Friday, January 28, 2005

it's done -for now.

-throws hands up in the air in satisfaction-

The First Draft has been safely emailed to the rest of my seminar group. i am Done with it, at least in the near future. thank god, is all i can say at this point. if i had to read one of my sentences one more time i think i might seriously have collapsed and cried. (not died, mind you, but close enough.)

in any case, i'm taking a break from bombings and Southeast Asia for a while -not that i really can, it's percolating in the back of my mind- and from typing (5000 words in under four days -i'm surprised i don't have carpal tunnel. maybe that's what this weird feeling in my right wrist is...) to actually catch up on my missed reading. to wit: Sam Huntington's fascintating take on professional militaries, the story of the New Islamists in Baker's Islam Without Fear, and the rest of Wickham's piece on how Islamists were political opportunities in Sadat and Mubarak's Egypt. -tongue firmly in cheek-

however, for now, i am headed for bed. i just wanted to celebrate having sent the first set of my thoughts out into the ether and into the hands of my (vicious) classmates from BA seminar. i'm looking forward to being ripped to shreds on monday. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

working off frustrations

i have often asked myself the reason for the sadness
in a world where tears are just a lullabye
if there's any answer maybe love can end the madness
maybe not
ah but we can only try

you got to get up every moring with a smile on your face
and show the world all the love in your heart
then people gonna treat you better
you're gonna find yes you will
that you're beautiful as you feel


and i would go to the ends of the earth
cos darlin' to me that's what you're worth

where you lead i will follow
anywhere that you tell me to
if you need, you need me to be with you
i will follow where you lead

i always wanted a real home
with flowers on the windowsill
but if you wanna live in new york city
honey you know i will

i never thought i could get satisfaction
from just one man
but if anyone can keep me happy
you're the one who can

props to anyone who correctly labels both sets of lyrics above. -grin-

the BA progresses, albeit at a snail's pace. however, it is no longer stalled on the tracks in the path of an oncoming train, so it's all good. :) also, my brother is now enlisted in the Singapore Armed Forces -his enlistment date was Saturday. the parentals seem remarkably calm about this whole thing, so i shall refrain from worrying. he'll be out for Chinese New Year in a couple of weeks, so i'll talk to him then and see how army life is treating him. and demand a photo from the parents, of course, of my brother with underside-of-a-brillo-pad hair.

in the meantime, there is a rather ranty post on the LJ re: mixing politics and economic incentives for your reading pleasure. it's been a longish day (i fell asleep in War and the Nation State! sacrilege!), so i should be off to bed. hopefully the alarm will indeed ring tomorrow, so i have a fighting chance of making it to Crime on time. hah. =)

Monday, January 24, 2005

happy days are here again

hello again, my dears. just a quick post to reassure you that yes, i am still alive, and no, this blog is not dead. =) i apologise for the infrequent updates -my life is undergoing madness right now, it is winter quarter in chicago, and The First Draft is due in four days. so understandably i am doing major procrastination, most of which involves not being here working.

also, for those of you who do not religiously follow the weather news out of Chicago (that would be everyone who reads this blog who isn't my mother), we here in the midwest (and now over on the eastern seaboard, where our merry winter storm has gone to wreak havoc now) have been in the middle of a major winter snowstorm over the weekend. my first whiteout! we looked out the windows of the apartment (which i did not leave At All yesterday -it snowed continuously! for something like 36 hours!) and couldn't see the trees across the street. forget 53rd Street, or Hyde Park Towers, or the lake. we couldn't even see the roofs of houses across the street. we couldn't see the street! but it was incredibly pretty. i was just really thankful i was indoors, and that the heat in our building appears -for now- to be holding out. (i was sick yesterday -still am, probably- and made myself tomato soup. which i let boil over at dinnertime, and spill all over our white stove. red tomato soup and white stoves don't really mix well.) we've had a bit of a letup in the temperatures -hovering in the minus 5C region now- and today was an absolutely gorgeously sunny day, once it stopped snowing somewhere ard 10am. (which is probably when it decided to go scare some people in philly, or boston, or new york, or return to canada whence it came. or florida, but we can only hope.) it looks rather like we got ard a foot of snow thanks to this storm, so we're set for a good bit of slush and messiness for a while. looks like Chicago doesn't want to let me leave without reminding me how awful winters can be here. (i don't really mind the cold, but i do hate slush!)

on the upside, The First Draft is now hovering on Page Eleven, which means just over nine pages to go before i have something that's halfway fit to turn on on thursday at midnight. (or friday at ten am, depending.) at this point, i've written the introduction that outlines the project: (a) why Southeast Asia; and (b) why ASEAN; and (c) how ASEAN; and a good chunk of the bits about 'Why Not ASEAN/Why ASEAN cooperation (will) fail' -that should take another half a page, min -more likely a page. so that leaves me with eight pages to write about 'Why ASEAN' to cope with counterterrorism, as outlined in the previous post. and then to outline the rest of the project. should be in good shape!

muchos gracias to those who offered help and suggestions in the comments to the earlier post. i am definitely looking into them. =) (i read the White Paper this afternoon. it was tres helpful, particularly for the section i have to write tomorrow.)

now i'm gonna go seek my bed and uncross my eyes. hope you all are doing well. =) esp peeps on the east coast buried in snow!

Monday, January 17, 2005

ah, the BA

have thoroughly recovered from my hissy-fit of thursday. no more snow since then, though the temperatures have dropped to a perilously low -10C. still, a lot better than the -20s we were getting last winter, so i'm not complaining too much. if this keeps up, winter will be relatively less terrible, which would be nice -- my last winter here in chicago behaving itself.

having to start work on the BA this weekend, so been doing some reading up about ASEAN's role and how it changes in response to stimuli. all well and good, but that speaks more to the second half of my paper. so before i forget it, here's the layout of the argument for the first half of the BA. the BA has two parts: (a) there's a threat of cross-border/international terrorism in SEA, and the member states of SEA decide that ASEAN is the best institution for dealing with it; and (b) ASEAN deals with the problem of terrorism by adapting its organisation in terms of control and centralisation; scope; and flexibility.

(a) the problem with 'new' terrorism in the region is that it is cross-border. as Goh Chok Tong, our current Senior Minister, said in his speech to the Council on Foreign Relations last year, the problem of terror is changing. the original internal terrorists, like the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, are no longer the problem. the new Islamicist terrorists want to create an Islamic state in SEA encompassing M'sia, Indon, Singapore, and probably a bunch of our other ASEAN neighbours, at any cost. hence, the creation of JI, which coordinates the actions of various terror cells within different nations. these terrorists have links to al-qaeda and afghanistan (here's where Mamdani's book, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror comes back to haunt me: the training camps in Afghanistan set up to fight the Bear in Afghanistan wound up training far more than just guerilla fighters for the Afghan war. almost all militant Islamic terrorists since then can trace their roots back to training camps in Afghan circa the 1970s.) thus are trained in the methods of creating terror and urban warfare etc etc. and because of their new global ideology -the creation of an international Islamic state, a Caliphate- they cannot be deterred by conventional means.

so here's the problem: (i) they can't really be deterred by fear of death etc; (ii) they are well-organised; (iii) their organisation reaches across national borders; and (iv) the states of SEA are all at risk for various reasons, by the fact that at least a significantly large chunk of their populations are muslim, or are disliked by the Islamic terrorists because they see these nations are obstructing the creation of a Caliphate in SEA. (i'm thinking of Singapore at this point; we have a 15% muslim population.)

why choose ASEAN? because (a) the organisation of the terrorists requires that information-gathering be centralised and organised to give a clear picture of what is going on not just within national borders but in the region, since that is the target; (b) the big ASEAN nations have incentive to cooperate -Indon, M'sia, the Philippines, Singapore- because the threat is to them; (c) ASEAN is there -building new institutions is expensive, time-consuming, and you lose all the advantages of the old one, advantages that come with iteration of cooperation (i have them listed somewhere); adapting existing institutions to accomplish new functions (like NATO) is far cheaper and potentially more efficient.

so now i need to go look up more about terrorism and the Jemaah Islamiyah in SEA, and Start Writing...

Friday, January 14, 2005

i hate chicago and all its environs

i am having the goddamn afternoon from HELL.

first, i forget my hat and my gloves this morning, and guess what? yesterday/this morning's drizzle has turned into a full-blown, GIANT SNOWFLAKED snowstorm. yay. way to turn into a snow-woman.

second, i was going to go and catch a nap between classes this afternoon at alex's apartment, but seeing as someone else has my set of keys, and has had them for more than a goddamn week, i can't get in. hence, i am in the Reg, which means i have to do work. on my BA draft. which is due in a little over two weeks.

third, i have just spent an inordinate amount of time fiddling with the centuries-old lock on my locker, because i have a shitload of books i just spent shitloads of money on for Islamic Politics which i don't fancy hauling around campus for two hours while i wait for my afternoon class to start. and the lock doesn't open unless you baby it like your first-born child (note: not MY firstborn child, since my track record of complete klutziness doesn't bode well for the poor creature.) i'm actually afraid to lock my coat and/or my computer in there, for fear that i won't be able to get it open again later.

fourth, i have a three pm class.

jeanette is NOT a happy camper right now.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

oh my god

i know, i know, two posts in one morning from me, heart-attack inducing. but i can't pass this one up.

what the hell is going on at home? when the Navy -MY navy- puts out ads like this one. Transmariners? what the hell? and man, if you want to do a comics-style ad, at LEAST get the damn wording right! who are they targeting, four year olds? and the music. holy cow. it's AWFUL.

bah, she says. the end of the world is nigh.

hello darlings =)

the pretty-much-month-long silence on both blogs has prompted demands to know where i am and what i have been doing, i am, early saturday morning of first week, updating my blog for your reading pleasure. winter quarter 2005 has just started here at the U of C, and i'm having a hard time getting my enthusiasm for classes going. helps -or perhaps not- that am taking a relatively light load -just three classes, plus the BA Sem which meets once every two weeks. Mearsheimer's War and the Nation State, then Levitt's Economics of Crime, and Islamic Politics with Lisa Wedeen. should be all kinds of fun, if i could only just start reading...i'm waiting for my copy of Clausewitz to arrive so i can read for JJM, but it's looking like it'll have to wait til wednesday when the book actually arrives.

what have i been up to? you ask. well -winter break was three weeks of mad travelling, mostly. once school let out at the end of fall, alex and i went to boston/providence for a few days. my...third? time in boston, the third time in the winter (i gotta see that city at some other time, i'm sure it's gorgeous), though mostly the weather wasn't too bad. hung out with shum a little, went up to see Paul at MIT, and visit Fiona at Harvard. it was good to see them both again. =) and then bus-ing it to providence to go stay with cheryl, see Brown (another place i could have wound up. i'm glad i chose the U of C. not that i dislike Brown, or Providence, but it's a little too quiet for me. and besides, look at all the friends i would have missed!) and shop a little in Providence. there are pictures, but on someone else's camera mostly, so i shall have to wait to post any.

then we came back through chicago, just long enough to do laundry and repack bags, and it was off to Colorado to spend some time with Hanyann. which was awesome fun. i love spending time with H, esp in her home state. she took alex skiing on Christmas Day (mostly because we'd failed to wake up on time the days before) while i hung out doing nothing at the ski lodge; we spent christmas down in Denver with her family; and i finally got to meet Brian, which was nice. hanging out a little like last year, where we would retreat to her apartment after class and just veg out in front of the TV with food, soda, popcorn, and watch three movies straight before our eyes -and brains- gave out. i miss that.

after Colorado (where i left my pretty red scarf, dangnabbit!) we flew to New York to meet up with my parents and brother. despite some minor disasters on their part, and my not having enough cash for the cab from the airport, we all made it safely to the hotel in reasonably good shape (though by the time alex and i got settled it was so late we ordered room service for dinner). thankfully we missed out on the whole -travelling during christmas is a nightmare of delayed flights and lost bags- deal. whew! three or four days in new york in the winter is fun, esp with parents and a brother who's never been (well maybe he has, but as a baby, so he doesn't remember.). we went shopping a lot (my dad went NUTS; he loves Old Navy, oddly enough. my brother hates going in there.) and went to see the Lady Liberty, unfortunately still closed to visitors who want to climb up to her crown. we did get to go to the lower level and walk ard the pedestal she's on though, which wasn't bad. it was cold. =) i remember when we were there at the end of '99 -on the HMUN trip, with a bunch of A01Aians, and Evan and Zhining and other peeps- and got to climb up to the crown. a long climb, on a skinny spiral staircase at the top, helix-coiled so you come down on top of the heads of those going up. i don't like enclosed spaces with skinny spiral staircases (i'm a klutz who's afraid of heights), so cheetung had to go down backwards talking to me and keeping an eye on me so i wouldn't freak out and die. =) but it was worth the climb through human traffic, for sure. pity no one can do it now.

cheryl and derek also drove up from Providence (where derek is visiting cher) to meet us for a day or so (they went to Lady Liberty with us). the night before, we went to dinner in Chinatown -with my brother, sans my parents- had really good pho at a classic Chinatown/Vietnamese restaurant: the food was awesome, the service was terrible. it made me happy. =) i haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

then back to Chicago for a few days with my parents and my brother, just in time for the new year. my brother'd never been to chicago before this trip, so it was a first for him, which began with a three-hour delayed flight because O'Hare was having shitty weather and visibility was basically non-existent (alex and i flew in to midway, and landed on time, despite having to wait forever to get to a gate and get our bags), and then a two hour ride into town in the teeth of inbound holiday traffic. but he soon got over it. we had dinners at Fogo de Chao and Cafe BaBaReeba, as well as Chinatown and just plain at my apartment. and we went shopping on the MagMile (where we had Southern food for lunch!) and at the outlet mall in Aurora (where mom failed to buy a Coach bag. i kid you not.) my brother loved my apartment, Salonica, and went to class with me: a 'organisational meeting' for JJM's giant class, which was unfortunately for my brother run by Kevin, one of JJM's TAs, and not the man himself, so he couldn't actually meet him. but oh well.

my family left for home on tuesday, and are now safely ensconced back in their home routines -well, mom is, at least: she was up and at 'em for work the next morning- and i am struggling to get back into the swing of work. need to work on BA stuff a little this weekend; am meeting with my advisor, professor snidal, on tuesday to see how things are going. it'll be fun. =)

more from me later. =)