Friday, June 15, 2012

Would You Talk Abuse Over a Cup of Coffee?

Specifically, would you declare yourself as an "abused" person to someone you have not known?

For a start, don't... Not in public, not in school, not in any place where no one really knows you.

No matter how you vouch for abuse or try to explain your points of view, someone may always look at you as if there is something wrong with you. It is quite a natural feeling, so don't misunderstand and the reason why someone would tell you, "that's just human nature."

I feel the human mind simply self-replicates the most unimaginable depending on what's been told to them, and when someone knows you are "different" because of having been exposed to some unfortunate experience, well that opens a new avenue of thought and a set of presuppositions that separates you from the so-called "normal" group. You might actually lose a nice friend in the process being that trigger happy to be honest. So, don't.

You see, the problem is there is this negative psychological attachment to the word "abuse" as not being a nice word at all. And you might ask, "why ever?" I am just being honest about myself etc etc etc. Well, being honest is one thing but being downright honest to someone who knows next to nothing about you, exposes you as the speculative object of interest for many who don't know you. People may create ideas about who you are not and then decide how they will look at you. That is a big no-no!

You don't tell about that dark side of yourself to someone you also know nothing about.

Somehow, not everyone is equipped to deal with it socially and mentally. Most of us may have been raised by good parents and that's just the first step of life - being exposed to parents who love and care for you and as you are guided to the larger spectrum of the populace which will eventually include your relatives and then your friends etc., you expose yourself to people from all walks of life. With good guidance most often steered by wonderful parents at the helm, it is most likely a growing child may not be exposed to abuse. However, somewhere in that walk of life, you will meet someone who will be abusive - this can happen in the office, on the streets, in the store or some place as unexpected as a hospital.  You may see someone on the street who slaps his child, an appalling situation you have never been exposed to by your own parents or you may see lots of abuse on TV as you grow and that eventually culminates in you that other people do go through abuse and are not so fortunate....

Living abuse is not a pleasant affair but if you are one of the unfortunate few as I have been, there are other ways of working around it.Think about life in a more positive way. Be around happy people. Keep a journal and learn about the mistakes and how you can correct them going forward. Remember to stay clear of abusers and note the types who make good friends and the types who don't. If there is some event that really rips you apart and it hurts you every time you think about it, learn to meditate. Do not dwell on the negatives - they are the bad ingredients for future mishaps but rather think about life with a positive note each step of the way. When you fall, pick yourself up and walk in another direction. Don't get mad. It is not worth your while. Being unhappy is rotten, being angry simply degenerates into a thought process that reaps havoc for you and for all around you.

Life is what we make of it. Everyone has a right to this world just as I have and you have too. What you are, is someone created the way God wills it to be and so, work towards bringing that part of you the world deserves to know. We are all created special in our way.  

It is the demented that preys on the weaker one and never learns. I have been a victim and I know the feeling. It is just unspeakable but then, if I were to wake up each morning feeling the whole world is against me or to remember every tainted part of my life, I'd be submitting to the weaker constitution of my person and that is just not me. Life is so beautiful out there - as I learn everything about the world, about the flowers that bloom, about the people who live in it and about knowing that I can make a change in my life if I think differently, I wake up knowing that I am the winner and that the better part of myself is still within my grip. That, the abuser will never get!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Abusers Hurt and Destroy: Why Society Needs to be Involved

If someone steps up and declares that abuse is a problem that is only inherent in Western societies, that it is a sign of decadence and mayhem brought on by years of European civilization that taught nothing at all, I would drop everything and walk! And I mean it. I have been in a society that has spelt that to me a million times and I could not say much then. I was a child and I actually believed it to be true. You can call it indoctrination but it happens in many societies and failure to conform can lead you to being stigmatized by society.

However, my perceptions of societal and cultural issues and the socialization processes which dictate a society changed when I became an adult, when I developed my own set of values to question and receive, and when I began to see the world for what it really is.

So, here's the thing.

Saying that abuse is not happening in Asia is like me telling you that you will find a unicorn in the forest if you look hard enough. You cannot convince me that abuse is only prevalent in Western society. It happens everywhere, at all levels, and it is a problem for many to deal with. I have seen enough of it and feel we need to develop responses to counter and contain its perpetuation into our society. The least we need is nurturing a society that presents an unhealthy ground for our children and theirs'.

And to say abuse is a "normal" expected behavior of any society would mean I am condoning that it is an acceptable result of human integration into a larger form. Then I would ask you why is someone NDP and another is not? We are all born differently but it is the family unit and the social beliefs and expectations which we come into contact with, which eventually shape us to where we are.

So, here's the basic point:

Abuse does exist irregardless of what society we come from and it eventually degenerates if no treatment is rendered. We should never ignore the pernicious forms it can take because it destroys the abuser and everyone who he/she comes into contact with on a regular basis. The manner in which abuse degenerates is determined best by a yard stick and through statistical analyses based on many factors considered eg. Cultural and social perspectives, tolerance level and sociological/educational pressures. But to zero in on the ultimate fix would be hard to do because these studies will be all human generated and biasness will prevail. Hence, results will always be skewed. Nothing is always fact driven.

The point is we allow abuse to live in our society and if we shut an eye to its existence, we are in effect allowing its generation into the fibers of our society. Over time, closing an eye to abuse means we are allowing bad behavioral tendencies to foster. Say for instance, we know there is an Uncle Sam next door who seems to beat his son even though the boy has expressed his misdoing. It happens all the time and you think that it is okay to allow that to happen day and night but here's the issue. Allowing that sort of activity only affects the child's eventual mental and social aptitude. You are not doing that child a favor. He eventually digresses to believe that it is okay to hit someone and that when he has a son who does not "do the right thing", he should hit till he elicits the expected behavioral response. So, his problem surfaces in school, in the school bus he takes and as an adult, he eventually seeks to achieve his goals through violence and aggression. That's what I mean by allowing its perpetuation to eventually seed through society. It acts almost like a multiplier effect.

On a collective perspective, society suffers because when people like Uncle Sam's son get into society as adults, they destroy the progression of that society that values healthy mental perceptions and attitude. Eventually, people like these grow in numbers and place a damper on what constitutes normalcy and what doesn't. Imagine what that can eventually do the way people perceive things? If someone cries for help because they are in trouble and you know they do because your eyes and ears tell you so, what do you do? Do you walk and forget it happened or do you do the right thing and offer help? Makes you wonder but if the value structure and demands of a society changes with too many abusive people around, the expectations also changes towards a negation of the better goals and objectives which should have otherwise been the norm.

That would be scary, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just Published: When Sally is 9...

The first of my book in the "Forgetting Sally" series, "When Sally was 9..." is out and can be viewed on and

Readers can also sample my story on these sites:

I feel memoirs should be written lively, imbibed with the works of the novelist hand. It should be written like a story if possible leaving the reader with the kind of plots and story telling that makes them want to read more. When I wrote the first part of the series, I wrote it using a model that is part novel and part memoir.

Readers will find themselves working into the shoes of a little girl, Sally, who looks at the world through big glasses and who seems to have the characteristics that would be typical of any nine year old. She has grandparents who love her, friends at school she speaks to and books which occupy her time but that's all on the surface. Once the reader tunes in, the reader very well enters another world of Sally where the thoughts of a nine year old sometimes works a little too hard, when life seems to make demands that are more than a little mind can handle. In all, the reader is provided details of family and school life as Sally saw it, the manner in which school functioned in 1970s Singapore and the kind of father who dictates a guideline on the path of life which Sally is forced to obey and follow. Of course, she questions as any child would but there are always consequences in making that challenge.

In all, readers walk through each telling chapter that describes and tells the life of Sally as she explores love with her maternal grandparents, the terrifying troubles that spew with her maniacal father and the many other unfortunate and sad pieces of the puzzle that she still pieces with hope to eventually rise and shine above it all. The second part is still in the works and would be out as soon as I can make that happen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Abuse is a Manifestation of Human Depravity in the Worst Forms but...

The word "abuse" is distasteful, the reason why many steer away from this topic. The word "abuse" conjures up negative human response to a level that makes its pronunciation within ear shot simply a word that is thought of as "most foul". Immediately, our thoughts play up the most negative and they wouldn't be pretty images we want to remember.

We think of "rape", domination of the sexes in the most abusive way, emotional harm and mental torture etc. etc. Every thought generated will be clouded with negativity, sadness, anger and hate. And that's normal. The word after all plays on the unhappy forms of human misconduct which society frowns upon. Created from just five English letters each otherwise subsisting on its own in a much fairer light, this malignant word called "abuse" has resulted in an unfortunate separation of its use in the regular tone of everyday language use as simply the word that should not be used. In fact, abuse is a topic that some may feel best discussed behind closed doors when people will not look at you "funny", and misjudge you as being really "mentally disturbed" to even talk about as part of a normal conversational piece.

Indeed, abuse is not a nice word to use. To suggest someone has "abused" another or to even talk about "abuse" renders a varied number of responses from the larger crowd. Some may look at it apologetically, expressing concern over the victim who never made through the rosy path that the reader has. Some may express disgust, flavored from a background that simply denies the unfortunate evolution of misdeeds of the human kind. "Wake up and get on with your life", they might say. And there are yet some who simply deny the pain of another as an area they have no relationship with. Theirs' was governed by a much smoother course of events and stories of abuse are just not events they would even bother to know about. It makes them feel "uncomfortable" to remove themselves from their otherwise harmonic life and so they rather deny the existence of abuse and what it does for the unfortunate few who have not been so lucky. I have seen plenty of people who fit in these categories some time or the other including agents who think writing about abuse is a sheer waste of time.

But the topic of abuse is not to be swept under the carpet and the abused victim including the perpetrator should not be allowed to be left "untreated". Abuse could lead to severe mental and emotional disorder that could eventually affect the victim through time and all others who function around that "victim". It is a sign of abnormality that suggests the perpetrator usually a parent, sibling or close member that the family approves, has not conducted himself/herself well in a social environment where rules and expected forms of behavior is necessitated for the eventual sustenance and progress of a society. And the abuser may not generally be one person. It could even be a loosely bound group defined by ideas and misconceptions such as a cult group where domination by one master persists over the larger "weaker" population.

Think about a grain of rice. If you do not provide the nourishment and nurture that is necessary for that grain to grow, what you are left with are the rejects you do not need. These rejects are tossed away for eventual disposal because they are unpalatable for consumption and the ones that are salvaged are then sectioned into grades that eventually find their way on the dinner table. The same applies. It is frightening to even wonder what happens to an abused child who never talks about his/her problems and who eventually takes his/her place in a society as an adult where decision making and the ability to control one's own destiny takes a much complicated route. Without acquiring the right mental attitude over time, an abused child could present a significant amount of problems to society leading to forms of behavior that the larger public will frown upon.

As such, abuse is not a game or form of play and we must always gear ourselves to understanding this area so that a life can be saved. My blog is intended to understand this area better and my book, "When Sally was 9…" is based on my own life. I have never taken anything for granted and I always ask myself the questions as to why this happened. I had a very intelligent father who taught me plenty but he also took a lot from me and I need to know why. It is so necessary to understand abuse so that we can pitch our efforts towards weeding the perpetrators and ensuring a child is given as much normalcy as possible. Everyone deserves a fair chance so it is important to help steer those who don't, to veer into the right path.