Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bop to the Top



Okay, okay, so it's not much. Here's the thing: in our Asian & Other Modernities class, which is (for me) one of the more difficult modules I have primarily because of the heavy theoretical framework that prevents me from participating in class as enthusiastically as I would have wanted. However, in every class, there is someone who has to present a seminar paper regarding the topic for the week, and then s/he is paired up with another classmate as a respondent. In my case, I signed up as a respondent for the topic under "Women in Modernity" - and disagreed with my classmate's paper in a rather systematic manner, carefully dismantling her points and referring to the flaws inherent in them. Of course, classmate in question was shooting me dagger looks the entire time and I know that I was sooooooooo nervous that day because I stuttered (I stutter! Me! Stutter!) and my hands were cold and clammy - and it certainly was not because of the evil arctic airconditioner in our classroom. My (roughly) five minutes of fame was really punctuated with what I thought was stammering and too much reiteration, and that I wasn't being "theoretical" enough, since most of what I was doing was really just a lot of close reading. And there really were a lot of loop holes in her statements that I thought weren't properly defined or went in contrast with the textual evidence in the story.

Anyway, Dr. Holden sent me an email this morning which pretty much made my entire day. He said:

"You did well to divide the comments into three main points, which made your response very clear to listeners. I think you were quite astute in your final point—that it’s perhaps not quite as easy as [name of classmate] would claim to separate the Marxist and feminist elements in the text. [goes on to support my points in detail, and how my other classmates responded to the story as well]

...However, some of [author]’s narrator’s concerns as a woman constitute a narrative unconscious which tends to undo elements of the text—the narrative itself becomes less tidy than she might like. I thought you touched on these issues in outlining the first two points, but could perhaps have responded more deeply and more precisely.

This is, nonetheless, a good response which is well put together, and makes an incisive critique of elements of the paper


And I'm just really going, Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod and thinking that this is such a great validation on my part, that YES I am on the right track, and that YES I am doing something worthwhile, and that it's amazing to know that the way I think might just be well-suited to this program. ^_^

It just feels good.

AND. And and and. So yesterday I wasn't really planning to do much aside from rolling around in bed, watching snippets of TV, and doing my research paper proposal - which is due next week - and compiling my bibliography. And then classmate Marisa texts, and goes, "Hey, do you want to join Nathan, Shailajar, and myself tonight at the Munchie Monkey for dinner and drinks?" And (and Abbi knows this) I squealed inside my room before replying, as calm as you please, "Sure, no problem." ^_^ Social life! Social life! Social life!

I mean, okay, so I have gone out with people before over here, and most of them are Filipinos, and it's great. But the thing is, most of them were organized outings in the sense that it was mainly under the umbrella of the UPAA. The other times were also great, when I met up with other people outside of UPAA, since I got to see most of the city and all of that. And yeah, I've also gone out with Filipino grad students before. But somehow, it's so different when you hang out with people in your own program, and realize that you have so much more to say than what goes on inside the classroom.

So anyway, last night, Marisa, Nathan, and myself (Shailajar couldn't make it because of an emergency) went off. The Munchie Monkey was full, and there was a band setting up and we didn't want to have a good round of conversation with a performance in the background. So instead, we made our way to this outdoor Chinese beer garden-y type place just at the end of Pasir Panjang, and they had beer and I had Diet Coke, and they had excellent food as well, particularly the lime chicken, which can either be as ulam or (as Nathan as doing later on) pulutan already. And the beer here can put San Mig Lite to shame. Tiger Beer can kick your head senseless and Marisa and Nathan had three bottles each and by the end of the night, Nathan was skipping all the way to the bus stop and Marisa was blushing pink already. It was brilliant. ^_^

And to think that we're also planning another class bonding thing on Tuesday - movie and dinner, this time, over at Orchard Cineleisure.

Oh lordy. It feels good to finally have things moving in this direction. I can't seem to erase this smile on my face, and yes, my flatmates are looking weirdly at me because I've been bopping the entire morning.

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