Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More Rizal

I'm back to Jose Rizal again. For someone whose professed interest is human rights and modern political science, I seem to spend a lot of time studying 19th century intellectual history. (It is all related, I swear!). For all that I find many of Rizal's political stances objectionable, I can't help but feel great affection for the man when I actually read his work.

This letter, written to Filipino revolutionary Mariano Ponce in 1889, made me laugh:

Dear Friend,

I have sent you the proofs long ago. If you did not receive them, they must have been lost. Send me immediately other proofs; I have the manuscript.
We have many enemies and they are furious. Let us face the fight so that we shall not be disunited.
I am going to the library.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I thought I should post...something.
I spend too much time behind this machine these days.
2 more weeks of class...it's hard to believe.

I'm trying to find some kind of balance between getting too caught up in plans for the summer and neglecting work, and getting too caught up in work and neglecting plans for the summer.

This time back in Berkeley, between a trip to Thailand and Burma and a trip to the Philippines and Indonesia is feeling like quite the strange interlude. I've had to go directly from the aspects of being in the field I love the most -- new places, new friends, new insight into how things really function in this crazy world, perhaps even some small hope of writing something that will make a few people think seriously about something they never thought to care about before -- to the aspects of grad school I hate the most -- paper's I don't want to write about things I don't think are important, tests, stress and gossip. It just doesn't seem real.

I'm wondering whether I'll be able to make it through two more years.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


More good news from U.S.-backed dictators around the globe...

Troops under Egypt's President-for-Life Hosni Mubarak attack striking workers at the Ghazl al-Mahalla textile factory.

This would be the same Hosni Mubarak to whom Bush recently expressed his appreciation for “the long and proud tradition that you’ve had for a vibrant civil society.”
Before concluding “I appreciate the example that your nation is setting...”

A timely, unpleasant reminder of what this administration means when it talks about promoting democracy in the Middle East.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Juncture. Disjuncture.
Slipping through the margins between here and there, yesterday and tomorrow, sleep and restlessness.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Home is something of an abstract concept for me, but this -- watching out the BART window as the streets of Oakland roll by, resuming my ongoing struggle with the cashier at the corner store over whether or not I need a plastic bag to carry my juice 20 feet to my door, digging my house key out of my backpack, and walking up the stairs to my room -- is about as close as it gets these days.

I'm filled with an unseemly amount of happiness to return to my bed, my desk, my nice big towel, and the other inanimate objects that make life pleasant. I'm right back to the grind tomorrow, but I have friends and familiar places to look forward to seeing. It's good to travel. It's good to be home.