Straight Edge Interview Project- Tika, 25, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tell us about you? What do you do for a living? Do you have any pets, hobbies, pet projects?

I just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Interactive Multimedia Design without a proper graduation ceremony because of the whole COVID-19 that is going on. Whilst attending a few job interview, I am currently working on a zine about female in local hardcore scene. I am an animal lover. Talking about pets, I just lost my cat last month and he has been with me since he was just a kitten. It is so hard to move on and that’s probably the reason why I’m not considering to adopt any cats now.

Favorite straight edge (or non-straight edge) bands? If you have links, please provide them!

I am currently into One Step Closer, Dare, Magnitude and Ecostrike. Other than that, Youth of Today, Up Front and Bane is always going to be my favorite. Other than hardcore band, I do enjoy Lunar Vacation every single day now in quarantine.

What is your definition of straight edge?

I think straight edge is like a guideline and has made a huge impact on every choice that I have to decide on. It’s absolutely keeps me away from drugs and alcohol. Of course I’ve been sober my whole life, but there’s certain times when you have society around you that keeps telling you what’s cool and what’s not, straight edge has probably keeping me stay on my course.

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what’s your thoughts on this?

Straight edge is a positive lifestyle that has a huge value on keeping someone off from abusing drugs and alcohol. I think, it really doesn’t matter whether someone is a part of music scene or not. But they must know the background of straight edge and it’s origin to respect the whole idea of it.

What are some funny/common misconceptions people have about you being straight edge?

That I’m a vegan. My diet is not, but I practice to buy products that are not tested on animals.

What are some challenges you have faced when interacting with other people who are also edge? If you haven’t had any challenges, tell us some challenges you’ve faced when interacting with people who are not edge?

Usually with non straight edge people, they would just ask if straight edge is still relevant today. My takes on that is I will just answer my truthful opinion about being straight edge.

Is your diet influenced or informed by your choice to be straight edge i.e. organic, antibiotic infused meat, genetically modified foods, vegan, vegetarian?

Like I said, I’m not a vegan. But sometimes I do eat only plant based in a day to experience being a vegan. However, my choices on products is strictly non animal testing.

What’s your straight edge story? Was there a key moment that made you realize straight edge is the way you want to live your life? How old were you? How did you find out about straight edge, was there someone in the community that introduced you, or were you introduced to it through people/bands, etc? What drew you to it?

learn about straight edge back when I was 15 (2010). There was a campaign at my school attended by Drug Free Youth Association (DFYA) founded by Ein of Second Combat (Malaysian SXE band). Through this campaign, the Straight Edge lifestyle is being introduced. I did explore many SXE band as I keep on figuring out what straight edge really mean. As I grew older, people around me substantially started exploring things that may give them pleasure. But for me, I am always in the state of keeping myself clean. Until there this one time, a friend of mine asked me whether I’m into straight edge. Of course I was in denial. But as I move along, I begin to see myself as straight edge person and let it be as a part of my life despite being sober my whole life. Finally claimed in 2017.

Define what straight edge means to you? Has this changed over the years?

Forever keeping myself clean in order to live my life to the fullest.

What, if anything, keeps you committed to the straight edge lifestyle?

I like myself to be living to the fullest without relying onto something that is temporarily giving me pleasure without having to think about the long term effect. I stay committed because I wanted myself to set an example of doing fine without destroying myself.

What you do for stress relief instead of drinking/drugs, tips for peer pressure?

I like watching movies. I’m into comedy so that helps a lot. Other than that, I enjoy listening to good music.

How was it being straight edge in this pandemic?

It’s fine I guess. I like being isolated haha

Have you ever considered breaking edge? What were the circumstances, and what changed your mind?

NEVER

Have you ever stopped being edge for a period of time, and if so why? Did you regret doing so? What brought you back? If you have come back, how do you view your commitment (i.e. for life, for now)?

I think there is no turning back if you already breaking edge. It’s not some kind of experiment. Straight edge is a life commitment, and you have to be serious about it.

Has your family and social life been negatively or positively impacted? Have you faced or are you facing any specific challenges because of your lifestyle choices? If your family/friends are unsupportive, how do you deal?

I think that I am able to set the positive impact on my family that I can be the person who I am without having to follow society’s idea of being cool.

Some straight edge women/girls I have talked to have told me that they feel isolated and that they find it difficult to relate to people outside of the straight edge scene. Is this something you can relate to?

Not really. I am friendly with most of the people outside the straight edge scene. Most of them tolerate with the idea of me being a straight edge.

How do you explain your lifestyle to others outside of the scene? Do you find it difficult? What’s your elevator pitch?

I have a lot of friends from many background. Friends that are not from the scene usually just accept me for who I am. Most of them is really supportive.

Over the past decade or so individuals in recovery have stumbled upon the straight edge lifestyle and it has really spoken to them. Do you feel that the straight edge community has been welcoming to those in recovery? Do you have mixed feelings? Strong Feelings?

Straight edge is like a guideline for me, surely it is a great guideline for others in recovery too!

How do you feel your straight edge commitment plays into the bigger social justice movement for gender equity?

I think straight edge always has equity to everyone regardless of your race, gender or religion. For me, as a female and a straight edge, I tend to set myself to be actively driven and proving that I can be the same powerful individual as others in straight edge community.

Have you ever had a negative experience in the scene related to your gender?

Of course, every female in the scene has. Whether it’s sexual harassment or physical abuse. Me myself has never experienced being abused. However, I do have the experience of being sexually harassed in shows whether it’s intentional or not. Throughout years in the scene, I had friends who are actually being abused by their partner who is also a guy in the scene. The fact that people still acknowledging this kind of abuser is shocking.

Straight edge and the associated music scene have long been male-dominated. What do you see as a woman/girls role in the scene? How has this role changed since you have been involved and what changes would you like to see?

I think the involvement of a woman in the scene is growing as the year goes by. We have a lot of female bands or female fronted band. To see these females played in a band is such aspiring to others. I would like to see more female band in the future because females can be as dominant as male.

What if any challenges have you faced that are specifically related to being a female in a male-dominated scene?

I think that my opinion does not really matter as I am a minority.

Do you feel the straight edge community has done enough to advance gender/race/social issues?

Not really. Maybe it is advancing the gender issues. But I still see a lot of racism and social issues happening. But above all, I think straight edge community is progressively advancing those issues.

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Written by kellysisterhood
Mother, wife, small business owner. www.justbuttons.org
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