•May 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It seems that a big difference between the Right and Left may concern how ppl read agency.

Three orders in Global Governance

•April 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment
  1. Social Order (responsibility and deonteology)
  2. Technocratic Order (control and consequentialism)
  3. Sacred Order (virtue ethics)

•February 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The ISA has felt a little bit like “coming out of the shell” for me. Almost a debut. Colliding with The Major Decision I have to make about PhD programs. It’s been dizzying and emotional. This process of checking my feelings, ensuring I’m not just rationalizing an easy decision, and searching my feelings again – it’s incredibly tiring.

I certainly wasn’t expecting my application to go this well. I candidly joked to friends that it was likely that out of the four schools I’d applied to, I’d get 1, and I’d just have to take that 1 school. I certainly didn’t expect the ISA to turn this way when I first applied to present. Then, I had thought, at best, I’ll get to check out potential supervisors, quietly, maybe make a side trip to DC (and possibly meet a friend I hadn’t seen for too long). At worst, should I be accepted, I could use it to boost my applications to PhD programs. I didn’t expect that people would be “upset” that I wasn’t going to their school, let alone even be noticed. Why would such accomplished academics feel this kind of thing about some lowly grad student like me? After years of being told that I look some 10 years younger than my actual age, and after constantly having people assume that I don’t know anything, after repeatedly having been put in my place, this came as a shock, and admittedly, a tinge of vindictiveness.

People say that it is a happy problem to have. And it is. In a way at least. It feels good to be recognized. But it doesn’t take away the sense of immense responsibility that comes with such a decision. Agency implies one has the agency to fail, and that is a pretty horrifying responsibility to hold.


•November 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The only thing that can be falsified is material fact. In the study of social life and all the complexity of human agency thrown into the mix, only descriptions of the material base can be falsified. Significance of those descriptions, and causality have to be interpreted. As Hume demonstrates, we cannot “observe” causality or normativity.

•October 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’ve wondered why everybody is so eager to ‘please the boss.’ Especially in my work, it yields very little benefits to do so, given that this is, in the words of a confidant, a “dead-end job.” Yet, people have constructed entire narratives of the benefits there are of ‘pleasing the boss,’ which are clearly fictitious, and honestly, so illogical that i’m surprised people of this caliber would think them. I think I have a provisional answer: people are so eager to please the boss because it is the only thing that reassures them that they are doing well at their job, and even, life.

•July 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Thought: why do so many men hold onto the stereotype that feminists are crazy/bra-burning/unresonable/wants-to-rule-the-world?
One explanation is that some feminists are indeed crazy. However, on its on, this cannot explain why some men choose to not hear the non-crazy feminists, which imo, is what you are significantly more likely to encounter online. Yet these voices get routinely ignored, and feminism is painted as crazy on the basis of a select few.
My feeling (at this stage, a feeling) is that many men WANT to believe that feminists are crazy. When feminism points out all the different ways that men have benefited from a world which privileges men on the basis of their gender, the very call for gender equality can imply an accusation that men are complicit in gender inequality. Much easier to think of feminists as crazy.

I think maybe the way out of this is to not think of feminism as entailing accusations. Have I benefited in this world as a man? Certainly. But I don’t think that necessarily was because I, individually, wanted to oppress women. More generally, that we have a world plagued by inequality (gender inequality amongst them) isn’t (entirely) the fault of privileged individuals. As we might say in social theory, the structures of inequality are SOCIALLY reproduced – often perpetuated by both the privileged and oppressed. So I think once we, as individuals, can accept that feminism isn’t about blaming individuals (us), it is much easier to accept that feminism is about putting forth an agenda of equality – one that we all have a vested interest in mantaining.

•June 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment
  • Ja hears Je’s complaints of YF.
  • Ja agrees because she also has the same complaints of YF.
  • One day, Ja feels incompetent and realizes that she shares similar flaws as YF. This is experienced as shame (or abjection).
  • Instead of experiencing this as a case where Ja’s disgust is directed at herself (shame), Ja imagines Je to be an internalized witness. She then projects the accusing gaze onto Je, and imagines Je to complain about herself.

•June 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I remember when I was 17, I had a classmate who once told me that this (Singapore) isn’t the right country for me. I liked that idea very much. Having spent the first 6 years of my life in Canada, it was also really believable. But most importantly, I knew I liked the idea because I had often felt very rejected in the Singapore education system, like I wasn’t good enough. The idea that I was a misfit helped me to put the pieces together in my head – I don’t do well in school because I am a misfit in this education system. My friend (wittingly or unwittingly) had provided me a new symbolic order to escape from the trauma of poor results – I am in fact an intelligent being, I’m just in the wrong country. As such, I was able to distance myself from any attachment to Singapore, and freely talk about migrating. However, if I do harp on and on about migrating, it is because deep inside, I do want to feel accepted here in Singapore. If I had not, there would be no need to conceive my identity in terms of countries. I could have rationalized that my poor results was a consequence of not working hard enough, and conceive of my identity in those terms. Yet, the fact that I get upset by our politics, by senseless policies – these are all indications that I do kinda care, even if I rather pretend that I don’t.

•June 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Every time I see an article on emotions in IR, I get a mini-panic attack. And then after reading it, I feel assured because so much of the literature is so bad. It is no wonder that I read psychoanalysis/anthropology as something to be learnt from, but I read IR as something to be spoken to.

•May 31, 2016 • Leave a Comment

When half your newsfeed is Donald Trump, and the other half is Games of Throne, you know the difference between reality TV, televised reality and just sheer fiction is beginning to breakdown.