The other day it was 1.1.11 and I was massively hungover from drinking lots of Seahorse on NYE. The Indonesians call it “scotch” which like most things here, is misleading use of the English language. I was talking to M, who said “Oh yeah, that stuff has the proof of Night Train. It’s basically fortified wine.”
So you can only imagine the self-loathing I awoke with the day after.
There was one point in my life where I was obsessed with smoking Old Golds and drinking Wild Irish Rose. Which I was reminded of during my riiiil bad hangover yesterday.
New Year’s Eve was a weird one, probably the weirdest I have had in my life. I recently joined this band, Cheerie Plus. As in, like Chèrie. But it’s very laissez-faire with spelling here. So, Cheerie Plus. Which is funny considering how pissed off I am most of the time. I play violin and keyboard. My relationship with the violin is growing to be more and more complex all of the time. I want to rock, but unfortunately, I’ve become a violinist. And I hate being a one-trick pony. So on the one hand, I’m happy to play because it’s the one thing I get asked to play. But on the other hand, I totally resent that it’s the violin that I’m playing. Like, when I watch videos of people thrashing violin covers of System of a Down, I frown. I frowwwwwwwn.
I almost feel a little too pissed off to continue to write, but I’ve got to keep up with the blog.
Anyway, I was told about two weeks ago we were going to play 20 songs. WTF, that’s a lot. Then we’re in rehearsal and I see there’s like 23 songs on the setlist. Shit, that’s sucky. And then we start adding more songs. And then we’re supposed to play with this child celebrity singer. “Artist” is what they call celebrities here (again with the misleading use of the English language.) And then we’re supposed to play with this female singer. I’ve been told we’re playing a religious gig. And that I have to cover my head.
So I sat with my band and tried to explain to them that I consider myself a feminist, and don’t agree with the priniciples upon which the jiljab lies. In very shitty Indonesian. So what they got out of it is that I don’t like to wear feminine clothes and they totally nodded sympathetically and said “oh, tomboy*.” Right. So then I just said “I’m not muslim so I don’t want to cover my head.” So they said they’d talk to the folks organizing the gig about it. Which, I doubted they would. But it was a paid gig and people don’t understand principles here. Feminism is an idea which is way over everyone’s heads here. I know that seems condescending, but I’ve tried it on people and they’re like “oh yeah, you like to dress like a boy.”
Anyway, we played 9 songs total, and appeared on stage 4 times. The first time we were on, we played 3. Then 2 with the child celeb, 2 with the girl celeb, and then 2 rocking songs after midnight. After our first appearance, we were informed we had to tone our performance down. So the next two appearances we were seated. The last, I was able to take off my headcovering – a red kerchief I usually just wear around my neck – so I ended up looking like a retarded lesbian pirate when I had to put it on my head. Anyway, the last performance was pretty hilarious because the guys were jumping around and rocking out. And the woman running the show was dabbing at the sweat on her face looking totally agonized up at the stage trying to tell us to cut it out.
*Clothes here are really girly, as in, the kind of clothes that little girls would wear.
I’m going to Bali on the 7th to meet with my mom. It’ll be a nice vacation from this dump.
I was just standing around with some classmates today, class was canceled and they were just hanging out in front of the building, and this guy on a scooter who I’ve never met who was hanging with my friends asked me where I’m from. I said America. Which OF COURSE he didn’t fucking buy and told me “You’re not an American. Because you have Chinese-face.” Then I said I wasn’t Chinese, which he countered with “so you’re Japanese.” This particular social interaction that I have on a nearly basis never fails to piss me off, but the degree to which I get annoyed varies. But I manage to keep myself from mouthing off and calling them little brown monkey motherfuckers. Be horrified, but please understand how fucking burned out I am. And that there is no such thing as political correctness here, so it’s perfectly for them to be racist bastards. But since they don’t have reciprocal understanding of racism, to go there and call them brown monkey motherfuckers might rip a hole through their lackadaisical understanding that I am a foreigner devoid of emotion, thoughts, or an internal life. I exist, simply, to perplex and entertain.
The other night a classmate saw me holding snack cakes in my hand that a friend had handed to me and said “you can’t overeat, Jackie.” “Why not.” “Because you’re going to get fat.” OK. Fine, whatever dude. “I’m just drinking the water from this bag of snacks.” “Just don’t overeat. You’ll get fat.” OK. Fuck you too, buddy. Five minutes later, I’m still holding the same shit in my hand. “Don’t overeat, Jackie, you’re going to get fat.” I’m really glad I had a sadistic Korean mother obsessed with my fatness to train me for this endurance event. Or maybe my classmate was preparing me for my mom’s arrival in Bali. I can imagine us at a seafood buffet right now, my mom piling scallops onto my plate: “Jackie, you need to start exercising because you look so fat.”
I tried talking to another Asian American doing the same program as me, but she’s in Denpasar. With a shitton of rich white people around. It was a massively frustrating and disappointing experience, and I’m glad she’s around so many white people so she can keep up with her smarmy condescension. Because my ego is really in the dirt right about now. I have never been so aware of being a minority since Kindergarten when little kids would say shit about “ching chong eyes.” I’m glad political correctness has instilled a deep sense of guilt in white Americans. So that I can go about my business and not have people point things out like my Chinese face, slanty eyes, etc.
I’m bummed the fuck out and tired of people. Indonesians don’t know how to take “no” for an answer and I pity the fool who tries. Surely the curious Indonesian will ask you “why” until you say “yes.” To say that they are overbearing is putting it lightly. And I am frankly feeling like a piece of meat with Ching Chong eyes that can miraculously play the violin. And that I’m put in really fucking unfair situations with people. Like, I was going to help with this professor’s Master’s level exam at the end of December. But since people just don’t take shit seriously here (besides making sure that women are treated like children), the performance was moved to January. I’ve already made plans to meet with my mother in Bali in January, but I had people begging me to cancel. It’s not my fucking problem they have no concept of time here, and I’m not going to go back on my plans with my MOTHER.
But culturally, there are no boundaries here. That in combination with the no concept of time besides the present, is really fucking dangerous. And makes for a lot of drama. But in the cycle of samsara, we make our own suffering. I feel like I’ve been condemned to living her for a year because of all the dlisted I’ve read over the years.
When I think of Indonesia, I think of corruption, gossip and lies. People shirking off responsibility. Trying to blame the other guy. Bureaucrats who smile while lying to your face about really stupid shit: Mr. Middleman is supposed to send some document with my pictures attached to some office of the something or rather. But he’s lost the CD with my photos (on the red background) but he’s smiling and telling me that I must have forgotten how he’s given me back my photos already, so please, can I give him my photos? Just thinking about this interaction that’s gone down a few times already gives me enough energy I really believe my fist really could make it through his teeth and down his throat. This is human nature at it’s rawest, purest and most quintessential form.
My mind is blown on a regular basis. By shit that I see, by my own emotions on experiencing things.
I don’t think a veterinarian could come to Indonesia to relax. The animals here are in terrible shape. Pinkish dogs with liverspots and no fur, bitches with udders and vaginas that flop about when they trot around. Stretched out and put to heavy use from birthing so many litters. There’s this underdeveloped cat with some kind of fungal thing blooming all around it’s ears on campus. I went to the zoo in Bukit Tinggi. And I’m not die hard animal rights activist or anything, and I almost started crying because of the way the elephants are handcuffed. Literally unable to walk. And the big cats are miserably resigned to their horrible lives with rotting carrion and mud in their pens.
So I totally apologize for falling so far being on this blog, there’s a LOT missing. Seriously. Some beautiful moments. But for now I am burned out as fuck and basically never get time to myself.
There’s a song that I think of frequently, here. It’s Angeles by Elliott Smith.
Someone’s always coming round here trailing some new kill
Said I’ve seen your picture on a hundred dollar bill
What’s to you a game of chance is one
Of real skill
So glad to meet you Angeles
Picking up the ticket shows there’s money to be made
Go on lose the gamble that’s the history of the trade
Did you add up all the cards left to play
Sign up with evil Angeles
Don’t stop me trying now
uh huh uh huh uh huh
No one’s gonna fuck around with us
I could make you satisfied in everything you do
All your secret wishes could right now be coming true
And forever with my poison arms
So glad to meet you Angeles
Last night I was having these really intense dreams. That I was performing again, but I remember being partially conscious and thrashing around in my bed but also trying to cover my body with my hands because I felt like someone was in my room watching me*. Also something about being in the old house where I grew up. Somehow my mom was hoarding two of my dad’s corpses, and I saw their maggots setting on one of them. The other corpse was hidden somewhere. Anyway, I’m chalking up the dad-maggot dream to my dictionary being open last night while I was at dinner with my bandmate and seeing the definition of belatung – maggot (in corpses) – while I was eating.
*I also find it mildly unsettling that Kristinya asked me “did you hear something strange last night? Someone on our back patio walking around, trying to get into the kitchen through the back door? Or maybe I had strange dreams…” Basically around the same time I was having a weird dream of someone being in my room watching me, she was, too. Sometime around dawn. Which I guess goes to show that even the witch doctors here are every bit as much invasive voyeurs as the common Indonesian.
Last night, my bandmate was trying to convince me (in a really condescending fashion) over dinner that it’s okay if we hang out together alone. This mind you, is a commitment that I very grudgingly accepted. But he said he had to talk to me about the band. He spent maybe five minutes talking to me about the band. The rest of the time he tried to pull some guilt trip, that it’s not very American of me to be worried about what other people are thinking of me hanging out with some guy anyway. Because frankly, when I go somewhere and everyone starts cajoling the dude I’m hanging out with “hey, who’s that giiiiiiiiiiirl? Woooooohooooooo!” like they’re a bunch of middleschoolers is really irritating. I can’t describe what it’s like to walk into a place to eat or a store with a male, and have everyone turn around and start talking above you, about you. Looking at you while they’re doing this. But knowing that you’re helpless in responding. It’s a very dehumanizing situation, and I understand how people’s dogs feel when they are brought into bars. But I typically feel like a green and orange Great Dane.
Anyway. Maybe if he were better-looking I’d have less of a problem with being spotted around town with him and having ppl assume we’re an item. He’s trying to tell me he doesn’t like me, when he’s just some goofy 19 year old kid who gets that gaze and trips over shit and acts all awkward with me. I told him I don’t date bandmates but, he’s like “oh, it’s not a date when we hang out alone together!” But in the minds of Indonesians that see us together, we are. So I know he wants to be the cool guy with a foreigner girlfriend, even if it isn’t reciprocated from my end, but you can’t play a player.
Oh, I feel like Marlowe now, I can go on and on. Like blog which leads to an interminable vastness of internet – devoid of substance. Only opinion and the darkness of a consciousness limited by incomplete understanding.
Hell yes, the smell of garbage fire wafting in on the breeze. If I don’t come back with a variety of cancers due to the UV rays, garbage fires, besin (benzene?!) fumes, msg, cigarettes, questionable water and general toxic-toxicness… I will be surprised.
Happy New Year everyone. Continue to keep me in your thoughts, I will persevere and kick this year in the ass. Mostly because I have no choice but to stay here, hahaha. Fuck. Love to all, hope this year is far superior to all those that have passed.