Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thesis 101

I often stumble when I get asked what my thesis is all about. Not because I don't have an answer, but because I still hadn't figured out how to concise 90,000+ words of material into a single sentence.. But I suppose now is a good time as any to try to simplify?/explain just what I've been up to for the past 3.5years.

In a nutshell, I examine "the circulation of 'race' in formal and informal discourses, and the consequences, if any, of such circulation in contemporary Malaysia".

To be more specific, I investigate to what extent 'race' is used in Malaysia's printed and web-based news sources, as well as in daily conversation.. and from the data gathered, I then discuss the consequences of what happens when 'race' is used daily, regularly, consciously and without question.

Is my topic contentious? I suppose on many levels it is.

Is my topic new and novel? Visit any kopi-tiam and you'll know it's not.

Is my topic worth exploring? Turn on your TV, pick up any newspaper.. listen to how your friends and family speak.. and you'll realise the urgency to address this topic.

And so the deed is done. But as one professor pointed out, knowledge is useless unless it is shared. So that's kind of where I'm going at the moment.

I don't know how much interest my material will gather, but hopefully whatever interest that the material attracts, it will not be the kind of interest that will have me locked up on trumped up charges. On that note, and to answer your question, yes, I am afraid of being locked up. And you know what, I think my mom is more terrified than I am.

But do I regret writing my thesis? Well, what do you think?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Starting Afresh

It's been a long long while since I've last blogged.. blogging used to be my outlet to vent and rant about how tough things were going. And when things went a wee bit better than expected.. which wasn't very often.. this blog was the place to plug a happy note... But with my candidature drawing to a end.. blogging simply ceased to become a priority, as one can easily surmise by the lack of updates.

But the thesis wasn't the only thing that affected my will (or ought I say 'interest') to blog.. with facebook and twitter and tumblr accounts popping up like wild mushrooms, it's almost as if the whole idea of blogging had gone out of fashion... but then again.. I suppose I've never been one to keep up with the times.. so I guess it'd be alright making a return to the blogosphere.. Maybe one day all that's written here will matter.. maybe they never will. But in the meantime, I think I'll continue plugging my thoughts to well.. whoever cares to venture over.. be it accidentally or otherwise.. >.<

So where shall I take you after the lengthy introduction? Will an update of my PhD suffice? I hope it will. Because well... I guess it is worth recording that despite all my worrying and crying and driving everyone crazy.. I finally managed to successfully submitted my thesis in late January 2011.. I've completely forgotten the exact date.. but it was just a few days before February 1. Thinking back.. I really can't remember if I was feeling relief or happy.. I might have been simply too exhausted and numb to feel anything. But I dare say I must have been feeling very very grateful that everything came together in its own weird way.

Now that the thesis is submitted, there is little one can do but wait. I'm not privy to who my examiners are, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will be sympathetic to my stance and hopefully, in agreement to the points made in the document. I've been getting different answers as to how long the wait is for the results to come back. Some say 2 months, some say 4.. and some say it might take as long as 5 months. So I'm in no hurry to check the mailbox.. Maybe when May rolls over I'll start hounding the postman... in the meantime, I'm doing a couple of things I never thought I'd ever see myself doing - getting addicted (but just very very briefly!) to iPhone games and turning a wee bit brown from swimming. And when I'm not doing either.. well.. life simply goes on. But in a good way =)

So with the update said and done.. am I ready to dive back into academia/return to uni? To be honest, my answer is 'no.. not just yet.' But am I ready to propagate my thesis material and get stuff published? Hell yeah. So keep watching this space for updates =)