1. This is in response to Jamie Dewolff's poetry from "Under My Big Top", which was essentially:
    1. My girlfriend is a Disney party princess! I RULE
    2. My girlfriend thinks she's fat. I disagree. I RULE
    3. My girlfriend is my sub! I RULE
    a.k.a. White Straight Cis Guy Making Himself The Hero of Every Story Fuck That Shit.

    HEY DUDE!
    You think you’re such a Big Man
    waiting home for me so you could
    bend me over the dining room table
    pull my sparkling ballgown up
    to spank my fat ass raw?

    I have had to deal with worse brats than you
    Screaming children interrogating me about my lack of wings
    The birthday girl in tears because her nemesis is wearing the exact same dress
    Everyone’s mum and dad and stepmum and stepdad and mum’s girlfriend and dad’s special friend
    tucked away in a separate room
    clutching mimosas and pearls
    While I bear sole witness to their wishes on candles blown for another year
    of only ever learning about Princesses
    not as custodians of diplomacy, grace, and power
    but holding on to someday their prince will come
    as if that’s all they are good for
    as if that’s all I am good for

    You good for nothing!
    crowing about being the King of the Jungle
    think you’ve got more swagger than Shere Khan
    more braggadocio than Gaston and Christian Grey combined
    - do you read?

    Do you read the rage of the revolutionaries
    rebelling against the damage of your unchecked privilege?
    Do you read the thoughtful critique of your controversy
    or do you reject responses with
    “This is ART, you cannot censor me!”
    You say you want a conversation
    All I hear is a monologue in chorus

    You want a piece of me?
    Bitch, so does EVERYBODY
    She’s too big now she’s too thin
    Too girly too butch too ugly too pretty too too too
    it’s too much, we cannot win!
    Your deflection doesn’t answer my question
    Not when you still maintain the separation
    between ‘beautiful’ and ‘fat’
    as though they cannot interact

    Well here is my BEAUTIFUL FAT ASS
    so take that!
    all you seem to see is a landmark for your
    whiplash flogger hand marks
    You seem to think being the Top has all the luck
    well hasn’t anybody ever told you
    the BOTTOM runs the FUCK!
    I may be shameless in my submission
    Compared to you I’m fuckin’ brave
    Would you have the courage to endure pain
    alchemical transform it into pleasure
    Or would you cower like a little baby
    Because someone dared tell you behave
    - working with three year olds is a bliss
    compared this
    At least they take scrapes and scars in stride
    You’re too scared to let the cat-o-nine-tails on your behind

    Hey DUDE!
    Behind every Big Man
    and in front and on the sides and all around
    are Women and the Genderfucks
    with even bigger souls
    and spirits and energy and courage
    We don’t need your approval
    We don’t need your validation
    We just need you to recognise
    and get out of our damn way.

    So while I spend all my time in 88-horsepower metal carriages
    desperately praying for fairy godmothers to grant me with tips
    to support YOUR unmarked, pristine, pampered fat ass
    think about your claims of power
    and reconsider whether it is yours to bequest
    as if you’re doing me a favour
    or if it’s for you to relinquish
    to its most appropriate owner

    Culture Fuck - November feature
    2nd November 2012 | Actual Cafe, Berkeley
    Video: Amirah M

    # vimeo.com/52863648 Uploaded 967 Plays 0 Comments
  2. I was reading a book about queer culture in South Asian history and came across an article about rekhti, supposedly poetry about women's love for each other written by men. I was rather dubious, but when information is really low on the ground you take what you can get!

    Sweetheart
    come over to my place tonight
    I have made you a roast dinner

    yeah I know
    since when?

    get this
    I was reading some article
    it claimed that back in the day
    the lesbians in our culture
    would split wishbones
    to find out who was the ‘butch’ and the ‘femme’
    or the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’

    isn’t that wild?
    they are claiming this from
    long-lost poetry
    written by men
    about women’s loves
    they are claiming this poetry
    is so scandalous
    that the only published archives are in Italy
    and asking officials redirects you to pornography!

    I’m not sure I believe it
    only 2 people in the world seem to care
    and one of them is an outsider

    but we are outsiders too, I guess
    no one to document our history
    or care that we were worth archiving
    not even footnotes in complicated
    nationalistic edit wars
    we weren’t a concept worth marking off
    as existing

    oh well
    come to my dinner
    and after you are well-fed with
    three forms of curry
    saffron rice
    potatoes peas spinach
    I will take the wishbone from the roast
    and let you have the longer end
    so that I could smother you with feelings
    and gravy
    take up space with overbearing care
    raw chillies and onion
    drown you in milky rose syrup
    and love

    Culture Fuck - November feature
    2nd November 2012 | Actual Cafe, Berkeley
    Video: Amirah M

    # vimeo.com/52860709 Uploaded 720 Plays 0 Comments
  3. This is possibly the most nerve-wracking piece I've ever done in my years of performing. I tackle a number of issues that has bothered me as an international student in Western-heavy activist spaces - calling out people who are already on somewhat shaky ground. I was heartened to get a few responses saying "Thank you", but it definitely was controversial.

    being an international student
    (particularly one from a non-white culture)
    affords you a certain level of...
    liminality
    that weird sensation where you just don't quite belong
    even though you could probably pass
    it's a bit like waiting for the other shoe to drop
    waiting for someone to spot one little incongruity
    and go:
    'hey, hang on, you can't be with us'
    or maybe you're holding the other shoe
    and you're wondering when would be a good moment
    to drop the bomb of
    'um, i'm not sure i can be behind you here.'

    i have a couple of friends who are currently in an activist anthropology program in university.
    i'm not in that program myself, but i share a lot of similar passions and sentiments
    - i just go about them through art.
    one time we were talking together about how there's this expectation where
    if you want to be a Proper Good Politically-Savvy Activist
    you had to conform to a pretty particular set of ideas
    all mostly informed by Western - especially American - ways of looking at the world
    disagreement or skepticism or doubt
    meant that you were not 'good enough'
    or something.

    take racism.
    i have been in POC spaces where the prevailing idea behind racism ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
    is that basically it can't be relevant if white people were not involved.
    never mind that when my parents were roughly around my age
    the pakistani government went into their universities and killed all their best minds
    because their people wanted to speak bengali rather than urdu.
    never mind that when I was a school kid in an officially Malay Supremacist government
    (seriously. Ketuanan Melayu. Official term. That's what it translates to.)
    a government that came to being thanks to the Race Riots of 1963
    that they still use as a spectre against anyone that 'threatens national security'
    sometimes for just existing
    using the Internal Securities Act - which inspired your Patriot Act.
    never mind that as a school kid in this government with permanent residency
    Which nearly was sabotaged multiple times
    a country that lured my people over with promises of Muslim Brotherhood
    I kept being threatened with expulsion for not having the right 'papers'.
    for not being Malay.
    for not doing Islam right.
    for being of a dirty migrant class.

    speaking of class.
    sometimes it's kinda awkward to be around people talking about, say
    gentrification or the working class struggle
    it's all true and valid of course
    no argument there, this is a struggle that applies everywhere.
    but er, people like me? we're the ones you're protesting against.
    how else could I be here speaking to you?
    with the multiple visa fees and high living costs
    and the downside of foreign exchange barely stretching our currency.
    never mind, though, that the foreign exchange rules mean that
    when you go back to where I come from
    you are automatically the 1%.
    even with your menial wages.
    the monthly $800 from your government
    comes out to much MUCH more than the monthly pay for my production job
    at an international television station in the heart of malaysia
    AFTER asking for a pay raise.
    RM2000 a month for writing scripts for world-famous VJs
    while holding down an apartment next to the capital.
    where a substantial breakfast costs roughly 1 Ringgit
    and 15 is enough cause for haggling.
    658 US dollars a month.
    your currency travels a hell of a lot further than i ever could.

    oh yeah, things are very different once you head out of the country.
    over here it seems the first part of your hyphenated identity is important.
    X-American. you fill in the blanks.
    but when you go overseas, that doesn't matter.
    all people care about is that you are AMERICAN.
    You are probably closer to 'White' than to any ethnic minority over there
    because that's what you know
    your culture is filtered through an American, often White lens
    not out of your own fault, mind
    but it's just how it is

    and to hell with 'why you talk so white'?
    as far as we're concerned, you talk more white than we do
    again, the 'american' thing
    (because all americans are white, apparently, yay us ignorant third worlders)
    we just knew it as 'english'.
    one part imperialist history
    one part imperialist present
    one part needing to take a pile of language exams to be allowed access into your world
    one part if we don't access your world then there's no way we can be taken seriously, no way we can matter.
    i'd like to see you all take the ielts and the toefl
    see how you fare.
    if you even know what the hell they are.
    all this comma fuckery about where to put a space
    and where to attach an asterisk
    and which word to use when
    i don't see so much fanfare around
    ei, cannot speak like this ka?
    YOUUUU don wan to faham us
    but you think we have to faham you
    apa ni man, so mah fan lah
    you faham?
    ...no, didn't think so.

    we have to care about your politics.
    is it obama or romney?
    wait, who were those other ones?
    biden? clinton? palin? mccain?
    prop 8 and prop 32 and prop 50 zillion and 1
    even while I was down under i got every petition
    for everything from marriage equality in New York to net neutrality
    tell me, do you know who the prime minister of malaysia is?
    what code in indian penal law about homosexuality was recently repealed?
    which muslim country was the first to legalise sex work?
    nah, not relevant
    that is 'foreign affairs'
    so much for 'community'.

    heh. 'community'.
    yknow, being an international student means you are REQUIRED, by LAW
    to have health insurance.
    a specific sort, even.
    problem is the health insurance really does fuck-all for you.
    but when i looked up community low-income health support places
    they all went 'sorry, no can do for you'.
    i asked around in spaces where you request help on one thing
    and tons of people respond
    because, y'know, 'community'.
    i think only one person really bothered to get in touch and share help.
    (well that's assuming her resources are willing to help me).
    and everything else from housing to getting help with those stupid medical bills thanks to insurance problems
    needs credit checks and paystubs and a social security number and blah blah blah
    sorry! can't help you with that! will a school letter work? letter from my dad?
    no?
    can't even put my money into the community through credit unions
    because I'm not enough of a 'local' to qualify
    I'm sorry the Big Bad Banks are the only ones to take my money.

    speaking of which.
    we spend quite a bit of money in this country
    for not a hell of a lot in return.
    all the taxes, sometimes higher tuition
    and all those damn visa fees
    but we don't qualify for social security
    or scholarships or a plain old job
    because again, the LAW says
    we can only do very limited hours
    on very limited oncampus jobs
    with very limited pay.
    and that's it.
    but hey! didn't I say something about being the 1% somewhere or something?
    we don't really need it, right?
    we're just here really to funnel our country's limited money into yours
    one way or another
    nothing about needing to live or thrive or survive or whatever.
    pfft, petty concerns.

    not long ago there was this big brouhaha about international students in australia.
    all the politicians from every party had a say
    most were really...wishy washy.
    'yeah yeah they are important bla bla screw their needs whatever'.
    the only man in australia to admit that if it weren't for international students their economy would be FUCKED
    was from the right-wing party.
    meanwhile the hipster lefties are shouting down calls for donating directly to those in need
    those who can't get grants or scholarships or funding because of stupid gov restrictions
    by saying 'but that is a neo-liberal idea! we must protest the government so that they give you the money! not us!'
    sadly that is a true story
    and sadly i don't see many of those hipster lefties sign my damn petition to review bridging visa laws
    (a campaign i worked on for years. to no avail.)
    not too many hipster lefty locals bother caring about
    international student rights
    or migrant in transition rights
    or immigration rights

    - well, unless the migrants are downtrodden refugees
    'oh pooooooor them!'
    because migrants are either tortured refugees or rich europeans.
    and the tv shows only really care about the rich europeans.
    never mind that when 180 malaysian gay couples sought asylum in the UK
    only about 10, maybe less got through
    and the rest were dismissed both within and without as
    'oh, malaysia's such an easy country to live in
    they've got the world's tallest building (at one point)
    it's not like they are at war or anything
    it's not like people are really being PERSECUTED'.
    just go back to your country and suck it up.
    but hey, we should be grateful we're allowed in anyway, right?

    we should be grateful we get to sit at your table because we're activists.
    even though you refuse our offer of our generous meals because they taste weird.
    you won't even let us cook them.
    and you only feed us scraps that are sometimes poisonous
    or set off allergies that you don't really care about
    but hey, we're getting fed, right?
    don't bite the hand that feeds you even if all you get are indigestible scraps.
    - please sir, can i have some more?

    and people ask me sometimes
    why you don't really see international students
    voting in student elections
    coming out for protests and demonstrations
    or speaking up in community events like these.

    Culture Fuck - November feature
    2nd November 2012 | Actual Cafe, Berkeley
    Video: Amirah M

    # vimeo.com/52810233 Uploaded 5,678 Plays 0 Comments
  4. The start of my feature set at Culture Fuck, a sorta Burlesque101 number to Puscifer's Polar Bear.

    NSFWish for boobs.

    Culture Fuck - November feature
    2nd November 2012 | Actual Cafe, Berkeley
    Video: Amirah M
    Lap-dancee: Phia W
    Song: Puscifer - Polar Bear

    # vimeo.com/52806135 Uploaded 3,588 Plays 0 Comments

Culture Fuck - November 2012

Creatrix Tiara

I was the Feature at November's edition of Culture Fuck, run predominantly by and for queer people of colour in the Bay Area. Culture Fuck happens first Friday of the month at Actual Cafe, Berkeley, and is free for all.

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