Year: 2017

Cynicism and Critical Thinking

Cynicism is a poverty of curiosity and imagination and ambition. Today, the soul is in dire need of stewardship and protection from cynicism. The best defense against it is vigorous, intelligent, sincere hope — not blind optimism, because that too is a form of resignation, to believe that everything will work out just fine and we need not apply ourselves. I mean hope bolstered by critical thinking that is clear-headed in identifying what is lacking, in ourselves or the world, but then envisions ways to create it and endeavors to do that. –Maria Popova There can sometimes be no end to cynicism. Or worse, cynicism is often branded as critical thinking. I experienced this many times, not just because I have had encounters with cynical people, but because I thought that with my training in cultural studies, I have to be cynical. There were moments in my life where I don’t believe in anything. I was deprived of hope or even the inclination for hope. I thought there is no use of family, community, or …

Bangkok, January 2017

I went to Bangkok in January this year for a conference in its Chulalongkorn University. Much of the spaces I went to reminded me of the older part of Jakarta. What was so impressive for me was the hostel I stayed at, the 2W. It has an amazing coffee shop, Wanderlust, below it. The owner of the two establishments is probably the same person. The four-storey space is built in an old renovated building. Decorations are mostly from Ikea, it seems. And in the bathroom, there are Muji toiletries, which made me swoon 😉 What I loved was the cheap food, and I adore Thai delicacies in general. The traffic, though, was insane. I almost missed my flight back to Singapore by 5 minutes.

Positioning Argument

I’ve addressed some of these questions before, particularly in Building your thesis on the corpses of your enemies and in my post on Effective Signposting. But I had a chapter that I was reading, and I realised I had more to say that I didn’t think I’d quite said in either of the other two posts… so […] via How to position your argument using a fish skeleton! — Research Degree Voodoo

Foucault and his students

I’ve previously shared one of Lacan’s comments from his seminar. Here’s Foucault on the same theme: Has everyone read these texts? Yes? No? Nobody? Well, I will have to punish you, that’s for sure! I’m not going to tell you how… That’s a surprise for the last day! Dire vrai sur soi-même: Conférences prononcées à […] via Foucault also struggled to get his students to do the reading… — Progressive Geographies

A Room of One’s Own and the Act of Writing (my Thesis)

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”-Virginia Woolf This year I have spent more than one hundred days writing my thesis. The ‘ride’, as people would call it (call everything perhaps), has not been easy (as anything in this world). My family back home, as usual, constantly demands attention. My achievement has been the fact that I have decided–after a series of depressive episodes and a point where I almost jumped off the fourth floor of my apartment building because I wanted to hurt myself and thought that by doing that I would show my family members that they were not the only ones hurting–to prioritize what I want and what brings me joy. The challenge in writing my thesis (and any other kinds of writing) is that sometimes it doesn’t feel like joy.