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“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen...and friends from ISD,” the associate professor began his speech with much laughter from the audience. (A bit of a shaky sort of laughter though, if you know what I mean.) And in one segment of his very broad speech, he very humorously outlines “The Singapore Story in kindergarten terms“– a story where we start of once upon a time in turmoil before living happily ever after. It is this “hegemonic master narrative” that he critiques — because there’s so much more.
The book, The Fajar Generation, is supposedly quite critical of the government given that it presents a leftist view of history. To put it in simplest terms, it is a rebuttal to how the Singapore Story treats the University Socialist Club. It will assert that the USC never did collude with communism, nor did it incite racial violence.
Yet despite such a critical contrarian view, the earlier-mentioned associate professor highlights that the book was not banned. He saw it as a sign of hope for the writing of alternative histories, such that “we can now say anything”. Perhaps he meant it with a Singapore perception of what that means. In any case, most people probably took it with a spoon of salt — who can foresee getting arrested for writing?
caCophony — with a capital C — in the middle. The previous time during the launch of the ‘Makers and Keepers of Singapore History’, I heard about the manifold difficulties as the national archives remain inaccessible while oral sources have the tendency to self-censor. If the previous talk showed a bit too much pessimism, this one showed a bit too much optimism.
I was most amused when a political filmmaker who recently had a banned film and another video recording removed off youtube had a point to raise. ..of course he had a reason to disagree.
So who’s right? Both actually. Both presented facts. Yes, a controversial book was allowed — in fact, I think parts of Makers and Keepers could fall into the same category. But at the same time, it is true that some there are sriking examples of banned speeches/books recently — of which I still can’t see the rationale for banning.
Both contradictory signals are present — which makes things complex. This is a point that the entire talk emphasises: there is more than just black and white. It never is about just black and white apart from the history of Slavery. The Second World War was painted as an outright clash between good and evil, overlooking the fact that the West allied with Stalin. The American War of Independence was likewise seen as a combined effort against the colonial imposition of taxation without representation, when in actuality, there were many Americans who chose loyalty to king and country over “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. It is what lit studies would call a round rather than flat character.
Things really aren’t that simple. The counter-narratives to the Singapore Story is probably the most interesting bit of Singapore History that appeals to youths but as the introductory speaker mentioned this preoccupation is something to be concerned about. When the historian tries too hard to find an alternative history, he ends up starting with a preconceived notion shaped by the present and attempts consciously or subconsciously to fit/filter the facts into the mould. This distorts the truth in the process.
After all, the information we get is never complete. It is impossible to get a full picture — even less so if you were to go back in time to experience everything first hand. As John Lewis Gaddis puts it, you’d be too busy trying to run from the Inquisition and survive black death to have hindsight of the greater context.
I mean…this post only shows one to two small aspects of the entire talk. There are denser parts on how the British used colonial nationalism and language as a political tool and the disagreement among older members of the audience during the dialogue (since they were actually participants previously).
On a side note, I think I got a taste of how some history lectures might feel like — to this day, I have a disdain for powerpoint and female teachers. Not to be chauvinist, it is just by coincidence -objectively speaking- that i’ve never really had any enjoyable lessons by female teachers, maybe apart from one. Maybe its just me and luck of the draw. … I hope none of my female teachers read this…in which case, they should just assume they’re that special one ><
Yesterday I went for a seminar held at the supreme court that was intended for young law students who would grow to become lawyers (or at least it is assumed). Non-law student who is intending to study History here. Overall, within twenty four hours, I had attended three seminars — one on the sea, this one on the law, and one on Singapore history right after.
It was much better than the day before, far more intellectually enriching and entertaining. The day before was largely overrated and I felt underwhelemed inspite of the ‘legend figure’ for a speaker. I must say that he has a very huge wealth of experience tho. Looking at things objectively (even without the prior expectations), it was an extended geography lesson (i.e. the sea can provide food and energy) with a bit less on the final and most important point — that of, opportunities for young locals. I was amused by how the speech began like a standard debate one “I have three questions. First…” Likewise, it had allocation like a debate speech also, the least focus on Point Three.
But I digressed. The Law talk had a ‘legend figure’ also. Multiple ‘legend figures’ in the law community that even I would have heard of in the news actually, but the highlight was the presence of the Minister.
It was interesting to note how he actually wanted to shift questions towards the political sphere — explicitly asking for questions in those area apart from the economy (no idea why anyone asked a question about the economy at a law forum anyway). Funny how at the start nobody dared to ask anything and it took one person to ask before three or four sprang forth after.
I myself had two questions in mind, that were eventually asked by others, but didn’t have the balls to be politically incorrect — they’re lawyers, they could sue me! >< I did think that it sounded like A TRAP, but probably, he was just a bit bored of answering questions about what modules people should take at uni (of which the answer, is FOLLOW YOUR HEART)
Funnier how the minister requested for everything at the Q and A session to be ‘off the record’ — must be a caution learnt from past experience lol. Maybe law students hoping to get a job from the same community wouldn’t have much to say. And I shall respect that except that I have three overarching questions in my head — as a non-law student. A complete utter amateur with a superficial understanding.
First, can we attribute (blame) certain rigidities on our tradition of British law? i.e. we’re just doing what they did previously, therefore there’s nothing wrong. To examine this question, we need to consider if 1) other post colonial countries, say Malaysia, have made changes and if 2) we have made amendments to the ‘British tradition left behind’. I think we have, the discussion alone showed that previously there was a mandatory prison sentence for harbouring illegal immigrants that was subsequently amended. But I’m not experienced enough with the jargon to know if this example falls into the same category as what we’re talking about. I think that where the British themselves have made amendments, would it not be considered to be outdated if we didn’t?
Second, is it relevant to compare ourselves with other post-colonial countries in the third world? Shouldn’t we benchmark against other things like the greater potentials we can attain?
Third, does the logic follow that a. dangerous to society therefore b. judges cannot have discretion therefore c. mandatory? What are the instances where judges are completely unable to have discretion of any form? More strikingly, is it possible to argue that a judge can have discretion in murder because of various ambiguous extenuating circumstances but these extenuating circumstances don’t apply to drug trafficking?
But I suppose there was an implicit point made by extension of logic: if it weren’t mandatory, judges WOULDNT give a death penalty for trafficking. Because a) they might not think that the retribution is proportionate b) the backlash from the people because THEY think its not justified. In principle, this might be shown as unjust.
But in practice, in practice, there will be those with ‘extenuating circumstance’ that will be selected to traffick (meaning young first timers with severe family difficulties). The effectiveness of the penalty will be dulled ASSUMING that it is a strong deterrent in the first place.
I have an interesting question though: if the psychological unsound can avoid the gallows for murder, can the same be said if the mentally retarded were to traffick drugs? (LOL massive spastic recruitment by drug lords!!!) I think like a criminal….almost.
Overall, I left feeling impressed and impacted. Previously I mentioned that people have earned their keep, and truly so. A brilliant and very impressive thinker with seemingly convincing arguments that was easy to follow and pleasant to listen to.
Apart from this highlight, I think the rest of the forum was spent as a means of advertising. The guy from the international firm was explicitly stating what he looks out for in applicants and how their firm is like. Another who initially cut short his speech, later talked about specific departments in his firm.
But the three main things that were advertised were:
1. The legal service is a good stepping stone to the private sector because of the experience and opportunities even a newbie would be handling. I can’t tell if even the legal service encourages this view. But the polite ‘balanced argument’ comes in how the ‘new trend’ is to move from private to public also. Personally I rather legal service — because I’m not greedy for money and I think its more meaningful.
2. International arbitration is a good are to go into. And I actually intend to further this when I return to study the subject a bit, not that I will be applying it in that field, but it’ll aid the understanding of my industry.
3. There is also the option of academia in law. It was portrayed to be far more relaxed than real lawyering but with more money than other academic subjects since there is an amount allowed for legal ‘side-consultations’. It is from academia that people have the opportunity to work on international law at like ICC etc. The downside is that there is a high qualification requirement as well as work experience needed. The years of studying law abroad has made a few prominent figures have this strong English accent infused in their local accent. (might be multicausal though)
The event then closed with a crowd of seemingly aggressive and ambitious young lawyers-to-be headed for a careers fair. After all, I do generalise that certain professions attract certain types of people, a bit like Student Council or the Tsungli Yamen Overseas Money for Schooling.
I’m glad I’m going to be studying History. …I am going to study a bit of law actually, but if it can’t be practised, it’s main utility is gone. More tomorrow about my third seminar.
Actually I lied — despite that very detailed reading list set out, I got distracted by new books that are somewhat related. I finished one new book which I decided to get after reading a photocopy of the first chapter (about two years ago?) and the other was God’s Philosophers — how the medieval world laid the foundations for modern science, by James Hannam.
The book’s thesis sets out to break down several common myths — how the middle ages were not as dark as they were made out to be and how there was actually no such thing as a single ‘scientific revolution’. The Middle Ages have been portrayed as a decadent period only in contrast to the ‘scientific revolution’ — not appreciating how these inventions were built upon medieval cornerstones.
Most importantly, it aims to show that there was actually little clash between religion and science. Disagreements about whether the bible should be taken figuratively or literally took place within the Church (I think both, but I’m not sure when is what — whichever is convenient for interpretation ><) In my opinion, it wasn’t very convincing in that aspect. Hannam does show that there are actually areas of science which the church does support, but the fact remains that tensions remained.
I’m no scientist but it is quite impressive how these medieval people could produce scientific theories based purely on experiencing nature (hence the word ‘experiment’) and even more astonishing how what could make perfect sense in one era could be completely debunked in the next. Likewise, how the ridicule of one era could be what we regard as truth currently. In the mean time, I’ve no idea about anything outside of textbooks and I still have no idea how an aircon works.
EXPECTATIONS OF BOOK
I got the book with the hope of reading more about medieval medicine and alchemy — which only took up a few chapters. I enjoyed those chapters, witchdoctors!
Instead the book looked at philosophy (i.e. Thomas Aquinas as he tries to reconcile Aristotle’s logic and theology) and Astronomy (Kepler and Copernicus). Having to understand some degree of physics in Roger Bacon’s optics was quite a challenge (which I did not overcome)
But seriously, I was expecting the book to be more about alchemy than its sister, astrology. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear “foundations of modern science” is Alchemy! I mean, who cares about GEOMETRY?
1. Alchemy was actually very very expensive. In order to be able to research transmutating gold, you probably needed a lot of gold and funds to begin with — a bit like running an airline. Galileo tried to make his daughters NUNS SO THAT HE DIDNT HAVE TO PAY FOR THEIR DOWRIES (what a dick! but its in the name of science)
2. As a result of the high cost, many students (a lot from Oxford) run out of money and have no choice but to SEEK FUNDING from a BODY OF HIGHER AUTHORITY (the church). After which, they had to SERVE BOND as monks. This book shows the biographies of several who end up doing more academic research than monk work (whatever they do) WHILE IN SERVICE.
3. Speaking of Oxford, the birth of Oxford as a university town actually caused a fair bit of havoc — bring a bunch of teenage boys undergoing puberty (a lot around 14 then) all together away from their parents and you get a riotous town. The murder of a young woman (plus some church politics thing I don’t really get) actually caused quite a commotion that it made a bunch of masters and students go east to set up Cambridge, which flourished several hundred years later under patronage.
On a slightly unrelated note, I can’t help but to wonder:
If Man is made in the image of God,
And God is a Creator,
Are we not creators as well?
Indeed, we are. And I think it is through the essence of God that we can imagine, invent and create new things.
Science doesn’t clash with religion — after all, Nature is part of God’s Creation to be studied and appreciated by Man.
Yes, and in the mean time I’m still busy with my side studies in alchemy for secret purposes (with the little chemistry knowledge I have). I’ve been telling people that I’m trying to transmutate opium from a mixture of paracetamol, caffeine and codeine.
….they actually believe me after some ridicule ><
It’s two weeks before I start reading Law (heh, go figure) and I recently reached a temporary standstill for one of my important things that I sent in for vetting — so i’ll have to wait till that comes back before I make any new additions/editions. With only two chapters of Full Metal Alchemist left, this two weeks ought to be well spent before the entire dynamics changes once Law comes in.
In the mean time, I have a lot of things to read in-depth. Namely, finish up two books from the library of the same title, some part of Sterling Seagrave’s, Niall Ferguson’s Empire (in particular White Plague and Heaven’s Breed, plus Empire for Sale — the african bits like Maxim can be skipped for now). The best transition from History to Law will be through Marshall’s biography (by law professor Kevin Tan) which I shall borrow. It might sound like a lot — but I’ve actually been through all of the above for a large part already. It’s just the going through again and taking note of important details…fine, still not that easy.
Apart from all these, I will be spend some time at work looking at a certain form of mysticism with certain gains in mind (less so on spiritual wellbeing) — and no, this is no metaphor. It then makes me somewhat guilty that I have the time to explore this fascinating new area of mysticism while not having the same time for orthodox religion. But in the name of knowledge, what the heck.
Now I have set some direction.
While having to balance all these with my very vibrant (and time consuming) social life and so called ‘work’, I have not much of a choice but to (ATTEMPT to) cut down on msn, which is a complete waste of time. Most of the time when I’m on gchat/msn, I only consistently talk to one or two people. (which even then has not been very happening lately). The screwedup part is I didn’t even get off msn that much while preparing for ib exams!
I better get used to lugging big books around the workplace — covertly. I’ve only been used to carrying a small one in my pocket.
and as some people wonder, how do i have the time for my social life, writing, proper readings, “nonsense” (i quote) readings AND work for most of the day. …they just haven’t seen my typical work day — though truth be told, it can actually get quite busy on AFEWDAYS especially when I take things seriously
Yesterday after getting some advice and new input, I decided to go back to workplace to sleep since I had to wake an insane hour the next day — i think the combination of events led to me having strange dreams.
I was going about my usual day activities of hiding and skiving, when a certain someone appears in army uniform, grabs me and then berates me harshly for my laziness and apparent lack of ambition. I was given a stern warning to ensure that for the weeks ahead I will actually be doing the necessary work (which i just received input and feedback on) instead of reading manga online. (of which i argued i only had a few chapters left to the completion of a series)
It was a bit too surreal. And for some reason, i never did question the freaking uniform with boots attire.
In fact I think I even addressed the person as Sgt. ***
Its reasonable to think that things which other characters say in your dreams actually belong to your own subconscious since it all takes place in your head. (sounds very inception — but i been saying it even earlier this year)
Which puzzles me as to why i had this recurring dream (twice already, twice!) about two london-goers in school uniform at a place which looks like a cookhouse, mock me over my skolahship and uni choice (or lack thereof)
Whatever — better get back to work before my memory fades.
Incidentally, i think no one that is supposed to know im out, knows im out already ><
You know that feeling — when that person whom you secretly liked for a long time actually wanted you as well — except this realisation comes only after you’ve completely moved on from something so unknown and uncertain. Such misfortune — it can only be a mindgame.
And the most perplexing thing is everything that went on in your head when you found out. You never expected the sentiments that you did actually feel. You try not to think about it but it comes back later as you are on the way home before you board the train and as you leave the station. Everything from a distant past comes back to you vividly — how it was so close, yet so far. How it was such a pity. A part of you demands to know why you didn’t have this knowledge beforehand – before you made a choice hastily. Another part of you is simply not sure whether you should have known at all. Probably better if you never didn’t find out. It would have never been part of your reality if it never reached your ears.
You look back into the past and try to recall the day you made a decision to move to a new place after much waiting, a difficult decision as you waited in ignorance. You cannot help but to ask yourself what if you knew then, what if you had more information then, where you can put your choices side-by-side? It was hard to be objective under a time constrain. Plus, how could you weigh the merits of your choices properly when one of the choices are already certain and the other is still ambiguous? It was a weighted debate. Then the scary question comes — had you known earlier, would you have made the same choice you did back then? A voice in your head tells you that you made your choice just because one was more certain, one came first and all you wanted was the security above anything else.
Your mind actually wanders far enough to see if there is even a glimmer of possibility that you could change your path back later on in life. Nope, not a chance. There is that overseas factor which is a bother and there simply is no time to.
The father would say that you don’t choose your destiny, your destiny choose you. If you had a choice, it wouldn’t be destiny anymore. The mother would beg to differ –the paths you choose decide your destiny. Both are right of course, but neither philosophical opinion actually helps you at all -_- Who knows what new things the future holds but God? What different endings may emerge based on different paths? What are the different results if we did things differently in the manner of alternative history? What the hell.
You don’t care to think about it and don’t dare to think about it.
After all, you’ve moved on and you’re very satisfied for now at least. You go through a barrage of reasons re-affirming your decision and they all outweigh those from the alternative ending. It’s almost the sour-grapes coping mentality that some of your ambitious peers have (i.e. not get something then say it was probably sour anyway) — but its quite different of course. Your subconscious and conscious mind are both biased, not wanting to be wrong or wanting in a hopeless situation anyway.
The fact of the matter is that you’ve picked your path and moved on already.You’re already happy and that’s all that matters. The grass is greenest and will continue to be the greenest on your side. Life goes on, as some broken recorder would say — you’re going to go home and sleep for the next day.
It’s all a metaphor, of course.
Or at least, it’d better be.
A snake without its venom
is a belt
A phone without reception
is a clock
A gate which cannot be opened
IS A FENCE
We have gate keepers
and house keepers
even zoo keepers
but have you heard of a fucking FENCE KEEPER?
But its not that bad:
Who watch the watchmen
to ensure that the watchmen
are actually watching?
And more harshly/dangerously:
A taicho without his insignia
is an uncle
A boy without his brain
is a SOLD—
Quite often I have to tune into these walkies early in the morning where I am half asleep and very unenthusiastic — it is quite a waste of time.
Most of the time, the walkies dont have much constructive purpose. These people usually fool around with it even though there are important people listening into the system.
The funniest thing I heard over the walkie the other day:
“Tell them (both lanes in opposite direction) to keep left”
“Left or right sia?”
” THEIR LEFT IS THEIR RIGHT. THEIR LEFT IS DIFFERENT FROM THEIR LEFT…..BODOH“
I dunno, i found it quite funny in my stoned state that morning
On the road home, I saw a primary school (from the nearby primary school) with a bag bigger than her. Clearly, schooling has become extremely taxing these days — even physically.
And some people have the check to complain about parents who carried the bags of their kids (not mine tho, I hardly had a bag even in primary school. Ya, old habits die hard >< My sister constantly complains that her bag is heavier than mine) Its hardly over-pamperign — no doubt children had to carry their own schoolbags two generations ago…but I highly doubt that they were that size.
And the only thought on my head was “no wonder can’t grow tall.”
which makes me wonder about some people’s childhood… ><
You do not say “I fear I cannot cut him”.
Instead you must say “I WILL cut him”
There is a more subtle way to influence society than through its history cum national education/propoganda — through mindless anime.
Beyond a cultural bonding point, it is possible that a higher authority is trying to plant the subtle thought of moulding reality through belief and imagination. Its a running theme in anime, particularly those with fight scenes where the character needs a large degree of determination and stamina, being able to stand to the end beyond his limits.
Then there are instances where it becomes an even more explicit theme where the character’s beliefs directly shape reality, in the manner of a god (or more specifically goddess) or where there is some machine that turns will into energy (LAMBDA driver)
Then these young japanese boys go on to the business world with their Personal Realities lodged in their subconscious.
Of course, its debatable whether there is such a thing as Law of Attraction or Faith. I’m still looking into the matter, its temporarily on hold while I sort out my history related preparations first. That, and I’m over-reading a bit.
Apart from the above, it is a good distraction for the workaholic and quite a bad distraction from actual work that must be done.
For buying the book “Singapore Alternatives” by Gerald Giam, a note was pasted on it by the father:
Like a debate, you are either prop or opp. You are prop. Stick with it.
Like a debate, any prop that does not know the devices of its opp cannot fix them. In an unfairly weighted debate, why would anyone consider joining a losing side?
not that I am really prop, of course.
Haha, I used to mention that school was a microcosom of society in multiple ways.
Well, once upon a time, for the past six years, there will be about two to three sports meets a year. Most of us will be “strongly encouraged” to go, but with attendance taken (-_-). A fair number of us wouldn’t be interested and quite a handful wouldn’t turn up at all. The appearance of MCs are almost akin to that during high-key events these days. (sigh slightly)
The graph above shows a Channel Newsasia poll about YOG (if the bloody lag and problematic for the night wordpress didnt fudge up) where 88% of respondents do not care about YOG. Its the latest statistics, apparently theres a drop frm the previous 90% but the numbers have gone up frm 2000 to 5000 odd, making the survey seemingly more accurate with an increase in sample size.
I think many of us would agree that we would give way to an ambulance because it needs to rush ahead to save lives and deliver someone’s granddad to the hospital. But I think it is extremely hard to see a reason to justify placing a bus of athletes on the same level of an ambulance.
Ah what the heck, maybe this time its a bad analogy, I would like to think that percentage wise my school had more enthusiastic supporters (like at least to rally behind their friends). This analogy might be tarnishing the name of my school. sigh. Maybe a closer representation would be those Performance Festivals where the buying of a ticket is compulsory (and which some genius decided to bring the matter to Straits Times when I first enrolled).
At least no one is forced to go for the upcoming sporting event…like students…….right? (Are there teachers who are unable to sell their part of the 80,000 tickets — what happens when their students do not want to buy them? what happens to the tickets? are there even such instances?)
If there’s one thing I was happy about with my school, it was that the attendance taking is usually quite slipshod and lax. Nobody is complaining, it saves everyone trouble. It doesn’t apply for the performance festivals, but I went for those on my own accord anyway. They’re more entertaining than blindly shouting some form of support in the naive hope that the louder you shout, the stronger your team gets…. Hell, like that makes any sense? It really is almost a nationalistic sentiment that “if you love your school and want your team to win, you will shout louder”. but enough of that for now.
As you can see I’m hardly very rah-rah, and I don’t think much of it (apart from it not being very smart)–and even less about forming hostile unhealthy rivalries over artificial distinctions. It’s almost like nationalism, but enough of that for now.
A good rational question to ask: why do some organisations exist? Do they exist to serve or to be served? And likewise, why do some laws or road regulations exist — does Man serve the sabbath or sabbath serve the man?
It is the month of August already and I have decided to spend more time on more readings. Ever since leaving Sembawang, I have been distracted by the INTERNET COMPUTERS at work, spending most of time browsing random blogs, articles and reading the newly completed Full Metal Alchemist that I read in sec three (and which I only just reached where I stopped four years ago)
In other words, for the week to come (at least before the next batch comes in) I will be spending more time at my store to read rather than going to use com.
And while at home, I have recently been wasting a lot of time watching girls shoot electricity *biribiri*
While I am generally quite lazy, I have Skills — Level3 “Mind Emulator”, which feeds off the energy of others and practice of others as a driving force. I’m glad that there’s someone now in a similar boat who actually needs to do three times the amount of work… heh.
For more a more effective practice, I will attempt to focus on three books at a time rather than one at a time. It is a bit like the middle ages system of plantation which depends on three different crops, rotating the type of crops planted at each of the three areas of land since different crops use different nutrients. When I get bored of one text, I’ll move on to the next (instead of watching shockers)
Ah, all the things that take up my time… I have been watching too much, really.
POST EDIT later in the afternoon: lol, no more to watch. I win. Now I can go do my readings in peace.
People have been wondering why I don’t want to study things like Law, Economics or Politics, or even Politics with History for that matter. Here’s a bit on why I will not study politics. (Probably on law and econs some other time) Of course my thoughts might change over time, this blog already shows quite a few beliefs changing over the past half a year — just that there isn’t much more time for a change of mind, is there?
Politics is a potent subject of study. It is a driving force behind improvements in a state machinery. But like fire, it could empower and at the same time destroy. And like fire, it is something which the gods are afraid to share. Anything which can cause improvement will cause disruptions as well. Think of how horse carriage companies felt when the automobile was invented, or telegraph companies when the telephone started to phase them out. Benefits aren’t for everyone, there will always be someone who loses something — especially those who are comfortable in the current system.
I wouldn’t study politics in Singapore because the version of theories and frameworks taught would have been to some extent controlled and sanitised. Its an assertion — since I haven’t actually seen for myself what a NUS political science course is like. But I base it on criticisms from others (though not sure how reliable they are). Furthermore, Warwick University, which initially planned to set up a campus in Singapore in 2004, changed its mind due to reasons of limited academic freedom and freedom of speech. Unless you’re fine with studying a diluted version of the subject.
But I wouldn’t study it overseas either. All the more so to not receive the undiluted form of doctrines and a new found sense of awareness. This might be one of the reasons scholars who go overseas say that the way they see things changed in the process, leaving them wanting to do something outside of the civil service, possibly due to disillusion. (though its more likely that this is because of a different way of life abroad)
I again assert that a study of politics overseas breeds idealism as it opens one’s eyes to a greater reality. And idealism unfulfilled leads to pessimism and frustration. (Or as proverbs says, hope deferred makes the heart sick). It is like the feeling of having experienced a liberally spacious and luxurious western-style house before being crammed into a small and confined hdb flat.
Political science is a bit like philosophy — its a subject of the devil (although I vehemently insist that MATH IS THE SUBJECT OF THE DEVIL). The latter is for the Church to contend with, the former for the state.
In the present environment, political science remains as a theoretical subject in a biology textbook without any practical applications.
Bullshit aside, one practical part I don’t quite like is having to constantly be up to date in reading international news. And when I say international I mean from Georgia to Tehran to Lagos.
That and I don’t think it will be very fun decrypting texts like Levithian in its original.
More here on not studying politics (from last year) http://findmuck.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/intellectual-revolution/