My identity moves like the mercury in a thermometer

When it’s hot I take a layer off
When it’s cold, I put more on to protect me from
The onslaught of questions that usually start
“So, where are you from?”

My identity was born between seasons
North and South
East and West
The meridians forming crossword puzzles
Across my birth.

My identity takes me around the world
In a time machine
I travel between my past and future
With a few stops in between
With neither passport giving me the freedom
Or comfort of being
In the present.

I crave to be seen
Because right now
The race
That shows on my face
Blurs the real colour of me
And I know we all dream of a colour less world
But I don’t want to be invisible,
Transparent.

Advertisements

Jet Lag Part IV – Theory of Relativity

A theory that everything is relative

Time is relative. A long day versus a short day. A good year versus a bad year. The longest minute of my life. Relative to my life, yours appears so much better. Relative to me, you are stronger, more courageous, more mature and more successful. Should I be jealous of you? You who can beat me at every sport, run faster, last longer, love perhaps, better. Is it because I may have travelled further from my beginnings than you? Who am I to judge how far you’ve come? And what about refraction, when light hit you in such a way that it bounded off at such a strange and acute angle that you were forced to turn corners, deflect, rebound and perhaps re-invent yourself. Light bends. It distorts. Our expectations are often mislead by a seemingly straight line, but it’s not. Had you a special sight? A better vantage point to know what was coming? Or did you just begin your life with a vision?

Jet Lag Part III

Distance travelled
___________________ = Speed

Time taken

Distances –
Dubai – Jakarta, Indonesia = 6,570 km
Jakarta – Aberdeen, Scotland = 11,718 km
Aberdeen – New Orleans LA USA = 7,148 km
New Orleans – Jakarta = 16,840 km
Jakarta – Aberdeen = 11,718 km
Aberdeen – Glasgow = 196 km
Glasgow – Kota Kinabalu = 11,271 km
Kota Kinabalu – Kuala Lumpur = 1,624 km
___________________________________________
Total = 67,085 km

67,086 km
_______ = 2,096 km/year

32 years

So if 300,000 kilometres per second = speed of light or the speed at which light reaches my body, the moment I am seen, the moment of a body’s existence

Then

Distance Travelled = speed and time
Distance = speed of light x 32 years
Distance = 5.045 x 10 (12)

This formula does not take into account any refraction that may have occurred

Jet Lag Part II

How does one keep from getting ‘sea sick’ living on a constantly moving vessel? By looking into the horizon line? A place far far away which, by definition, is also continually moving further and further away? Choose a window seat and become a spectator. Sit outside and get fresh air. Go to sleep.

I’ve tried it all.

Using drugs is about the only thing I have not tried because I feel drugs only remove you further, create a fake reality, making you numb, anesthetising you, making it impossible for you to respond to stimulus in an effective way. You just won’t be able to save yourself in the end.

I have suffered with Jet Lag for almost 32 years now. The things I see from my window seat only serve to make me feel less and less in control of my surroundings, paralysed and incapable of action yet totally awake and lucid in the dream or nightmare I’m in.

Claustrophobic and frustrated, angry.

Without land to walk on, this mind is merely floating. My sea legs never developed. My wings never grew. I’m stuck. I’m sick. I’m lost. Adrift. Even falling would be better. At least it has direction.

What time is it now? Where in the world am I? How far to go before I reach landfall? They say the world is over 70% ocean. What is the likely hood then of ever reaching it? And the sky is infinite.

Timezones are the killer. Moving from one timezone to the next is disorientating to the point where you often forget the difference between past, present and future. But time is a man made measurement and what you are really feeling is distance traveled. I’ve traveled thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of miles from the place I was born. With that kind of disconnect from your self how can we expect to feel any sense of wholeness or homeness?

My place of birth is so far away I feel little for it which is a terrible thing to happen to a body, yet it remains enigmatic. If it holds any meaning to me still, I want to travel back and find out. It is a desert – mystical, mysterious, historical. There are few places on this earth which evoke such a sense of wonder and introspection. The desert has meaning to me. I understand it. I can relate to the wisdom in its desolation and isolation and the humbling affect of infinity it has on people.

I imagine the desert to be warm and windy with a hint of a smell of sea. I have not been to a desert since but perhaps that experience, now long gone over miles and miles, has left a memory, a map, a meaning.

Jet Lag

Jet Lag – The effect of time and distance on self identity

My body is weighed down by fatigue
My eyes have black puffy rings around them
My brain is alive and over active but in that drug induced like way, dreamlike
Dizzy and delirious
I tell myself it’s only jet lag
But I don’t think I have ever fully recovered.

Sometimes, when I’ve been traveling in an elevator and get out I still feel the ground rocking. In fact there have been times where I just need to stand by an elevator and wait, I feel a sway. It’s as if my body is recognising, preempting the motion, preparing for an unnatural state of constant movement.

A balancing act that I never quite learned. But I am quite good at riding pillion on a motorbike.

Citizen Paye

After all these years of complaining I have finally been granted with a kind of citizen’s approval (not citizenship, which I imagine comes with a heavier burden) and that is – a tax number. Yes it’s official! I am now a fully fledged taxing paying member of this good society no thanks to Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia.

I haven’t been dodging taxes purposefully, it’s just so happened I could never get my shit together to a) get a real, paying job or b)go out of my why to discover the tax paying laws of the various lands I have found myself in.

I don’t know how much tax I am meant to pay, though, and where and what it goes to. I guess I should find out. It is MY money ‘they’ want to take and use at their will. But since I still can’t vote I won’t have any say as to where it will be spent. Seems slightly unjust…

It’s not like I haven’t been paying my dues. I was never a parasite, I swear. I pay for the resources I use. I am contributing in more ways than one to the local economy and to the cultural development of this country. Electricity, water, gas, Astro, streamyx, rent and please don’t forget the ultimate in tourist tax – the ‘whiteman’s tax’. Do I even need to explain it?

I recently learned about ‘richman’s tax’ from a well to do friend of mine. It seems that people like him who have the privilege of gallivanting freely all over this earth can actually choose where they want to pay tax and how much. I have heard of Swiss Bank accounts but I guess I never was rich enough to understand what they were for.

And as I contemplated death these past few days (someone in the family has fallen gravely ill) I coincidentally received the LHDN letter confirming my worst fears – death and taxes ARE irrefutably unavoidable and inevitable. Everyone pays taxes, but I am now wondering if this financial burden actually contributes to my cause; to be a more responsible tourist, because it has not increased my democratic rights or empowered me in any way. I am just a Citizen Paye.