Things I’ve Written or Made – Jun 2017

I don’t end up writing here often. I prefer my articles here to be more “complete”, which fuels my perfectionist tendencies and I end up not posting at all (such a bad habit haha).

For those of you wanting to read more recent stuff by me, here are some of my more notable mini-essays, thought dumps, mini-projects, or articles posted on other websites.

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Blog traffic for the wrong reasons & archiving my older posts

I finally did it. I archived an old post about feminism and a popular cartoon (and game) character who I shall not name.

Okay, the game was actually Kingdom Hearts II, but I won’t mention the cartoon name or the character.

That post got me a lot of traffic, y’know? Mostly from people searching the cartoon character by name, rather than the title of the cartoon show or Kingdom Hearts II (KHII). I’m comfortable mentioning KHII, by the way, because I still am interested in sexism and representation of women in games (“video games”, say the Western peoples) and in media – I have a tag for ‘women in media‘ on my Tumblr.

It was not traffic I particularly valued, eventually – no one tried to have a dialogue with me about it, and I became less interested in having a dialogue about it myself.

But blog traffic for the cartoon character specifically? I was tired of it. It was not traffic I particularly valued, eventually – no one tried to have a dialogue with me about it, and I became less interested in having a dialogue about it myself. This specific point is perhaps my main reason for archiving it. I usually am a believer in keeping your old work up, but it’s held less and less value for me throughout the years.

The attention seemed accidental, to be honest. WordPress is so good with SEO; my straightforward post title ‘[Character Name] & Feminism’ was enough to drive the post to Google searches. Ultimately, it got significantly more traffic than my other writings.

I don’t want it to represent my blog anymore. I’d rather people read my blog for my other thoughts and ideas; I don’t mind losing blog traffic if it means having a more relevant readership.

Which brings me to… this blog itself. I know. I never knew how to angle it. “I guess my blog is my book diary and my projects?” I asked myself, again and again. It was probably why Tumblr came as a relief – I could post content without sticking to a theme, which I had never quite clearly defined in my head for this blog. Tumblr’s structure allows you to be random, with only tags stringing your posts together. WordPress, and everything I’ve ever known about blogging, seemed to require consistency and regularity, which I struggled with. (I wrote about this on Tumblr too, here.)

But I love WordPress, and I’ll probably always find a home for myself in it. I love it as CMS, as a container for content; I like building and maintaining other websites with it. I update it from version to version with reluctance, but I delight in finding new plugins that extend its user experience. It’s still one of my favourite platforms for reading longform writing.

I’ve started restructuring the categories on this blog. I hope the new categories make sense. While moving posts and categories around, I archived other posts too, a small number of them. You won’t see them again unless they were caught by Wayback Machine and the like. They never fit in anyway, and seemed more Twitterish or Tumblrish in spirit. You won’t miss them.

And to all who look for feminist discourse around that certain cartoon character – thank you for finding me, but this blog was never a good place for it. I hope you found better articles and insights out there. Thanks for the website hits.

Into the archives she goes - Thanks!

 

Written with StackEdit.

23
May 2017
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A fan of art goes to an art show (UBD Impact and Spectacle)

This year was my third time visiting the UBD art & design graduation exhibition, known in 2017 as Impact, and in previous years as Spectacle.

Forgotten Sight by Nuratikah Mohd Harunthmarin, UBD Spectacle 2016

 

This is a write-up and reflection of what I’ve seen in these exhibitions.

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19
May 2017
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Being on the 33 under 33

In February, I was told I would be featured by Muslyfe on a list of 33 women under 33 who were “influential”, though it has since been changed to “to watch in 2017”. I can tell you it led to a number of people asking me what I’m planning in 2017, and a healthy amount of self-doubt. But after all, I had agreed to be listed.

“33 Brunei women under 33 to watch in 2017” – by Lyfe Media (Infographic / Article)

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06
Apr 2017
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Lateness Culture, and making it a little better for everyone

Illustration for Lateness Culture - Traffic - Commissioned from Ibrahim

You see all those cars around you? Yeah, it’s traffic. Yeah, you’re late. (Illustration: Ibrahim Yussop)

So, this one time, I was half an hour late, and no one else was late, and being late actually mattered.

It involved underestimating 5pm traffic, and forgetting that I’m not too familiar with Kota Batu. The event was full of formally-dressed people. The event only kicked off only after my arrival. I was mortified.

And yet, I do not know if this is unusual in Brunei. I do not know how often instances of lateness are met with shame. You would even say that lateness is unashamedly rampant.

In some social circles, 5 to 15 minutes’ lateness may be accepted. But I’m amazed at how tolerant we are, when:

  • “late” means half an hour late, or even an hour late
  • a latecomer to a meeting doesn’t let you know they’ll be late
  • a rehearsal or a launching starts more than an hour after the stated time.

Surely this can’t be normal. I’m not talking one-off lateness, I’m saying that perpetual lateness is a habit. I’m talking about how we perpetuate this unnecessarily in all our social and work groups.

How are we constantly letting others wait for us? How can we be happy to throw around the excuse “Janji Melayu”, allowing it as a cultural habit, and masking that it’s actually an inconsideration to others? Read more…

Infographic: My Recreation & Entertainment Expenses 2015

The average monthly expenditure in a Brunei household for recreation, in 2010 (6 years ago!), was B$185. (Source: JPKE, or direct link to PDF)

But how much do we spend individually, and on what? How much do we spend when we go out, or to keep ourselves occupied at home, or generally on “stuff”? After food and bills (and savings, yes?), how much of our salaries are going to cinema tickets, or magazines, or new gadgets? It would be genuinely kind of interesting to know what the spending trends are for recreation and entertainment – or even what counts as “recreation and entertainment” to different people.

And yes, there’s concern on the economy, considering recent calls this year to be more prudent on spending, from embedding a savings culture to government deficits – I won’t minimise the importance of this, but it’s also not what I’m directly addressing here.

I’m thinking: Data! I’m thinking of richer, detailed numbers, that reflect our Bruneian society and living, and our unique local circumstances. I wonder how much we spend on our hobbies. I wonder to what extent do we support our favourite creators (local or otherwise) with our wallets. I don’t know what on earth we’re always shopping for in Miri. I wonder how we seek out relaxation, or laughs, or thrills.

“Laughs and Thrills” should be how I rename my entertainment budget, but more generally, here are some typical ways we might be recreatin’ or entertainin’:

  • Reading: How many people regularly buy books and magazines? As a B:Read committee member, it was interesting to see the rise in local Instagram shops just for books, or enthusiastic secondhand book sales in Facebook and Instagram communities.
  • Music and movies: Are we still torrenting or buying pirated discs? There was excitement when Netflix became available in Brunei this year, but streaming is bound to the usual Brunei internet woes, and we’ve been running on our restructured TelBru data plans for over a year now. Or are we comfortable with Kristal Astro and offerings from local cinemas? How many of us are just listening to music via YouTube, or Brunei radio?
  • Shows and spots: Brunei is low on local entertainment spots or “shows”, usually having seasonal periods of events, but here and there, we find places to go. We might have brought our kids to Jerudong Park’s water park, or the short-lived crocodile park, or to the popular Ultraman shows this year. We might have paid a small fee to enter a pet reptile show, or an outdoors festival. Some of us might have paid $30 tickets for the rare orchestral concert.
  • Lastly, how do people generally find, and pay for, recreation in Brunei? Do people prefer parks or shopping malls? Do we prefer hangouts at local kopi places, or with friends who have the latest gaming consoles? (Spin-off question: Are we a nation that is both happy to santai but also be consumed with, well, consumerism?)

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04
Jul 2016
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