Why I haven’t been active all these months…
Its been months since I posted a blog post onto here, and for so long it has been because I haven’t had any subject matters I deemed too important not to post about. For one, I could blog about current affairs, like the slew of sexual allegations that have surfaced amongst the film and entertainment industry after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke out, but personally as a blogger who prefers to have a personal niche I find it pretty purpose-less as there are already a lot of voices out there in the media which echoes my sentiments better than I can (The actions taken because of the outpouring of accounts have been faith-in-humanity restoring to a certain degree though).
While I am an avid reader, most times I don’t find anything that I would like to blog about myself as it is not a niche topic that not many people have covered. In my head, I’m wondering, “What’s the point of writing something that has already been written?” Needless to say I’m a personal advocate for original content. I’ve found over-produced media pieces cliche and lackluster, but maybe its just me? While I once had a friend suggest to me I could write about my own life in this blog, I found out for myself that I wasn’t a fan of drawing attention to myself either, unless its to share not so common stuff I’ve been seeing or doing in my own life. Which is practically the point of today’s content..
What I’ve been doing of late
Currently I’m in my third term, first year of my UK Northumbria Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and PR at Kaplan. This university programme, I’ve found, as with the rest of my cohort, quite different from the diploma programme. Gone are the days when one would be free for up to the first two weeks of a new term. Intensive reading of university materials is needed on a weekly basis, before the next week of classes starts.
I’ve come to realise how much work I need to put into my own time management and self-discipline. Let’s just say I ended up not doing anything for most of last term’s classes where the school hours start at 3pm. Thankfully I have two days out of four per week that are in the morning, so that effectively forces me to get up much earlier and put my hours to better use than simply surfing the endless space of the Internet on my mobile. In bed. Without having eaten, or showering. Technically without intervention I would be autonomously living like a person on a depressive episode. Not that I haven’t encountered my lot of depressive episodes when I had to relive certain trauma this year, that’s probably also why I hadn’t updated so much this year as well. Everything pretty much feels as exciting as watching wet paint dry while in one of those episodes, but I digress.
Some very interesting acdemic material that is entertaining enough to be read for pleasure
For a few weeks while I was rushing up my two deadlines for last term, I came across a plethora of academic research about goth subculture. Do a quick search on goth subculture on Google Scholar, really, and what you dig up will likely be very interesting, especially if you’re, like me, part of the alternative music subculture. Turns out one researcher who has a stake in this area of research is a fellow goth himself, going by the name of Paul Hodkinson. Research had him tracking members of the goth community over a period of ten years or so. One research paper of his I’ve finished reading is Ageing in a spectacular ‘youth culture’: continuity, change and community amongst older goths (2011). If you are a current researcher or a university student you may be able to gain free, full access to his paper inn the link above.
In his research I’ve been introduced to a new terminology; ‘subcultural capital’, which I can only attribute to a parallel of John Urry’s concept of network capital. In Urry’s definition network capital means the number of social connections one has is equated to one’s status in society, which can be seen from today’s people looking for more people to follow them on social media platforms as well as gaining more Facebook friends. Things like that. From my own understanding subcultural capital in a parallel sense means the more ‘goth’ you are the more positively prominent in the scene, but if anyone else has an alternative understanding of the term feel free to share your thoughts!
Discovered new music
Much more recently, I discovered Russian pop for the first time. The first song I listened to was Vremya I Steklo (Time & Glass)’s Love 505. I found out later that the song was a hit in the Ukrainian and Russian regions. I’ve branched out to other artistes within a few weeks afterwards and I’ve become very much into Leningrad’s music. Their songs appeal to the punk side of me with their political and cultural references, which I believe are very spot on in their own local context. Their latest offering, Voyage, made me laugh out loud at 3am, when they referenced women going on trips abroad for the ‘gram (or Facebook) and bragging rights.
Another Russian musician I’ve come to love is Loboda, in whose art I’ve noticed are always made of cinematic music videos and her voice- really! Is very expressive. Her makeup and cheekbones are another aesthetic plus for me. The same kind of quality and combination of expressiveness, visuals and glamorous aesthetic is something I don’t see much in other Western music I’ve seen and heard, so her work has been a breath of fresh air for me.
Some people may have found my new fixation of Russian music weird, but honestly its no different to the appeal of K-Pop to me. People who don’t speak Korean end up listening to it and that phenomena is no different in my own case.
Picked up a new foreign language, for now, the very basics
Because I wanted to stop relying heavily on Lyrics Translate, I took to learning Russian The basics of it has been challenging for obvious reasons, and I’ve personally found it much easier to learn how to speak rather than write.
Apparently, an intentional search into learning the Russian alphabet and listening to their music on a daily basis does wonders for learning to match the symbols to the sounds as well as sharpening one’s ability to do transliterations. I have not been able to use Duolingo yet because its too intermediate, but small steps. I’ve learnt a little French, German and Japanese in my younger years and found Russian to be rather unique in comparison. The discovery that the word ‘glass’ has more than three translations got me mindblown when I first got to know about it. It seems to me, Russian has the same mind of expressiveness that Hebrew and Greek has, which is also where their Cyrillic alphabet originated from, so I’ve read. As a Singaporean Chinese, I’ve personally found it a bit similar to my own mother tongue where Chinese has two words for the word ‘green’ (liu, qing).
Currently I’ve come to the point I’m able to read Russian names, especially those of musicians’, thanks to Youtube. My picking up of Russian has been very much facilitated by the ready availability of Russian language input on my new Oppo phone too. Upon further research, the ready availability of Russian in the phone is because the one of many Chinese mobile companies are in Russia, which was my real eye-opener into the reality of China-Russia bilateral relations for me.
So that’s pretty much it for now! If you’ve read til the end of this post, I hope it hasn’t been too boring ad hopefully been at least kind of interesting!