Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Oh, my God!

Yes, oh my god!!! I found a webpage that says everything I wanted to say! (So why am I, do I continue to write this?) Talk about endlessly walking, "endlessly pulling into the future". Talk about muses, and serendipity! Well anyway, the webpage is called, "Fractal Chaos Crashes the Wall between Science and Religion"

(Added edit: Be cautious with the site, many things written a bit loosely. But I still insist that they have many provoking ideas, just take them with a generous pinch of salt. I wanted to thank and acknowledge the good sense of my cyberfriend Flammifer for reigning in some senses to my impulsive, over-enthusiastic nature which had on many occassions caused me considerable embarrassment. It's good to know that I can count on my friends to give me a nudge when I am putting my foot in my mouth.)


On question, questioning and quest of identity in cyberculture

The question of identity and its quest with myself and other members of cyberculture has been mentioned many times in my blog as well as many other blogs. It was enlightening for me to listen a classmate's presentation about her research and the model of media systems which she applies. She classified "identity" under "Communication as Social Knowing", as opposed to the opposite group of "Cognition as Individual Knowing". Of course, we don't know who we are until we can relate ourselves to somebody, and we start from the moment we are born with our mothers.

The revelation for me was to see the classification. It rang a bell with a recent paper I found through google. Anthropologist Richard O'Connor questions the assumption of anthropology and its method and retheorizes culture and said let's look at the sense of locality of the Tais and its relations in the definition of their identity. It's obvious that they have multiple identities and paradoxically a single, consistent identity.

Serendipity, Sibylle, and googling "Sybil", (a probe of her name), I found this webpage - about identity, saying exactly the same thing, that "personal identity is not singular".

The insight I gained in this mini-journey, quest of identity, was being able to see the unseen, how we lock ourselves in with fixed notions of identity thinking we are "..." by nation, by geographically location, by our job position, our position in family. We construct a sense of identity with a border. So we invented terms like "schizophrenia" and applied these distortions to those that didn't fit society's definition of how that person should be or behave. It really isn't like that.

Something about McLuhan's method also recalls to my mind Carlos Castaneda's work on shamanism, and recently I've pulled out my old book "Woman Who Run with Wolves" as well.


A Probe/ A Poem for Sibylle

It was a performance
needed to be there in person
cannot be repeated
the song, the pictures, the way Sybil talked
the way Sibylle moved us with her story
her personal style of soul searching

That communicates
that made meaning
without meaning to do so

You, me, us, the McLuhan coach house seminar room
McLuhan methods
made meaning
something spoke

Wild Woman put me on a search for meaning
brought to this point at McLuhan's coach house

A cycle completed,
the cybernetic feedback
in organic movement

A dialogue between Sibylle and Laurie Anderson
Sibylle and myself
media and me

My weblog, "Superway Mekhong"
words with hidden images, googling linked
took me to a group blog
being created for a society that constantly questions itself
eternally redefining itself in the fade of modernity

The soul of a storyteller
passed on at that moment from Sibylle to me
I pass it back, it completes another cycle in infintiy
mind making meaning
a recollection of another ancient storyteller
the potter princess, her pots talk
she calls me to talk too
connecting Sibylle, her desire of Laurie Anderson
with Nui, McLuhan, patterns of social change, to tell a story

"Sibylle", I say, "Look at your animated lead, the puppet of Laurie Anderson"
"You are the star, the dancing puppet in her shadow,"
"the Wild Woman, you, we have perceived your message yet cannot name it!"

I try to capture this all in these written words
Pah, written language, they don't really serve the purpose
they hardly come close to that moment of enlightment
I lost from my dream last night
when all the connections seemed so clear
the connected whole felt for a fleeting moment of certainity
that moment I had felt a few times before
and yearn so much to have it again

Mark, this is a must do tommorrow!
Can I read a poem, can I read this probe?
Did I evoke your memories with this piece?
Does it meaning make?

I wish I could have recorded what I "saw" and heard
adding annotated for each moment of meaning
capturing the special word in media
the meaning making in action
myself, tonight between Sibylle last night and tomorrow the dawn
I have heard a life performing

I know a butterfly will fly before not too long
Thank you Mark, for MMS2
Derrick, for MMS1
McLuhan, for his message
Thank you, Sibylle
a cycle closes, I am happy.

The numbness at the end of the performance
the shock of it sinks in as I shiver home
I dream
it all come alive
I wake up
Hallaluyah! I try to write it all down
and This is It!


Chronology of an awakening

Sep 10- Dec 3, 2003: Mind, Media and Society 1, creating my weblog, Derrick.

Jan 14 - Apr 7, 2004: Learning "Laws of Media" tetrads with Mark, Mind, Media and Society 2, an anti-environment of mms1.

Fri, Mar 12, 2004: Foreground (another anti-environment) - Seminar on 17th century Spanish Baroque, UWO, saw applied complexity to literary criticism in action, a multi-diciplinary event, the start of the pieces falling into place. Background - the similiarity of viewpoints to McLuhan's media studies, "seeing" (hearing, and experiencing) the parrallel to complexity analysis in action.

Fri, Mar 19 & 26, 2004: "Merry-go-round disorient" and Superway Mekhong" - Changes in my blogging style.

Sat, Mar 20, 2004: Discovery of, insights into a culture that constantly redefines itself - the Tais (the sounds of legend, a memory of "Dear Moon", a lullaby sung by my mother, discovering that it is Laotian. Deeper memories evoked of a woman-making, Ban Chiang, the potting princess, the pots that speak. Understanding the effects of weblogs and my perception of its evolution into groupblog forms that are not blogs.

The week: Furiously Googling, learning how to ask the impossible, questions that I thought that couldn't be. Always amazingly suprised with Google's results.

Sun, Mar 28, 2004: A co-incidence, the storyteller, Marcela Romero's visit, a lead I followed and opened up to another world of discovery and re-discovery.

Tue, Mar 30, 2004: Sibylle Moser's presentation: In the shadow of Laurie Anderson. El duente the soul of a storyteller is blown softly into my face. Numbed by shock, I walk shivering home to dream.

Tue, Mar 30, 2004: (sometime around midnight) A dream of all the connections making a connected whole, I wake up frustrated because dreams are lost at the moment of awakening. I am transformed into la loba, the wild woman

Wed, Mar 31, 2004: later today - I try to capture it in words.

Wed, Mar 31, 2004: today, (4:04 am) - This chronology - "Thanks to McLuhan", showed me how we are all artists, craftsmakers with our electric world, we are shaping the world at every moment.


Friday, March 26, 2004

Memories of Superway Mekhong

Another reminiscence from modern tribal woman:

It was February 2000. A cousin from Mexico sent us an email about his dream of traveling down the three greatest rivers of the world, the Amazon, the Nile, and the Mekhong. It dawned to us that we were sitting on the banks of his dream, the Mekhong. As it didn't seem likely that he would cross half the world to visit us any time soon, we decided to take the trip for him.

The Mekhong is a strange river. A river like any other, but full of marvels. It runs from the roof of the world, the Himalayans, cutting through gorges, cities, towns, paddy fields and forests. Sometimes it is wide, other where it can be dry and shallow, some places deep, churning, rocky. It is periodically lined by sandy beaches. The Nong Khai beach is rich with gold flecks. The river is peaceful, but many times carried the currents of war and illicit trafficking. Associated with it are myths of water dragons and mysterious floating fireballs. Rare white fresh water dolphins, giant catfishes share the waters with armed patrol boats and many other different kinds of exotic vessels. I would say that thanks to the river's fickle nature no major cities has yet clogged its shores.

As I remember my journey down that great mythical trip. In my mind's eye, I see myself standing on the balcony of a temple on top of a hill in the middle of an ancient 11th century capital of a lost kingdom.

As my fingers skim this slight keyboard of my white ibook with its blue screen, seeing these incredible words magically constructing themselves, I experience a surreal mosaic of time, space, and senses. The past, present, and future merged me into a certain space of my mind downloading itself into some obscure server in that infinite space of bits and bytes. My skin, bones, nose, ears, and eyes have been sent through a wondrous time machine, re-gathering itself to stand at that moment four years ago, on that other side of the world, disorienting from a spot on the concrete grid that is Toronto.

I stood in a palpitating moment of peace allowing a calm breeze to carry away the hazy heatwaves of humidity, cooling off my sweat, regaining my breath and regular heartbeat from the climb up the steps of that temple in the middle of that capital of the lost KIngdom of Laos, Luang Prabang. That same breeze had carried up a faraway melody of children's laughter from the foot of that hill. Its ringing melody was ocassionally drowned out by the staccato of street cars sounds and motor-cycle-powered boats gunning off the nearby banks of the Mekhong.

I am pulled back from the dream of that faraway ancient riverbank by the similarity of the thoughts that I am reminded of at that moment with those that this 21st century blogging tribeswoman has been thinking about on the edge of an information superhighway. The thoughts I wondered were: "Will this superway one day connect the diverse people who flash in and out along its banks? As it once connected the ice-age caveman to the rainforest hunter and food gatherers to delta rice growers to outrigger travelling seamen, will the modernizing dwellers along its banks overcome the artificial borders they have drawn in the spaces of their minds over the river's generous flow and allow its people to freely travel and thrive in multi-culturality again once more? So too, I wonder about the information superhighway that is the internet, will it unite its cutting edge techies of the E-age or will the segregration of peoples we have put in our minds simply transpose itself to this growing cyberspace cyberculture?"


Saturday, March 20, 2004

Great Thai Blog!

I enjoyed visiting this webpage: Thailandlife which is another Thai webpage that I find has the characteristics of a blog, but with the format of a webpage, an interactive one at that. Thai culture is quite different from the western conventional, therefore Thais may not find blogging in the conventional format attractive. But as with the two websites I've found, that certainly hasn't stopped them from being creative and inventing their own style of "blogging".

What is interesting about the above website is its network of webpages, created by amateur webmasters of Sriwittayapaknam School. The school itself is novel in its experiment of teaching Thai kids to learn English by teaching them how to use the internet.


Friday, March 19, 2004

Tales of a modern tribal woman

A "non-literate/aural" in an obsolescing, electrically accelerated visual/linear world.

The merry-go-round disorient. I was born off the edge of Chaos. When I look back at that edge I feel that it was closer to near-death-static than to the alive, paradoxically orderly, complex edge of which I presently float in. Sakolnakorn is a town far away from the center of Thai politics, history, and economy. Time stands still in this town. Change happened so slowly and so little during the past 20 years that I hardly perceive it when I visit my mother, a true native tribal member of this changeless town. It was a place of birth, not the place that I grew up in. I have no town-mates I knew from kindergarden, no intimate pals I knew from the local high school alumni. Even as in a simple town life, a large part of the town are my distant cousins, aunts and uncles, I hardly know them.

My life is a constant reorientation. My family and I pack and re-pack our belongings nearly every two years. Even if we stayed in one city, there was always a reason to move to a new house. As I started to become aware of my identity during adolescence, I had these nagging feelings that I was somehow strangely out of place. As a youngster, because you grow up with the environment, there is an illusion that the neighborhood you play in is yours. My father's work took us to Lebanon when I was five. Being an Asian in Beirut during the late 60s and mid 70s was definitely not the norm. When we mentioned that we were from Thailand, very few people knew where it was. Yet when I was going through Grades 2 to 8 in a school where most kids came from different places and soon left for different places, I realized that, well, since I was one of the few class members who had been there since Grade two, I had somehow earned a status that opened me to groups of "non-others" that otherwise wouldn't have allowed me access. When I returned to Thailand as a quite disoriented teenager, I suffered the culture shock of going back to a culture that was mine but which I didn't have a clue about. I couldn't even speak Thai. So came the years of trying to belong. Maybe it would be more appropriate to call the period - the years of creating a belongingness in non-locality.

My Psyche gave me preliminary warnings of the ordeals she demanded as her due for passing through the dark nights of her world with an inflammed, congested gall bladder that was maybe unnecessarily removed. I obliviously throdded through her gates. Her breathe of wakening only hit me full in my face when I started falling apart internally at cocktails parties under my well-learnt mask of Thai politeness, graciousness, and the facade of a politically correct career woman, in the middle of a soon to be cut short career as a Thai diplomat. (I still carry the symtoms of vertigo whenever I engage with groups larger than about 12.) I was then in my early 30s, divorced and a single mother of a 3 years old boy who was starting to show symtoms of language confusion in an English-speaking Asian city-state that emulated a Western model of development.

So started my journeys of self-uncovering. Through this merry-go-round of disorientation I found the name of my tribe, by reading Marshall McLuhan. He named this new village, the Global Village, and so I recognized that I was in essence a non-literate, aural woman in an obsolescing, electrically accelerated visual/linear world.

Hopefully there will be more tales to come from this whimsical modern tribal woman.


Thursday, March 18, 2004

Somewhat a Thai "blog"

Since I've started blogging, I've been searching the internet to find what can be classified as "Thai blogs". Found many interesting things, but nothing close to what I was personally looking for until I had to do searches about Thai media ownership and discovered Busakorn's page. I find her style interesting because it is a webpage but has a weblog feel to it, and of course because she discusses media and being Thai. There was even a comment page added to it but she has control of what she wants to show.