Saturday, March 31, 2012

Graduating in Summer 2013!

I'm graduating from CSUN next summer! my time here feels so short, 4 semesters in total so far with approximately 45 credits to go including my majors subject (not bad for an international student!) For me this means pushing my self even harder to graduate with a good standing i have plans to take graduate studies elsewhere lets hope i get into UCSD International Relations program i really want to go there! i have backup plans as well if i didn't get my desired program, im currently thinking of taking Chinese for a year in Beijing or look for other universities in Singapore, Australia and the Netherlands. Lets just hope i can get the classes needed for me to graduate before CSUN gets even more pricier (hey i have international student fess to worry about since i pay triple the regular amount!) im so psyched lets do this!

15 Words Describing The Things In My Blog

"Totally random posts to get you to write with a week deadline which is irrelevant" That's 15 words right? so that's it!

Poor Thing!

Dinner Conversation

That owl definitely needs a hug, poor thing! there is just that period in life that kids move out from their parents house and fend for their selves you cant stay with your parents forever, this strip is kind of sad and depressing if you ask me the owls expression is clearly sad and gloomy.. i wonder if all parents feel the same when their kids move out? Parents have the tendency to worry too much.. well i guess that's how you feel when you grew up loving something too much saying goodbye is always the hardest i really sympathize with this owl

An Embarrassing Failure?

i was suppose to post one of my recent failures in this post but truthfully i can think of anything embarrassing worth posting lately! well there was this one incident which involves the steep stairs outside the Oviatt library and a very sore "behind" which i can still feel now it all happened during the last day of midterms before holidays in Thursday 29! i always make trips to the library at lease every time i wait between classes if i have nothing better to do usually revising for my next class or finishing due assignments its been a habit ever since i got to CSUN, i have the tendency to read books while walking to make my time more efficient completely ignoring my surroundings (bad habit) especially if im quite absorbed in reading my notes or reference books ive been told several times by a good friend that "one of these days you will either slam into the pole, bump into someone hard or tumble down a steep stairs". Well guess what? i choose to ignore that advice because it had never happened before but call it bad luck the third point made by my friend happen1 i was rushing to my next class reading my notes as i go down the Oviatt steps outside WHAM, THUD, THUD! i trip several flights of stairs and landed on my butt!! A nice guy tried to help me up asking whether im ok which i shrugged of by saying "im fine thanks" despite my aching butt (i have my pride and damn that was embarrassing!) i can feel my butt occasionally ache when i woke up in the morning maybe i should get it checked hahah.. for those of you with similar habits "pay attention to your surroundings or don't space out in public" you can end up with serious pain or utter humiliation! I guess i learned it the hard way...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Differences In Sexuality illustrated in Western Vs. Eastern Pop Culture

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One could not deny the stark differences in which sexuality is portrayed in these four pictures, these aspects are always noticeable when comparing western and eastern cultures especially in terms of pop culture. Its Interesting to observe that the two cultures comparatively speaking have very divergent perspectives in terms on the aspect of beauty. Being born and raised from an "eastern" background i must admit that my ideas of beauty is different from the mainstream american pop culture's background. The reason i decided to write about this is the fact that noticeable differences does exists between the two. To put into perspective my general opinion on western beauty that it basically puts more emphasis on the bodily features and blatant portrayal of sexuality, female individuality and assertiveness compared to the eastern "ideal" beauty portrayal of blatant femininity (in women), doll or childlike features, petite figures and submissive/ vulnerable gestures. My objective here is not to stereotype by race! but i want to share my observations with people reading this blog regarding what i find distinctive in how woman is portrayed in these two very different cultures, something i find quite intriguing the more i am exposed to it.
Judging from the things i see culture plays such an important role in shaping these particular preferences, people here in the states tend to describe beauty in a very different way than that in the east. None more so prevalent when looking at Hollywood movies i noticed the fact that the overall distinctive physical features such as big breasts, perfect body and the woman's independent and individuality plays an important role and defining the ideal woman compared to that of the east people tend to focus on women in general as being submissive, vulnerable, childlike features and cute child like gestures as appealing and desirable. Comparing the four picture illustrates my ideas perfectly notice the stark differences in feminine gestures illustrated in the pictures above whereas western women: Beyonce and lady gaga in this case portrays sensuality explicitly whereas the eastern example being members from the Korean pop girl band SNSD portrays themselves as being cute and childlike in behavior.
Truthfully im not to familiar with the western portrayal of beauty due to my lack of knowledge based background of western culture as a whole about the roles of woman, however i can give sufficient perspective on eastern idea of feminine beauty due to my familiarity, interaction and cultural background. I can pretty much say that easterners tend to view women as an object of ascetical beauty sometimes deprived from their physical sensuality, they put heavy emphasis on women's overall feminine elegance vulnerable qualities hence the child like like portrayal. And most mainstream eastern culture woman tends to shy away from provocative gestures of sexuality where in this case woman emphasize heavily on female humility (shy like qualities) as the proper etiquette on how a woman should behave or risked being shunned or being marked off as immoral by the society. Western woman in the other hand put great emphasis on individuality, self expression and being more assertive, and having a sense of sensual allure of them being the object of desire and their ability to attract the opposite sex.
So you decide! can you notice the difference? most of you reading this probably are more familiar with western pop culture so i think i wouldn't need to illustrate it as an example however il put one music video of an eastern pop culture (korean pop) as an example instead for those unfamiliar with the notion of woman in eastern culture here's a music video to illustrate my arguments. And once again im not trying to stereotype! its just me thinking out loud so any feed backs are welcome:)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

One Happy Bunny!

First Day of Spring

Spring is here! one of my second favorite season after fall! what i will be anticipating for will be spring break, finally  break from all that midterm exams and freakishly long assignments! i can relate to the bunny in the comic strip because that's how i feel when anticipating at least a week long holiday maybe Karl Kerchl is also illustrating his feelings in this comic strip i cant wait for my holidays! first day of spring yay!!

Life's Choices: A personal Reflection

Its' like taking a step into the past reminiscing the times we spent in kindergarten, teachers would make you stand in front of the class asking you the classic and cliched question of: "what do you want to become in life?", it seems like a simple question back then since we find no trouble in answering that question with random things such as a doctor, policeman, like my dad etc. But i guess that's due to our inexperience as a child which views the world in such simple terms call it "overly optimistic" but i guess that we were not to blame since we were not yet exposed to the harshness of reality and as we grow up we felt as though we were slapped back into reality and finding out the sudden realization that life is not that simple.
Fate: pre-destined or illusions of freedom? could i accept the fact that my life was already laid out in front of me? is there such a thing as bad or good choices? its a difficult thing to process.. one couldn't deny that there exists a huge gap between the fortunate and the not so unfortunate but why did it become so? are they there by choice or destiny was already written for them since the day they were born? could it be possibly that we are mere pawns of fate with no hope of deviation? its quite depressing to think about it
"We struggle, work and get our education then were all set" is it really that simple? there's no denying the fact that some people have more choices than others, and like a simple notion of natural selection some thrive while others fall. Does destiny play a huge role in orchestrating the dynamics we see in our day to day life? were people destined to become weak, poor, vulnerable while others become strong, wealthy and powerful? i have always heard people telling me that life isn't fair so get use to it do we humans even have a choice to alter our fate?
Everyone has dreams there's no denying that fact, but in the end i guess that we cant get everything that we want.. i guess the notion of fate is inevitable but i do believe its up to us individuals to make the best of it, our struggle to succeed will be our driving force to make the best out of our fate. We struggle to become better and achieve great things in life but in the end perhaps some things was not meant to be, the notion of success inst always 100% guaranteed like a simple game of probability i believe we each have a role to play but i guess the beauty of life lies in the fact of figuring it out ourselves. I guess metaphorically that a long journey is not only about the point of getting from one place to another, but what we individuals do in the journey to get to our destination. In the end i guess its all about the process we undergo to get to our pre-destined fate and making the best in off our journey. These experiences nurtures us, strengthen us to face hardships that may come to pass and become a core foundation of your character.
I know one thing for sure: what ever challenges i face i will face it head on and do my best to overcome it that's the "choice" i will make if things get tough ill suck it up and move on. "use your heart as your light, your head as a compass and your dreams as provisions as you make way for a long journey" In the end i believe that in the end that humans were born to make the "impossible possible" life is perhaps pre-destined but we humans have a choice to make the best out of it. In the end we all fight for survival in this harsh reality called life

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do Woodchucks Chuck Wood?


For starters i don't even know what a woodchuck is, i'm assuming its some kind of beaver based on the picture illustrated here. I've heard of woodchucks but i never know what they were! or why are they called woodchucks for that matter i'm guessing in has nothing to do with chucking or throwing wood all over the place hahaha.. if they don't chuck wood why bother calling them woodchucks in the first place? its still a mystery to me

Monday, March 12, 2012

3 Article Summary

Power Polarity, Preponderance and War Between Great Powers, 1816-1989
Author: William Moul
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Source: Jstor

The article talks about the classical balance of power theory, where the core belief lies in the fact that rivaling power parity tends to amount to conflicts. This theory believe that competition will drive conflicts where one side will try to exceed the other in terms of power: influence, technological superiority and wealth. This article represents the evidence of power struggle which led to the beginning of  World War I, World War II and the Cold war. This article also represented the conflictual relationship between what the author perceived between strong power and weak power where one party's survival is ensured by subduing one another. The balance power represents one nation's security dilemma if one power becomes to great of a threat which will result on the counterbalancing of that power or doing a pre-emptive strike.

The Place Of Power In Political Discourse
Author: Saul Newman
International Political Science Review
Source: Jstor

The article focuses on the aspect of the source of power instead of focusing on the relationship of power. The author refers to Hobbes where the highest political authority lies on central power or the state. The power lies symbolically lies in the highest political body or executive branch which determines a group or society's group course of action. If centered within the highest hierarchical society located within a state the aspects that determine power would be the leadership, human resources and indirect political influence outside terretorial boundaries. It also analyzes the interaction of two opposing powers by the the conflict of hierarchical struggle where one tries to mobilize socially in the power hierarchy that's established within inter state relations.

When Power Changes Hands: The Political Psychology Of Leadership Succession In Democracy
Author: Fredrik Bynander
Political Psychology
Source: Jstor

Leadership plays an important role on the projection of power within state boundaries or outside its boundaries. Leadership is seen as a subjective thing because types of leadership varies from people from people and many aspects can directly determines the success of a particular leadership like mental state, physical state, leadership ingenuity and pro activeness. Values also plays an important role in determining leadership where the formulation of goal is concerned because various individuals have various perspective

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Home Sick Remedy (My nation, my pride and my identity)

I have lived abroad almost all my life moving from one place to another, i grasped several languages along the way, interacted with foreign cultures, traveled across its territory and met new faces along the way. It gave me a realization about the vast and diverse world we live in and how it would probably take a life time to immerse oneself with such overwhelming diversity which shapes our world. I have always fancied travelling, this is likely to be a result of a traveling lifestyle which i benefit from my parents line of work im pretty proud to say that my parents work for the government in the areas of diplomacy, my father is a career diplomat representing my country in foreign countries."To represent and to work for the benefit and the well being of the nation" is the cliche'd definition of my parents line of work but i would shamefully admit that i know quite little of my country of origin, i consider myself an international citizen instead of rightfully Indonesian. But given a short time of my stay in my homeland i can attest to a country which is distinctly unique, diverse and enchanting a country which i call my home Indonesia: a vast archipelago composing of 17.504 islands sandwiched between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific strategically located between Africa and India to the west; Australia to the south and the American continent in the west lastly the Asian continent to the North, 33 provinces, fourth largest population in the world and 706 different ethnic languages and home to 5 different religions united by a single lingual identity of "Bahasa Indonesia".
This diversity might be overwhelming to some but Indonesia is unified under the principal national emblem illustrated above with a bold sign saying "Bhineka Tunggal Ika" which means Unity in Diversity  in Sanskrit under the 5 guiding principles  principles of the belief in god, humanitarian principles, National unity, democratic Government and justice and equality for all its citizens. I also forgot to mention the foreign immigrants from India, China and the Arab world that adds to the complexity of the Indonesian culture; one would look like Indian, Arabian and Chinese by facial characteristics yet they identify themselves as Indonesian's something i also witnessed during my time in the United States. For me what i miss from all this diversity could be summed up through one really unique thing: Indonesian Cuisine! a combination of indigenous cuisine which varies from region to region and fusion of all the provincial influences mixed along with foreign influence mostly Chinese, Indian and influences brought through colonialization of Portuguese, Dutch and the Japanese. From rice dishes, noodles, curry's, Frikkadel's and chili based cuisines (not for your average eater) Indonesia manages to assimilate them all! going though all the different cuisines is an adventure itself, i daresay it would take a lifetime to sample all the different cuisines distributed around the large Archipelago!
People always assume that Indonesia is an Islamic country given the majority Muslim population but in reality it is "not an Islamic country" like many people believe: we have Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhist and Confucianism with equal representation in the ministry of religious affairs. Despite religious conflicts in the past it is safe to assume that Indonesia has managed to put the past behind showing a larger and greater degree of tolerance to its citizens by providing religious  freedom protected by the constitution although religion still plays a large part of your social identity, It still has religious fundamentalist who seeks to nullify this religious diversity by establishing a Muslim autocratic state under the Sharia law by using violence but the government have taken greater effort to suppress and root out these factions which threatens national unity and these factions are slowly loosing support as more and more Indonesian's are getting educated.
Similar to the United States its a functioning democracy with elected executive and legislative bodies, despite the years of oppression under the Soeharto regime the country has progressed to a modern democracy. While i have to admit the country still have major flaws: laden with corruption of dirty government officials, unequal income distribution, separatist states and law manipulation it is showing a lot of progress throughout the year receiving positive feedback from foreign investors by an economic growth averaging 6.4-6.8% yearly. Poverty is still existent and the gap between wealthy Indonesians and poor Indonesians is still so vast. Among the Modern glamorous shopping malls, foreign brand chains, palatial estates and tall modern skyscrapers slums still exist throughout the cities with people doing all that they can to scratch a living in here lies the irony that some people are some well off while others are so desperately poor. 
Indonesia still has a long way to go but the outlook is positive and i do believe that my country will fair better in the future, im writing this as a reminder of my home that seems so far away and a remedy of my occasional longings to return to my country of origin. I will definitively come back! after i attained my higher education in the States and being able to contribute something worthwhile for my country upon my return so until then.. wait for me Indonesia!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

You're kidding right?

Root Salad

I laughed when i saw this this entry well done Karl Kerchl! i didn't know that big foots eat roots pulled out directly from the ground that's like talking beef jerky to whole new level! i just loved the masked man's expression when the bigfoot offered him the root and his expression clearly says "youre not expecting me to eat that are'nt you??" and the big foot expression is also priceless like he's offering someone a good meal! if i were the big foot i would have said "you want breakfast, well you got breakfast! now start chewing!" im startin to like this big foot like creature more and more.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Memoirs of a Geisha: An Ethnographic Masterpiece

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No matter how many times i read this book i never seem to get tired of it, its probably the 9th time i red this book and it still manages to fascinate me and never cease to capture my imagination of a world so foreign to me! Its beautifully written, well narrated using a first person perspective and gave me an in depth perspective on a culture not my own. Despite the author Arthur Golden's non Japanese background the author manages to explain in quite explicit details about the culture and customs that is happening around the plot. The author manages to bring Sayuri the main protagonist to life throughout this book as though shes standing right in front of you reminiscing her life stories: her childhood her sadness, grief, dreams and hopes. So i would like talk a bit more about one of my all time favorite book, a book with quite a sentimental value to me.
The story tells the story of a girl named Chiyo born in a poverty stricken village called Yoroido on the coast of the Sea of Japan, she was sold by her parents into an Okiya (Geisha boarding house) in Gion the most prominent geisha district in Kyoto when she was only 9 years old. There she were to receive training to become a geisha under a very oppressive new adopted family: an elderly grumbling granny, a money obsessed mother (the okiya's mistress), a malicious geisha by the name of Hatsumomo who happens to be one of the most popular geisha in gion and finally another geisha apprentice of her age who Sayuri reffers to as "pumpkin" the only person nice to her in the Okiya.
Unhappy with her new life and her exploitative adopted family she tried to escape the okiya and return to the village on which she came from before recaptured by the household and forced into slavery to pay every single penny the household invested for her upon purchasing her due to her disobedience. Believing that her slife was over she cried and wept by the banks of the samegawa river until he met a certain man accompanied by what she sees as the most elegant women she had laid eyes upon (which happened to be geisha). This man took pity on her cheered her up and gave her his handkerchief, never receiving such kindness all her life she was determined to meet that man again and compelled her to resume geisha training under mameha determined to become the best geisha in all of gion.
What draws me to this book is how the author manages to portray the beauty of a culture not native to him in such a way that it has a strong aesthetic appeal that portrays elegance, mystery and emotions in such a way that you feel as though youre pulled into another world and seeing the world through sayuri's eyes reliving his life in Gion. Its amazing how the author managed to bring real like imagery throughout the book, and i believe that the cultural details contains within this book must have gone rigorous ethnographic research of Japanese culture during the time. I feel in love with this book instantly, and for me even though books with this particular genre is not uncommon but this book stand out in being able to immerse the reader in a totally new world. Im not surprised that this book has amazing reviews and was adapted into a Hollywood film i recently know about!(late comer). Although the film fails to portray the book in depth it manages to capture the aesthetically beauty that distinctive in this book. Memoirs of a geisha will trully remain one of my all time favorite books which i will recommend highly for those interested in ethnography and aesthetically pleasing narration. Here's the trailer of the movie im talking about and i regret that i didn't notice that the movie existed earlier it has flaws but it illustrates the general idea of aesthetics appeal perfectly

-"To be judged as a Geisha is to be judged as a living work of art" -Mameha


Im always up to date with my posts for this blog (except for last week) and im only missing one entry for that following week! My prof asked me to write the reason for my procrastination for last week's blog post in this weeks assigned entry so that's exactly what i'm going to do. Last week post about making fan labor for our books was hard! usually i would have given every assignment my best effort but this one was too much of a hassle imagine choosing from either making fan art, do a cos-play, or make  fan fiction! I've never done any of those things! so picking one out of the other was difficult especially for something i don't particularly like! sci-fi for that matter! (thank you sincerely proff). So i spent most of my time pondering what i should do before i decided to make a fan fiction which for me was the easiest to do, but what to write about is a whole different story considering i had my POLS 225 exam in the following day! So instead of getting stuck with no inspiration i decided to focus more on my test which luckily i aced (yeah!) and did my entry on the following night. I guess that's no excuse i could have multi-tasked like i usually do but i guess my "spirit" wasn't in the assignment itself put it short i didn't like it! so i will try to avoid in the future.

Hey you! make my breakfast!

Breakfast Call

New entry for this week, frankly i don't know what to comment on for this one. For me it illustrates a servant and master relationship at least that's how i see it. What other explanation is there? the guy walk up to the Bigfoot like creature and asked him to make breakfast with quite an attitude. Clearly this guy thinks he's above the Bigfoot like creature judging from his tone seriously who does he think he is >:o