In the past month, I learnt so much about the fragility of graciousness and civility in a society full of educated and talented people. However I refused to believe that there was only one party who was culprit to the disintegration of social graces, tolerance, good manners and good sense.
Paula Deen In The Frying Pan
Half a world away, I had witnessed cooking show host and food author Paula Deen’s massive empire crumbling before her as stories about her using racial slurs raged through social media. The self-proclaimed “Queen of Butter” who often served a heart attack on a plate, almost gave me a heart attack without her cooking when she claimed these racial slurs used were “a joke” and was only in “a single incident”. I abhor bigotry. Discrimination of any kind, racial, cultural, or sexual should never be condoned. However, while accusatory fingers wagged at her, I was appalled that this unacceptable behavior was left unchecked for so long. It saddened me to think that this racial discrimination had been left unchecked for a long time due to her commercial value to stakeholders profiting from her popularity, and was only brought to the surface because she “pissed” the daylights out of someone hell-bent on spoiling her day in retaliation.
Hello Kitty Goodbye Sensible Behavior
Closer to home, I had witnessed adults in Singapore, embroiled in very public displays of irrational tirades against the McDonald’s restaurant crew just because they failed to get their hands on the Hello Kitty plushies. Videos of these incidents were circulating virally across social media too. Funnily, just a few years ago, a similar scene played out in the newspapers which reported that customers who queued for Hello Kitty plushies at a McDonald’s restaurant were hurt when a glass panel broke during the mad rush for these toys. Again, it saddened me to think that these public displays of irrational behavior could long be forgiven and forgotten since the last incident because of the commercial gains seen from both sides of the coin from either the sale of 1) Hello Kitty plushies on ebay and 2) the sale of more McDonald’s Value Meals.
Masking Fundamental Issues
When our city was blanketed in haze due to illegal practices of forest-clearing in Sumatra, Indonesia, I had witnessed long queues of irate Singaporeans rushing to buy N95 masks at supermarkets and hospital pharmacies. This was not without incident too as I spotted a video virally circulating across social media depicting a man snatching a pack of N95 masks off a lady shopper’s grocery basket, then challenging her with this remark, “Stop me if you can.” This man was lucky that I wasn’t that lady shopper, or that video would have ended with a footage of him frantically searching for his testicles in the bin then.
That brought me to have a think about the fundamental issue of unpreparedness. I could not understand how the establishment could be unprepared for this outcome when the illegal “slash and clear” practices in the Sumatran forests had been happening for so many years. Again, it saddened me to think that as the environment came under siege with the forest fires that had been on-going for years, nothing was done because of the commercial gains from the big corporations who profit from it. These corporations that came under scrutiny due to the forest fires, were known to be linked to the establishment…not just ours, but our neighbors’ as well.
Read In Between The Lines
So as the newspapers, my Facebook wall and my Twitter feeds are filled with stories everyday about unpleasant behaviors like the ones I had recounted in this post, horrific incidents like the floods in India, important milestones in gay rights like the death of DOMA in the US ( Defense of Marriage Act) and unimportant milestones like naming a celebrity’s baby North West, I continue to read in between the lines so that I could form an objective assessment to these issues. I trained Joel to do the same so that he could grow up with the notion that nothing in this world is black and white.
Even when I read the Tarot for my clients, I had always approached these readings with an objective view knowing that my intuition will always guide me to understand that there's more than meets the eye to the clients' issues.
An ex-boss once said to me, “Nothing is ever what it seems”.
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".