The second half of my speech.
Part 1 here: http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/sali/videos/Indigenous-Women-Social-Movements.mp4/video_view
More on indigenous people's rights, the barriers in accessing social activism information through the media, the challenge in mobilising Idle No More Singapura and finally the poem 'Being White'.
BACKGROUND TO WRITING 'BEING WHITE' Do you know who the native people of Singapura (not "Singapore") is? It's us the Malays. As an Asian migrant in Aotearoa, I've been asked many times if I can speak English but when you tell them you're from Singapore, it hurts even worse, when they ask can I speak Chinese! When your language, nay your own race is invisibilised and written out of the very land your ancestors walk on, you know you've been sleeping too long! Everyday I wake feeling a bit of myself dying, helpless and frustrated as a privileged migrant in Aotearoa, jaded about any possibility of a united indigenous awakening in Singapura. It is no fault of my people, drugged and drunk by Capitalism & Colonialism cloaked as "Democracy" & "Multiculturalism". To all Malays in Singapura, "Takkan Melayu hilang di dunia!" Here is my personal bridge of solidarity with the indigenous struggle #Idle No More.
Being White By: Shasha Ali
Being white is not about a colour It's about the systematic washing of our minds, our emotional and intellectual capacity Into a blanket of unstained neutralised default status to We are all equal as humans, or a version of We are all equal before the law the manmade law, by the people who refuse to acknowledge that they operate and manufacture the very invisibility of being White.
You see being white is not about a colour Because here I am stained since birth in what my Mother swears is due to her mistake of drinking Milo throughout my time in her womb My mother, pure Javanese Indonesian looking like Chinese the prized wife who is white in the world of my people the constitutionalised native of Singapore who bathed me in talcum powder to hide me to shame me to blame me to teach me how dirty My skin is my skin, the tint of my father, who creamed himself apologetically with Nivea day and night of my grandfather, who allied with the British soldiers in World War 2 of my grandmother, who rampaged the streets with ways of black magic Trying to find a pathway out of the poverty and misery of being not White.
Tell me what is it about being white that makes you feel guilty Surely it's not your fault that you are born in this day and age and been passed on the legacy of past murders, rape and slavery Just as much as surely it's not my fault that I am born in this day and age, still brown, still bearing the debt of surviving in a world where you MUST speak english to get a paycheck to pay for Power, Water and Rent and participate in the rational of being a National of Asia and not yet a Citizen of the Aotearoa and getting visas waivered in the States benefits of the Industrialised aftermath of my people being fucked by the ruling Chinese Government that made Singapore the idolised first world Nation that rose out of the slums of the Third World.
I cannot ever be white Even if I stupidly wanted to I am always visibly Charred and Shaded the marker of discrimination exploitation oppression victimisation pollution disenfranchisement and Pain! Your invisibility cloaks you wraps you warms you holds you alive active moving progressing leading determining freeing saving Me.
White People who reject Being white somehow talk of transcending all colours Seeing people as people, they say Seeing cultures as cultures, they say Seeing places as places, they say! But can you not see! The blood dripping off every person you touch the tears streaming through every mountain and ocean you fly over and every step you take across the border Is our ancestors' spirit you shake While we sleep awake.
Now tell me if being white is not a colour and I will rest knowing where the lines are drawn In your supposed solidarity with me and my people of colour.
sali. (January 29, 2014). Indigenous Women and Social Movements in Aotearoa (Part 2). Retrieved January 19, 2020, from EngageMedia Web site: http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/sali/videos/indigenous-women-and-social-movements-in-aotearoa.