Skip to content

My 2011

Well, it was a long year - most of which was spent writing my thesis which I handed in at the end of September! That was a relief, but immediately followed by the realisation that when it comes back from the examiners, there will be revisions, and no doubt some difficult questions. So it didn’t have the release that one usually gets from finishing exams, or a school year, when there is nothing more to be done.

The Australian doctoral system does not have a viva (i.e. an oral defence of the thesis) as is common everywhere else. Someone explained to me that this is due to historical reasons - previously it was too difficult to arrange for Australians to defend in person when their examiners were typically in the UK or the USA. Instead, the examiners write an evaluation and can ask questions which have to be answered in written form.

It’s kind of excruciating waiting for the examiners’ responses, which I hope to get soon, from time to time it pops into my head, and I wonder what they are going to say. No doubt they will have detailed questions and they are sure to find some flaws somewhere... That’s their job after all.

OK. Here goes for a rapid review of 2012.

January: Of course, Charlie has been the most enjoyable part of the year. I stopped posting about him because I started to feel a bit uncomfortable about pasting him on the internet - after all, it’s his life and he may not appreciate all his baby photos being online when he gets older :-) Anyway, in January he was learning to drink from a cup. By now that is not a problem and he is walking, talking, and just started his first (pre)school yesterday! Apart from that, the highlight of January was being invited to present at the Pecha Kucha event organised by Niki Cheong and the British Council. It was a good night, and the principle (20 slides, 20 seconds each) is a great discipline.

February: More Charlie and baby-led weaning. BLW basically means no spoon-feeding. It works and we’re happy we did it.

March: No blog posts. The whole year, up until September, I was trying to block off any other activities. Dividing time between taking care of Charlie for 2-3 days a week, reading, writing and analysing, with little sleep and much stress, sometimes I found myself despairing.

April: Only one post about the 1Malaysia email. It doesn’t seem to have had much take up yet, but I still think that eventually, having a state-certified online identity will become commonplace.

June & May: No blog posts. More writing. Doing a PhD thesis is probably the most difficult thing I have ever done. More than starting my first term teaching with five new courses, and about 250 students. The difference is that with a thesis, you need a lot of self-discipline - it’s easier to work with tight deadlines when you can go from one day to the next, completing each task as it comes to you. The whole point of a PhD thesis is to write something that nobody else has done - so, in the end of the day, you are all alone.

July: One post on Visualising Assemblage. For various reasons, I decided to use Deleuze & Guattari’s theories for my thesis. This meant a whole lot of reading and trying to understand this complex theory. I think it was worth it, but it probably added a couple of months onto the thesis.

August to October: No posts. Heh. Sometime in July or August I realised that when I don’t sleep enough I get very bad tempered. I also started to feel extremely burned out. I learnt that you just can’t do without enough sleep for too long. It’s really not healthy and is unsustainable.

Actually, after I handed in the thesis we went to the UK and Belgium for a month. That was very nice, and after a couple of weeks I started to feel alive again. Spending the time with Charlie was great too, and he really took to travelling well - to our relief, as I was dreading a twelve hour flight with screaming toddler :-)

November and December: only one post about Forced Labour in Malaysia. I cannot ever look at foreign labourers the same again after reading those harrowing witness accounts.

So that was my year. Christmas was on the beach near Port Dickson - chasing crabs with Charlie and eating some homemade mince pies. New Year was a few beers and a great view of the fireworks over KL thanks to some friends.

But... that’s **not** all folks...

Please say hello to Neil!

We’re so happy to have another addition to our family - due in about five weeks :-)

All the clichés are true - having has a child has changed our life, and also brought us the most consistent source of joy ever. To think that soon we will have two is really exciting, and we are so looking forward to seeing them play together and grow up together (touching wood - I get superstitious sometimes).

Finally - all my best wishes for the New Year to you, dear reader, with thanks for taking the time to read to the end of this post.

Pecha Kucha Kuala Lumpur

I was kindly invited by Niki Cheong to take part in a 'Pecha Kucha' event organised by the British Council - this is an evening where people get to talk about what they want, but they are limited to twenty slides with one image on each one, and each slide moves forward automatically after twenty seconds.

It's a great idea, but I mistakenly thought that it would also make the planning of the slides a lot more straightforward. Not at all! For someone like me who tends to ramble on and likes to talk only with notes and then ad-lib a bit, restricting myself to twenty seconds per slide is tough.

But I did it (though it was late, sorry organisers). I decided to talk about the ancient past, and the future of social media. It's made me well nervous, and then I went over to look at Niki Cheong's website (check it out, it has all the relevant information) and saw the list of luminaries who will be speaking too, and I've just got more nervous! Argh! I just don't feel too confident about the slides... I like the idea, but I don't know if it's going to work.

Anyway, here's one image to give you an idea
tambum rock paintings Ipoh malaysia

Yes it's prehistoric rock paintings. What has that got to do with social media? Well, come along and find out! :-) Click here for the Facebook event page.


The 15-minute blog post.
I like to blog, but I can't afford to spend a lot of time on it. Solution: limit myself to 15 minutes per post.
One link, one picture maximum.
All comments, critiques and corrections are welcome. Thank you.

2010 - How was it for you?


How to do a 15 minute recap of the year?

Answer - check out the archives on the right if you're actually interested, and here is a potted version.

Travel: only one trip to Singapore - probabably the least travelling I've done since I was fifteen and went on my first trip without my mother to Spain, Morocco, and the Netherlands on an InterRail pass.

PhD: it is a painful process, and I needed to get an extension of 6 months in November. I now hope to hand it in by the end of April, but it's going to be tough. But, as I've been telling myself and telling others - this is my last New Year as PhD candidate! It's Doctorate or bust this year!!

Academic stuff: I'm proud to announce my first (co-authored) published work! We got a chapter in an edited volume of cutting edge internet research - the chapter is "Fielding Networked Marketing: Technology and Authenticity in the Monetization of Malaysian Blogs", and the book is Nexus: New Intersections in Internet Research
. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Neal Thomas, my co-author, with whom it was a pleasure to work with, and the indefatigable editors, Daniel Araya, Yana Breindl, and Tessa J. Houghton, who made it all happen.

I also quite liked the article I wrote for Off the Edge - 'Not the MSM?'

Apart from that, and many interesting things such as the SMCKL meetings, getting to know Twitter better, doing two podcasts, the MOST important, literally life changing, thing to happen was of course the birth of Charlie! Being a father is a constant source of an unique kind of pleasure, pure affect I suppose (for the Deleuzian amongst you); and also a nagging anxiety about wanting to make sure he is getting the best possible. Anyway, credit where credit is due - WW has and is being a wonderful mother, and the grandparents have been an unflagging source of support for which I am really grateful. And kudos to any single parent out there! I have no idea how you do it!

Happy New Year. Live life. Explore. Acknowledge your fears. Love.


The 15-minute blog post.
I like to blog, but I can't afford to spend a lot of time on it. Solution: limit myself to 15 minutes per post.
One link, one picture maximum.
All comments, critiques and corrections are welcome. Thank you.

Intermittent blogging ahead...

Sticky post. Scroll down for the most recent post

Thanks for dropping by :-)

I am now in the process of writing up my PhD (and soon to be a father am now a father :-) ), and will only be able to do very intermittent updates of this blog for an indefinite period. Please explore the tags and archives (below right) for posts about my research on blogs in Malaysia, or you can get an idea of what I'm doing by reading Anthroblogology - Monetisation in the Malaysian Blogosphere.

On the tags above you can read more About Me, or Contact me if you like.

It's Krrunch Time, Get Playful!

Sometimes being a student can be really tough, and boring...
julian reading philosophy

especially if you have to read something like this! Even the title takes five minutes to understand :-|
incomprehensible heidegger

julian reading philosophy

It may not always be Krrunch, but don't give up! :-)

Some tasty snacks can help you to keep on going... but they can run out too... :-(
julian finishes pringles

but surprises can happen...
julian finishes pringles
book kaleidoscope

never run away from the unknown...
julian is puzzled

fortune favours those who dare!
simpsons kaleidoscope

Find new ways to learn :-)
The Simpsons and Philosophy

Learning can always be Krrunch! If you use your imagination :-D
julian garden simpsons philosophy

It's Krrunch Time, Get Playful!

Many thanks to WW for the creative support, and Kavi for photography

Band with interesting Erhu sound

I went to a wedding with WW on Sunday, at the Shangri-La in downtown KL. I don't like the decoration of that place very much, but the food was nice.

Chinese weddings can tend to all have the same food and lots of it tends to get wasted, which is always a pity to see. The portions were smaller there, and little was wasted; in addition they had individual servings like this one of rice steamed in lotus leaf

They also had herbal chicken which was very nice (also individually wrapped), a delicate cod with some kind of fruit sauce thing, and apple pie with coconut ice cream for desert.

The thing I really want to mention though, was the band

I'm not sure what they are called, but the card says 'Jason Geh Entertainment', and you can check them out here. They had a nice blend of jazzy, bluesy and for the dancing did some rock n roll, Dancing Queen and various crowd pleasers.

What I liked most of all was the erhu

The erhu is a traditional Chinese instrument, usually heard in kung-fu movies and the like, but here it made a really nice additional touch to the modern music. Very contemporary - hybrid, globalised, etc.

So thanks to Sasha and Phil for inviting us - and many congratulations again! Love always :-)