lapdogs and sell your fellow Muslims out.

Adding a personal experience of mine, in which someone accused me of mocking victims of Islamic extremism, simply because I shared a video that mocked anti-Muslim bigotry.

The thing about humans is we can only truly and voluntarily change for the better if we have the desire in the first place. The obligation to initiate the transformation is on us, NOT on others.

Why do we have to prove that we are worthy of being treated like human beings? Why do we have to prove that bigotry is wrong? Why do we have to be civil and accommodating towards those who want us dead simply because we are different?

Bad reason 2: wanting to rationally justify it.

Here’s a bitter pill to swallow: your religious faith does not make any sense.

Let me start with my own personal story.

When I was a lot younger, I used to think science and religion were the exact same thing, but expressed differently. I tried to use science to justify the validity of my religion. Obviously, that’s stupid. Nowadays, I believe science and religion serve entirely different purposes and they inherently cannot be mixed together.

After dropping my pseudoscientific tendency, I started to have a difficulty describing my relationship with Islam; it was frustrating to experience something and yet unable to describe it concretely.

One day, I saw Reza Aslan’s interview on The Young Turks, in which he stated the cause of his persistent religiosity, despite years of studying religions sceptically: the religious symbolism felt personally meaningful to him.

And I fell in love with his answer! Finally, I knew how to precisely put my faith in words without pseudoscience!

Well, except, there was nothing about precise about that. I was so smitten by it, I didn’t realise how abstract it was and I thoughtlessly used it justify my belief, both to my fellow Muslims (many of whom despise my liberal attitudes) and non-Muslims. I didn’t know Aslan’s exact thought process and personal experiences… and yet, I acted like I did; I acted as if his were exactly similar to mine.

It didn’t take me long to realise how it made no sense. I sounded like a rambling idiot (still do). It didn’t help that I tried to frame a highly metaphysical opinion as objective and rational. Aslan, on the other hand, never tried to frame that opinion of his as such.

You may argue I am just projecting myself onto others and you may argue other people’s religiosity may be more authentic and more rational than mine. Growing up and still living in a religious environment, I have listened to lots of people describing their religious spirituality and, when it comes to the roots of their religiosity, they can be categorised into three:

Those who are religious because they grew up religious, those who feel saved by their religions and those who use pseudoscience to validate their religions.

Obviously, my categorisation is flawed. Not only it is not scientific, it is very rigid, ignoring that anyone and anything in life will always be difficult to put into boxes; in fact, according to my own categorisation, I used to belong to two categories.

But, despite that, I can confidently say all the people I observe have something in common: they are emotionally-attached to their religions.

I don’t see how any of the aforementioned traits are products of reason and scientific inquiries.

A good reason: you are a fucking asshole

If you love shoving your belief down other people’s throats, to the point where you won’t give up until every living being on earth converts, then you do have to explain yourself!

Fortunate for other people, you are the kind of people who are more than willing to explain yourselves, which means you are responsive to every question and argument bombarded at you, which means you open your faceholes a lot more, which means you will always dig deeper holes for yourselves.

Yes, I am certain your words will always be nothing but verbal diarrhoea. I mean, you believe the religions you happen to belong to are the only correct ones and are the only ways to be moral human beings. How can anyone with brains think you are capable of sound thinking?

You have committed every single fallacy in the book and you have incited hatred and even violence against non-believers. Unless you truly repent, there is no reason for me to believe you won’t stop being cunts any time soon.

Obviously, you are human beings. Eventually, you may get tired of having bombarded with loads of possibly hostile questions. When you have reached that point…. well, you better suck it up, buttercup!

You have divided the already-divided world even further and your hateful words have directly and indirectly contributed to violent and sometimes deadly attacks against people you refuse to see as human beings. You cannot spew venom and then complain when you are on the receiving end. You have to fucking endure it, you bunch of worthless fucks!

People hate you not because you happen to share labels with assholes, people hate you because you are the assholes!

Oh, and let’s not pretend that you are not a reason why your peaceful fellow believers become victims of bigotry. You definitely are.

Do you seriously think you do not contribute to the creation and affirmation the stereotypes? Do you seriously think all of your fellow believers see you lobotomised apes as martyrs?



Yes, I do realise part one and part three also apply to any forms of bigotry. But, I focus on the religious one because part two is strictly a religion-related topic.






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Taking Harry Potter away from her

I was annoyed by fans who thought they were more entitled to the worldbuilding than Rowling was. Regardless of how much of a shit worldbuilder she is, Harry Potter is still her creation. While you have the right to create fan fictions, they are not parts of the canon and will never be!

Nowadays, while my annoyance is still there, my view has changed a bit.

First of all, I don’t thin Harry Potter is among the most progressive works ever. It has some problematic elements like how Hermione’s elves-right activism being depicted as annoying, how she is the not-like-the-other-girls trope and, of course, Dumbledore’s queerbaiting.

But, despite said problems, tolerance and equality are among Harry Potter’s main themes. They are so effectively conveyed that many young readers are inspired to be more progressive* and many LGBT fans –including trans ones- feel genuinely accepted while immersing themselves in the fictional universe.

But, do you know who does not accept trans people? J.K. Rowling.

Say anything you want. But, once you reject the moral messages in your own works, they no longer represent your morality.

She has the right to continue her shit worldbuilding. But, she does not have the right to complain when people start using her works – from which she has morally distanced herself – to rail against her.

Don’t want to be condemned as a hypocrite? Well, it’s easy: don’t be a fucking hypocrite!



*I am not one of those who think works of art and entertainment can single-handedly change our minds. Our surroundings are as important in shaping our selves, if not more.

But, they can certainly be inspirational and empowering to their fans. Depending on the works, they can also compel people to contemplate about the world they live in.






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How to deal with bigots and conspiracists

And anyone similar.

It is simple: shame the fuck out of them.

Once they have proven themselves to be impossible to reason with, then there is nothing we can do but to shame them.

Shame them to the point where they refuse to pass their values down to their children! Shame them to the point where they keep everything to themselves! Shame them to the point where they truly hate their own selves!

Never ever let them feel good about themselves!

No, this does not take away your freedom of speech; it does not mean we are entitled to freedom from consequences. If anything, if you truly believe in freedom of speech, you have to acknowledge that I have the right to shame anyone! It is what we called being consistent!

If you can tolerate incitement and falsehood, then there is no reason for you to not tolerate shaming, which is arguably way less harmful.






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‘Cisgender’ is offensive!

*puts on a mask*

Why? Because it puts non-trans people like me in a category… and being put into a category means we have to see trans people as equals…. and, if we see them as our equals, it means they are just as normal… and, if they are just as normal, it means we won’t have any reasons to dehumanise them…

And, if we can’t dehumanise them, how the fuck can we feel good about ourselves? How the fuck can we do that if we don’t have anyone to trample on?

This is a reason why we deliberately frame “cis” as a slur made by trans people. Not because it is actually one, but because many people (especially imbeciles) will fall for it.

That way, there will be more reasons to hate trans people; not only they are perceived as perverts, they will be perceived as bigots as well!

Once the hatred increases, it will be harder for trans people to be seen as human beings… and the harder it is for them to be seen as ones, the longer they will stay marginalised… and the more they stay marginalised, the more we can trample on them…

… And the more we can trample on them, the easier it is for us to stay feeling powerful, to stay feeling like we are the only normal ones.

*takes off the mask*






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No, turning former churches into mosques does not benefit the Muslim world, you pseudo-spiritual swines

Predominantly-Muslim countries like Turkey already have not only an abundance of mosques, but also an abundance of prayer rooms. Why do we need more of them? Why do you act like we are deprived of our religious needs within our own territories?

Besides, if you genuinely believe in Allah’s omnipresence, you don’t need a mosque to communicate with Him; you can pray fucking everywhere. And you know what? Muslims who live in places where they are an extremely tiny minority have done just that! You are just a teeny whiny swine!

No, don’t act like this is not a big deal. Erdogan turns a museum -which is a place of learning and therefore, benefits fucking everyone– into a place of worship -which benefits only one fucking religious group! He sends a message to the world that it is acceptable for Muslims to disrespect non-Muslims.

I should also remind you that Hagia Sophia started as a church and Erdogan is also planning to turn another museum which is also formerly a church into a mosque. Not only he encourages his fellow Muslims to be selfish, he also trivialise the plight of many prosecuted Christian minorities all over the world, many of whom don’t have fucking churches of their own! He gives every Christian in the world the middle finger.

If you don’t have a problem with that, it is either you are bigoted yourself or you are unable to see bigotry right in front of you. And yes, being complicit to bigotry is as bad as committing it.

No, don’t act like you don’t want vengeance against Christians. If you don’t, why do you have to remind everyone that anti-Muslim prosecutions, especially ones committed by Christians, exist? Why do you think it is appropriate to respond with ‘two wrongs make a right’?

No, your virtue signalling does not work on me. If you really care about the plight of Muslim minorities, why the fucking hell are you excited about a predominantly-Muslim country having a new mosque? You cannot claim to care about the poor and then get a boner when the rich get tax cuts!


‘The Democratic party is the racist party’…

… Is what dumbfuck reactionary Americans will say.

I am not going to talk about the southern strategy as I cannot cite evidences other than an excerpt of Lee Atwater’s interview  and the fact that GOP apologised in 2005 for committing it.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think the Democratic party is as inclusive as many think it is. While not all of them, many Dems -both the voters and voted ones- are pseudo-progressives who believe the upholding of the status quo is worth the broken promises and tokenism. Biden is basically a conservative and if Buttigieg is not a young, gay military veteran, he would not be as popular.

But, under a  two-party system, the absence of hateful rhetoric can be appealing to not only young, aspiring progressive politicians, but also members of marginalised communities.

In fact, not only there is a recent increase of actual young progressive Dems who make centrists nervous (yes, I am thinking of the squad), the data also shows Hispanics (of any race), blacks and Jews are more likely to vote blue than red.

Okay, I am one of those people who can feel wary about social statistics; poor samplings can result in extremely misleading results. But, I still have yet to find any counter-evidences, both quantitative and qualitative.

Oh, and there are documented cases of bigots voting for Republicans or running for office as ones. There are lots of Republican voters, Trump ones in particular, caught on camera racially abusing any non-whites and/or any non-English speakers they run into. Arthur J. Jones is not only white supremacist  member of the Republican party. David Duke is not the only white supremacist who openly support Trump. Supporters of the confederacy and whitewashers of slavery are mostly Republicans.

I refuse to say all Republicans are racist. But, I can definitely say the genuinely non-racist ones are so mindless with their rhetoric, they have inadvertently give the racists a comfortable home within the party.

What I am saying if you want discredit the Democratic party as the racist party, you have to expose what both parties are, not what they were in the fucking bygone era.

Studying the past is not the same as living in it.






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Japan: how it is stupidly idealised by western bigots

Let’s not sugar-coat it: if you unambiguously and proudly express your hatred of trivial human differences and even talk about the importance racial purity, making your view eerily similar to one of a Nazi, you cannot complain when others call you a bigot. You deserve the label.

Those bigots love to fawn over Japan for its cultural, ethnic and racial homogeneity and its strict immigration policies. They believe they are the secrets of Japan’s uniqueness and ‘social success’ (some people actually use the term).

Of course, if you just dig slightly deeper, what they believe is complete horse shit.

When they say ‘social success’, I am certain they are referring to the supposed lack of social problems in Japan, even though everyone with basic facts about the country knows it is not problem-free.

Karoshi and Hikikomori are two phenomena which Japan are internationally infamous for. The justice system also is known for being unjust, where presumption of innocence is not a thing.

Oh, and the calm and well-behaved stereotype is exaggerated, at least nowadays. PDR-San, a Japanese Youtuber whose viewers are mostly Japanese (but provide English subtitles for his videos), loves to rant about Japanese people who behave disruptively for the sake of internet clout; watch his videos and one’s romanticised views of Japan will be shattered.

One may argue anime, Japanese game shows and Japanese TV ads are uniquely Japanese. But, those game shows are no longer produced due to regulations, most Japanese TV ads are pathetically normal and Japanese audience prefer Disney over the locally-made animation.

If you see the big picture, Japanese culture looks even less unique.

Do I even need to explain the Chinese influences? The use of kanji and the presence of Chinese loanwords in the Japanese language, dishes like ramen, shoyu and gyoza, the Chinese-influenced traditional fashion and arts and the arrival of Buddhism via China.

And Chinese-influences are not the only ones prevalent in Japanese culture.

Tempura is of Portuguese origin and there are many yōshoku or western-influenced dishes, like katsu and omuraisu, in the country. Japanese language is also full of loanwords from Dutch, Portuguese and, of course, English; in fact, an elderly man sued the NHK for their excessive and unnecessary use of English loanwords.

Oh, and I don’t think I should remind you that most Japanese people, even ones in the rural areas, no longer wear kimonos in their daily lives.

My point is if you really love isolationism, it just does not make sense to fawn over a country that is clearly also under the influence of globalisation; even under the isolationist Tokugawa shogunate, Japan was not entirely cut off from the world.

It makes more sense if you fawn over the most isolated and primitive tribes instead.






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Casualties of feel-goodism 2


I am not going to talk about the 2019 Oscars-winning supposedly anti-racism film Green Book specifically. While I have heard about the white warrior trope accusations, I haven’t watched the film. Therefore, I cannot talk about it.

But, I can talk about fans of the film, film ethics in general… and a bit about one of its screenwriters.

The fans believe the film deserves its victory because it is heartwarming. That sentiment alone easily reveals two problems.

First of all, how the hell is feel-goodism a sign of merit? I thought we judge films based on how effective their storytellings are, NOT based on how good they are in making us feel good about ourselves and the world we live in.

Second, the film is supposedly about racism and the title itself is based on a series of books that helped black Americans avoiding racist establishments during road trips.

Describing ‘bigotry’ as atrocious is an understatement. Whether you experience or witness it, its existence reminds you about how monstrous the world we live in. If you become aware of your own bigotry (and assuming you thrive to be a decent person), you would be horrified about how much of a monster you were.

Basically, bigotry is NOT heartwarming. When a film about bigotry makes you all warm and fuzzy in the inside, there is something wrong with either how you interpret the film or how the film depicts bigotry.

Either way,  for some reasons, you haven’t fully grasped what bigotry actually is. Maybe the protective bubbles haven’t bursted yet.

I am not saying a film about the harshness of reality should not make you feeling warm and fuzzy; I think it is self-righteous to believe so. What I am saying is the warmness should NOT be the only thing you feel.

If such film does have some cheerful moments or ends on a glaringly hopeful note, it should NOT be entirely sweet. Instead, it should be an emotional rollercoaster. It should be bittersweet.

Yes, a socially-charged film can indeed be too good to be true. Ideally, when that feeling

It is one thing to enjoy escapism. But, it is another when the escapism commands us to blur the line between reality and fantasy… and we unquestioningly oblige.

Oh, and I should mention that the main white character in the film, AKA the redeemed racist, is based on a real person… and his son is one of the screenwriters, who was in hot water for believing in an anti-Muslim conspiracy.

Even though he did apologise for it, wouldn’t the combination of his (allegedly past) bigotry and conflict of interest be a concern for fans of the film?






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Tired of the ‘political correctness’?

It’s easy: blame the bigots!

You may argue there is nothing inherently wrong about using make-up and the likes to look like you are from a different race. But, people in the past used blackfaces, yellowfaces and the likes to perform racist caricatures.

You may believe there is nothing inherently wrong about a non-Native American wearing a Native American headdress. But, Native Americans had their native identities literally beaten out of them in residential schools while white people freely wore the headdresses for their own hedonistic purposes.

You may believe there is nothing inherently wrong about making ‘offensive’ jokes. But, people have been using ‘offensive’ humour to express and justify their bigotry since forever.

Blame the bigots for the political correctness. They are the reasons why things that can be argued as inherently harmless end up attached with extremely adverse connotations.

They are the reasons why Social Justice Warriors exist.