10 October 2009

Who's embarrassed? Chrissie Chau or Siu Leung Li?

Everybody said Chrissie Chau's presence in the HKUST seminar was only going to embarrass the academia, including the friend of the Pub, our never-has-sold-her-body former Miss Hong Kong pageant Erica Yuen.

Hong Kong people sometimes fantasise too much about the universities. It's especially problematic when it comes down to disciplines like cultural studies. Having hung around one of the best worst local universities for a while, and unfortunately had valuable chances to have fruitful exchanges with colleagues from the cultural studies department, I grew to feel guilty about getting grants and subsidies for doing researches that 80% of people in the world don't understand, while the other 20% pretended that they do. So I left.

Most of the newspapers portrayed Chrissie as a dumb having no proper education to handle the simple questions by the Lingnam University cultural studies lecturer. I trust that all of our readers are well educated. Watch this video clip from Apple Daily. You sure you can understand and answer those nonsensical questions?

I am not going to translate all of the questions by Siu Leung Li yet. If you read Chinese, check out the full dialogue here. The two questions shown in the video are interesting enough for my rant here.

The first question (0:25): Do you think that teenagers seek to enjoy these emotionally intensive experiences? What is emotionally intensive experience? Like driving a fast car, he said. Do you enjoy that? Some do, some don't. What would you say if you were Chrissie Chau? Boldly speak on behalf of all the young people? I would have said "I dunno" too if he came to me with such a question.

The second question (0:39): Do you have this strong desire to "expound and make sense of (疏理)" your complicated self?

I came across the word "疏理" in the university the first time in my life. If you speak Chinese, there's still a great chance that you won't understand what that word means. My thesis supervisor would ask me to "expound and make sense of (疏理)" the arguments suggested in past researches for a certain theory, before I should go on with my own. The word itself is a highly technical jargon used by academics, but never a word you use everyday. And what does it mean by the strong desire to expound and make sense of one's complicated self? Do you have that desire in you, our intelligent readers?

That's what the academics do in universities? To play with jargon which nobody understands? Yes, they do, I can assure you.

It's ok, I don't understand those. Of course I won't, or else that's not academic! I know that Einstein's thought experiments brought us nuclear power and...bomb. What did cultural studies bring to humanity?

The Sokal affair.

So Erica, you graduated from a US university, you must know very well how to answer those questions by Siu Leung Li. At least I know that you should have a strong desire to make sense of your complicated self, the tension between the self who condemns Chrissie Chau and the other self who sold your body. I am not an academic, I only know one simple word for that: HYPOCRISY.

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