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– I’ve definitely learnt how to use Twitter through Seesmic and Tweetdeck more effectively, ie. how to post links and use hashtags because I was previously really dweeby about it. Also, I was much more skeptical about the amount of information that Twitter conveyed. There are after all, many studies done that show that most of the traffic on Twitter is created by a tiny majority of Twitter users. But reading Thomas Crampton‘s article on social media in China was quite fascinating because it focused a lot more on the many ways which businesses could harness social media to manage crises, or change brand preference.

– The tips on how to organize Gmail were also really helpful. I  do enjoy reading the news, but I don’t like having things fed into my mailbox constantly or having a thousand bookmarks that I don’t read (even if it is social bookmarking). Even if I can organize them or even if they organize themselves. I like Google Alerts because it’s quite specific but I already have several news sites that I check regularly and don’t think I have so much more time to check. I’d previously already had Evernote and wasn’t much impressed by it. I think reporters should read widely, but at some point, you do need to come up with your own stuff, compose your own thoughts after reading a copious amount of material.

– I liked the focus on personal branding, looking more professional through the integration of Gmail, and your Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc.  But as I was telling one of my classmates, I don’t think reporters at ST get scoops through being that integrated. I can think of a few top reporters at ST and I don’t think none of them are that web-savvy — yet they still get scoops. It’s one thing to be really well-read and have loads of opinions about what’s going on in the world, but at the end of the day, it’s about you reaching out to people and not being so incredibly easy to reach. Most scoops occur when somebody really has a story to tell you — Consequently, said person will try damn hard to reach you, or if you find out about something before everyone else does and you get a damn good story by delving deep into it. Sure, you could notice something that nobody else notices on Twitter, and I’m not saying it’s impossible to get a fantastic scoop through social media. I just think that there’s a limit to how much you can put yourself ‘out there’ so I will be using some tools to be more organized, but I think it’s quite unlikely that I will be integrating everything. Actually strangely, as an afterthought, I think quite a lot of ST reporters are super secretive. Their FB profiles are like on the highest security and you can’t really find their personal face. Not sure how much of a good thing that is.

– When I was interning in Thailand, it was really important to be on Twitter as people would post updates on where a bomb had gone off, where they were etc. As phone connections didn’t work that well (strangely, 3G worked better), this was almost life-saving. It, however, didn’t really help me to take to Twitter. Possibly because I wasn’t really posting anything substantially, just updating people about where I was.

– Facebook has definitely made it easier to keep in contact with people. On the contrary, I think FB has as much value as Twitter in sharing information. From people’s walls, it’s a treasure trove of information. People can’t control what others post on their wall (and if they blanked out their wall completely, that would say something about them as well.) I use FB quite a lot to reach out to contacts; friends of friends for instance, people I’ve met once. It’s quite friendly, and as long as I identify myself in my professional capacity, I think it manages to straddle professional + friendly lines quite well. Also, loads of reporter friends use facebook statuses to ask for people who have married for two years but don’t plan to have children/people who’ve had food poisoning from salads/prefer dogs to children things like that. And I see that they get a good amount of responses but of course you can only do stuff like that for news that isn’t exclusive/scoop. You still betray your angle though. I hardly ever put status updates, and prefer to message people whom I think can help me.

– I hardly use Linkedin so it’s hard for me to say how it’s helped me. However, I think it’ll be much easier to reach out to people professionally, but that’s if I’m not on a tight deadline (which I usually am)

1) She makes reference to having sent you to religious classes when you were young, which is to say that she has done her part in providing you with the best of moral instruction. Your descent into degeneracy, hence, is entirely of your own doing. “I sent you to read Arabic when you were young, but when you grow up you become worse than the devil.”

2) She alludes to her own death, along the lines of: “Now when I’m still around, this is how you treat me. When I’m gone, it’ll be too late for regrets.” This, however, as testimony to the Malay mother’s verbal agility, can take on the form of sarcasm instead of self-pity. Responding to your request for breakfast, she snaps: “Later, when I’m dead, you go and dig up my grave, wake me up, and ask me to prepare your meals.”

3) She invokes karma: “Later, when you have your own children, see what they’ll do to you.” And that sinister warning, “Not all retribution happens in the afterlife.”

4) She bemoans her lack of foresight: “If I had known that you would turn out like this, I would have strangled you to death just after giving birth to you.”

5) She resorts to the obscene to make her point:

“Why are you so forgetful? If your testicles (or clitoris) weren’t attached to your body, you’d have lost it long ago.”

“Compared to your mouth, the chicken’s anus is noble.”

“What are you screaming like that for, did you get your breast slammed in the door?”

“Why must you turn on the toilet light when it’s afternoon, are you counting your pubic hair?”

6) Working from the principle that calling your child a name (such as idiot, lazybones), will result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, she calls you instead, ‘bertuah’ or ‘lucky’. But the way she intones bertuah is so full of venom that you feel the ominous tension between form and content. Nothing demonstrates the force of her anger than the supposed repression of that murderous anger.

7) She hides the (unspoken) explanation for using the word ‘bertuah’: “You are lucky to still have a mother around to scream at you.” Or “You are lucky that I’m using my mouth and not my hands.” A tautology functions in her speech: you are lucky enough that an inventory of curses is compressed into that word, ‘lucky’.

8) She uses food metaphors. The child, ultimately, is the product of a child-rearing recipe. Hence, when you behave like a spoilt brat, it is the result of giving you too much fat or coconut milk—’banyak lemak’. The expression for rudeness, or kurang ajar slips into gastronomy with ‘kurang asam’, meaning ‘not enough tamarind’.

9) She insists how divinity is on her side. She reminds you that ‘heaven is located at the sole of the mother’s foot’ and tells you how you will ‘never get a whiff of paradise’ if you keep up with your wanton impiety. She provides examples of the supernatural grief of mothers: Tanggang’s mother turned her son into stone, and another one transformed hers into a gibbon by tapping his head with a spoon made of coconut shell.

10) She will ask you a barrage of questions like “Who taught you to become like this?” or “Don’t you have any pity on your own mother?” or “When are you going to repent?” When you raise your head from its hour-long downcast position, she will yell, “Yes, the only thing you know is to answer back at me! I send you to school, and the first thing you learn is to talk back to me!” Each time, you realise too late that all her questions were merely rhetorical.

I text you haikus

 

Meeting on dancefloor
A car shooting through the dark
Hushed standstill of stars.

Sunrise and sea breeze
Orange clouds parting slowly
Guided by your breath.

Dewdrops in the grass
A cold day in the tropics
I hunt for kigo.*

After the rain
The sky a thin sheet of light
Earth a deeper shade.

Full moon in the sky
Silver in the tall branches
You are fast asleep.

Waves crash on the beach
Loneliness of passing ship
Dark swell of its wake.

Two heads; two pillows
Cat walks along the headboard
Did we dream her up?

*kigo is a word or phrase associated with a particular season, used in Japanese haiku (eg. frogs to suggest Spring, peaches to represent Autumn).

 

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