I wrote a lot this year, although less for work, but more towards projects that I have sole or major decision in the direction of the writing or the project — like the magnum opus that is my ongoing PhD thesis, or this blog, of which I have treated as a space for me to let my consciousness run free that would otherwise I have to filter for other paid writing jobs. This experience is liberating for once — because you have the full or major control of a project of your own choice, and one that you can manage at your own pace. I am basking in this complete control of a cathedral I am building fused out of perspectives and ideas of my own and other people, before lunging into the workforce which I hope in 2020, will not try to dampen my spirits again. At this point in time, I realised it’s increasingly clear that my unsettledness has less to do with the fact of how I have not learned much — because I have learned terribly a lot! — but more so on how I could convey to future employers of the employability of these skills of mine despite taking a break from a full-time job. I am still somewhat overwhelmed with anxiety about the future, but interestingly enough I keep coming back to Anne Helen Petersen’s words that would probably be my lodestar for the next decade to come — how much do you actually care about other people?
I have also been reflecting on my writing style. Those in academia felt my writing’s too loose, those in the industry felt my writing’s too scholarly. I used to dwell on this a lot, and in wanting to appease both fields I felt I lost my own voice. But I have decided I wanted to write so everyone could understand what I am trying to express — something in the middle, no jargons, clear, operationalise everything as possible, supported and crosschecked through credible facts and research, etc. In other words, as someone had called me ‘precise’ before in my work practices, I am going to be exactly that in my writing — precise.
My reading resolution? Try to read more science fiction, and study the underlying contexts (I learn this is always the best way for me to get interested in something, study the contexts). For some reasons, I seriously could not get into science fiction — which is funny because studying technology is exactly what I am doing! — so I need to figure out how to latch onto the appeal of this well-celebrated genre.
I don’t plan on listing things that I like or learned about in 2019, as a lot of them were already mentioned in previous blog posts. I might do this though in the next few days, because I think I learned a lot of new things from the books I read last year, especially on the topics of borders violence, protests, mass movements, and many more. I also don’t feel like making any specific new resolutions, with the exception of no longer letting my fears hold me back. My wish for the New Year: I want to find the confident, brave, continually hungry and searching self I lost in the streets of London. I know I am speaking from a place of privilege, as someone who had the chance to study abroad, but it was on those beer-stank, cigarettes stub-littered narrow streets filled with city dwellers who walked on average 1.68 meters per second that I felt I was the happiest, the best I was ever myself. And that starts with telling my fears to sock it, and to treat every individual, subjects, events, with more mindful and critical manner, and to address their flaws and to accept criticism from the place of empathy, and be aware of my own privilege against others in the intersectionality of our diverse backgrounds.
Happy New Year. Here’s to more wonderful things in the next decade — and hopefully a more decisive action to mitigate climate emergency to come from our world leaders too.
- “Worldwide, growth in the fragrance industry is lagging behind cosmetics and skincare products. Why? You can’t smell a selfie.”
- “Adorno’s critique of the mass-produced horoscope turns back on itself. It is capitalism that demands unquestioning adherence to its strictures. Astrology, by comparison, reads like an act of resistance. Practised with mindful solemnity, yet also with light-hearted irreverence, embracing astrology is both a contravention of the system and an intervention of the self. Astrology cares nothing for the neoliberal world. Its mechanisms are eccentric, adaptable, spiritual, as simple or as complex as one wants them to be. It opens a space for exploring and defining one’s own meaning.”
- Every so often I think about this conversation between Anderson Cooper and Stephen Colbert talking about grief.
- “Peace to the things you left undone. Peace to the never knowing.”
(Image is of a Hungarian chess set, ca. 1885)