Friday, July 29, 2011

Modules for Next Term!

Several months back, all students were required to make definite decisions as to which modules to take in the next year at the university. Unfortunately, there were too many interesting modules that I wished I had the superhuman ability to take and too few credits to allow such superhuman abilities to emerge.

Personally, I would have to say it had got to do with the descriptions they gave under each title: fascinating enough to spark interest but with not enough details to milk information from. Also, there were several 'rules' that we had to stick to, such as the allocation of a certain number of credits for pre-seventeenth century modules so that we can have a broader historical reading. A good idea, actually, although it could mean giving up another module you might want more.

After much deliberation and a couple of emails later, my first and second choices were sent in. And I just got the timetable a few days ago.

I got my first choices, which I am happy about!

Eighteenth-Century Writing 

plaisirs du bal Pictures, Images and Photos
Plaisirs du bal (Pleasures of the Dance) by Jean-Antoine Watteau
This module reads major British fiction and some poetry of the eighteenth century in terms of its relation to the development of society which is recognisably modern. We will examine such writers as Defoe, Swift, Pope, Richardson, Fielding and Sterne, and exploring the `rise of the novel', the coming dominance of prose representation in journalism and fiction, the rise of the middle class, the move to an urban cash-nexus society governed by reason and contractual economic exchange, and the construction of new kinds of subjectivities for men and women according to the needs of middle-class patriarchy. In many ways, this module studies the development of the `modern mind'.  

The Persistence of memory Pictures, Images and Photos
 The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
The purpose of this module is to study the literature of the early decades of the twentieth century - very roughly 1900-1930 - in particular the work of those authors who attempted to break with received norms of literary style and content. The module is organised as a series of thematic explorations - poetic experiment, memory and desire, myth and innovation, and so on - and thus does not follow a chronological structure. The sequence of guiding lectures focuses its deliberations on a set of specific texts, with their contexts, and these are taken up for discussion in the accompanying seminars. 'Modernism' is this constructed gradually over the semester as a mosaic of closely related issues, each one reflecting on the others. As well as providing an overview of defining textual features, in prose and poetry, the module is concerned also with the interrelation of text and context, offering a range of ways of conceiving of modernist literature as both of, and self-consciously ahead of, its historical moment.


Romanticism Pictures, Images and Photos
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich
Romantic Literature is often thought of as poetry, primarily work by Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and Bryon. But the signs and forms of Romantic sensibility can also be found in a much broader constituency of writing practice: the novel, letter writing, the essay, political and aesthetic theory, and writing of all kinds taken as social commentary.

 Madam Tussaud's in Hong Kong (2009) 
The aim of this lecture-seminar module is to help you become a better reader of Shakespearean drama. He was writing between about 1590 and about 1610; obviously his plays speak to us over a great cultural distance, and we can find fresh ways of reading them by exploring the theatrical, generic and historical frameworks in which they were written and staged. The lectures, then, will introduce a range of contexts, and the seminars will seek to turn them to account in the reading of the dramatic texts themselves.

Literature and Desire
Psychoanalysis on a Bridge Pictures, Images and Photos
Psychoanalysis on Bridge by Zdenek Janda
The aim of this module is to provide students with an understanding of the basic concepts and procedures of psychoanalysis, and the application of these concepts and procedures to literary texts. Beginning with an analysis of folk tales, we consider structures of desire in Shakespeare, Frankenstein, To the Lighthouse and the Brontes. The module requires systematic reading of the work of Freud, and some reading in Klein and Lacan, and equips students with a precise psychoanalytic understanding of how fantasy and projection contribute to the formation of literary significance. The teaching emphasis is on the presentation of class papers by students leading to intensive group discussions.

Creative Writing: Introduction
city Pictures, Images and Photos
Amsterdam by Leonid Afremov
An introductory module open only to second year students. It is not available to students on the Creative Writing Minor and is offered as an alternative to other Level 2 Creative Writing modules. The teaching uses structured exercises based on objects, handouts, discussion and visualisation to stimulate the production of prose fiction and poetry. In the first half of the seminar students will write about 'what they know', drawing on notebooks, memories and family stories. In the second half the focus will shift to the work of established authors, using sample texts as a stimulus to students' own writing.
Disclaimer: Indented information are not in any way written by me and can be found in the website shown here. All photos obtained from Photobucket.

After deciding that I will do what I want instead of simply taking the 'safer, practical' path, I took the psychoanalysis module instead of the Publishing one. 19th-Century Writing was another module I would have liked to take, but timetable clashes disallowed that.

Apart from that, I'm pretty much contented.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Middle of It All

25 June is six months before and after Christmas, which I find quite memorable when reminding anyone about my birthday. In the light of recent events and necessary research, as I was surfing the internet on my surfboard, I decided to entertain myself by looking up my date of birth. Give it a try- the results can be quite amusing.

Note: Names of these famous people are those of which I know or have heard of.

Famous Births:

George Orwell, British writer and journalist, Animal Farm
Carly Simon, American singer, You're So Vain
Eddie Floyd, American singer, Knock on Wood
Yann Martel, Canadian writer, Life of Pi
George Michael, English musician and producer, Careless Whisper
Rain, Korean singer and actor, Full House

Famous Deaths (Forgive the sobriety):

Michael Jackson, American singer, Black and White
Mary Tudor, Queen of France
E.T.A. Hoffman, German author and composer, The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King
Michel Foucault, French philosopher, The Order of Things

Wow, that's a lot to celebrate for, ain't it?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Durian @ Home

Durian! by rachlyf
Durian!, a photo by rachlyf on Flickr.

Durian is the South-East Asian 'King of Fruits', characterized by its acquired taste and smell. It has been said to smell disgusting, but durian fans like myself find it aromatic. I was also told that, like chocolate, bitter is better, but I prefer the ones in between- both bitter and sweet.

Having durian in Malaysia is both a sign of home and a tradition since childhood. For me, at least.

Which brings me to the subject of home. There is a rather strange combination involving time. Weekends are extremely busy to the point where I have plans almost every week that stretch all the way to September. Then there are the weekdays, when the lives of people around me rush on whilst mine does not.

Seems confusing, does it not? Well, I've written several poems. That counts for something.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chilly Delight from the Night Market

Ice Kacang (1) by rachlyf

Ice Kacang (1), a photo by rachlyf on Flickr.
So far my posts on home have been about food. This would be no exception, particularly since it is a Malaysian dessert not many can resist!

Ice Kacang (2)

To those who do not know what this is, this is 'Ice Kacang' (aka ABC aka Air Batu Campur). It consists of shaven ice with various toppings such as red beans, attap chee (palm nuts), corn and grass jelly. Coloured syrups and evaporated milk would be drizzled on the top and voila! A thirst-quencher on a hot day.

For more aesthetic images (this was a take-away from SS2 after all), do search the net.

Our night time indulgence before bed! I'll update again soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The New House

After leaving behind the room in the village emptied of its character, it was time to move on to greener pastures. Caroline, Ezra, Jess, Mike and I have moved into a new house. It is further than our previous accommodation but the area is lovely and so is our house. 

The New House
Such a beauty, isn't it? Do not be fooled by its size. I would describe it as being 'like a TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space, also known as the time machine in Dr Who)'. In other words, it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.


I can't show you all the rooms, but I can give you glimpses of what lies inside.

The Living Room (with a flat screen TV!)
You might be able to guess that the guys were enthusiastic about flipping the channels and playing on their PS2.

Gives it character, don't you think?
Even the lights are amusingly adorable.

My room
Now we have come to my little room, with the big wardrobe. You'd never know, just beyond that glass wardrobe might be a gateway to Narnia!

My desk
Now doesn't this look familiar?
The kitchen (HUGE kitchen)
We also love the size of the kitchen, which I suppose normally is the heart of the house.

Our shelf full of herbs and spices
And we have a large backyard with apple trees. They should turn ripe in autumn, so the next time I go back, there should be sploshes of crimsons on the greens.

The backyard
Now Edward Thomas can be wrong about houses in his poem, no?

Apple trees

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Finally home!

Where the good food is... by rachlyf
Where the good food is..., a photo by rachlyf on Flickr.

After more than 18 hours travelling from the UK to Amsterdam to Singapore to Malaysia, with an additional 2 hours waiting for my luggage to arrive, I am finally home!

Malaysia has changed in several ways but many things remain the same. The minor changes merely shocked me when I saw buildings that were still under construction 10 months ago completed as if they had risen overnight.

For the most part, the food is as delicious as my dreams remember them and there's been a rally in KL today. It felt like home as well when I got to slip into various languages when the need arose.

Well, it's going to be a great summer for me!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Removing the Fingerprints

After three days of gruesome packing, two days of lugging everything back and forth and finally returning the key to the Accommodation Office, I have officially settled in. The house is beautiful, yes, but before I release the photos, I feel the need to show what it is like to have your fingerprints removed. Not literally, as did the agents in 'Men in Black', although it feels just as eerie.

My room #1
My room #2
How strange it is to feel attached to a room you only had for nine months. Pinned to the walls were the fragments salvaged from the clusters of memories, reminding you that little parts of your life have already imprinted themselves upon the surfaces of that tiny room. Then having to remove them, ready for another tenant to live in it, take up the space and morph it into an unfamiliar environment. I have to tell myself evolution works that way. Cycle of life, is it not? To be forgotten when you're gone.

Now now, don't think this is a depressing post. It really isn't! My fingerprints have appeared on newer grounds. That, however, is a whole new story.

A Gift for the Cleaner
Let's also not forget the Cleaner who has been so nice to us. Anyway, see you guys soon!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Moving In

The house is lovely; moving in is annoying. There's just so much to do and so little time. And transporting everything across is frustrating. I'm only here in my university accommodation so that I can use the internet and continue with my endless packing.

Packing. Packing. Packing.

Then I'll be unpacking. Unpacking. Unpacking. Rearranging.

Then I'll be packing. Packing. Packing.

Then I'll be home.

Blimey, you can tell I'm getting more and more annoyed by all this.