Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 21st, 2012

“Don’t work. Don’t tell the truth. Be hated…”: Commencement address by Adrian Tan. Part 2

Guest-of-honour at NTU convocation ceremony, Adrian Tan, author of The Teenage Textbook (1988), delivered this speech to the graduating class of 2008. I split the speech into two posts, the first part expands on “Don’t work”, “life is a mess” and “Don’t tell the truth”.

If you missed part 1:

Be hated
I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

You don’t have to be evil to be hated.

In fact, it’s often the case that you are hated precisely because you are trying to do right by your own convictions.

It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the center and settle into the average. That cannot be your role.

There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

Fall in love with someone

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false.

Modern society is anti-love.

We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It is far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor.

Love grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.

You will find that, when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart. (Provided that face and body are about normal?)

You will find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

Don’t work. Be hated. Love someone

Uzbekistan: “Doctors ordered to cut out women’s uterus without knowledge or consent…”

A BBC report broke the silence on maltreatment of women in Uzbekistan, and stood up with the brave Uzbek women who have dared to tell their stories in the face of stunning oppression

Uzbekistan’s President Karimov wants to promote “birth control” across the country.  Karimov is forcing doctors to cut out women’s uterus without their knowledge or consent.

Uzbekistan is one of the former Soviet Union States that acquired independence after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, and is witnessing a dictatorial regime for decades.

This is a vile and bloody crime against women being orchestrated by an odious dictator.Uzbekistan’s Karimov is one of the world’s worst dictators, he’s even boiled opposition activists alive. Yet he’s propped up by millions of dollars from the US government who pay him for military transport across the country. The steady flow of money from military transit to Afghanistan is funding Karimov lavish lifestyle.

This latest round of brutality, this time against his country’s women, has turned the global spotlight on this monster.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can cut him off. She has already publicly condemned Karimov for human rights abuses and this most recent assault on women’s rights – a topic she champions – only ups the stakes.

Activists estimate hundreds of thousands of women were sterilised secretly when they went into the hospital for a routine procedure or to give birth — waking up with no idea that their uterus has just been removed.

One Uzbek gynecologist admitted, ‘Every doctor is told…how many women are to be sterilised … my quota is four women a month’. The use of arbitrary arrest and torture is so widespread that women don’t speak out for fear of reprisals, and foreign journalists and human rights activists are routinely thrown out of the country.

The US could play hardball with Karimov. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has  publicly condemned Karimov for human rights abuses and this most recent assault on women’s rights (a topic she champions) should ups the stakes.

Mind you that Hillary never publicly condemned Saudi Arabia and Israel on issues of human rights and maltreatment of women. A couple of months ago, Israel radical religious right parties started segregating men and women in public transport, and as Hillary complained in a private setting on these policies, Israel took arm and confronted Hillary publicly.

Why this failure on the part of the US to act vigorously?

The human rights horror show in Uzbekistan has gone under the radar for years.

And now is the time for this brutality to end. Let’s use this awful moment to persuade his biggest backer (the USA government) to ditch him.

Note: There is this petition circulating (and I hope you will refrain from contributing money to this organization):




April 2012

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