Monday, February 23, 2004

you know, something about Don Maclean's American Pie captures my mood tonight. something about it being bittersweet maybe. something about it being real, maybe. something about how it reminds me of the first few months of 2001, when i felt like the world had somehow turned itself upside down and i didn't want to get out of bed in the morning, but American Pie somehow made me keep on getting up and teaching and dragging myself around until one day i forgot to be unhappy. i've always loved that song (which means i was livid when Madonna did that ridiculous cover of it), but i never can put my finger on why. something connects between the music and me without the medium of intellectual understanding (since clearly i didn't live through what he is talking about in the song).

i guess at times like these i just feel somehow fundamentally disconnected between two different mes: the me who writes about regional institutions and believes that they can somehow ameliorate the badness in the world -the me who is optimistic and believes in human potential and all the sparkly good things about people; and the me who has basically lost faith in human nature, human rationality, human goodness. who has basically stopped believing that people want to stop killing each other, people want to improve their lives, people want to care about other people. the me who can't reconcile what i hear in church -'turn the other cheek', 'love your enemies'- and a world where 'deeply conservative', 'christian' leaders can invade other countries with impunity. i think that's what it is - people disappoint me, and i just want to keep them all away from me so i can't be disappointed any more. which is foolish of me. because it can't be done.

i guess i've become a different person over the last three years here in chi-town, and i don't foresee that changing over the next year while i remain at this university. and i begin to see the problems that my older friends faced upon returning to Singapore to live -- the problems of being square pegs in round holes, and the frustration of caring intensely about things in the way they live and the way other people around them live while simultaneously being unable to change them. of being different from my peers because of the experiences i haven't shared with them, and the perspective i've gained from being away from home; because of the difference in training and inclination and oh god knows how many different things. i've become an advocate of knowing more rather than less, so strongly that it feels like that's the way i've always been. but now i wonder if that's the best way to lead my life, if all that means is i am going to break my heart trying to change things that can't be changed.

ok. enough self-indulgent crap. gotta go finish writing that damn paper -ASEAN!- and maybe, hopefully, somehow get some sleep.

oh, and in other news: remember how i'm guzzling Diet Pepsi in an attempt to get a free iTune? pstan won one today, in his one Pepsi in god knows how long (you're not a Pepsi drinker, pstan!). so there you have it -- i am clearly destined not to win at these lucky-draw-type things!


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