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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.