: Girl, stay safe in Taiwan. If you see trouble, run.
: What if I can help?
: Run, we could lose you otherwise.
: How can I run?”
: Okay, you help if that’s the best thing to do.
: I’m sorry, I’m sorry if I do not come home.
: Make sure the attacker goes down with you. Make sure you die fighting.
– one of the many melodramatic exchanges with my parents pre-exchange, this happened as we watched some news of people robbing/slashing.
This is why I constantly speak, write and talk so much. This is why I cannot run away from injustice, why I retort at the risk of being rude. Guess this will be slightly rawer than all my usual posts, but I think it may reflect your own frustrations if you’re like me, just trying to do what we can. To everyone who has been adopting a NIMBY-attitude, I urge you to consider the culture you’re contributing to.
Hush now, dear child.
Stay quiet, keep your voice down.
This way, you’ll be safe.
( where voice is speech is action is you. )
Silence is powerful, but silence cannot be forever.
There must come a time when we have to speak.
There will be people who are natural born speakers, who will galvanise crowds with their words, who will be heard by millions.
Your voice is equally important.
It is your voice that directly impacts the people around you.
Your voice cuts deeper through bitter hearts, through cold silences, through wifi and 4G.
Do not, for a moment, think that your voice does not matter.
It’s stressful, isn’t it?
Now, you’ll pay special care to every word that you utter, to every thought you translate to speech.
You’ll think before you act, weigh every consequence and sometimes the moment is gone.
It’s stressful, but it’s necessary.
It’s scary, but you’d only find it scary because you know you can make a difference.
You are the decibel between apathy and empathy, between love and hate, between a smile and a frown.
I’d be honest with you.
It is scary to act, to feel the scrutiny of the people around you.
Every action feels magnified and for that moment, time slows down and every syllable uttered is prolonged and amplified.
I was in a train and there she was, cutting herself. Everybody was staring but unmoving.
I squeezed my way past the crowd, took the sharp pin. I told her how beautiful she was, how she is loved, how she is so important even if she does not realise it yet.
She cried, she alighted. I was shaking.
I went home and cried.
It’s a strange experience, and it changes. It changes you, it changes the person opposite of you, it changes the people around you. It changes, for the briefest of moments, but it changes.
“Keep your head down, speak when spoken to.
Steer clear of controversial topics; at least then the backlash won’t be great.
Why don’t you talk about other more important topics?
What they do is none of our business.
Keep the peace, lower your voice.
Don’t be rude, be nice.”
These are all the reasons we have to speak.
All great misunderstandings and regrettable incidents begin when we play with fire and let it grow to proportions we cannot manage.
Instead of a candle that lights the way for others, it burns, and it burns to consume others.
This fire rages. It does not burn in your home now, but it will affect the air you and so many others breathe.
This fire rages. It began from innocent children playing with fire, then losing control. But, you could have said something. You could have stepped in.
This fire rages. Yes, it burns brighter in some areas, but it is burning all areas. We have to try to put out all of it. With any luck, we wouldn’t have to choose where to save first.
This fire rages. It does not burn us now, but it is burning. Don’t walk away from it, don’t ignore it.
Home is everything around us.
This fire rages.
Our home is burning.
We cannot choose parts of our identity to save or to speak about.
All that I speak about, is me.
I have to speak, because it’s me.
I have to act, because I cannot run away.
I have to act, because the prospect of not doing anything is far scarier.
I have to be.
No need for grand gestures. No need for heroics. No need to have to jump in front of a moving train or to catch a grenade. Just, just speak with kindness. In a world where everyone wants to be heard, let your voice be one that is firm and kind. Speak with love against hate. Speak with reason. Speak with understanding. Speak now. Please.
*image obtained with permission from Mxxxx Txx’s Facebook profile
** A great video which summarises how keeping quiet about the smallest things can contribute to a culture of hate.