Hybridity – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So does this mean soon my guff will be summarized in 101-type lectures – my arriviste wiki moment (!!!):

Hybridity – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“Hybridity as a rhetorical Cul-de-sac.
The development of hybridity theory as a discourse of anti-essentialism marked the height of popularity in academic ‘hybridity talk’. However the usage of hybridity in theory to eliminate essentialist thinking and practices (namely racism) failed as hybridity itself is prone to the same essentialist framework and thus requires definition and placement. A number of arguments have followed in which promoters and detractors argue the uses of hybridity theory. Much of this debate can be criticised as being excessively bogged down in theory and pertaining to some unhelpful quarrels on the direction hybridity should progress e.g. attached to racial theory, post-colonialism, cultural studies, or globalization. Sociologist Jan Nederveen Pieterse (2004) highlights these core arguments in a debate that promotes hybridity. Professor of Cultural Studies John Hutnyk stands out as another academic engaging with further development of hybridity theory in his consistent critique of hybridity as politically void.”

[My-ci] My Research on Creative Industries

Ned Rossiter makes some good points in discussion of why his research is relevant… was for a job talk, but subsequently sent to MyCI – have a look at the whole thing, its not too long…

[My-ci] My Research on Creative Industries:
“In studying the relations between labour-power and the creative
industries my interest has been twofold: first, at a theoretical and
political level, I have sought to invent concepts and methodologies
that address the question of the organisation of labour-power within
network societies and informational economies. Here, my research
relates to and has been informed by what the political philosopher
Paolo Virno calls ‘the thorniest of problems: how to organize a
plurality of ‘social individuals’ that, at the moment, seems
fragmented, constitutionally exposed to blackmail – in short,
unorganizable?'[3] Out of an interest in new forms of agency in the
creative industries, I have investigated the political concept of
“organised networks”, which can be understood as emergent
institutional forms whose mode of organising sociality is immanent to
networked forms of communications media.[4]

Secondly, my research has investigated the double-edged sword of
precarity within post-Fordist economies, of which the creative
industries belong as a service economy modulated through
informational relations.[5] The precarity of labour-power within the
creative industries is double-edged in the sense that it enables the
attractions of flexibility – the escape from the Fordist time of the
factory and the firm – yet accompanying these relative freedoms is
the dark side of what researchers such as Beck, Lash, Urry and Butler
have variously called uncertainty, insecurity, risk and complexity.
Such fields of inquiry resonate with the concept of organised
networks, both of which are rarely addressed from within creative
industries research “

Rossiter- May 2006 (Thanks Ned)

Kim’s Game

I have a brother called Kim (Hiya) and in the book I am writing now (‘Jungle Studies’) I will have some sharp things to say about Rudyard Kipling the creator of Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and Akhela, as well as about his close friend, Baden-Powell, founder of concentration camps and of the Scouts.

It was in the Scouts that my brother and I endured various militaristic drill sessions, were forced into a peculiar form of (mild) child-labour collecting newspapers, beer bottles and doing ‘bob-a-job; (which I liked because I worked for a certain elderly woman called Mrs Chandler, one-time girlfriend of Ned Kelly) and it was as Scouts and ‘cubs’ that we learnt of “Kim’s Game”. This game was a memory test where you would be shown a tray of objects (I would now call them trinkets of course) and after a minute these were covered up and you had to list as many as you could remember. I forget what the reward was, if any. Our troop happily was not a site of paedophilia or of any crazy rafting accidents, as seems to be the scare story about Scouting for Boys today, but it was certainly not the ‘make-a-man-of-him’ routine for which my rough and tumble action figure of a father had hoped. In my case it taught me horticultural skills and an appreciation of mushrooms. Later on, returning to the town where I grew up, I was pleased to find the old Guide Hall had become the State’s (Victoria, Australia) first Hindu temple. Kipling and Baden-Powell have other connections in this book too, some of which I will trace. But Kipling’s Jungle Book offers only a title or a metaphoric code. The jungle itself, is mostly ignored, and Jungle music – beyond some discussion of ADF – is avoided as well: and this is not a book about the forest as such, or of forest people (I have written elsewhere on Colin Turnbull’s work, The Mountain People, and owe him a better review for his greener book). I am more interested in the jungle as powerful trope. My copy of Kipling’s book begins with Lisa Makman’s pithy (even pith-helmeted) passage on jungles which well deserves citation:

“The term “jungle”, derived from the Hindi word jangala, entered the English language only in the eighteenth century; today it evokes dangerous terrain: impenetrable equatorial forests, menacing urban landscapes, and overall mayhem (as in, “it’s a jungle out there”). Even as jungles have gained a new designation – rain forest – and we have learned of their life-sustaining role in the biosphere, the word continues to conjure images of imperial adventure: the white man cutting his way through the bush to hunt big game, or Tarzan swinging from a vine. We owe our deep associations of jungles with mystery, threat, and the struggle for survival in large measure to Rudyard Kipling (Makman, intro to Kipling 2004:xv)”

I want to underline the collision here between forest danger and the urban menace, remember that the big-game hunter could be a sociologist or anthropologist, and suggest that the stalking metaphor for the trinket collecting of social science factification might be the character Kaa, who also had some wisdom, let us not forget: ‘The jungle is large and the Cub he is small. Let him think and be still’ (Kipling 2004:33). Kaa is a storyteller too, not just an old snake: ‘I also have known what love is. There are tales that I could tell that…’ (Kipling 2004:42). My copy of Hobson-Jobson, that amazing compendium of Anglo-Indian loan words, without which magical realism, Midnight’s Children, Merchant Ivory and so much more, would not be the same, offers “Jungle” as derived from Sanskrit, chiefly used in medical discourses, ‘the native word means in strictness only waste, uncultivated ground’. Therein we read a citation from Valentia, in the year 1809: ‘The air of Calcutta is much affected by the closeness of the jungle around it’ (Yule and Burdell 1886/1996:470). I have also elsewhere written on the bad reputation of Calcutta, and here treat of it again, with Kipling in mind… So, on to urban stories, both critical and evocative, for we be of one blood, ye and I.

The picture is of UFO’s over Berlin at night, or maybe they were Euro bees, sorry, memories just a bit shaky…


maria_technosux’s Journal

maria_technosux’s Journal: “7:12pm: Intellectual guilt and take-no-prisoners
Sometimes I feel a little guilty for bashing avant garde whiteboys. They deserve it, of course, but I’m a softy deep down inside and I feel like I’m picking an easy target. I think it’s because they’re so damn infantile (intellectually lazy) that makes me feel like I’m picking on the lil’kids.

On the other hand, no one let me off the hook, so why the fuck should I cut them some slack? Buncha self-satisfied soggy whitebread kids, grrr!

Compared to Hutnyk’s _Critique of Exotica_ I’m relatively modest. When Hutnyk bashes Kula Shaker’s Crispian ‘India is the Ibiza of concepts’, Mills… ‘I don’t cut a deal’ doesn’t quite capture it.


Thanks Maria – but scary news stories abound – like the caption from the pic above which says: “The Jeevas have split up.Kula Shaker have reformed. It’s like 1996 all over again.” – The Jeevas were Mill’s failed project of 2003, lets all tremble with anticipation at the return of the nasty shakers… stifled yawn, etc.


Public Private Knowledge: The Last Communist

This image that I take to be a plastic diarama efigy of a Malaya Communist Party cadre from the 1940s is from a film I have been reading about with interest as a controversy rages over its banning in Malaysia. The film is Lelaki Komunis Terakhir aka The Last Communist.

It deals with Chin Peng, who’s autobiography a few years ago (My Side of History 2003 Media Masters) was pretty informative, and now this film could add more to a tale that is strangely present but not present in Malaysia. I have long been interested in the reds, whom the director of TLC recalls as those that were considerd ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ during his youth. This routine of demonisation is prevalent, as documented in earlier offerings such as Malaya: the Undeclared War, which examines anti-communist ’emergency’ of the 1940s-early 50s, back to the early writings of Anthony Burgess (see below), who was a colonial era teacher…

What I mean by the comment that the communist struggle is present but not present in Malaysia is illustrated in the ongoing fools attempt to censor and silence on the part of the UMNO government, but also in curious public presence-absences. For example, I’ve always been amused by one of the exhibits at the Museum in Georgetown.

[This from a piece written in 2002]: Outside the Penang Museum in Malaysia today you can still see an old bullet ridden Rolls Royce that once was used to ferry Viceroys about the Malayan Peninsula. The explanation offered for this exhibit, however, is somewhat vague. The bullet holes were earned at the assassination of the High Commissioner Sir Henry Gurney in October 1951. What is not noted is that this was the highest level kill achieved by Communist insurgents during the so-called Malayan Emergency – curiously enough, a dramatised version of this event can be found in the 1956 novel of a certain Anthony Burgess of Clockwork Orange fame, see his Time for a Tiger, part of his Malaya Trilogy, The Long Day Wanes (Burgess 1964). Burgess was appointed to a post as colonial teacher at the Malay College in Perak, quite near to the reputed Communist headquarters in the village of Sungai Siput (Lewis 2002:203). It is what happened to villages during the ‘Emergency’ that should be of concern – wholesale detentions that set the model for strategic Hamlets in Vietnam…

Malaya was the most profitable part of the Empire in the years between the first and second Imperialist World Wars. According to the Commonwealth historian Anthony Stockwell, British colonial administrators distinguished between Malays and Chinese in terms of how they ran the colony, with the Malays entrusted with ‘junior partner’ status and the bulk of positions in the police and Civil Service while the Chinese were infiltrated by the ‘menace’ of communist and Kuomingtang elements and were thought to be in need of strict discipline (Stockwell 1992:105-7).

It was this need for discipline that led to a Police force numbering 10,000 before 1940, mostly Malays and Sikhs, only 250 British Officers learnt to speak Malay, but only a handful knew any Chinese. Postwar, with grave shortages of rice and cloth, malaria epidemic, collapsed plantation and mining infrastructure, the once most lucrative colony became the most difficult to rule – the Chinese led communists joined with the Malay community in a mass non-cooperation movement. The straggling and war weary British (with disgruntled soldiers who wanted demobalisation rather than a new colonial adventure) considered putting down this movement with the use of Indian soldiers but found this difficult because of the legacy of Nataji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (see Bose 1982, for discussion of the formation, and subsequent defeat, of Bose’s army in Malaya and Burma – largely due to a miscalculated and unsupportive alliance with Imperial Japan).

Out of the mass non-cooperation movement developed support for the Malaysian Communist Party (MCP) and in reaction, according to Stockwell, to the British declaration of a state of emergency in June of 1948, an insurrection began, under Chin Peng known as a revolutionary war but on the government side characterised as ‘the emergency’ which is clearly a calculated reference (non-War, non Geneva Convention, cf Guantamo Bay and the US failure to extend any rights to captured combatants) and alibis the declaration of special Police powers above and beyond conventional law.

Under Colonel W.N. Gray, direct from Palestine and appointed as Commissioner of the Malay Police, the force expanded to 73,000, plus 17,000 ‘Auxiliaries and Kampong guards’ by 1952 (Stockwell 1992:110). Gray oversaw the introduction of resettlement and gave the Malay Police the major role in defence of ‘New Villages’ in order to separate the people from the communists, and food and information.

Stockwell writes:
‘the Emergency regulations gave the police extraordinary powers of search and arrest, control of the movement of persons and traffic, and the authority to impose curfews … in late 1951 it was estimated that some 6,000 persons were being held in detention without trial’ (Stockwell 1992:113, citing Oliver Lyttelton’s memoirs of 1962:372).

The insurgency was a war of attrition which effectively drained the colony’s profitability. The combination of communist insurgency and the international climate of anti-colonial pro-Independence negotiations meant the British played their old divide and rule routine even in the run up to an inevitable independence.

In July 1955 the Malay leader Tunku Abdul Rahman headed a coalition of Umno, Mca and MIC to victory in the first ‘federal’ election of the Malay colony. As the British debated handing over internal security and policing to the new Chief Minister, Tunku Rahman suggested an amnesty for the communists and with Chin Peng opened talks (Stockwell 1992:120). Chin Peng wisely offered peace as soon as independence, and control over security, was achieved. The British moved to forestall such alliance making by granting Tunku immediate control of internal security through a ‘guided’ Police Service Commission….

[That lot above is extracted from: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/489/detention.html ]

…its a matter of record that Malaysia did not adopt its promising Red Domino option. Instead, years of neo-colonial plunder, and the continued repression of dissidents and opposition under the detention law called the Internal Security Act, now universally applied across the world, with Chin Peng exiled (still) in Thailand. The Rolls outside the museum – count the bullet holes – is testiment to an unspoken but quite visible presence. The banning just maintains this transparent puppetry-ventriloquy and since the story should be told out loud, let’s see the film. Red Salute.

Lelaki Komunis Terakhir (The Last Communist)

The Last Communist (2006)

Meanwhile, NOT in Malaysia, since its been banned, this film tells the story of the early life of Malay Communist Party leader, Chin Peng:

“Synopsis A semi-musical documentary inspired by the early life and legacy of Chin Peng, exiled leader of the banned Communist Party of Malaya. Interviews with the people in the towns he lived in from birth to national independence are interspersed with specially composed songs in the mould of old-fashioned propaganda films”.

Official Film website here.

“This is a hybrid documentary, not because it combines fact and fiction, but because it combines testimony with song. Chin Peng (real name: Ong Boon Hua) was born in 1924 and is the last leader of the banned Communist Party of Malaya. He now lives in Thailand because the Malaysian government does not allow him to return, despite his repeated attempts to go through the courts.
The Communist Party of Malaya was set up in 1930 (in a ceremony attended by Ho Chi Minh) and recruited from the working class (mainly ethnic Chinese) exploited by colonial British economic interests. The CPM played an active role in the anti-Japanese resistance movement during World War Two, and cooperated with the British. But once the Japanese surrendered, the communists wanted to take over the country for themselves. This is when they and the British became enemies once again. 1948-60 is the era known as the Emergency, the longest and bloodiest undeclared war in Commonwealth history. …”

Director’s blog on the Ban here.

Red Salute.

Struggling with identity?

Hari Kunzru doing the rounds, this week he’s in KL (a British Council gig, but see also PEN)…

This ‘cool dude’ report is from “The Star” 14 May 2006 (excerpt) :

Struggling with identity?:

“Award-winning author and all round Renaissance man Hari Kunzru was in the country on Tuesday and shared his thoughts on writing and how he stared at a cursor for a month with SHARON BAKAR.

A sense of dislocation makes for good art, says Hari Kunzru.

I’D read enough of Hari Kunzru’s journalism to know that he is something of a polymath with an interest in everything from literature, art and music to philosophy, technology and politics.
His reputation for being an extremely ‘cool dude’ had also preceded him: besides being one of Britain’s hottest young novelists, he’s written for some of the trendiest magazines (Wired, Wallpaper), spins vinyl as a DJ, and apparently knows how to mix a mean martini cocktail.
For all that, Kunzru is remarkably down-to-earth and approachable, as I discovered when he was in Kuala Lumpur last week on a visit sponsored by the British Council… “

“…Noise is a compilation of surprisingly dark short stories exploring the implications of an increasingly wired world. “I enjoy opening up a little world that works according to its own logic,” Kunzru says, adding that he hopes to write more short stories after the publication of his third novel next May…”


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