(First written May 13, 2022; and edited June 7-13, 2022.)
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 Communications Idea
When I worked for an airline back in 1995-1997, 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, improved productivity and staff relations / morale, 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 club, 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; see NOTE 1)**, 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 and reimbursement for my efforts (as they were darn 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. In hindsight, I should’ve just gone straight to senior management — as one of those managers, who had attended my presentation, eventually tried to do with my proposal, after I had tendered my resignation, and minus all the research and evidence I had accumulated to support the key ideas.
The only cost involved with this communications proposal would have been 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 1A: History of the Internet: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet
**NOTE 1B [added June 22, 2022]: I often post links without doing proper due diligence. The information being posted about the history of the Internet is seemingly not accurate, and even frankly false (especially post-1992; but even earlier, as well). Here is one unreliable source: https://www.webfx.com/blog/web-design/the-history-of-the-internet-in-a-nutshell/. I could give further details.
What I do know is that in the early years, the Internet or World Wide Web was highly democratic and functioned more as a bulletin board, in some ways. Anyone with internet access could post anything — and people tended not to edit things compulsively (as I did), once posted (eg, online news sites posted authors’ articles and dated it, and that information remained reliably static — even years later); but not so, now.
This Forbes quote from Steve Denning captures the essence of my own orientation toward that 1996 communications proposal:
My communications proposal, above, also included an Information Networking Committee (INC), which would serve as a multi-departmental (or multidisciplinary) editorial review board to both ensure the accuracy of information being received and circulated AND to determine what is public-ready or strictly internal information, and so on. This puts quite a different capitalistic *spin* on how one might view and ‘manage’ a similar or parallel Internet universe:
1) gathering information from infinite sources;
2) having a single, unified team of worldwide experts, professionals, programmers, digital media creators, writers, etc, networking together and reviewing (or rewriting and revisioning) all online content to craft a ‘final product’;
3) curating what weblinks and information people are actually able to see and access through their search engines; and even redirecting people, or ‘splitting’ what one web address allows different visitors to see; and
4) all of this then becomes infinitely more tailored on social media, which as per the surveillance capitalism article, is purely about marketing research, data gathering, and ensuring greater rates of purchase and profit extraction — especially repeat business, or products requiring refill or subscription parts and items (I forget what this is called; billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban made the comment on Shark Tank — and I see…more disinformation, here: https://allsharktankproducts.com/mark-cuban-shark-tank/ .
Anyway, welcome to the 10.0 version of the Information or Digital Age.
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 (20-35?). 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 devolved 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, 2022. 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) have been happening since April 1, 2022 (April Fool’s Day; so appropriate, lol). 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 was nostalgically holding 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 — and obviously, minus the residential schools abuse and killings, and so on — see NOTES 2A-B)**.
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 repeatedly suggested 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.
(Former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s multiculturalism policies were good in theory; yet, in practice, it has in some ways undermined Canada’s backbone and contributed to a cultural mosaic that: a) is less than integrated with Canadian society, practices and values; b) fosters or enables crime and violence [partly due to c)]; and c) has sectioned Canada off along ethnic lines, pitting group against group — rather than being an evenly distributed ‘salad-bowl mix’, which I believe then-PM Pierre Trudeau had envisioned. The latter was, in fact, how things were during my childhood — we were all Canadians first, and people were happily interspersed in various neighbourhoods (in Scarborough, Ontario, anyway); it was less ethnically-divided or cloistered than what we are seeing today. Of course, there were ‘ethnic neighbourhoods’, back in the day, and always will be — which can be positive in more commercial districts. Yet, those early multicultural policies actually led to the funding of many projects that encourage insularity, in my view, and a “psychology of separatism,” which Ger Mennens argues is not the case (wherever he is reporting from; it’s unclear, and no links or references are provided). Immigrants will naturally find ways to preserve their ancestral cultures; there’s no need to sponsor so much of that (with aboriginal First Nations being an obvious exception). Canada is probably the only country that attempts to provide costly translations and support services in so many different languages, and to so many different groups (while nevertheless failing to recognize the diversity within those groups, and so on, and so forth). Heal the Divide: foster true community and an integrated diversity that is strongly rooted in Canada, first and foremost (though they may ditch you later). See NOTES 3 and 4.)**
In a way, I guess I wished to preserve and also revive the primarily Eurocentric Canada (see NOTE 5)** that had made it such a shining example of excellence, quality, integrity, humanitarianism, and 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.
[EDIT JUNE 7/22: However, this is unrealistic in a rapidly changing global society that is also swiftly attempting to colonize outerspace (and galaxies beyond), whilst polluting it with ‘space junk’ and harming the atmosphere, too, let’s face it. I’m sure there’s an abundance of information out there (or perhaps not) about the multitude of human, scientific, technological, and cultural developments heading in infinite directions.]
(Anyway, the same issues mentioned above are being struggled with in 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 the 2 major wars they have fought since the 9-11 attacks in New York (2001) and the vast funding of the military — plus the after-effects on their veterans, like lost limbs, biochemical poisoning, PTSD, suicide, drug addiction, homelessness, etc — damages or kills so many of their fine young people. Used up and spit out, while those in power reap the rewards of their soldiers’ loyal efforts. 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!)
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.
Like many conscious Canadians, I believed in a certain vision of Canada: a strong, healthy, peaceful, safe, prosperous, well-functioning, ecologically-flourishing, highly advanced (see NOTE 6A)**, and responsible, diverse society that could be a model to other nations — even if it meant facing and enduring a lingering amount of systemic racism and oppression in my own life, on a daily basis — given the fact that I am Asian-Canadian, bisexual, feminist, a former activist, underemployed, a mental health survivor, etc.
[SIDENOTE: It’s because of my ethnicity that I was racially-profiled for an incident involving a legal document, which initiated the surveillance, in the first place (see NOTE 6B).** Through a series of coincidences, it eventually became a ‘team effort’. With all that stress, and no real kindred spirits or community, I became increasingly marginalized and a social pariah. For my surveillers, I was an easy sociopolitical target and, ultimately, made for an *interesting* case study.
I knew that the latter was a pivotal reality, and that my personal situation — plus all the learnings for Big Brother — had become generalized and extremely widespread in the broader society; yet, I did not have it fully confirmed and clarified, until June 6, 2022.]
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.
EXAMPLE 4: Toxic Trespass (2007)
Tiny, but telling, I think.
While volunteering with an organization called, Women’s Healthy Environments Network (WHEN), in 2006-2008, I was co-editing an accompanying guidebook for an award-winning, environmental health documentary film called, Toxic Trespass (2007), by intrepid filmmaker Barri Cohen, and produced by the National Film Board (NFB). As I was typing in the credits, I realized my name would’ve come first, alphabetically, as being one of the editors. Yet, I felt so uncomfortable with this that I put it last, instead. Silly, of course. But there were only a few names, so it might not be clear there was an alphabetical order, etc.
I know, I know — more minutiae from Hitler’s apparent prodigy. And FYI – my Adidas were not my favourite shoes; and I have reason to believe the background story in weblinks about Adidas being mixed up with a Nazism past is not altogether true.
EXAMPLE 5: Hair Donations
I donated my hair twice to children’s cancer organizations; although I did not cut it for that reason. Still, I didn’t broadcast it on social media, or tell relatives and friends about it.
**NOTE 2A: Vikings, or the Norse people, were actually the first Europeans (that we know of) to arrive in Canada / North America and explore the land, around 1000 A.D. Difficult to find any reliable information, as much of it seems contrived. https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/canp1/ca01eng.html
**NOTE 2B: It’s a documented fact that the human eye finds ‘mixed caps’ easier to read, and thus, retains such info better than ‘all capital’ letters. The variance between my headings wasn’t a subconscious error, or more “aspirational puffery,” or conversely, a subliminal put-down — ‘O Canada’ simply looks better this way. However, I’ve made everything uniform now, to avoid any conjecture.
**NOTE 3: Pierre Elliott Trudeau was the 15th prime minister of Canada (serving in 1968-1979 and 1980-1984); he is also the father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015-present 2022). Article: “Like father, like son: Can Justin Trudeau remake himself, as his father did?” (Oct. 26, 2019). And is this a crushing of the female uprising? Darn, those aspirational female decision-makers and leaders. (Note: then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould held strong to *ethics* in a Liberal cover-up, led by Trudeau; which is not to detract from their overall good work of legalizing pot, and recently banning handguns.) Excerpt, below…
**NOTE 4: Scarborough, Ontario, is the hometown of many stars and high-profile cultural contributors, like Mike Myers, Natalie Spooner, Eric McCormack, Barenaked Ladies (who wrote and performed the Big Bang Theory theme song, lol), David Furnish, and many others. Am adding my former classmate and teammate, Vicky Sunohara, to that list: Vicky is a 3-time Olympic medalist, and most recently, Assistant Coach for the gold medal-winning Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey team at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
(Vicky was “[once] described as the ‘Wayne Gretzky of women’s hockey,” and they both share Ukrainian heritage, too, lol. Humble and humorous as heck, is how I would describe her. Being culturally-erased or omitted isn’t a new phenomenon, and definitely are where things are headed for the future. Anyone linked to me may also be unduly affected or strategically impacted, which I’ve observed over the years.)
**NOTE 5: Despite my advocating for a Eurocentric Canada, 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 (ie, 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 6A: Although I brought back portable solar charging panels from Hong Kong (none were available in Canada, in the late 1990s), plus other information or possible ideas for strengthening ‘green development’ (maybe not a whole lot of papers, but what I could personally share through my experiences in various places and countries, had I been able to have those conversations with similarly- concerned others) — I did / have become extremely antagonistic and resistant towards technological and cultural advancements, or ‘progress’, in general. Understandable, given that I was blindered from the Master Plan (and still am), while being subjected to so many kinds of attacks made possible through technology. However, I believe the real sticking point for myself and many people — especially activists — is the *ethics* behind what is being done. Especially in the areas of cutting-edge science and medicine, Big Business, technology and computers, engineering in any discipline (“200 types”, according to my father’s alma mater, on a webpage called “Indigenous Futures In Engineering at Queen’s University” aboriginalaccess.ca — more offshoots from my personal history and family photo album?), plus, multimedia — or anything that has significant impacts on, or relevance to, humans (and all life) or our shared environments, ecologies, and ecosystems — scrutiny is necessary. Or was. With extreme power and / or secrecy, it can be very easy to bypass or bend rules, laws, and regulations that are intended to protect people and society. I have no issue with ‘advancements’ — it’s the accountability and long-term impacts or consequences of any area of human endeavour that has always had me concerned: The Precautionary Principle. (Like asking my engineer father one simple question, during a tour of a nuclear power plant, at age 11: But what do we do with it after?? (ie, The highly toxic and radioactive spent nuclear fuel (or used uranium rods) after being stored in cooling bays for many years. It takes potentially 200,000-plus years for nuclear waste to degrade.) Plus, the many nuclear weapons, which continue to proliferate around the world. Perhaps the higher beings are able to neutralize those, when the time comes.)
Just a few of the many fields where engineering is applied:
Haven’t fact-checked either of these articles, and it no longer matters. But these still give an idea, help provide context, and may even suggest what is possible for future:
- “The Staggering Timescales Of Nuclear Waste Disposal” by Christine Ro (Forbes.com; Nov. 26, 2019)
- “Destroying nuclear waste to create clean energy? It can be done” by Franklin Servan-Schreiber (World Economic Forum or weforum.org; Nov. 16, 2018)
**NOTE 6B: Happy to discuss further.
The bottom line is: as with the above 5 examples, I believe that I do care and think about a lot more than myself. I may be self-oriented and, in times of prolonged stress or crisis moments and all-out suppression and oppression, I may be inclined to either pump myself up, or put myself first — but somewhere inside is a loving heart, and someone who wished well.
(Note: I am most definitely not a stay-at-home mom or caregiver type.)
I am guilty of very many things — including over-glorifying myself and engaging in ‘aspirational puffery’ (a term loosely coined in 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.
THOUGHTS ON OPPRESSION, MEDIA, SELF
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 (see NOTE 7)** — 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, and being somehow pushed down, cast aside, blocked from top positions (as in former British parliament); shunned; isolated, either personally or collectively (as in ghettos); beaten; jailed; made ill; poisoned; maimed; tortured; killed!).
Nazi Germany under Adolph Hitler truly mastered the media and propaganda-making machine — and how to recruit youths to their cause. Today, both traditional and digital / social media are so massively powerful and globalized that people’s reputations, fame, fortune, and overall fates can be decided by one viral video or news article. And of course, digital media and electronic records — which most / all of the world relies on — can also be abused, manipulated and totally faked, with complete news stories perpetuated, for example — 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). All this is yesterday’s news, yet somehow we become repeatedly and easily assuaged into believing and trusting what we see and hear.
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 — 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”. And the brilliantly prolific American academician, linguist, author, all-around insightful genius and cultural icon, Noam Chomsky (a peaceful “Impactor” for truth, political wisdom, justice, and democratic sovereignty).
Transformers character: Impactor
(I’m having deja vu, covering territory I discussed in 2020.)
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 (although the seeds of it began in 1993; and in 1997, I left my corporate job to pursue my socio-environmental ideals). In 1998, partly led or influenced by books my friend Richie sent (mostly spiritual reading, but one on ‘circles‘ — a wisdom-gathering, personal healing, and conflict-resolution method originating in aboriginal tribes around the world; see NOTES 8 and 9)**, I concluded 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, and business + 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 government regulations simply get in their way.)
Worst of all, it seems 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.
**NOTE 7: 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 historical example of Jewish oppression, and the Wikipedia page on the Persecution of Jews.
**NOTE 8: The “Assymetries of Knowledge” are really apparent if you use different search words about ‘circles’ and ‘circling’ and ‘aboriginal roots or history’.
**NOTE 9: The book Richie sent me was Calling The Circle: The First and Future Culture by Christina Baldwin (publication date says March 2, 1998, but I believe it’s been altered). Her and her partner Ann Linnea’s website, Peerspirit.com, is well worth visiting.
How government should work?
“Basing politics on the consent of the governed, limiting government power, respecting the rights of citizens…”