Academic life one year post-thesis submission.


I submitted my thesis one year ago today. It was the loveliest of days with some of my favourite postgrad crew, which sort of made up for the extremely anti-climatic printing day before. A few months later, I declared I was dead set on wanting to be an academic.

What has changed since?

Continue reading Academic life one year post-thesis submission.

Gross is the new like? Grotesque microcelebrity and carnivalesque commerce


(This was first published on Cyborgology on 24 August 2016.)

Pretty things are pretty to look at. They bring you comfort, inspire aspiration, or perhaps stimulate vicarious consumption. But have you ever stumbled upon something gross on the internet and yet could not look away?

Me too. (It’s no wonder Dr. Pimple Popper has over 700 million views on YouTube.)

“Picture perfect” Influencers have been thriving on social media ever since they burst into the scene in the early-to-mid 2000s. Having first begun on blogs such as LiveJournal, OpenDiary, and blogger, these self-made internet celebrities have since transited to monetising the presentation of their everyday lives on various social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and Snapchat. Perhaps most representative in the popular imagination are “Instagram Influencers” most known for their conscientious poses in pristine locations, luxury-esque conspicuous consumption and savvy internet relatability in tow.

But this economy of the perfect, pristine, and picturesque is growing saturated and fast becoming boring.

Enter “grotesque microcelebrities”.

Continue reading Gross is the new like? Grotesque microcelebrity and carnivalesque commerce

#RIPSRNathan and Young People’s Social Memory On Twitter


At 2204hrs on 22 August 2016, Channel News Asia broke the news of former President of Singapore, Mr SR Nathan’s passing. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) made a formal statement of the death moments later around 2240hrs.

I took to Twitter to observe how young people were responding to the death of Singapore’s sixth and longest-serving president (two terms, 1999-2011). Here are the first one hundred sentiments I curated from young people on Twitter – gauged by their use of internet vernacular, their adoption of parlance popular among young people, and my brief views of their profile pictures and biographical information – collected between 2240hrs and 2320hrs, back-scrolled to the earliest possible Tweets on #RIPSRNathan.

Continue reading #RIPSRNathan and Young People’s Social Memory On Twitter

Procrastiprogress updates from the cave V.


Moshimoshi folks! How have you been?

Since the last procrastiprogress update, I’ve casually gotten married, gone on a kickass sunny honeymoon, and started postdoc #1 in a new country.

My official faculty headshot is also the best thing ever, snapped in a random dumpster in Oslo on an iPhone when I visited my dear friend Mathilde from The Selfies Research Network (TSRN) last year.

I’ve pretty much settled into a routine managing teaching, writing all the things, and juggling different strands of fieldwork.

Continue reading Procrastiprogress updates from the cave V.

Joseph Schooling and the rush to backstory a champion


This post is a follow-up to “Joseph Schooling and the politics of belonging in Singapore“, posted on 13th August 2016, 1155hrs, GMT+8.

It has been roughly 36 hours since Joseph Schooling won Singapore’s first gold medal at the Olympic games. Amidst this revelry, many Singaporeans have pointed out that national swimmer Yip Pin Xiu had won Singapore’s first gold medal at the 2008 Paralympics, and independent alternative media The Online Citizen has highlighted that Singaporeans’ excessive celebrations and focus on Schooling might be “insensitive” to the national athletes who are still competing in Rio.

The media reportage on Schooling’s win and construction of his backstory has been intriguing to me. I decided to do a quick analysis of the post-win narratives on Schooling by local English language mainstream news publications on their websites. Retrieved from the ‘News’ tab on Google on 14 August 2016, 2100hrs, GMT+8, the sample included AsiaOne, Channel News Asia, The New Paper, The Straits Times, TODAYonline, and Yahoo Singapore News; I excluded re-posts from foreign media. Many of these articles presented recurring themes and overlaps and are therefore attributed in the hyperlinked “source” more than once. Header image screengrabbed from Google images under the search “Joseph Schooling” on 14 August 2016, 2215hrs, GMT+8.

Continue reading Joseph Schooling and the rush to backstory a champion