It’s the first day of another month! Cue ‘September’ by Earth Wind and Fire! (cliche alert!)

I love this September mashup with Post Malone’s Congratulations.

BER MONTH

You know the first thing I did today upon waking up? I played the song ‘Christmas in our Hearts’ by Jose Mari Chan in full volume, followed by Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’.

Christmas has begun in the Philippines, believe it or not.

Some of my foreigner friends have once asked me what does ‘-ber month’ mean. I laughingly explained that when the first month that ends in -ber (that is, September) falls, it’s already Christmas in the Philippines. That means, malls are gonna be blasting Christmas songs, some will start decorating their homes and establishments with Christmas decorations, and the countdown for Christmas Day starts today.

Last 2020, Christmas celebration in the Philippines was totally different because of the pandemic, and it’s going to be the same this year. No children going house-to-house, no office/barkada Christmas parties, and no family gatherings. My birthday falls on the same month as Christmas, so it’s a double whammy of sadness in my case.

But hey, that means you get to save more money, right? No birthday getaways, no buying gifts, and no spending money for clothes and parties. (Before I start rambling about my birthday, I’ll stop here and I might write a separate blog about it.)

Anyhoo, Merry Christmas, everyone!

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ber month
Ba-dee-ya, say do you remember?
ber month
September, October, November, December.
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Happy Ber Months!

ZOOM UNIVERSITY

The school year is about to end in the university I’m teaching, and there are definitely no signs of things going back to normal in the next school year. While there is no official announcement from the university yet, I am planning to pull out my life in Manila and relocate back to Batangas while it’s still online learning.

On the upside, I could choose to work or be based anywhere I want, I can save money from rent, and I am safer from COVID-19. Aside from relocating back to Batangas to be with my family, I am planning to be based in some surfing areas in the Philippines from time to time so that I can continue learning to surf.

Zoom University is exhausting. It’s draining. It’s demotivating. It’s something I did not sign up for.

Gone are the days when I can facilitate quiz olympics, play some lively song to energize a drowsy 7am class, or actually see and hear my students laugh whenever I’m cracking jokes instead of seeing laughing emojis popping out of the Zoom call. All I have now is my laptop, a bunch of faceless students at the other end of the line, and constant monologuing aka lecturing with a very minimal interaction from the students.

Needless to mention that Zoom University has also affected my PhD application journey a lot. I’m tired. I’m starting to feel hopeless. But ooops, I shall tell more about this on another blog.

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Can you see my screen?
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Zooma Cum Laude
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Zoom University

“WHAT IS ART?”

On this very same term of the school year, I was asked to design and teach an elective that will be taught by the Department for the first time. After a series of self-reflection and as an attempt to incorporate all the things I’m passionate about on one course, I came up with a course offering entitled ‘Political Art in Modern Southeast Asia’.

I delivered lectures on the current state of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia, how underground music is used as a political tool in the region, the state of independent film industry in the region, as well as how fashion can be used as a tool for activism. After which, I asked my students to pick one particular ‘artwork’ of their preference and present an analysis using the different International Relations theories, and its role in Southeast Asian Politics.

I struggled a bit in terms of the topics I had to lecture, as well as in defining what constitutes ‘art’ and how I was expecting the students to present them. I am not an art major, but rather a classic frustrated artist trapped in my current academic career, but I tried my best to deliver this course with the best that I can. So far, students have picked an excellent set of cases and provided insightful analysis of them.

I think I was able to give the question “what is art” in the context of Southeast Asia a justice, at the very least. I would be happy to teach this course again bringing the lessons for improvement I learned from teaching it this term.

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ber month
Create Dangerously
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Creative Outlet
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Art for art’s sake.

Just rambling as usual,

Sherr πŸ˜€

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