Oh, I am so bad.
Looks like I'm back to posting about how I don't ever post.
School seems to do this to me.
What can I say? By and large, I find what I'm doing in school interesting. Which is why I'm here. But it doesn't make for great narrative. As in -- I actually spent a fair chunk of my day in a very involved discussion about how to best diagram the fluid and variegated nature of the plural society that existed (according to some, but not all scholars) in the Burma Delta in the early twentieth century.
Actually though, today was a rather more interesting day than usual. I had the opportunity to have lunch with Zainah Anwar, the executive director of Sisters in Islam a feminist group based in Malaysia. Apart from offering a very interesting vision of Islam, one that manages to be both iconoclastic and devout, she was a fun person to get to hang out with for a bit. I am planning to write a profile of her for a class assignment, so more on her later.
I also had the chance to attend a screening of Agent Orange: A Personal Requiem by Masako Sakata, a visiting scholar from Japan at the J School. Her husband, an American Vietnam veteran, took ill and died, quite suddenly, at the age of 54. Masako's search for insight into the underlying causes of his death pointed increasingly to his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Eventually, her own personal quest to survive his death led Masako to travel throughout Vietnam, meeting Vietnamese villagers who suffer from diseases they believe are caused by the dioxin in Agent Orange, and whose children suffer from horrible birth defects, even 3 generations after the war.
It was a difficult film to watch -- lots of long, lovingly shot cuts of terribly deformed children -- but very moving, especially because Masako's personal journey is so much a part of the story.
Unfortunately, the film is unlikely to get much distribution in the U.S., but keep an eye out for it.
...And now that I've cracked the guilt barrier about posting, perhaps I'll be writing more.