Perched on a fence I view the world with curiosity. I see the good, bad and the ugly on both sides. In a world where inwardly we are ingrained with “Us and Them” but outwardly we are trying hard to mold it into a one big “Us”, sitting on the fence is becoming precarious. I get abused from both sides. You have to be either ‘For ‘ or ‘Against’. I am usually For or Against. But not always to the same side. I pick the side as per the cause or as per the matter in hand. I guess it’s normal for the chair umpire to get abused by both players.
Sitting on the fence is regarded as being weak and not able to take a stance. It’s not that I am not faithful to one party or side. I am more faithful than the barking dog. But that doesn’t mean I will not call out on the mistakes of my side. I understand that it’s not all black and white, I acknowledge the existence of grey, but it remains grey in my books.
Is sitting on the fence is really a sign of weakness? I think building a wall in the middle and living with assumptions of the other side is madness. But that’s the world we are living in. With advanced technology we are not educating ourselves, we are spreading rumours much faster than before. With one click of the “Share” button, you can share away anything. No one stops to think, or verify , they believe what they want to believe. Chinese Whispers taken to another level.
I am not for the far right nor for the far left. Thankfully I don’t get paid for my position if not I would have met the same fate as our former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. I too blamed him for not having a spine, but I guess he was forced to place his spine outside the party room.
If I speak up for racism or sexism, that’s because I don’t agree with discrimination of any kind and I will continue to call out whenever I feel that was present. I am not religious but I do feel others have their right to their believes (as long as their beliefs don’t interfere with our normal lives). I don’t accept people hiding behind religion to commit crime, discriminate and be hurtful. Whichever religion you belong to, I have no room to excuse you.
I was born a Hindu. One of the oldest religions with some amazing principles. But that doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge the mistakes of my people throughout history and now. I am brown/coloured and I know the trials my people have gone through and are still fighting for. But that doesn’t mean that I am free to do anything and blame it on racism. I need to take personal responsibility for my mistakes. And more than anything I want to acknowledge the support I get from the opposite side for my cause. Throughout history there have been many ‘whites’ who have supported and stood by for the ‘black lives’. I doubt any stood by them eg: Zimbabwe.
I am a female from a Sri Lankan Tamil background. Yes, I know clearly about sexism. Slowly but surely I am making progress in my household. Our fights may not be as severe as in Saudi Arabia. Yes, we can drive, study and work. We had the first female Prime Minister. However, in society, culturally, we still have to kowtow to men. Just like using religion as a shield, culture is used to keep the women in their place.
However, we cannot deny that some women use unfair tactics to settle their personal vendetta. Main victims of rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence are women. These crimes are usually very hard to prove due to lack of evidence. The victims suffer a double tragedy when they hear the doubt in the person listening to their story. You can’t blame the person listening either, he/she listens to so many stories and some unfortunately have been nothing but false accusations. So each time one of our women use this as a weapon for their own revenge she puts the cause backwards and make it that much harder for the real victim. We the women hold a great responsibility in calling out those who perpetrate crimes against us, this includes not just the men but also the women who knowingly falsely accuse men of committing these heinous crimes. Just because I am a woman I cannot allow women to falsely hold that sexism card.
As a Tamil who predominantly lived among Sinhalese, again I was able to take that seat on that fence. I understood and lived with the gripes of the Tamil minority. However, I believe that some of our grievances were our own doing. The Caste system, Dowry and the unspoken killings by the Tamil militants of our own people. Until we clean up our backyard we cannot throw stones at the opposition. If I can’t discipline my own children, what right do I have in pulling up kids at the park.
I will never apologize for the colour of my skin. I will never apologize for my ethnicity. I will never apologize for my gender. Nor for the way I dress or eat. I am who I am because of all of that. The same way I will not ask someone of another colour black or white to apologize either. I will not ask a man to apologize for being a man. I will not ask anyone who is different than me to apologize for who they are.
I am happy to come down to the court and have a game. But when necessary I will climb on to that fence to get a better view. I see what I see.