You Shouldn’t Date a Hipster Activist

Part-inspired by an article on Hipster Activists and also, based loosely on the series of articles of why you should date an illiterate girl, date the girl who reads, writes, travels and date a lame girl but also part-inspired thru a late night Ethopian Yirgacheffe.

Hipster Activist is an amalgation of people and experiences (both real and dreamt-up) the writer has met and not a reference to anyone in particular. Really.

Somewhere in the sea of yellow. There she'll be.

You’ll meet her at a forum. Or a public rally. Through a sea of yellow, perhaps. Or at a workshop. While choosing where to stand at UndiMsia/MyConsti/Legal Aid’s “Where do You Stand” ice-breaker.

Or maybe in an indie cafe sipping her flat white. Reading Karl Marx no less.

The first thing you’ll notice is how quiet she is — yet her silent conviction speaks volumes. How happy yet angry she is. How she smiles yet a hint of sadness between her eyes.

All the contradictions and her indignations.

How she is not afraid to stand up, be counted and radiate. Like the sun. Free to shine in all her glory.

Like the sun. Well, kinda. (Taken at Stand up for Suaram)

And then, you’ll realise how short her attention span is, as she stares into the screen to re-tweet/post something on her tumblr and check the latest goings-on on Twitter, switching between social networks and email. You’ll find it all very cute at first and endearing, sure.

She’ll use phrases and words you have never heard before like “Self-actualisation”,  ”Candlelight Vigils”, “Hartal”, “Empower”, “Solidarity” “Hidup. Hidup. Hidup Rakyat” “Resist. Occupy. Produce” “Capture. Connect. Convert. Cultivate” .

You’ll learn quickly to sing “Suara Rakyat” off-key but full of gusto. It’s the gusto that matters, she’ll assure you.

Free your Mind with Instagram, a flat White and the DIY Kit

Free your Mind with Instagram, a flat White and the DIY Kit

Dating a hipster activist would Free Your Mind. Not with a regular cup of coffee, but a ‘long black’, a ‘flat white’ or a ‘picollo latte’. She’ll introduce you to an indie cafe and talk to you about philosophy and psychology. About how she has the existentialism blues, about Jung and ideas of the Ego and Self, and ideas of direct participatory democracy. She’ll tell you about meditation, yoga and pilates. Start the day with 20 minutes of meditation.

All very wordy. And unwordly. And overwhelming. But you’ll settle for staring into her eyes.

Free your mind? More like let your mind run everywhere. And she’ll ask you to write for the most awesome blawg ever, Loyarburok.

Just don’t mention you like your coffee with ice. She’ll shake her head in disapproval. And you’ll go that you like it with sugar too. She’ll shake her head in disapproval, aghast. But don’t tell her you love ice-blended frappuccino — she’ll go into a seizure!

She’ll tell you that growing up is a trap. To impress her, you’ll tell her you’ve read Machiavelli’s The Prince on how to Rule and Govern Others but she’ll stare at you quizzically and ask you: did you mean Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince? where you’ll learn to Rule and Govern Your Self instead. You never understood it, but one day you will.

She’ll also tell you to be formless, like water. You never knew she was a Bruce Lee fan but hey, whatever floats her boat.

Amen, brothers and sisters. (Photo credit: Jo Fan) (Source: Undi Msia FB Page.. Move with us!)

She’ll teach you to Build your Confidence. It’s not enough to know our rights and be educated, she’ll say to you, looking you in your eyes. Oh, her eyes. But to practice them. Your rights, dummy, not her eyes. To exercise them. Sometimes, more militantly than other but usually, with a conviction behind her demure and calm persona.

She’ll tell you how the bottom 40% of our Malaysian households earn less than RM1,529  a month (less than your iPad). She’ll tell you about Perma Culture. Earth ships. All counter-movements to the over-commercalisation of the world. Commoditisation and politicisation of our basic human rights.

It’s all too mainstream, she always croons.

She’ll remind you that we are all meant for so much more. We’re more than human after all.

You will stare at her in total disbelief.

Free your mind and soul... (Ultimate Frisbee at Dataran Merdeka)

Different things and different ways of doing things she’ll show you and you’ll wonder.

Polaroid Photos. (Why take faded, imperfect photos?)

Skinny Jeans. (They look rather tight, don’t they?)

Ultimate Frisbee (Isn’t that a sport you play with your dog?) Oh, a few notes on Ultimate Frisbee. It comes with such an exhilarating feeling of freedom and as they say: “When a ball dreams, it dreams it’s a Frisbee” and when you throw a disc with your own effort — how time slows and a part of your spirit seems to soars with it. It’s like how we were meant to be. Able to soar and fly free.

Everything in Polaroid is cooler and hotter all at once. (Pic: KL Bar Dragon Boat Team at Penang)

She’ll talk to you about your dreams. Do you dream of falling? Dream of being at an airport failing to catch a plane? She’ll try her utter best to interpret them for you.  She’ll throw in a free massage while she’s at it. And then, she’ll remind you to wake up unless the dreamer is the real you.

She’ll bring you to jazz clubs, indie music festivals, more indie cafes and indie art exhibitions like Arts for Grabs. Why? To Free your Soul.

She’ll give you a funky playlist. You’ll play it while travelling around the country educating people on their rights and how to take action. It has an array of songs you’ve never heard. Death metal. Punk. ‘Indie’ Music. She’ll ask you: “How was it?” You’ll say: “I Accept All.” And throw in a sheepish smile for added measure.

She’ll confuse you by telling you that Love in an Illusion. Huh? You’ll go. She explains love is a label. Be it companionship, security or to fill a void within. Ironically, she would try and explain that love is an experience. The moment. The magic of that moment between two or more persons. The space how far and irrespective of background/race/gender is filled, with love. Love is never packaged as neatly as they paint it to be, it requires sweat, tears and a lot of bloody effort. Nothing is mysterious, no human relation except love. She’ll quote you Rumi, saying: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

But, she’ll leave you. To be free. She’ll leave for her Masters. To further her studies. To volunteer for some NGO abroad. To travel and see the world.

She hurts you. I’ll wait for you, you think to say. No need, she’ll say. But I’ll wait, you’ll insist. She smiles.

The days will pass. Then the, days become weeks and alas, the weeks become months.

You’ll think she’s a fraud… Changing from one cause to another.

Was I just one of her many causes? A Lost Cause perhaps, you’ll think, as you roll from side to side thinking of her and wondering why she left you.

We are the sum of our exp.. hey, isn't that the Green Lantern logo!

Listen and Discern. If we are all the sum of our experiences, hopes, fears and identities we adopt, what if you had listened to understand rather than listen to react? Would you have understood her better? If you had judged her by her deeds and not her words, perhaps, you would have seen differently. Discern and you’ll remember to soften your gaze. Never take it personally.

The most important things are the unseen.

But one day, you’ll realise. She reminded that we were all born free.

Oh, to be free. To lose everything, to gain everything. Or how you rather had not been shown what it was like to be free. Oh, so free.

But for now, how it hurts.

You shouldn’t date a Hipster Activist.

She’ll break you. She’ll make you. She’ll free you.

Know more about UndiMsia. The DIY Kit. The MyConsti Campaign.


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Posts by Joachim Leong

Egoistic? Ego-manical? Too philosophical? Reading between the lines? Trying too hard? Or just plain cheeky? Good, you're asking the wrong questions. Sometimes, we need to make all the right mistakes. Tweet at him - @jleongmy

Posted on 24 October 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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24 Responses to You Shouldn’t Date a Hipster Activist

  1. Mychael

    Well if your planning to date a hipster you really should have a good nerves! :D

    buy the tao of badass book

  2. Joachim

    Someone had to do it, Wai. Someone had to do it.

    Er, thanks. Haha.

  3. Wai

    I once dated what I thought was a crazy, fun-loving hipster activist. Turns out she was just crazy.

    Nice read. Keep em coming. And have faith, you will find that right girl for you.

  4. Joachim

    Thanks, Shal.. I shall take that as a compliment? I can be rather melodramatic at times, admittedly. Hahaha.

    Oh, for that tip on mediation – Harvard Business Blog kinda agrees – http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/10/if-youre-too… – Interesting read.

  5. Shaleni

    Nice one Jo, but I'm not surprised, this is how you are, in written form or otherwise.

  6. Joachim

    Thanks Aston, means alot coming from you, bro.

  7. Aston Paiva

    Joachim,

    Great piece; very entertaining and well thought out.

    I miss reading good articles like this on Loyarburok.

  8. Joachim

    Dear Da Musang,

    There, there. It's all going to be okay. First off, thank you for I've always wanted to answer an agony aunt column question. Definitely. You'll meet more like-minded people in doing what you're interested in but how about go for workshops to learn something totally new or go to forums? The edge of your comfort zone is where you need to be.

    While I can't question your fashion sense coz I love pyjamas pants myself (cooling yet keeps you warm too, you know, right?) I do enjoy staying in, FB/twit stalking and watching movies at home too. But comfort zones are meant to be broadened, explored further. Surprise yourself. You''ll never know what you find or who you find. You'll meet amazing people, learn new skills, gain confidence and find great joys. Trust me on this.

    Get out there.

    (This writer does not talk any responsibility for whatsoever ill that befalls whosoever takes his advice)

  9. Joachim

    *without the other

  10. Joachim

    Hi Noreen, haha, thank you. Thanks, yeah I get it how time is perceived to be linear and that scary thought that what has been done may actually be done and all there is, is. Not to be confused with fate or destiny, of course.

    Yeap, in the process of thinking of sticking to something. Be it where to settle, who to love, what to dedicate my life and time to, all while enjoying the process of course.

    Haha, wouldn't be fair for the hipster. He/she will have to decide to give up his/her freedom willingly. Maybe he/she will realise one day yes, it's easy to be decide and make choices by his/her own and it's much harder to make joint decisions but perhaps, willing to give it up for something better. Or maybe not. Whatever it is, it is a choice made willingly and freely and not in ignorant bliss. (:

    Going back to Vienna's post on freedom – I guess freedom from suffering is what I refer to in my article. Also, to be taken ironically. Because you can't have one without the order.

  11. Da Musang

    *Sob* *sob* *sob* Joachim,

    I've looked EVERYWHERE for a woman like that and I am still looking. :(

    I noticed you mentioned workshops, cafes and such like.

    Do you really think I should change out of my pyjamas, put my shoes on and try leaving the house every now and then?

  12. noreen

    Saya agak terasa dengan artikel ini, haha. This is awesome Joachim! Life is short and not meant to be lived in linear. Try many different things, when you find the right one, stick to it, even though it is difficult and uncertain. Get the hipster to buy a house, the stress of owning a new home will change her. She has no choice but to stay and grow. ;-)

  13. Joachim

    Er, thanks Vienna, My Strat Lit Workshop Buddy! Yes, guilty as charged – the 20 minute mediation tip, was from you. Or was it 30 minutes? Or less. Can't remember. Struggling to hit past 5 minutes. Too restless and too much coffee! Hahah.

    Not sure if you fit into any mold/label!

    Er, freedom in many forms – financial, physical, political and of course, spiritual. Or is freedom happiness. Or perceived. Could write a whole article on freedom! Indeed, it's not one to be explained but experienced. Is it being in the moment? Is it having no worries? Imagined or removed? I can't say I know for sure what it is for sure.. still journeying.

  14. Vienna

    Ps: Joachim, on being free :) don't know what others mean by being free – do you mean peace?
    I think Nirvana is a state of freedom & plausible. I blame that one experience whilst meditating where thoughts/perceptions/sensations ceased (but awareness heightened like never before), never thought it would be such a bliss/peace to experience nothingness. Guess one can only fathom that experiencing it themselves – how's your meditation going? ;) http://www.hinduwebsite.com/buddhism/nirvana.asp

  15. Vienna

    Joachim! Didn't know you had this in you – until the by line in the end ;)

    Friend tagged me to this after Edmund posted it, haha, guess he perceived that I fit the 'mold/label'?

  16. Junewow

    Have you seen Hipster Hunters?? They don't think you should date a hipster either! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yv76csRTeto

  17. Joachim

    Thanks Lisa! Had great fun writing it. Ok. It's a mirage. How's that? ;p

  18. lisa_ng

    Fun read. Well-written too. But no, love is not an illusion!

  19. Joachim

    Hipster activist don't just have sex. They take polaroid photos of them doing it.

    Thank, Finch!

    Hahah, alot of love to go around, bro. Even for everyone's favourite ah pek HR lawyer.

  20. S_Y_New

    Joachim, I didn't know you were in love with Edmund!

  21. Finch

    Superb piece. You've got enough material to expand this into a book.

  22. Edsoo

    What about sex with her…how would that be? Please elaborate:-)