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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


After a week from hell (but a hell of my own making... problems in my life seldom amount to more than that) in early February scrambling to get an audio portfolio together the application amidst lots of schoolwork, unpaid research work and emotional turmoil, I got an e-mail today that made me very happy. I am currently shortlisted for the Peter Gzowski CBC radio internship (as one of the McGill candidates), even if my reference letters came in late, and, one of them was missing! I got the e-mail today requesting that I get the third reference in as soon as possible. How exciting.
In the words of Lucas from Empire Records: "In this life, there are nothing but possibilities".
I'm not quite sure what I will do if I am actually selected for this internship... I shouldn't really jump ahead of myself, as there is no guarantee that I will actually get it, but I've been planning to do so many things this summer, not least of which is going to the Philippines and hopefully also HK and Japan with Jameel, Amin and Steph. I also intended on being at home in Guelph. At the same time, this would be a tremendous opportunity... I'm so excited about whatever happens. I need to shake the conflicted feeling of my over-privileged self though-- this should not be a source of anxiety.

On another positive note, I'm reading this amazing novel that I'm supposed to have read entirely for tomorrow morning's seminar. All That We Long For by Dionne Brand is about second generation immigrant youth in Toronto. I spent a few days in Toronto over this past weekend with my family. The last/only time I lived in that city was as a baby in a highrise near Bloor and Spadina and that was only for 6 months. Reading about the city though just makes me so happy since I love big cities. And this book is just brilliant. Like in the way that White Teeth was brilliant. It just resonates. I'll post some juicy quotes from it soon.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Isang Mahal...

...I've come to realize

I'm graduating this year. Four years have passed in the batting of an eyelash and I've been flirting with the dream of being me, an entity, separate and whole, whatever that means. I feel like the whole encounter has been a series of calculations, beautiful coincidences and orchestrated happenings. These four years in Montreal would not have been what they were (and still are) without certain key events, chance meetings and friendships that were formed. What is truly remarkable in my mind is that virtually everything has worked out for the best, in my favour, and with results beyond what I ever could have expected as an 18-year-old going off on her own (so to speak) for the first time. Generally I feel inspired to write more when I'm down, the self-indulgence of the pubescent "pseudo-Goth" trip in traces I suppose. But right now It's all love... just in a fantastically good mood. Definitely not complaining.

Amin drove Steph, Rahima and I into Montreal from Ottawa this evening. This was after a weekend of birthday fun and the reunification of a certain Quebecoise with her homeland.
Driving into cities at night has always been something I enjoy. Every time I leave or come into Montreal now, I think about how I'll be leaving soon. From Pont Champlain everything looks so gorgeous and quiet and alive at night. Idyllic in its own way for my smalltown-bred imagination.

skyscraper skyscraper
scrape me some sky

... i fell asleep writing this post, i awoke in the middle of the night, lights on, and my laptop close to my face on the futon. the ending lines are from my favorite poem by Dennis Lee. What can I say? I'm in a terribly cheesy mood, but I feel blessed to have the people I happen to have in my life.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

for the moment (or, "i want a tan")

My man's in Thailand and I miss him. It's been barely three days.... and I don't usually miss people when they're gone. Is that pathetic? Did I mention that he'll be back soon, in barely two weeks?
But just as one angel is across the ocean... another one has landed back in the motherland. Steph is back from Japan for a mere week, but I'm already school-girl super excited. The icey February chill has commenced once more and I'm just dreaming of warmer climates, golden brown skin and humidity. Welcome back my favorite babae na malakas.... like I said, Montreal misses you, and she needs you back, if for just a short while.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Google Chat came out this week, and I don't know why I feel particularly compelled to write about it, because really, this will just serve as PR for the company I believe will be able to slay the Microsoft Giant, but here goes. So google just might revolutionize the way we think, write and live our lives. By making everything infinitely searchable, anyone who has a google mail account can easily wonder why it isn't possible to google the rest of your life-- call up the appointments that you may have forgotten during the day, the song whose lyrics you've forgotten, the best route to that movie theatre in Hull that you want to go to---(inside joke, which, in actuality proved that Google Maps is NOT the best, but I digress). Basically the google people have discovered the key to our souls--- those of the technologically addicted anyway. I mean, give us an inbox with infinite possibilities for storage (ok, so 2 GB is not that big when compared to the Ipods many of us are carting around, but i'm sure immense storage is not too far into the future for gmail); a way to locate practically anything on the internet and our home computers, including photos, maps, satellite imagery, and misnamed files; and now a way to chat to our closest friends without leaving the comfort of our e-mail interface--- google now is one of the most powerful tracking devices in the entire world.

Recently the company bowed to the Chinese government's demands that it censor the web search engine, while simultaneously refusing the American government access to its files which might compromise its users safety. Meanwhile it is also in talks with Dell to integrate its software with newly packaged computers....

Big Google is Watching. And all we can do is hope that we buy the stock early enough.

Oh dear - the one thing I find raelly frightening / fun is the blogsearch... irk... then again, I AM terrified of the creepy nature of some people around this island ;).

so convenient, so intrusive.


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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

the king stays on his own colour

Jameel and I played chess together for the first time this weekend. I hadn't played in years and he hadn't played ever. But it got me thinking about some other stuff this evening...

Regardless of the strategy, the opposition of the pieces and the squares they occupy might as well be a grid mapped out on the entire world. Not in perfectly measured squares but in regions that are subdivided along cities, neighborhoods, streets, buildings and rooms and occupations contained within. This evening I went to a dinner at my boss' house, which was meant to welcome some new students into the program that I work at. They are students from the Middle East, who are here, in part to pick up skills on how to build bridges and learn from each other in an environment outside of "the conflict".

My co-worker and I arrived this evening to the upscale Outremont apartment, only to find another colleague of ours had been relegated to the kitchen, not been told whether or not she would be paid to get the food ready, set out the buffet and wash the dishes. Her husband had been hastily "invited" to the party minutes earlier by our supervisor, and she was clearly pissed off -- but of course, grinning and bearing it. The living/dining area was filled with white, older people--- with the exception of five of the seven students who were being welcomed, two token brown people and three other work-study students who are my colleagues. To the people outside, it became painfully apparent to Y and I how the situation would be perceived. The beautifully catered kosher meal was being served by a "hired" black woman. Never mind that she is a master's student in social work, or that she has a family or that she is an employee of the university as an administrative assistant (not kitchenhelp).

Y and I helped out in the kitchen, and both tried to get our older co-worker out to mingle with the others, where she belonged. Then we sat and ate together. The Israeli Consul General bade us goodbye and shook our hands. I smiled and said bye-- as thoughts of kitchens and apartheid danced in my head. Later on, an older woman approached me, (probably mistaking me for one of the Middle East students) and asked me, "So what are you going to do when you go back to your country?". When you go back to your side of the board, because you don't look like me... so clearly you don't quite belong here.

I don't want to sound melodramatic. Clearly my experiences of racism are nothing and "pale" in comparison to most others. But at the same time, sometimes I just want to scream out, Stop looking at my brown face and my chinky eyes and assuming things!

On a more positive note, during my Middle Eastern film class today, the professor asked me if I could translate a line in the movie (thank goodness I was watching the subtitles at that point... hahaha!) from Farsi. I was so shocked she was asking me that I turned around and said, "Are you asking me?". Then again, the shock at being correctly identified as Iranian was nice in contrast to the two times earlier this week when I'd been stopped by complete strangers in the street who felt compelled to speak to me for the first time in their lives with the words "Are you Chinese?"... and when I answer in the negative, followed by the inevitable "Vietnamese? Japanese?"....

No, no, and no. you'll never guess. And I don't think I feel like playing this game with you, since I don't know you, there's not enough strategy for it to be challenging.


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