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I think I have the skeleton for all of the chapters to my thesis right now. Mind you, it’s still just the skeleton because I feel like it still lacks substance. There’s nothing there yet. Nothing much at least. But anyhow I’m pleased to announce that I manage to build up four chapters before the targetted date of 24 September. Quite the accomplishment, don’t you think?

So today’s supposed to be mine and Philips’ meeting day to discuss the fourth chapter but because it is Eid I have fallen off on the writing-everyday-no-matter-how-crappy wagon. Long story short, I tried to hold on to what’s left of my energy and wrote about close to 4,000 words and sent it to Philip thinking that it is unwise to show up to the meeting today with nothing in hand. What is a meeting without an agenda anyway? So when I clicked on the ‘Send’ button on the email I kind of hoped that my dissatisfaction towards the chapter would die away once I go and see him today. But then this morning Philip called to reschedule and I am glad that we did because now I’ve the chance to do more work on it. Philip suggested the same thing so I’m guessing he’s not pleased with what he read LOL!

I’ve also printed out all of the chapters as I’m planning to start editing them now but since Chapter Four is the most recent, I’ll work on that first and then followed by chapters three, two, one and then finally Introduction and Conclusion. Adrian’s right, this time around we’d all feel sick of our topics already, I am already sick and tired of my topic, I’m bored of it now but I’m just keeping myself determined that I’ll be able to finish this on time and with a much much better impression in tack.

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Is it possible for people to overwork themselves when in reality they did not do much the weekend before?

I spent literally 10 hours yesterday doing readings, wishing that at least one of those would contribute something to my thesis. End of the day, nothing.

I guess that is what research is all about huh?

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Sometimes you just don’t realise the mess you made until you get bored of doing what you do and needed a break. During that break, you’d look for just about anything to make into a reason to not do any work. That reason, possibly, might so be tidying up the mess that has contributed to why you’re so angry whenever you can’t find that dwarf-hamster-sized post-its that you thought were cute during purchase (regrets!).

OCD. Sometimes it is a good thing.

Hello!

What do we have here? Hmm, exactly 20 days between this blog post and the previous. Why, how convenient. Makes me look like a slacker, doesn’t it? But honest be to God, I have been doing quite a basket full of work on my thesis (you can imagine the basket to either be the size of a laundry hamper or one sized for muffins for your neighbour, it’s your call).

Anyway, I’ve done about 9k words out of 15k and I’m actually quite pleased with that. I don’t usually have the ability to pull off something quite this big for academics but hey, there’s a first for everything! And the way I’m approaching this is such that shows I’m actually gleaning into sources that are more useful to the thesis as a whole as opposed to how easy it is for me to understand it. I know, I’m not the best person to do close reading because I’m a fast reader and when I read I usually imagine images in my head. Problem is though, with uni and the lot, dossiers, articles, journals and theses don’t always allow me to think in images so they always, always leave me lost in the dark. I hate academic reading, seriously I do. The way I tackle it is to always have pen and paper beside me and whichever paragraph I think might be of good use to my work, I’d usually write them down before I type them into my thesis. Looks tedious but it works for me well. So far, I’m handling close reading one step at a time. I’ve always had a problem with it, even while I was doing my Bachelor but since Honours has been given me such a great time, I seem to be enjoying doing work more. So yeay me!

I did my first presentation for the workshop today and I think the outcome was pretty good. Honestly, I think Honours has stolen from me what I like doing best – presentations. Once upon a time, I used to look forward to presentations and would usually spend not that a lot of time preparing, just let thing flow like the river to the sea, and things would be just fine. But I don’t know what happened to me lately, suddenly things change and I spent the whole of last night and yesterday preparing for the presentation which, to be honest, has only about 8 slides? Awful! I waited almost three hours for my turn and I was ready, I was confident but all those effort and courage just went kaput the moment I opened my mouth and made eye contact. There’s something about my classmates that are really really intimidating. Maybe because their presentations, so far, had been awesome and they presented theirs suavely. Oh this makes me feel real crap!

However, I’m happy to get feedback from Adrian as well as my classmates because now I have a much clearer track to where I’m going with my thesis. I wasn’t sure before but I’m assured now that I’m doing the right thing. Adrian suggested that I eliminate putting the RTB Media Carnival topic in there altogether because my thesis concentrates on Marketing and PR. I have actually been thinking about that because sources that leads to the RTB Carnival chapter isn’t that convincing so this is something that I need to think through before deciding to cancel it out. Need to talk to my supervisor, Philip, first, before barging into making any decisions.

Hayden actually made a very very good comment. Something about “if the product is bad, nobody’s going to want it, regardless”. So I’m thinking, yes, I agree and that is so true! What has been the problem with RTB at this moment and why are people consistently watching channels on Astro and Parabola? Because of content. The major public know what they want but RTB is not giving them what they want hence, they resort to something that are more meaningful to their lives. Well, I’m doing the same thing. It’s supply and demand and that’s what RTB needs to research on. Then again, they’re a public service broadcaster and they’re adhering to a philosophy.

With that said, I’m going to have yet another read of my thesis, sleep on it and decide what kind of changes I need to give the thesis before I go see Philip this Wednesday. On that note, mid-semester break has started for me! Ohyeahhh!

I’m still jet-lagged so my sleeping pattern is a bit off right now. I wouldn’t usually give in but on my way here from Brunei, on the plane, I did not sleep at all because I sat right behind a couple with a little girl who cried cried and CRIED! So I think my body’s a bit confused as to which time zone I should be following. I seem to be sleeping in the afternoons around 4pm and wake up again after an hour or two and then would feel sleepy again after midnight.

I’m determined to get my sleeping pattern right back on track and while doing that I’m also doing lots of readings for my thesis. Just a few hours ago I was reading and fell asleep! I’m hoping that come next week I’ll already be on Melbourne time and working full-on according to my time line!

How disappointing that I’ve been translating this and that for days now yet I’ve only gleaned about a hundred words worth of information. How disappointing.

But anyway good news is that from all that broad reading while translating, I found myself expanding my table of contents. Positive, from the looks of it. So here goes:

MAKING LOCAL TV ATTRACTIVE IN BRUNEI

Table of Contents Layout

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER ONE
1.1    BRUNEI HISTORY AND POLITICS
1.2    POLITICS OF MEDIA IN BRUNEI
1.3    HISTORY OF RADIO TELEVISION BRUNEI
–    Who are the RTB audience?
–    What is the RTB background like?
1.4    COMPETITION: ASTRO
1.5    RTB MEDIA CARNIVAL
–     Objectives and goals

CHAPTER TWO
2.1    WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A NATIONAL BROADCASTER?
2.2    HAVE THE RTB GOALS BEEN DELIVERED EFFECTIVELY?
–    Does it adhere to the principles of MIB as claimed?
–    What about this that could be criticized?
–    Does the competition – Astro – deliver their objectives and goals?
2.3    WHAT SHOULD OR COULD BE DONE?
–    BBC taken as an example because of British legacy in Brunei
–    Organisational Promotion
–    To answer the question “How do we make RTB attractive in Brunei?”
2.4    TELEVISION MARKETING AND PR
–    A criticism to the approach of using the RTB MEDIA CARNIVAL as a tactic for rebranding
–    Is there any other kind of approach that could be used?
–    Problems with marketing and PR in government and non-profit sectors (could these problems be the reason why RTB lacks audience as compared to Astro?)

CONCLUSION
THE FUTURE
–    “Looking for a new direction” (is this achievable for RTB?)

And I have also redone my Gantt Chart. 80 plus days til submission!

Yikes! You can’t see that at all, can you? Have a click on it and you’ll be able to see it clearly 🙂

Anyway, I’m pretty much ecstatic that I’m going back to Melbourne this Sunday. Not so on the leaving my family for the nth time again but I really can’t wait to be able to concentrate fully on my thesis!

It chooses to attack my precious throat as if knowing that I should just keep quiet and start doing work seriously.

But I went to the Doctor yesterday and he gave me meds so I’m good to go! But trust me, my throat was infected and has been hurting for about a week! It got worst when the humidity increased but I’m on strong antibiotics now so I guess that’s cool. Kids, do NOT chew your food twice and swallow. Especially when you know it used to be crispy and has turned to a burnt plastic state. If you happen to stumble upon food that’s textured like that, chew and mash it up in your mouth before you swallow, or just throw it away! Otherwise you’ll get bacteria build-up and would feel like the world is against you!

Not cool. Seriously.

I feel better now. Read through the second literature review and am adding things in here and there as I go. I have more books to read but I’m not complaining. It’s been raining hard here so I’ve been staying indoors so more time for me to concentrate on the thesis. Sometimes it gets tedious when I have no idea what the Malay article is on about but it’s a plus when you’re still in Brunei – you have a lot of people to help! Genius!

Anyway, no point to ramble on as I’m on the roll at the moment! Today has been very productive! I hope I get to write at least 2000 words before I go back to Melbourne. Fingers crossed!

OK first of all, let me just say that I am entitled to feel selfish about feeling glad that I am not doing my studies in Brunei. I deserve to be judged based on this statement but I have more than a thousand reasons to say why it is so. Here are some.

First. Distractions. Family and friends. They know you’re not always here so they’re demanding more of your time. So there have been many meet ups since I arrived and non-stop! This, then, leads me to my second reason.

Second. Health. Coming from the cold of winter in Melbourne to a very humid Brunei, I think it kind of  shocks my body a little bit and I have been feeling feverish since day one. That’s no fun because as much as it affects how much time I can spend with the people that I love, it also affects the amount of time I should be using to do work instead of lying in bed resting. 

So I guess everyone would understand why I’m feeling so selfish over the fact that I’m studying in Melbourne as oppose to Brunei. The amount of work that I could do in Melbourne – productivity – doubles. Progress is quite slow at the moment. I am, however, doing A LOT of translating. It would sound easy or it seems easy but being a person who doesn’t practice much of the language used on most of the materials that I have collected, my best friend right now is the Malay-English dictionary and I bring it everywhere I go to do the translations.

I feel like a mute person too. My throat is swollen and I can’t talk as loud as I usually do. Laughing is a struggle. However, next week, I plan to give this 50% more. I can’t go back to Melbourne just yet because I still appointments to go to but I can’t wait to join my friends and share their holiday stories!

And yes, I can’t wait to go back to Melbourne and finish this once and for all.

So I made a very last minute decision to go back to Brunei because looking for references for my thesis has been a real struggle. And like putting salt to the wound, I feel like I was being mocked all this while because I was given the e-mail address of the PR correspondence at RTB yet I waited for weeks for his reply but did not get any. I went back to the person who gave me that e-mail address in the first place and turns out that PR Officer has actually acknowledged my e-mail. OK. If that is how it is going to flow then getting in touch through e-mailing is not the best move. So thank you, Air Asia for making my life easy. With only 15kg baggage allowance (the horror!) I went back to Brunei, with appointments and everything ready.

So yesterday I went to RTB to meet with the Public Relations Officer (PRO) who is the busiest man I’ve ever met. However, I am ever so thankful that he devoted a little of his time for me. We talked, exchanged life stories, found out that our families are linked somehow through his brother and my dad’s cousin and he told me to come back to RTB today. Mind you my house is in a different district and it takes about 40 minutes to about an hour to drive up to the capital which is in another district altogether but sure, this is a sacrifice I’ve decided to make from the beginning, so I’m waiting for word from him to tell me when the best time to meet with him is.

And there’s always that formality to begin with before ends meet. I still have to write a formal letter to the Acting Director (AD) so he’d know my presence in the compound and the reason why I’m there. It would be a good idea to meet with him too because the PRO told me yesterday how very corporate minded the AD is. My thesis’ heart throbs with the many possible topics I could use though I have to narrow them down painfully in the end but hey, research is what research is and that’s what I like so much about it. I was also told that there is a student from the University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD) who is writing a thesis about RTB and how it links to MIB so perhaps today when I meet with the PRO I could ask for this student’s contact details and we could work shoulder to shoulder with this bit here.

It is, however, not the best timing to be back in Brunei to meet with these people because this is the month of celebration and there are many public holidays so I’m scared that I might be stranded here for a while. I don’t want this to be a brief encounter with the people of RTB because I want to get as many information as I could. I read a thesis about RTB written by someone who studied in Cardiff in the 90s and upon checking the Bibliography and Appendix, turns out that person did what I’m doing now. The best way IS to meet up with these people at the RTB and talk with them personally.

I’ll keep the updates coming while I’m still here and meeting up with the RTB people. Hopefully, updates after this will look better and less vague than this one.

9.30AM is usually still the time to lay in bed watching TV, read or simply not waking up, to just lie there with eyes tightly shut and oblivious to whatever is happening in the outside world.

But today, 9.30AM, I was buzzed by the delivery man that sent me good stuff! My cousin has sent me texts that I could use for my thesis! Oh, what are families for, if not to help each other? She has sent me texts that she had gotten for her exegesis as, coincidentally, she did a short documentary about Brunei and how the Bruneian youths are affected by globalisation whilst also adhering to MIB (Malay Islamic Monarchy). I did an interview for the documentary as well like months ago and seeing myself in an edited work gives me the jitters (as always) but I’m glad I helped because a small good deed goes a very long way! Now she’s helping me with mine!

Now I have more texts about the history and background of RTB which definitely could be used to add in my thesis. I also have more information about MIB, which the heart of RTB and therefore, a very important factor for the thesis and I have more information about the history of Brunei, which IS the opening chapter to my thesis. GREAT! Some of the texts are in Malay though, I admit I’m not good in understanding and reading in Malay especially when it is written in the standard language because I’m so used to the vernacular and mixed up Brunei Malay added with English, or Bru-lish, but I think I have people to help me with that. Afterall, my mom used to study malay literature and she’s always my source of translation so I’m in no trouble in that department.

I am yet to glean MORE information about the RTB Carnival in terms of its budgeting, its real aims and its success thus far. I have to go lengths for this one, I’m sure. After meeting with the people from RTB for an interview at uni a week back, I realise that it might be fate that brought me and these people together because they were clearly excited to find out that I was doing something about RTB. Their willingness to help excites me and I’m looking forward to exchanges of SMS, phone calls and perhaps emails. I’m keeping positive and doing whatever I can to make this happen. I don’t feel down or heartbroken about this as of yet so I think it’s going to work out. Afterall, my instincts always work out right 🙂 InsyAllah.

I feel bad for neglecting this blog for weeks! But truth be told I’ve only been doing sparse readings so they’re not blog worthy. However, I’m hoping from today on I’ll be blogging more 😀