It’s not Adieu yet.

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The remaining of the flowers.

Girl 1.0:

Girl stares at the empty pot that used to hold her alive and beautifully blossoming flowers. They are all gone now. Nothing hints that it might have once held something so beautiful except for the little dirt left behind. So empty… She reminisces on the start of all these. She was so fresh-faced, so nervous about what was going to happen, yet so enthusiastic at delving into the unknown….

Girl peels away from staring at that empty pot and steps on a weighing scale. The numbers flutter in increment and eventually stabilized. She crumbles into tears. She lost all she had gained. How did that happen? Her time, her effort and her money. Where did they all go? Oh, how desperately she wanted to start over.

There was so much imperfection in her words. She cries at her inadequacy.

So many things to do, so little time.

Girl 1.5:

Stop being so dramatic. Let’s put things into perspective. Sure, the flowers died and nothing seems to be left of that glorious moment. But the transient life of  flowers is a part of nature. Death is nature’s way of creating and reinventing itself. The empty pot can always be filled. Again and again…

You might have slowly lost the energy and drive you had at the beginning of the semester. You might be disappointed with your work towards the end, but that does not discredit everything you have done in between.

It is the end of the journey for this one. But the end of a chapter does not mean it’s the end of a story.

The story, THIS story, is unwritten.

Girl 2.0

Girl smiles at the memories and whispers that mouthful word she titled her work: Meta-mor-phosis.

Thank you for thinking of unconventional ways of teaching us. I really appreciate all the effort you put in. I have learned so much. I wish I could have done more but I think I have reached my limit. It is time to start a new chapter. 

Blogpost 19: “Facebook” and Liquid Identity

With virtual worlds becoming more sophisticated, social interactions are increasingly moving onto digital platforms. Facebook, one of the prominent social-networking sites, is so well-known and well-utilized that not having a Facebook account is considered an anomaly. This is especially true in the Y-generation as the youths grew up with computers. In the interviews, all the respondents have Facebook accounts. Real life activities are constantly reflected on the Facebook newsfeed and young adults like Kevin and Eytan can check their Facebook to be kept inside the loop. The convenience of having a smartphone that has a Facebook application allows Kevin to check Facebook “all the time”. Eytan’s Facebook checking has become a daily routine in which he has to check Facebook before going to bed. The incessant need to check Facebook may not be as terrible as it sounds. This is because computer literates today have already incorporated online social media as part of our lives. Much like how social interaction can happen in bars, social interaction on Facebook is simply a different way of connecting. Hence, Facebook is just a function that people can use. Amanda and Kevin do not change their profile pictures often while Mehtab only changes it when there is a significant event. The degree of usage is dependent on the user. There will be Facebook socialites who are obsessed about constructing their online presence and there will be others who are so inactive that they might as well not have an account. Furthermore, one can be selective about their friends. While Mallory is friends with both of her parents, Eytan is only friends with his father because he is more open. This customization function tailors to different people’s needs and they can construct their online identities depending on how engaged they want to be online.      

Blogpost 15: I am being digital.

In Being Digital, Negroponte suggests that in the future, humanity will invent wearable media as “living in our computers” (211) will ensure that we operate more efficiently in our daily activities. While CD-ROMS that are edible and parallel processors that can be applied like sun lotion (211) seem a little far-fetched, Negroponte’s views are rather prophetic as VIP customers who frequent luxurious, expensive bars can already choose to inject microchips to enjoy special privileges in the future. Many pets in Singapore have RFID tags (Radio frequency Identification) that allows lost pets to be identified and returned to their rightful owners. However, a danger in such inventions is that the ability to track someone from any location invades privacy. Imagine if your husband or wife knows all your whereabouts. You would no longer have the freedom to travel anywhere you wish.

Negroponte also sees a huge potential in creating digital personas. He claims that “talking cars have been unpopular is [because] they’ve had less personality than a seahorse” (217). He suggests that we will be more open to interacting with our smart machines because they will be more ‘“fun, relaxing, usable, friendly, and less “mechanical” in spirit”’ (218). We already see this invention incorporated into Apple products. Siri, the intelligent personal assistant on iphones, can answer questions, make recommendations, search online etc. When it is easy to use Siri to navigate, production of similar and more intelligent computers can have terrifying effects. In the short run, these personable computers can reduce social interaction because people can be under the illusion that their programmed computer is their best friend. A long-term ethical concern could be that there be a possibility that computers can be so intelligent and life-like that they can destroy humanity like Hal-9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey.

Blogpost 14: Who are you when you write online?

Walter Ong claims that we often do not consider writing to be a technology because we have “deeply interiorized writing” (80). Writing seems natural to us because it is an essential skill that almost all occupations require, and hence we have been taught since young. However, writing is not natural because it is not innate and we have to learn it. Like technology, it is a skill that we have to master. We can apply literary devices such as alliteration, foreshadowing, imagery etc. to spice up our content. Similarly, we can use technological devices such as computers to enhance our writing – either to simplify the process of editing, or ease the process of publishing.

Yet, to say that writing is artificial is not to condemn it. Walter Ong asserts that “the process of putting spoken language into writing is governed by consciously contrived articulable rules” (81). Switching from the natural oral culture to the more artificial written word heightens our consciousness because we are able to produce “more exquisite structures and reference, far surpassing the potentials of oral utterance” (84). The switch from oral speech to writing allows more extravagant and elegant works to be published as the authors have more time to better organize their thoughts craft words into a form of art.

If philosophy was not written down, it would not have observed such dramatic changes and new schools of thought. If literature remained in performance, our cultures would not be so rich. If satires and works that criticize the government were not published, change may not be initiated dire as situations are not acknowledged. With the invention of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, writing has an even greater impact than before. Personally, writing on online platforms is more than just keeping an online journal. It heightens my consciousness because I am able to exchange my thoughts about current affairs. If I were to just write on paper, there is less engagement because the only audience is myself. Writing online can impact and change our societies in incredible ways. The Arab spring, also known as the Twitter Revolution, may not be so successful if it were not for quick spread of information online with the government controlling all modes of communication. Therefore, writing has definitely played an important role in restructuring and heightening our consciousness and will continue to do so.