Saturday, 8 January 2011

the day of going from a to z

Okay. Probably not "z", but if you pronounce "xenophobia", the "x" sounds like a "z".

The "a" stands for "art".

Today was the first time I took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). I went from Civic Center/7th Street to 16th Street/Mission, located just one station away. The round-trip costs USD 3.50. I went to FCBD studio first, and took my chances going to ODC Common's studio. I'll post up pictures and some reviews regarding the two places in the original pinkcoinbelt chronicles.

That's the art part.

Now, I'm going to share something about my share of xenophobia. I hate travelling that makes me have to leave my comfort zone. And by comfort zone, I mean business-class flight, five-star hotel, limousine transfers and pick-ups and drop-offs, and nonstop private access to the internet. I was talking with my boyfriend just then and he asked me if I was feeling at home yet and I told him that as long as I had internet, I'd be fine.

This place is not that. I have no guide, I'm used to walking alone, but this isn't like the places I've been to before. This is... The United States of America. The place where "tolerance" has no place in the law especially if you're an alien. And yes, they use the word "alien" to describe non-residents. Somehow I find that term derogatory.

I've been having problems the first time I set foot on this "land of opportunities". I mean, this is not even the Big Apple where people are more paranoid. This is San Franciso, the place with so many Asians, many of them work as garbage collectors, check-out clerks, bag boys and girls, taxi and bus drivers, and immigration officers.

And when I say immigration officers, I don't mean so people can look at them and feel at home, but more like because these people can speak Chinese (the very reason why they place Hispanic-American to speak Spanish to the non-residents). I believe there are so many reasons why the US is really protective of their citizens. After all, they can't let the foreigners rule the economy, one that is dwindling. On one hand, they need us, the foreigners, the tourists, those who will spend much and therefore make their country grow and prosper, but they have to make sure we don't stay.

After giving our money, we have to go home. Back to our respective countries.

And then there's the issue about terrorism.

You might have heard about my country. When I was still in primary school, we were raised to believe that our country was very prosperous: a jade on the face of the earth. It was green and surrounded by magical blue water. But after awhile, my generation experienced the coup d'etat and things changed.

We began the tumultuos times. And some people have taken advantage of this by doing extrawork in their agenda. That's right: terrorism. The big names of terrorism that's linked to the big ones are (or were) actually Malaysians. But Indonesia is such a stupid warm and receiving country that we'd harbor a bomb-assembling terrorist without knowing it. And we took the blame. Not some other country.

We become synonymous with Taliban, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries of bomb-blowers and jihadis.

And that very reason is why the government of Indonesia and the USA made a deal that Indonesians who enter the USA must check into the immigration office to have another registration (nothing much, just finger print and photo). But it was enough to keep me waiting for 45 minutes. Not to mention I made a fool of myself and was jokingly (?) warned to be deported on that very moment. I mean, I passed the immigration to take my suitcase without any visa stamp. Ha! That was like trespassing on US property.

But that was over. I put the Angry Birds here for some reason that makes me cringe and then laugh. I hope I'll get over it soon.

And then today... As I got into BART from 16th Street/Mission to go back to my hostel, again, being someone who walks rather fast and tends to not see the details (oh yes, I admit that), I got into trouble with the security because I walked into the train station using the exit gate. HA!

You know, sometimes having very recognizable Asian face makes me feel bad whenever I do something wrong here. I'm just worried that they'll have even more negative thoughts about us Asians.

But that's probably just my xenophobia talking.

Yet, in overall, I am very happy. I've witnessed and been to FCBD studio. The home of ATS. The place where ATS was born and nourished and nurtured.

And I'll be writing about it over at my blog.

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