8.04.2013

Down Under II

Greetings, dear readers =) Another installment of my experiences in Perth, Western Australia. It's similar to my last one, only this time it nearly damn well went south. 0.0

About a week before I was at my usual spot in Waterford Plaza, Bentley which is a stone's throw away from my campus of Curtin University. Dressed in a grey striped hoodie with matching beanie / knit cap to boot, I must've looked dodgy to some (On that note, it's bloody practical. I'd like to see anyone stand outside during rain at 8-13 Celsius dressed in thin clothing, especially if you're from a temperate Equatorial part of the world) Plus I got a crew cut. Heading to Nando's I lifted my head after taking a drag of smoke and lo & behold, I see a Blasian couple in front of me with hands intertwined; he black & she East Asian (insofar as I could tell) A strange stirring wells up in me & grass-root strands of kinship spring forth. Admittedly against my better reserved judgement, I decided to give it a shot.

I walk up beside the guy & tap him on the shoulder. He turns with an enquiring, "Yes?"

"Excuse me, but are the both of you together?" Simple, direct, honest with no ill intentions. I reckoned both of them would've gotten accustomed to such phenomena (after all, Blasian couples are still unusual) and would take it in stride.

His reaction proved otherwise. He simply turned away from facing me, and ignored me as they entered the shop. Christ, I think to myself in a panic. I slipped up. I immediately blurt out that I was just curious, s'all. Apparently my mumbling acted up again, as I presume he didn't hear me clearly. I spent 5 minutes standing outside of Nando's finishing my ciggie, my thoughts troubled by what had just occurred. Putting the butt out, I steel myself for what's to come ahead. I decided to make amends. He; no both of them needed to know.


I make my order of 8 chicken ribs with Lemon & Herb basting, take my number & place it down a measurable distance from where they're sitting at (more accurately, they were waiting for takeaway) And walked up to him. As he sees me approaching, his expression turns grim & the light in his eyes suggests he was preparing himself for conflict. In all honesty I had no bloody clue as to how I looked like. But my insides were telling me one thing, over & over again; Do. Not. Mess. Up.

I'm about to speak when he goes first. In a deliberately flat tone with just a hint of standoffishness he asks. "What's your problem?" A question he poses twice. I raise my hands in that universally human gesture of peace, and proceed to tell him that I meant no harm. That all I wanted to say was despite the unkindness & ignorance of the society we live in who would mock & attempt to degrade their love (even in the Western world, or mayhap BECAUSE it's the Western world) despite so-called publicly professed beliefs that love is love no matter what the colour which belie prejudiced. they should not listen to those around them, but heed their minds & listen to their hearts. And that I wished them the best, with whatever happiness, joy & prosperity that life would see fit to bestow upon them. As I was saying this, I glanced several times at her. Her expression was calmly neutral, but her darting eyes back & forth between me, the potentially expected hostile male Asian stranger, and her beloved betrayed her inner terror. A twinge of sadness wells in me, for reasons I'm sure you, dear readers are familiar of (see this post, eighth paragraph) But an infinitesimal microsecond later, I snap back to awareness.


I made sure or at least attempted to make sure (hey, can ya' blame a guy for slipping up under pressure?) that he heard me clearly. Somehow I doubt he heard every single thing as the place was loud from all the chatter, eating & clinking of cutlery. But I could tell at least he realized my intentions. He stopped speaking, & listened intently. As I ended what I had to say, I heard him murmur an apology & thanks. And I left it at that. Sitting down at my table, I breathed a sigh of relief. And had a thunderbolt of an idea. Bumming a slip of blank receipt paper & a pen, I wrote down the Blasian Narrative website. He turned to look over his shoulder when I tapped him. Slipping the paper into his hand, I whispered, "Check it out" before going back to my meal.

Either both or one of them may check it out. It does not matter. What matters is principles, which I stuck to no matter the outcome. But by a supreme turn of luck & coincidence, I encountered the same couple from my last post riding the bus on the way back home, still hugging one another to keep warm at the campus bus station. Again I stared, as is my wont. Funnily enough, when they boarded neither recognized me. Appearances can be deceiving, after all.

Unsurprisingly, when my house-mates questioned my pondering look and I informed them, they were shocked that it didn't escalate into conflict. Amy, with whom I have a sarcastically friendly relationship with, chided me for nosing into other people's business when I had no right to (she has a point, to an extent) and Ian, my laconic but intellectual house-mate pointed out that I created tension when there was none to be found. I asked him to explain further, and he described it as the possibility thereof. By highlighting the relationship between the couple, I may or may not inadvertently triggered memories of whatever social disapproval they might have faced over the course of being together. Or so I gathered. Hell, the whole notion is itself complicated from the get go. Ethnic tensions, fetishizing (the notion of intra-PoC fetishizing is one I find troubling myself) disillusionment, etc. A similar response was given when I shared this experience with my friends Murali & Aaron. Both pointed out my lack of respect of other people's space, and general busybodiness, in more blunt terms as per our custom. I shall use some of that bluntness now.


Jokes aside, my awareness of our human kinship has grown over time. I was asked one way or the other as to why I did what I did. To be honest, I don't have a specific answer. Only that I felt compassion. After all I had been there, listened to the preconceived notions of society's dictum on who we ought to be with, to love. My regret is in that instance, I heeded their words, and forsook an opportunity at happiness, that ultimate goal of human earthly existence. And I'll be damned if it affects others, unless if I can help it. Does it make me a good person? Nope, I'm already insufferable at this rate, and'll wind up a pretentious douchebag the way things are going. But if others can achieve what I haven't thus far; hell, I'll boost them along.

Until later, take care honored readers =]

*NOTE: Sister Ankhesen kindly directed me to the first DU post, where the gentleman in question left his reply. It seems he checked out the Blasian Narrative after all, under the handle nandos. Check it out for yourself.


3 comments:

  1. First of - you cut your hair! It looks awesome!

    I spent 5 minutes standing outside of Nando's finishing my ciggie

    You're a smoker? *timid voice* Is it still as good as I remember?

    Bumming a slip of blank receipt paper & a pen, I wrote down the Blasian Narrative website.

    Maybe we need to start making business cards.

    By highlighting the relationship between the couple, I may or may not inadvertently triggered memories of whatever social disapproval they might have faced over the course of being together.

    True, but I'm sure your approach was genial.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Sister Ankhesen ^^

      Yes, it's epic 8) Destructive, but epic all the same.

      Amen to that, on both counts ;)

      Delete
  2. I'm getting hungry just reading where you said you got some ribs..lol! I think I'll stop near my favorite BBQ joint and get some this evening.

    Anyways..thank god that things turned out nicely between you and Nando. I'll be honest with you,if I see somebody following me and I'm not sure why they are doing it, I'll be a little intimidated because you're not sure of what their motives may be, even though your reasoning is very sincere.Ive been around a lot of mixed couple since I was a baby and there is nothing wrong with looking. I look..though I try not to look at them too hard because, I wouldn't want to think that I see something is wrong with their relationships/marriages( I don't). Far as Blasian unions.

    I don't see as may as much as everybody else,but I have seen some. I do stare because as I said..there isn't a lot of them and two because in general , we live in a predominately homogenous society and to the world , for one person to be with someone..in this case..of a different race is not supposed to be the "norm".( at least from a racist point of view). I was thinking about a White lady the other day when I was on my way to pay a bill. She was staring at a mixed couple like she was going to fall out of her chair with her kid in tow. The husband was White and the wife wasn't Black, but she appeared to be a darker skinned Latino or Native American woman. Me ,there was a Blasian couple South Indian man/Black woman holding hands..grinning like they just won the Powerball Lottery. Again, I didn't stare at them hard,but a quick usual glance that the average person would give to people. places or things.

    Some people may stare because they may have negative views about them. Like you I stare because I think that people should be able to be with folks regardless of their background wiout malice. Unfortunately, it's not always the case.

    ReplyDelete

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