Tags: grad school

Les Miserables: Enjolras/Grantaire

(no subject)

As of this week, I've been studying Chinese for two years. I mean, I guess it's probably more like 2¼ years if we count from the time when I first started writing down words from Hong Kong movies and trying to remember them. It feels like it's been a lot longer than that. But anyway I've been studying flashcards on Anki for almost exactly two years now, every day, except for one stretch of ten days last winter, and that was during my trip to Hong Kong. At this point, I've learned a bit over 2,600 single characters, and 8,000+ compound terms, phrases, idioms, etc.

I've continued to be sort of a weird accessory to the Cantonese language Meet Up group. I can consistently recognize more literary terms, and read more characters in general, than the other Canto-speaking group members, but I still often can't figure out how to form basic sentences or, in some cases, identify everyday objects like "spoon" or "pencil." Or else I turn out to only know some super-archaic literary word for "spoon" that nobody actually uses in real life. :P

Meanwhile, I guess I'm actually working on my dissertation now, more or less. By a very odd and perhaps fortuitous coincidence, one of my advisers at the university happens to teach in China regularly, at a few different universities. A week or so ago, he asked me if I wanted him to ask around among his colleagues about Collapse )

I guess one of my more immediate goals needs to be to make the jump from "almost conversational" to "can actually hold a conversation." >_>

It's strange, though -- people do seem to be really amazed if you can speak Collapse )

Anyway. I guess I'm going to try to finish my dissertation by December, since that's what my adviser is telling people I'm doing. He wants me to try to start teaching somewhere in China by February of next year, but. Uh. I sort of have a prior commitment in February. Namely, Andy Lau's rescheduled concert series, which theoretically will be happening then.

In a lot of ways, I feel like the possibility of that falling through is even greater this year than it was last year (when it actually did fall through), given that Hong Kong is kind of exploding right now, and has been for the past two and a half months, with pro-democracy protests and marches (and, in response, escalating police violence and threats of military action from Beijing). Last Monday there was a city-wide strike. A couple of days ago they had to shut down the whole airport and cancel all flights. It's not impossible that the protests will still be going on six months from now.

Incidentally, I've been watching live news streams of some of the protests, and have seen some quite remarkable moments. That is, even apart from all the various dramatic standoffs with police clad in full riot gear, and suchlike. One quieter moment that stood out to me in particular was when, during the prelude to a rally, a musician with a flute got up on stage and performed an instrumental version of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from the Les Miserables musical. I don't know how many people in that Hong Kong audience recognized the song, but for me, at least, it was very -- poignant and surreal. I wonder what Victor Hugo would have thought. I suspect that few things would have pleased him more than to know that this particular legacy continues to impact people, not just in the West, but around the world. But of course, we know what happens to Hugo's revolutionaries. And many of the people leaving comments on the Hong Kong news feeds, every day, simply post a number: 8964 -- a reference to June 4th, 1989, which is the date of the massacre in Tienanmen Square.

I guess I should have known that studying Chinese wasn't, in the long term, a good strategy for avoiding the subject of politics. Turns out all the police vocabulary I've been learning from Hong Kong crime dramas is suddenly relevant for just watching the news.

Well. Anyway. That's my update for now.

Back to today's flashcards.

[This entry was originally posted at https://grayswandir.dreamwidth.org/283725.html.]
Sandman: Destiny holds his secrets

(no subject)

I'd been hoping that I'd start making more regular entries once I switched over to Dreamwidth, but it turns out there's still only really one topic I have any desire to post about (or several closely-related topics, anyway: Cantonese language study, Chinese movies, Chinese music, etc.). I figure it's just as boring for everyone else if I go on posting about the same things over and over as if I just avoid posting anything at all, and I'd rather be invisible than an active nuisance, so. That's why I keep not posting anything for weeks or months at a time. :P

I'm updating at present because it was just announced a few hours ago, on Andy Lau's website, that his application for another show series at the Hong Kong Coliseum has been green-lighted, and he's now planning to reschedule the seven shows that got cancelled this past New Year's for the middle of next February. In theory (I'm going to continue saying "in theory," because if anything, this year's plans are probably even more precarious than the plans that fell through last year were), my cancelled tickets will be eligible to exchange for new tickets on the 18th, 20th, and 21st of February 2020.

I'm very pleased about this, needless to say. I'm also a bit sorry that I got a refund from StubHub for my fourth ticket and won't be able to exchange it, because even though it was very expensive, it was also a very good ticket and would (to me) have been worth the money, if things had worked out. But so be it. I've still got the other three, and two of those are pretty good tickets, too. I don't know how the exchange process will work, but it sounds like Lau is doing everything he can to avoid making it any more troublesome for his fans than it's already been up to now. He says he'll be paying for all the ticketing fees (as well as everything else) himself, so that exchanging tickets shouldn't cost anybody else anything at all.

Anyway, that's the news I've been waiting for since the start of last month. There was no guarantee that it would come this soon, so. Tentative (very tentative) rejoicing.

Nothing else too noteworthy has happened since my last entry, except I guess that my application for doctoral candidacy has now been officially approved. I don't actually understand why there's even such a thing as an application for doctoral candidacy, separate from everything else, since I was admitted as a doctoral student six years ago, and my dissertation prospectus was approved by a committee of professors nearly a year ago. I guess they just enjoy throwing as much red tape at you as they can. If I can get my dissertation written, I should be able to hold my thesis defense sometime in the fall semester, which would mean graduating only one semester late. So I guess that's the goal now. I'm hoping they'll give me a teaching job in fall, so I won't have to take out more loans.

[This entry was originally posted at https://grayswandir.dreamwidth.org/280903.html.]