Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sudden Movements

Having spent a lot of time around people with East Asian influences, I have come to have an invariably calm demeanour. Even when I'm feeling angry, alarmed or stressed, I make my movements slow and refined. I am often making myself calmer in the process. 

But I have noticed there are times when life necessitates quick movements. A reflexive jab at the 'Stop' button on the bus when I realise I need to get off soon, breaking into a sprint to catch a taxi in the rain, frantically searching my bag when I feel like I've lost my keys/transport ticket/bank card. 

Then, I think of Barack Obama's sense that making a sudden movement creates anxiety and/or fear in the white or non-black people around him, because in their eyes his blackness automatically makes him suspect. 

That was before he was an internationally recognised figure, anyway. His reflections in 'Dreams from my Father' remain relevant to black people living in all the majority non-black countries today I know today. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Some new disciplines

It's time for the old disciplines to be divided up and rearranged, so that we can create new ways of thinking. Here's some interesting combinations we could get started with:

a) Built Environment meets Performance Studies

b) Creative Writing meets Medicine

c) French meets Sociology

e) Architecture meets Asian Studies

f) Design meets History

g) Electric Engineering meets Art Theory

h) Business meets Philosophy

i) Law meets Gender Studies

j) International Relations meets Physics

k) Biology meets Economics

l) Anthropology meets Chemistry

m) Politics meets Religious Studies

n) Information Technology meets Film


Monday, April 20, 2015

Travel & UNSW

Hi there reader,

On my LinkedIn profile I state that "if it's not ground-breaking in some way, I don't write it." This suits me most of the time, but sometimes I'm feeling mellow, or come up short in the controversy stakes. This is one of those times. Bear with me.

There are some interesting developments coming up over the next few months... I'm going to be travelling all the way up to the European summer in June, which should provide me with fresh material. I've also developed such an interest in my language studies that I will try to get a B Arts in French starting from next year. There's lots to think about, and one of the good things that came out of the nightmare that was 2013 is that I feel more confident in dealing with others and embracing wonder. University doesn't seem as threatening as it did ten years ago - probably because I'm more comfortable with my kaleidoscopic belief systems. It can't elicit much in the way of conformity from me. It can only dull my shine for so long. It's nice to be surrounded by bright young things who still strive to change the world. Many of our workers have given up on that dream... though not all. You only need to type in "TEDx" into YouTube to access a network of practical dreamers.

Yes, I've made peace with UNSW. I'm even attending a series of talks in its Law building --
-- which is delightfully postmodern. The talks are, of course, on feminism. What else, right? ;)

I have a lot of different associations, some of them contrasting, when it comes to this institution of higher learning: Forward-thinking, reductive; shiny and new, second-best; casual, pretentious. Every time I visit I find I have carved out a new niche for it in my mind. It's slogan is 'never stand still' - and perhaps I have developed some affection for it as the place where my ideas are more free to rearrange. Who can forget that academia is the place where pontification on postmodernism is most welcome? The 'real world' can be unforgivingly locked into its absolutes.

Browsing through the UNSW website, I feel like its discipline categories are largely irrelevant to my life. When will they come up with the bright idea of teaching the arts and sciences together? When will they break out of the old format and pursue more innovative combinations of learning? It's a good thing I'm not going back to study English, or Politics, or Sociology, or European Studies - I could never choose between them. Just a language or two, thanks.