anxiety, aspergers, autism, changes, culture, democrats, depression, education, health, ideas, living abroad, philosophy, politics, psychology, republicans, travel, voting

What’s in my Water

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Speak Your Mind, Dude

Often I find myself in a pickle after saying things that don’t win over others. There was a time when I’d feel icky about it but not so much anymore. I’m a straight-shooter who tells it like it is. It’s not my problem if others don’t like when I speak the unadulterated truth. I was once offended by a comment my mother made regarding Donald Trump sounding like someone with Asperger’s during the 2016 campaign. Now I knew what she meant. She inferred Covfefe blurts out his mind and doesn’t use his filter. That’s the only trait Trump and I have in common other than we’re cisgendered white males with arms and legs. I’m not a pathological liar. Everything I say is true to the best of my knowledge. I tell white lies and half-truths only when needed. I’m more articulate than 45 on my worst day than he’ll ever be on his best day. I’m more modest, and I don’t need to showcase my intellect and whatnot so others will stroke my ego. I’m secure enough in who I am that I don’t need to be the center of attention.

Ignore the Naysayers

What others think I stopped caring after moving to Thailand in spring 2015. Thus, I ascertained the less you worry how others perceive you, the higher their opinions of you. The whole process is counterintuitive. Around the time I moved to District One in Ho Chi Minh City during fall 2017, it came around full swing. There will always be someone offended in today’s society where everything must be politically correct and half the population is glued to social media. If I said the sky is blue, someone will get their undies in a wad because I didn’t confirm it’s black at night or gray on a cloudy day. Somebody will fly off the handle if I asserted apples are red and overlooked that some are green while others are gold. Another snowflake will blow a gasket if I declared glass is clear and ignored the that some is frosted while other panes are stained. Nothing I do or say will ever suffice with the naysayers. I’ve trained myself to either ignore them or shut them down. I’ll do and say whatever I want whenever, wherever, and however I want with or without their permission. I don’t owe those people anything. It’s not my responsibility to ensure their happiness. If they’re displeased with their lives, that’s on them. My freedom doesn’t end where their feelings begin, and emotions don’t outweigh tangible facts. The only satisfactions for which I’m culpable outside my own, and that of my family and friends are my clients’. I’m only a teacher at work. You can’t save everybody. Gaining 100-percent approval is like nailing jello to a wall. That’s one reason I no longer live in the Far East. Everything there is about keeping face which isn’t part of my compendium. To their credit, one thing I do like about living overseas is I don’t have to watch what I say day in night worrying about who I’ll offend. The locals in lesser developed countries have bigger and more important things to worry about like poverty and corruption.

Emotional Hemophiliacs

My blog arguing against circumcision didn’t win everyone’s blessing, and I don’t care. I was accused of misogyny and anti-Semitism. Just because I’m an intactivist and anti-Zionist doesn’t make me a bigot. Most critics will only hear what they want to, anyway. Those folks I call ’emotional hemophiliacs’ courtesy of my good friend, Kallum. I knew what they were doing though they agreed with me. Their intentions were good but short-sighted. They were ignoring the original theme and cherry-picking what I said. They then tried using those talking points as ammunition to gloss over the issue and discredit me. I’m not going to apologize. If they don’t like it, they can go stuff themselves. I’ll admit sometimes I stir things up to invoke emotional responses and get my point across. One part I had to edit out is when I said maybe we should legalize date rape if we continue male infant circumcision. Why not? After all, date rape victims don’t remember the event half the time. Therefore, so it must be okay. That’s what roofies do. They cause memory loss and disorientation making it harder for victims to remember the events and/or identify the perpetrators. Before anyone goes ballistic and starts salivating like Pavlov’s dog, I’m not a rape apologist. I’m just making a point. I stand by my original statement that circumcision is child sexual abuse and should be taken seriously like rape or incest. I trust rabbis and imams to make decisions about our genitals as much as I do CEO’s governing the country or wife beaters managing women’s shelters. One would hope we all know what happens whenever we allow religious leaders near little boy’s knobs after those scandals with the Catholic church.

See Through the Smokescreen

If I am a racist, I must be one self-loathing one after living in Southeast Asia and Latin America the past four years. I don’t suppose it would help if I explained 99-percent of all locals in Thailand and Vietnam where I lived have yellow skin or the vast majority of folks in Mexico where I am now have brown epidermises. The same applies to my students whom I teach online in East Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. This is why I’m not as liberal as I once was when I lived in Austin. Every third person there is a blue-blooded SJW with a savior complex and an Oxford dictionary handy. I also lived in San Francisco for two years, so this ain’t my first rodeo. Those bleeding-hearted elitists who act like martyrs are the same folks who gentrified East Austin where the black and Hispanic people once lived. They claimed they were making it trendy, but I know better. Has anyone noticed none of those Hollywood heavyweights during the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 bothered to march with the crowd except Anne Hathaway? Gee, I wonder why! Could it be because they were part of the one-percent? Every time Bono, Sean Penn, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, and company fly around on their private planes to sprinkle their fairy dust all over some social cause, they pollute the environment. Harrison Ford – the highest paid actor of all time – had the audacity to get on stage and lecture people about climate change. Just what I need is some washed out celebrity who spent his entire youth leaving the average carbon footprint of a thousand people combined telling me how to live. I’ll take them seriously when they cut down on consumption and live more modest lifestyles themselves.

Invasion of the Bagel Chompers

This is one of the main reasons Donald Trump got elected. People get fed up with the far left and their self-righteousness. They didn’t appreciate East Coast highbrows I call ‘bagel chompers’ riding around on their high horses talking down to working class people referring to them as ‘undesirables.’ Don’t get me wrong! I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary and the general election. I did the same for Barack Obama in 2008 and picked him again in 2012. But just because I’ve voted straight-ticket Democrat in every midterm and general election since 2004 doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to what’s going on. People went with Trump because he gave them a sales pitch and championed himself as an outsider. We don’t always make the most rational decisions when we’re angry and frustrated. Everyone like yours truly felt locked out from that American dream they were promised. You can dismiss this as another rant by an angry white male, but the facts speak for themselves. I’m planning to move to South America should Trump get reelected in 2020. I have one of the most recession-proof jobs there is. There will always be a demand for English teachers no matter the status of the economy. My work is mobile meaning I can live anywhere. English will be the international language for the foreseeable future. My career change upon which I’m working is medical coding – another recession-proof field where I can still be a digital nomad. People will always get sick and need to go to the hospital no matter what the economic circumstance is. It won’t be me who pays the bill no pun intended; I can promise you that much.

Please Excuse My Dear Honesty

My friend Diane once asked me “What’s in your water, Dustin?” I’m not the same SJW full of spunk and vinegar she knew when we met almost a decade ago. I’m not that guy anymore. What’s happened is I’ve caught onto all the race baiters’, bra burning fembots’, and PC thought police’s ploys. My rose-colored glasses came off after I moved abroad. You see, I know how it works now though I couldn’t articulate it for the longest time. The right-wing media uses fear to gather their base. The liberals’ weapons of choice are shame and guilt. The conservatives hide under the veil of religious fervor while the lefties charade under the auspices of political correctness. I know exactly why Germany bailed out Italy, Greece, and Spain during the banking crisis of 2018 and brought in millions of Syrian refugees. The Germans still feel guilty about the holocaust. They’ve spent the past 75 years doing damage control to assuage their remorse. I remember a German lady named Kerstin on Facebook and I getting into a heated argument about Israel. I’m supposed to feel so horrible whenever I voice how the Jews are doing the same thing to the Palestinians that the Germans once did during the holocaust. Oh, but that’s different because they’re God’s chosen people! I’m supposed to cry them a river and call them a wambulance because of something in the past that can’t be changed. Nothing they do should ever be questioned or debated including circumcision. Anyone who disagrees with the loony lefties gets branded with every other buzzword with the suffix “-ist.” I’m sorry, Kerstin! You’ll have to forgive my honesty. It gets the best of me every time.

Natural and Unnatural Predators

Malcolm X used an excellent analogy when he described the loony lefties and tighty righties as I call them. The alt-right are like wolves whilst the far left are like foxes. Wolves are aggressive animals that hunt in packs. They’ll ravage anything that gets in their way. The fox is sly and sneaky. It has different mannerisms than the wolf, but it shares the same appetite. They both want lamp chops for dinner. Both are predators though the fox masquerades as its prey’s best friend. Either side wants to silence the opposition and censor what we think and say. But it’s only thought control whenever the other side does it. What’s happened is I’ve figured out how to trap foxes. I can spot them a mile away now. It’s not half as difficult as hunting a wolf. I know Bernie Sanders is a fox. What he says makes perfect sense to the lefties. I agree with most of his philosophies. However, I blame half this debacle on him. Bernie Sanders is not presidential material. He may be a smooth talker, but 90-percent of what Bernie proposes would never pass through Congress. That man has been on the hill over thirty years and hasn’t done jack. He even voted against the Brady Bill.

Make Your Stand

The fox, like Bernie Sanders, doesn’t play well with others. The wolf is a more dangerous predator than the fox. Everyone knows a fox is no match for a wolf. The latter will rip the former to shreds in no time. This is what concerns me about the next election. I fear the liberals will be too busy trying to hang each other like they did Al Franken and the nominee will be too weak to stand against Trump. I don’t know if anyone is aware, but he’ll be harder to defeat now that Trump is an incumbent. I find it interesting how Bernie Sanders was once an independent but run as a Democrat whenever it was convenient. Then his followers gut butthurt and opted to stay home on Election Night or vote third party out of spite thereby giving us the worst president in history. All of this because Bernie couldn’t put his ego aside, drop out of the race, and endorse Hillary. He could have been a hero and saved the day, but everything was all about him. Bernie Sanders to me is another bagel chomper who pretends he’s some messiah when he’s nothing more than a liability. The loony lefties may not be our mortal enemies, but they’re sure as hell not the heroes they claim to be. Do you really trust someone like that to protect us against a threat like Vladimir Putin? They’ll tuck tail and run for the hills like the fox always does whenever it’s met its match. To to answer your question, Diane, that’s what’s in my water.

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aspergers, autism, culture, health, ideas, living abroad, psychology, travel

Elephants in the Room

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A New Arrival

When I first arrived in Asia, I had different expectations from what I’ve seen in person. I was under the impression everyone was well-disciplined, everything was tidy, and there were no crimes. That was what I’d seen on television, so it must’ve been true. My anthropology professors discussed ancient civilizations not modern culture. I studied the physical geography of the continent in college not the cultural aspect. Those images I’d seen were either distortions or facets of Japanese culture. For whatever reason, the Western media paints Japan as the archetype of Asia. Little did I know there’d be total chaos and gridlock. Not until I landed in Bangkok did I realize the traffic was atrocious. The only reason I knew about the crooked cab drivers was because Nitya, a Thai acquaintance of my mother, told me when she learned I was going there. Nitya further advised me not to point my foot at or touch anyone on the head as the foot is considered the dirtiest part of the body while the head is the purest. That correlates with Buddhism and each body part’s distance from the sky and ground.

No Dogs Allowed

I was certain the locals ate dogs and puppies as delicacies. While that may have been true before, that’s not the case anymore. They own dogs and cats as pets the same as Westerners. Many times I’d drive around Saigon on my motorbike seeing puppies yapping away inside cages. I’d worry they might wind up in a soup, but they don’t. They have puppy mills in Vietnam which are illegal in the United States. People sell them on the streets as pets. While that may be questionable, that’s not as barbaric as the former. I’ve seen locals walking around with their dogs every day. There’s a bodega down the alley from my apartment. The shopkeeper brings in one of her two dogs periodically. They smile and seem friendly with the customers. They love being petted. That tells me they’re not abused, nor are their lives in danger. The only bad thing I can say is I’ve noticed strays roaming streets here and there. That’s because not everyone is inclined to spay and neuter like they are in the West. That doesn’t mean they want to filet them. Just as nobody in America eats possum and squirrels anymore, Asia experienced a cultural shift. This region is more developed than that now. They’re not savages.

An Asian Equation

Another stereotype you hear is that the women are submissive. I’ve gotten into heated arguments with Western women over this. Some feminists presume any Western male who comes here to find a partner is looking for a subservient housewife who keeps her mouth shut and knows her place. That’s another convention long outdated. I’ll bet whoever believes that has never met a Japanese or a Korean woman before. They have a reputation for being a handful. Any skeptics reading this might also want to Google ‘tiger mom’ or ‘dragon lady’ whenever you get a chance. Like the dog-eating, that may have held water in the past, but that’s anything but true from what I’ve seen. In fact, Thai women can be quite aggressive. They don’t mess around. They’ll cut you in half if you step out of line. Overall, Vietnamese women I’ve seen aren’t as bold, but they still hold their own. Just because the women in this region don’t hyphenate their surnames when they marry, have purple Skrillex hair, or cover themselves with tattoos and piercings doesn’t mean they’re barefoot, pregnant, and stuck in the kitchen. Even in this ‘horrible patriarchy,’ women comprise more than half the work force and college graduates. And yes, they drive cars, own property, manage businesses, and have positions of power.

All Work and No Play

How does this relate to Asperger’s? If anyone knows about my condition, I’m sure you’ve heard the suspicions about us as well. I ran into occupational trouble back home over this when I worked at Hospira Labs. I didn’t want anyone to know, but it slipped out. To make a long story short, I was backed into a corner and forced into that position. It was a semi-hostile working environment. One of my African-American coworkers compared me to Nathan, a friend and fellow employee who’d worked there several years. He said to me, “Well you ain’t like no other autistic person I met. You ain’t no math genius. You ain’t discussin’ no string theories and science. You ain’t no computer guru. You ain’t beatin’ your head against the wall. Do you wear diapers, collect toy trains, or watch Star Trek?” This shows you his lack of education. It didn’t bode well when I fired back and told him, “Well you’re not like every other black guy I’ve known. Your name isn’t Tyrone, Jamal, or Leroy. You’re not a basketball player, a football player, or a rapper. You don’t wear Nikes or your pants below your butt like you just soiled them. You don’t drive a Cadillac, an Oldsmobile, or a Pontiac. You’re not in jail or prison. I assume you’re not a deadbeat dad or an ex-con. Do you eat cornbread, fried chicken, and collard greens every night? Do I get to ask who your baby mamas are? Do you have any illegitimate children or pay child support?” The fella didn’t appreciate me placing him in the same box as all the other African-American males depicted on television, but that was the point. I hope he got the message. Not long after I was sacked for reasons unrelated to this.

The Elephant in the Room

The morale to this story is I believe exposure is the key to any education. Any fool can reverberate what one hears on television or what one’s teachers may or may not tell them. First-hand experience is another ballgame as it leaves less room for interpretation. As you can see, even with my background in anthropology, I was ignorant about some Asian customs. All I understood was what I was told by other Westerners or what was depicted on screen. I knew nothing about the corrupt police in Vietnam and Thailand or the stigma about mental health until I came here. I had no idea Asperger’s would be a deal-breaker for certain jobs until I started seeking employment in Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and other places. It’s hard to distinguish these case because, like pedophilia, abortion, and homosexuality, it’s a taboo subject nobody wishes to touch with a 10-foot pole. It’s the elephant in the room. Usually, I don’t divulge it to any colleagues unless I have to because not only is it none of their business. I don’t want them to undermine or mistrust me.