It's been a week since I got here, feels like forever since I've been at home with everyone, my records and my cats and my Home club. Tomorrow we have a free day and I'm absolutely psyched because for once I can spend the day by myself, exploring parts of Bangkok I've missed and doing my own thing. Don't get me wrong, it's plenty of fun being with all these people but travelling alone might just be my favourite thing in the world.
Today we had Dr. Chandra Muzaffar from Malaysia's JUST, talk to us about Hegemony (dominance/control exerted by one group over others) and Civil Society (society's role to work towards change, e.g. protests and demonstrations). It was by far the most relevant part of the course for me, so far, firstly because it deals with what we can do as citizens, as opposed to organisations, secondly because he's from Malaysia and understands the limitations some countries have when it comes to demonstrations and things like that.
We learnt about how Civil Society can lead to big things, such as hundreds of thousands of people encouraging their leaders to talk about the earth which resulted in The Earth Summit in 1992, Rio de Janeiro. And the effects of treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (Global Warming) being supported by groups of people all over the world. And how local, regional or global protests may not be successful in stopping/starting something (e.g. stopping a war) but are still successful in de-legitimising it. What a beautiful, fire-fueling thought.
I must say I'm very impressed by this man. He seems to have so much knowledge, and not the sort that is remembered and regurgitated, but the kind that is known, understood and made relevant.
The Doctor and I had a chat about Malaysia/Singapore politics and it was extremely refreshing. He was a friend of JBJ! I thought he was fascinating and he seemed slightly intrigued by me too. We talked about the restraints both our countries face. I told him about the online revolution and how we can talk about things many wouldn't have dared to before. He told me about how the PAP could either be worried about it, or just focused on staying in complete control. I told him, I think it's both. He then had to rush off for the airport, but not before confirming my name. Only after he left did I realise, I hadn't told him my name in the first place.
Whan at exciting concept:
Civil Society - Shaping International, Regional and Local Relations in the 21st Century.