I woke up early today. Campbell was in my dream, I remembered, but it was the haunting staccato steps reminiscent of Feng Shui’s Lotus Feet that jolted me awake. I looked around ready for the jump scare but nah, there was no Chinese aristocrat-contortionist waiting on the other side of the quilt. Sayang, I thought. I would’ve appreciated the company.
Last night I decided I needed a new phone. I debated between Samsung and iPhone and I think, I think I might switch to Android. The iPhone X has features I don’t give a crap about and this might be the perfect opportunity to evolve off of Apple’s ecosystem.
I also read a post last night about the supposed hypocrisy of university activists who use iPhones, drink in bars, and smoke Marlboros. The logic was both simple and shortsighted: if you oppose capitalism, you must not participate in any form of capitalist consumption. That is, you can’t speak against the measly minimum wage and eat at a karindirya where low-earners work. That is, you can’t condemn the exploitative practices of cocoa conglomerates and continue to drink coffee.
That is, so long as you call out capitalism for all its provable, quantifiable abuses to humankind, you might as well just stop existing.
Capitalism is inescapable and the world does not run on clear-cut dichotomies. Everything from food to transportation to entertainment is birthed by a capitalist mode of production. The moneyed few acquire the means — land, infrastructure, machineries, etc. — and employ qualified people to do the rest of the work. Nowadays most, if not all, business models follow the same framework.
Still, I see where the accusations of hypocrisy are coming from. Gee was once baffled after meeting an emo activist with fist high up and bangs combed down. The then-popular emo aesthetic was a marketing goldmine for music and fashion bigwigs who made profit off of teenage quasi-rebellion. Gee believed that the tibak credibility easily crumbles the moment she witnesses a semblance of a capitalist-influenced lifestyle.
But if capitalist consumption is inevitable, who’s to say which acts are excessive and unbecoming of a Leftist? We just end up making arbitrary lists, and this murky, personality-based analysis is the very reason why the “don’t eat fast food if you oppose contractualization” line has never sat well with me. It’s akin to saying you can’t demand #JusticeforHoracio if you’re a fratman yourself. Both are shaky, ad hominem statements that dismiss anti-abuse arguments all because a person happens to be a brad or owns a cellphone.
Some days I regret ever being interested in progressive ideals. The contradictions haunt me. I’m an engineering student on my way to corporate slavery, an iPhone-toting millennial who condemns human rights abuses, and an immigrant who yearns to go home despite all the atrocities — because of all the atrocities. The recent days of disquiet in the Philippines have had me constantly welcoming the cold autumn mornings with questions upon contradictions upon more questions. And there I was, wide awake at 5am, waging a silly staring contest against the striped dashes of streetlight peeping through the blinds.
Hay ‘tang inang buhay. Screaming at a pretzel-posed Asian ghost would’ve been a more interesting way to start this day.
The featured image was taken in Singapore one afternoon, jeje.