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
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,
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.