September 26, 2008

on catching the disease

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:30 pm by meldee

Speckled emerald envy green.

Canon EOS Kiss, Aunt’s house in Bukit Jelutong.

***

I reckon it’s like an epidemic or something, the moment mid-semester (or in the case of Semester 2 at the university I happen to be enrolled at (I’m not typing in names because I know they monitor students’ blogs)) borderline-end-of-the-semester break swings around, there is a flurry of blog/Facebook activity as people scurry to do anything but work.

I usually manage to (smugly) abstain but it appears that this time around I am not vaccinated against this…plague.

Hence, blogging, as opposed to editing my thesis (I swear, I open my document, take one look at it, and…blech).

Yesterday I gave up on work (after spending most of the morning chatting to my lovely friend P in NZ) to go ‘window shopping’ (at least that was the objective). Right. Let’s say I did not end up with windows.

Um.

What have I been up to.

The rapporteuring was one.

The shopping, another.

Um.

My brother won us free tickets to the premiere for Eagle Eye (which I know sounds like a totally snore-inducing war movie type thing, but it’s not!)–which was actually really enjoyable save for the ending, which totally killed it for me *curls upper lip in sneer*.

But why it resonated with me was because it echoed themes of panopticonism (Hail Bentham! Hail Foucault!) and…er…agency. (Yes, I do realise like what a dork I sound like.) And from my paltry understanding of Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network-Theory, it also made me think of a case of an actor gone wrong.

Right!

So now clearly I am put to sleep by notions of war movies and loudly exploding things, but not by French theorists. Hm.

Anyhoo I thought it was pretty scary, and made me think about really, how easy it is to collect information about people these-a-days. All that data collection when you sign up for blogs, social network sites, emails, competitions…we’re actually offering ourselves for information-mining and that.

This is the second movie of this sort I’ve seen this year, surrounding themes of surveillance; the first one was a French flick I saw at Cineleisure called Mr.Average, which was sort of like a Truman Show taken to the extreme. Like capitalism/commodification/product placement overdrive.

Am also pleased to announce that am slowly inundating my 14 year-old brother with seeds of cultural critique. I’m teaching him how to critique films, songs, TV shows…:D And I’m turning him into a quasi-feminist, or to be as feminist as a 14 year-old boy can be without putting his fledging masculinity at stake! Huzzah.

Though honestly, I really do forget he’s only 14 at times. He speaks as articulately and intelligently as any 18 year-old I’ve met, in fact, if I were to compare my sib here with any one of my students (especially on a bad day like today where instructions are clearly written on the board but I can still be misunderstood, hufff!) I’d not hesitate to put them at the same levels of maturity. I reckon my sib knows more about politics than they do, which is absolutely ridiculous given how they are journalism students. Roar.

From a roar to a grin.

The boyfriend rang me a few minutes ago to tell me that his new microwave has a ‘Power/Melody’ button. Apparently you can change the beeping at the end of each session (ranging from mildly annoying to extremely annoying, I imagine), and he just had to call to tell me that.

Power/Melody reminds me of times where I’d have two (or three) cups of espresso when I was back in C’hill on rainy evenings to keep warm, and I’d be literally bouncing off the walls. I think the boyfriend was terribly exasperated (and not to mention annoyed, and I sympathise–I imagine it’s hard to watch TV when your girlfriend is power-cleaning everything around you) and might have contemplating sitting on me a few times just to get me to stop moving (or talking) like the Energizer bunny on speed.

He’s a sweetheart though. And it’s all good because we continually amuse each other and will hopefully continue to do so for a good many years to come ๐Ÿ™‚

Right!

I have successfully procrastinated for about an hour and a half since lunch. I’m struggling to keep my eyes open and am scoffing Kinder Bueno non-stop (had a mad unexplainable craving for it yesterday so I bought three packets!) and could really do with a nap now. Maybe some work after this?

Right.

Before I go, I simply must say how I am completely (hazel)nut(ty) over the online vintage/shopping stores. But not those with horrible language skills attempting at passing for English (shock and horror), but those with incredibly artistic (or Photoshopped,ย  but that still calls for high levels of artistic talent, mind you!) photographs. Modepass.com is an amazing site and I could (and do) spend hours trawling the site and ogling pretty dresses and shoes and handbags, and oh, you get the picture.

Right.

Work now.

(Riiiiiight).

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September 25, 2008

on nothing in particular

Posted in Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Random Ramblings, Social Responsibility According to Me at 10:12 am by meldee

Don’t forget.

Canon EOS Kiss, The Annexe @ Central Market ladies’ loo (heh), Kuala Lumpur.

***

If they gave out awards for the worst bloggers ever I wouldn’t be surprised if I were up for a nomination. As long as they didn’t notify me via my blog, for obvious reasons ๐Ÿ™‚

Apologies for not replying comments etc, I’ve become remarkably bad with this sort of stuff in general so please don’t take it personally! I’m not even sure why I still keep a blog anymore (sort of like a token pet chicken, that you can’t bear to, um, slaughter for dinner, nor give it away or set it free because you’ve sort of gotten used to it).

I expect to be blogging a bit more when I’m actually on my 2-month sabbatical from All Things Academic–what a luxurious (or hellish, knowing how easily I get bored!) break that will be!

My final thesis deadline is the 14th of November–that’d be my third and final edition (good gods I hope so). A few more rewrites are needed–my third and fourth chapters need to be majorly beefed up in terms of theory and I’m supposed to have a full, rough-ish version by 24th October.

I really never expected this year to be so draining, though I imagine if I hadn’t been such a busybody everywhere else and stuck my fingers in so many pies I wouldn’t be feeling so frazzled! I recall blogging about this, or at least writing about this in my diary (I think this latter possibility is more likely as I don’t think I caught on to the whole blogging phenomenon until I went to college) when I was in Form Five or something when I was trying to teach myself Physics, slog three hours daily over Add Maths prep questions and memorise endless facts for History for SPM, on top of being Interact Club President, President of the English Society (I think? Good grief everything feels so long ago!), go for volleyball training for MSSD, etc…and I think there was the Taylor’s College Debate thing I did as well, on top of like a million other things!

Given all that I suppose I, of all people, shouldn’t be surprised that I feel like a goldfish with its fins tied together. Perhaps it’s no wonder then that everybody else but me seems to have confidence that I will pull through and come up swimmingly!

I’d normally believe it but I really do find myself dreading things that I normally looked forward to…such as holidays, because holidays mean my productivity levels plummet because I’m, er, actually on holiday, or that the uni’s locked up (as it will be these Raya holidays–I cannot imagine anyone else coming in, and the security guards are always very grumpy about having to buzz me in because my swipe card doesn’t work on public holidays!) and since I’ve reformatted Isadella (It’s a Dell, lah) I’ve been stuck with a FOSS version of Microsoft Word which makes me lose all my formatting…gaah.

Anyhoo, moving on.

I had the privilege of doing some rapporteuring for an advocacy workshop on migrant workers in Malaysia and one of the issues that were inevitably brought up was the status of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia. Now, I’ve always known that these issues have been out there, heck I’ve even done work with refugee children before.

But I don’t think I really quite grasped the seriousness of the issue–we’re talking about real human beings here who should have the right to safety and shelter and healthcare and education, but they have almost nothing–Malaysia doesn’t even recognise the status of refugees, some of which have been in this country for over 15 years!

I was completely appalled and had to almost hold my jaw off the floor as I heard anecdotes (off the record, of course) about cases of abuse and violence. There were even some pretty heated arguments and debates about what refugees should get and supposedly what they want, which I overheard parts off.

Which made me sort of go a little quibbly inside because from looking around the room I know most of the people there were not refugees, and probably didn’t really have to give a damn, but they did. They don’t have to get so involved, but they do. Which made me again think of this Amnesty International saying, that ‘the only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing‘.

And it just made me want to try to save the world all over again, you know?

A poem shared with me by a friend not five minutes ago, that made me think of refugees, because my friend reads my mind.

If Porcelain, Then Only the Kind
by Stanislaw Baranczak

If porcelain, then only the kind
you wonโ€™t miss under the shoe of a mover or the
tread of a tank;
if a chair, then one not too comfortable, lest
there be regret in getting up and leaving;
if clothing, then just so much as can fit in a suitcase,
if books, then those which can be carried in the
memory,
if plans, then those which can be overlooked
when the time comes for the next move
to another street, continent, historical period
or world:

who told you that you were permitted to settle in?
who told you that this or that would last forever?
did no one ever tell you that you will never
in the world
feel at home in the world.

Translated by Frank Kujawinski.

***

Selamat Hari Raya to all.

I wish things in the country would bloody settle down already so issues of actual importance can be worked on–I’m sick of all this faffing around. Roar.

September 13, 2008

don’t

Posted in Malaysia, My Home at 1:16 pm by meldee

Shadows.

Canon EOS Kiss, aunt’s house in Shah Alam.

***
don’t tell me i don’t care
because i do.
don’t accuse me of being a coward
because i’m not (really).
don’t say that i’m not trying
because i try every day in my own way.
don’t sigh that i haven’t got a heart
because i do, and it bleeds more than you know.
don’t call me irresponsible
because i’m not you.
don’t think that i am indifferent
because it affects everybody in different ways.
don’t give up on me yet
because i’m still learning to fly.