Looking for Moneys on the Internet
My curiosity to know is causing me dollars. I’m not the earning moneys like I’m supposed to. Not that I have to but because I’ve been told that way (I believe many people too); going to school equates to privilege, getting higher education guarantees job(s) and financial security/stability. Good news though, I’ve been selected to present a paper at the Equator Symposium in Yogyakarta, Indonesia end of this month and I have decided to also return to Singapore as I figured that I am not going to ‘work for free’, in fact, at my own expense. I admit to feel a bit bitter about not being (fully) funded to go to Indonesia but despite that, there are so many pros for going since I can really spend a bit of time there to do research and network that can really bring about future good. Most important, returning to Singapore to stall my financial difficulties in Amsterdam; I’m going put myself to work while I’m back (like work that actually pays and has nothing to do with my practice).
My recent obsessions of certain subjects of interest have also led me to obsessively looking for money on the internet; scholarships, research grants, project grants and travel funds. One inevitably starts realizing how much knowledge production is dictated by granting institutions through a set of frameworks (from god knows where).
Lately, I am really interested in China’s new Economic Silk Road, where I see it as China’s attempt to return to its former glory. The ancient Silk Road was what connects between the East and the West through the harsh and inhospitable plains of Eurasia. The pioneering innovations such as the printing press and gunpowder found their way to Renaissance Europe. Western academics and scholars (especially the Americans and British) have been particularly critical of China’s new plans. Let’s call them Sinoskeptics. The unjust and biasedness of these Westerncentric academics and scholars are truly disgusting. I’m not siding China here (and you’ll see what is the main gist of this post). Some Sinoskeptics think that this is China’s blatant attack on the world order established by the United States through imperial motives and dominations, without considering the intrusiveness of current world order that is currently in place.
Yang Rui in this interview was speaking to Wang Gungwu, a prominent scholar from Malaysia currently teaching in Singapore and Australia and has been an ‘expert’ on the Overseas Chinese diaspora. With the way Yang frames his questions, allowed Wang Gungwu to immediately point out the inequalities of global institutions such as, the IMF, United Nations and so on, suggesting how China is continuously sidelined and oppressed by these institutions that have never thrived to be equal in their conception. And of course, this is what CCTV wants their viewers to hear. Yang, being an extremely prominent and popular TV host in China on the state-own channel, he often highlights the unjustness of the West. Furthermore, using a very particular set of vocabulary and language to constantly perpetuate notions of Sinocentrism and attack Sinoskeptics that is now becoming excessively propagandistic.
Shifting the focus a bit, but still on and in China, this is the “Third World 60 Years: The 60th Anniversary of Bandung Conference”, Hangzhou Forum, moderated by Chen Kuan-Hsing and Gao Shiming, organized by the Inter-Asia School. The reason why I’m drawn to this is because having met Hilmar Farid last year, I learnt a lot more about Indonesia’s history and the legacy of the Bandung Conference. Now the Director General of Culture at the Ministry of Education and Culture, Farid (in his presentation segment) came with a rather unique point of view; calling for the redefinition of the ‘nation-state’, promotion of transnational collectivity conversation. Although he did not explicitly drop the idea that we should ‘forget about Bandung’ but he did put forth the more urgent questions regarding the state affairs and the role of the state.
Through the roundtable talk, we can see that the ‘Bandung Effect’ did fail; the interactions between the speakers were not profoundly engaging, although all of them made valid points in respect of the interconnectivity between Asian, African and Latin countries 60 years after the Bandung Conference in 1955.
So I’m thinking about starting off my paper/presentation, A Political Grey Space: Decolonizing after Dewesternization, with what Farid (and many other critiques) had mentioned about the ‘failure’ of Bandung. How is dewesternization and decolonization taking place at the moment. And finally introducing notions of ‘ambivalence’ and ‘ambiguity’ as a method and transition to post-state thinking/imagination in the context of decoloniality. The ideas of ‘ambivalence’ and ‘ambiguity’ here is extremely applicable and already happening in Indonesia and is something countries around the region should learn from.
It’s brewing, it’s coming…