Prambanan, Yogyakarta. (source: Wikimedia Commons)

It’s that time again, dear readers – I’m disappearing yet again! Though I’m far from happy to say that; writing conditions here have not been conducive or ideal. So there have been fewer posts this month and Cycads is starting gather cobwebs. A new, temporary research job at University of Malaya has taken up much of my time. And now, I’m packing up for a month-long break around the peninsular and Yogyakarta for traces of my pre-Islamic roots.

I will not be writing in July and it saddens me a great deal to miss out on opportunities to engage in so many pressing issues concerning us Muslim women right now. Let us pray and hope that the protesters in Iran get their justice and peace, that Sisters In Islam win their battle against those who jealously guard their authority to speak for Muslims, and that Muslim women in France be given a platform to speak for their right to wear what they want. The position of patriarchal power is never secure and it re-asserts itself by oppressing the most vulnerable in society – the young and female, the economically, racially, and sexually marginalised – the unrepresented in “official” power. Don’t people who walk the corridors of power have better things to do, like serving the people, for example?

It's been quiet here, hasn't it?

Good grief. It’s been pretty quiet here, hasn’t it? My own fault really. It has been a busy week consisting of a friend’s PhD viva picnic party, another friend’s massive choir performance, my college dinner recital, video-editing lessons and late night chocolate chip cookie baking.

I should still be in one piece to write something up very soon.

Update: Can’t get enough of me? Connect with me outside the blogosphere via Facebook and Delicious.

Still here!

Hello everybody. You might’ve noticed that postings have ground to a halt the last two weeks or so. There are reasons. The first being that I’ve just been accepted to do an MA in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London this coming September. Hooray. I’ve spent the last few weeks searching pretty much high and low for possible means to fund my studies, rent, and my already frugal lifestyle. And worrying a lot. The other thing that’s been hindering my blogging are my swollen gums. They are a pain (literally and otherwise), and so eating, talking, and thought-processing have been rather difficult lately. Hope everybody’s doing a lot better than I am.

I will return blogging shortly with a couple of reviews of films and books (some for Feminist Review):

  • Walking the Precipice – Witness to the Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan by Barbara Bick (2009)
  • He Likes Guys – Eight Great Gay Short Films (2009)
  • I don’t want to sleep alone, directed by Tsai Ming Liang (2006)
  • Nekropolis by Maureen McHugh (2002).

Update: Wisdom tooth eruptions are not nice.

Album review: Stereotomy by The Alan Parsons Project

My not so glowing review of The Alan Parsons Project’s album, Stereotomy is now up on Feminist Review:

“Where’s the walrus?” was the question posed by an old friend of band members Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson about the lack of Beatles-esque verve in the band’s previous albums, Ammonia Avenue and Vulture Culture. The question later became one of the track titles on Stereotomy, serving as an answer, “Here it is.”

Unlike Magical Mystery Tour, however, the walrus was nowhere to be found in the album.

Stereotomy finds the Alan Parsons Project getting deep in metaphor with lyrics like, “Too many windmills in my way” and “Make me a rock and not what I appear to be,” none of which made a lasting impression on my musical experience, nor a lot of poetic sense. The main impression I got from Stereotomy was the band’s rather contrived attempt to make some rather bland, synthesizer-infused progressive rock grandiose and profound mostly via the choice of album title. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, “stereotomy” sounds more like a word only a physical chemistry teacher would know.

Read the rest here.

Open thread: Guilty pleasures

I want to share with you a dark and shameful secret. So sit back and make yourself comfortable because it will be a guilt-ridden confessional joyride. Now, being a feminist supposedly involves being humourless and super-ethical about everything. All that makes it real difficult to deal with guilty pleasures sometimes. That’s because such pleasures often come in unfeminist and unethical shapes.

But why oh why do bad things have to be so bad they’re good?

Finger lickn good.
Kentucky Fried Chicken: Finger lickin' good.

Not many people know this but I love Kentucky Fried Chicken. That tantalising but delicately spiced aroma is instantly recognisable from a mile away – just don’t get me started on how good it tastes. I also can’t help but feel nostalgic about KFC: it’s reminiscent of my adolescent days when fast food was cool and no one cared about fat and calories. Unfortunately, the act of eating KFC in Britain has become a shameful pastime. With the country’s gastronomic conscience taken over by the likes of Jamie Oliver and being all aspirational about food nowadays, I feel beset by social pressure to eat my battery drumstick and wings in the privacy of my own home – usually while watching a high-brow DVD to cancel out the unrefined nature of my dining experience. Yes, I can be quite sad like that.

Do you feel guilty about the little things in life that you enjoy? Be it excessive shoe shopping, a love of doner kebab, staying up late on a week night, or simply taking long lunch breaks, I’d like to know 🙂


Dear Readers,

Cycads is going to be temporarily stalled this week to make way for concert rehearsals and workshop meetings. The concert is this coming Sunday and I will be playing my man J.S. Bach’s praeludium in A-Flat BWV 886 (from his Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2) and for my choir. Also, I’ve been just dead tired all week. But how’s everybody doing anyway?