MeituXiuxiu, Cultural diffusion, and Asia Exotica

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This week my social media feeds have been flooded with updates from White friends who have just discovered 美图绣绣 (mei3 tu2 xiu4 xiu4), or “meitu” as it is popularly known in the English-speaking world. Among Influencers and everyday users in Singapore, and in the vein of nationalist acronymic efficiency, the app is more commonly abbreviated as “mtxx”.

MeituXiuxiu has been a vital part of the Influencer ecology in Singapore since 2013, where the tasteful editing or “shopping” of selfies is neither shamed nor scorned but celebrated and rewarded. I have written about the monetizing of such selfie skills as a form of “subversive frivolity“. While mobile phone-editing apps are proliferate in Singapore, as is elsewhere in East Asia, MeituXiuxiu was one of the earliest players in the app industry with built-in single-button functions that “augmented” or “corrected” bodies according to dominant standards of Chinese beauty in the region.

Guided by context from my fieldwork among Influencers and their use of MeituXiuxiu, in this post I try to make sense of the recent uptake of MeituXiuxiu among English-speaking White folk. Screengrabs were taken from the Apple app store, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter on 19 January 2017, 1000-1030hrs, GMT+8.  Continue reading MeituXiuxiu, Cultural diffusion, and Asia Exotica

Code-switching and linguistic acrobatics on the internet

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When I was conference-hopping last month, I caught up with an academic friend who had unfollowed me on Twitter. While transiting from a proper academic conversation at the dinner table of a nice restaurant to a more intimate catch-up about our personal lives over drinks in a cosy bar, my friend admitted that they thought my use of Twitter was very “brave”. I didn’t understand. Specifically, they had unfollowed me because my Twitter stream was too “cluttered” and “spammy” and my tweeting habits were too frequent. It seemed “brave” was polite-speak for “homgh aren’t you afraid someone important might see your tweets”? Continue reading Code-switching and linguistic acrobatics on the internet

Procrastiprogress updates from the cave VII.

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Moshimoshi folks,

How has your 2016 been? This is the last procrastiprogress update for the year!

It’s been a bumper crop year for me in terms of academic writing despite the most challenging year of my life so far, so please allow me to revel in the sense of satisfaction with this post as I round up my newest words.

In 2017 I will be focusing on finishing up a few sole-authored, co-authored, and co-edited monographs as I continue writing here at wishcrys and on Cyborgology, and editing for PopAnth. I will also be embarking on new research projects on the commodification of weddings in East Asia with the Department of Sociology at NUS, on digital folklore with the Asia Research Institute, and on Influencers in Sweden with the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council.

If our research interests intersect and you’d like to chat, please feel free to write to me. 2017 is set to be looking very exciting – I can’t wait to throw myself into fieldwork again.

Hope your Christmas was wonderful; I spent mine among my favourite people, across homes, and on beaches. Have a lovely New Year!

Over and out,
wishcrys. Continue reading Procrastiprogress updates from the cave VII.

Sydney in December.

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Moshimoshi folks,

I am giving a few talks at various events in Sydney this December. If you’re in town, please come by to say hi!

I’m presenting preliminary findings from two new projects for the first time – one on young people and grief on the internet, and the other on discursive networks on Tumblr. I’m also presenting more of my work on Influencers, this time focusing on the economy of fake goods. If you’re working in similar areas, I’d love to chat. Continue reading Sydney in December.

Remembering care in times of academic rejection.

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At the risk of committing yet another academic faux pas, I want to talk about the running monologue in my head when I received my latest academic rejection yesterday afternoon.

It is 0029hrs and I haven’t slept in a billion years but I need to affectdump all the disappointment I am holding inside my body, so that I can offload it from my brain, make sense of it some other time, let it go now, and go to sleep.

So, this is going to be long. Continue reading Remembering care in times of academic rejection.