Although quite a portrait has seemingly been painted of me so far in my life (to many), here’s what I also know:
EXAMPLE 1 — AIRLINE:
When I worked for an airline back in the 1990s, I laboured for well over a year on a proposal that would have improved the entire company, and benefitted all of its internal and external customers around the world. I DID SO, EVEN IF IT MEANT PUTTING MYSELF OUT OF A JOB. (I always figured there is always other work to be done. And I used to believe in improving things for their own sake.)
My boss literally spluttered at me: “Are you trying to get us all fired?!?” Then, she promptly kiboshed the whole thing.
Yet, centralizing information management would have vastly enhanced both internal-external communications in all types of media, across 7 languages, globally — and it would’ve meant 100% accuracy, accessibility and accountability — plus more flexibility, efficiency, strengthened customer service, and a better bottom line. And it would’ve cost ZERO DOLLARS to implement.
With all the technical and scheduling information, alone, and communicating with such disparate parties as their subsidiary companies, loyalty clubs, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 52 airports worldwide, thousands of travel agents / agencies and tour operators, hotels, mass media, the budding internet (in the form we now know it)**, and so forth — well, you can imagine that accurate information is absolutely imperative. And yet, that wasn’t necessarily happening. Or, it was very difficult and cumbersome to maintain; and there were a lot of information silos. It was a simple solution to an obvious problem; and it didn’t take a lot of brains to see it.
Still, I worked my ass off — slaving away through holidays; staying late regularly; and even pulling all-nighters at the office. I also put my own funds into creating the proposal; recruited friends to help me; and started to sprout gray hairs by age 27.
And what was in it for me? Maybe a pat on the back (as they were damn frugal); but most of all, it would’ve made my own job easier and less labour-intensive. Eventually, defying my boss’s orders, I did invite various middle managers together to present the idea to; although in hindsight, I should’ve just gone straight to senior management, as one of the managers eventually tried to do with my proposal — after I had tendered my resignation, and minus all the research and evidence I had accumulated to back it all up.
The only cost involved would be to reassign one of their crème de la crème management trainees to be the central information coordinator in the Corporate Communications Department. A few of the managers immediately suspected me of trying to create this new position for myself; but no.
**NOTE: History of the Internet: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet
EXAMPLE 2 — PETITION LETTER
At another job, prior to above, the management merged both the engineering department and design section (basically , the office part of the company) with the factory — and then, simply rolled back the employee benefits of the former two.
Obviously, people were upset, and I agreed to write a letter that was signed by I forget how many people (25-50?). A few people tried to quietly suggest that I was putting myself at risk. And indeed, the company did use various intimidation tactics to get people to hastily sign and accept their new contracts, so the concerns for me were not unfounded.
I had more to lose than to gain, yet I did care about my fellow co-workers and respecting basic rights — despite my now having evolved into someone who is at times arrogant, and sometimes self-obsessed and unempathetic towards others.
EXAMPLE 3 — O Canada!
It is an understatement to say that I have been closely watched, studied, psychoanalyzed, defamed and defrauded — with just a scattering of indirect proof that any of this has gone on — starting in 1998 and lasting until now. With the most recent assault of digital hacking and tampering of my key accounts and device (eg, email, banking, blog, FB, my phone, etc) to various problems in our homes and vehicles (trespassing, minor theft, seeming vandalism) beginning since April 1, 2022 (April Fool’s Day). And yet, most of it (the at-home stuff) is so trivial as to be absolutely ridiculous! And yet, undeniable.
I’m not going to go into all that. Just trust me that others have witnessed some of the goings-on and/or believe in the illegal surveillance activities and targeted harassment after so many years. And upon seeing the albeit *breadcrumb* evidence, they are likewise baffled by it.
Seemingly inexplicable things have happened to and around me, but how, why or by whom doesn’t make sense to people — unless they critically analyze the whole thing from a sociopolitical perspective, know my story and how things evolved, and most of all, understand that the “surveillance state” isn’t just a news segment on W5 — it’s actively happening to all of us. I just blundered into a bad situation — and am hopelessly outspoken, critical, and defiant — and unfortunately, dragged in others (though I’m trying to learn to do differently).
In any case, I’ve been cast as a ‘hater’ of all sides and groups, by my own country — one that I have deeply loved and cared for, and believed so much in. My love for Canada ran deep, until they spited even that last bit of care out of me. Admittedly, though, I’ve held nostalgically onto a Canada that seems to have rapidly disappeared.
Elsewhere in this blog, I mentioned how I love having a balanced diversity and inclusivity — but I also mean one that is in keeping with this nation’s unique history of both the First Nations people and the European settlers (initially British and French colonizers, then others). Yet, I also said many years ago that I believed we should “work with what we have” — whilst stemming the tide of uneven immigration, or even too much immigration. I have said repeatedly that the original Canada I once knew and loved is being dissipated and weakened; that it needs to keep fortifying itself from within — its own historical roots, customs, values, practices and overall rich heritage — before it can take on so many newcomers.
(The same is true for the U.S., who unfortunately is even more fragmented and polarized than we are; plus, they disperse their efforts and resources in so many different ways and in places around the world. Driving up their debts, and owing so much to China. And both war and the military — plus the after-effects like PTSD or suicide, drug addiction, homelessness — damages or kills so many of their fine young people. Gun violence is another crazy problem plaguing that great nation. They literally have the equivalent of 1-1.5 mass killings per day, annually. And all their schools have safety drills, in case a shooter shows up — what a way to grow up!)
Anyway, like many other fellow native-born or long-time Canadians, I recognize that many people who have lived and worked in Canada all of their lives, or who have served as veterans for example, are getting short shrift — especially those in their retirement years — as compared to, say, new refugees who get a generous leg-up and tend to network in ways that many people who are originally from here don’t.
These are all very complex issues, and I am admittedly very ignorant about it all. But I was once upon a time quite passionate about collaborating with others on innovative solutions to address these pressing problems — especially from a healthy, holistic, transformative and sustainable environmental perspective.
The bottom line is: as with the above 2 examples, I have personally wished to preserve and also revive the primarily Eurocentric Canada* that had made it such a shining example of excellence, integrity, unique character and courage, both at home and on the world stage — but I had wrongly hoped this might be done with its lawfulness and some recourse to justice still intact. (And I have been much persecuted and profoundly misunderstood for my outspokenness, at times — hence, the hacking and in-home GASLIGHTING. Plus I have had chaotic relationships and other challenges to deal with. Long story. )
Anyway, I believed in this vision — even if it means facing and enduring systemic racism and oppression in my own life, on a daily basis [ or even dying for the greater good (which IMO is unnecessary and reflects exactly the psychopathic undertow with which this whole scenario began — the fact that I am Asian-Canadian, bisexual, feminist, a former activist, underemployed, a mental health survivor, etc — and therefore, was racially-profiled for an incident involving a legal document**; became increasingly marginalized and a social pariah; and was simply an easy target and interesting case study)].
*NOTE: Having said that, in evolutionary biology co-evolution (or cross-breeding) can strengthen a group, and I would suggest it is likely to be all the Caucasoid groups (Europe + Middle East, West / Central / South Asia, South America, North Africa) bolstering each other, yet still heading towards a European model in future. A return to Eden, and vastly less populated.
**NOTE: Happy to discuss further.
About systemic oppression: many people don’t fully appreciate how soul-destroying and yet intangible it can be. How it hits some harder than others, depending upon so many factors. I can give just one tiny example of a Jewish guy whom I knew briefly.
This wonderful young man introduced himself and later oscillated between giving us the anglicized version of his surname and his actual one — although neither would have been seen as anything but anglophone, which is exactly how it came across.
And yet, it was clear to me, in that moment, that he bore the full weight of his ancestry, with all its historical persecution** — even though, he has ‘white privilege’; was among supportive, open, friendly people; had no language barriers or accent (or acquired speech + vocabulary difficulties, in my case); wasn’t identifiably Jewish in any way, including his last name(s); and so forth.
Yet THAT is how burdensome both systemic and internalized oppression can be, often suffocating people in so many layers of experienced negativity — usually by being identifiable, not accepted or discriminated against, and thus, often unable to surpass certain sociopolitical or economic barriers — both obvious and hidden ones. It is so painfully real that some may even twist themselves into knots just trying to be seen for who they ARE, or what they CAN DO — without prejudice or stereotypes, or being somehow cast aside.
**NOTE: The persecution and exile of Jews, and in more recent times, systemic discrimination and attempts at extermination (ie, the Holocaust of World War II, 1939-45), has actually been going on for 2.5 millennia. There are many examples, but I remember being surprised as a young person at quite a few. And later, a Yahoo news article on that subject, which I attempted to post to an older, activist blog got pulled the next day. So much for freedom of the press. Anyway, here’s one quick summary, and the Wikipedia page on the Persecution of Jews.
Anyway, both traditional and social media, as we know, is massively powerful. It can also be abused, manipulated and totally faked, with complete news stories perpetuated — even headlining ones! And technology is so sophisticated now that they even have the ability to resurrect people from the grave in life-size 3D talking, moving holograms (see 60 Minutes segment).
In short, I am guilty of many things — including over-glorifying myself and engaging in ‘aspirational puffery’ (see TheIntercept.com article by Sharon Lerner about bottled water giant BlueTriton). And yet, I believe there are also some minute grains of ‘other’ truths, above. Me, pre-surveillance days.
However the ‘powers that be’ and my many detractors may showcase me in laugh-worthy memes, or videos of my various (grotesque, desperate?) failings and the like; yet, I obviously made some kind of impact and was an unwitting catalyst for certain developments in the ‘global village’ turned surveillance social bubble. ‘Big Brother’ a la 1984 by George Orwell (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four). Also, must-see Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian media theorist and “prophet of the Information Age”.
At the very least, I emboldened ‘the watchers’ in certain ways, and perhaps even helped speed or facilitate the transition of business and industry as ‘socio-environmental saviours’ — rather than the increasingly conflicted view of them as exploitative, greedy and oppressive (see Occupy Wall Street 1%).
Marrying corporate efficiency and its results-oriented and performance-dependent survival with left-wing activism and values, is something I tried to advocate for in 2000 onward. And in 1998, I had decided that fostering more (democratic-style) cooperatives would be an ideal counterbalance to unchecked global capitalism. Social enterprise and beyond.
I also was studying Organizational Change and Action Learning, and pointed out that the government is an organization like any other, which needs to be made efficient and effective. No surprise there. But it’s the How. And, unfortunately, the conservative Right have indeed closed that gap between business and government — but not by promoting smaller government, as they once claimed, but rather, an ultra-powerful one that serves their cronyism business and political objectives. Bending all laws and rules, as it suits their interests. (I used to have an apt quote about how sometimes Big Business feels govt regulations simply get in their way.)
Worst of all, government has been totally turned away from being in any way responsive to the people’s needs — despite any appearances to the contrary — and instead, into the worst kind of self-protected and self-interested towering entity. A far cry from being accessible, accountable and transparent. It’s honestly like a futuristic movie. Anyway.
How government should work?
“Basing politics on the consent of the governed, limiting government power, respecting the rights of citizens…”