I finally deactivated my Facebook account for what I HOPE will be the final time (I didn’t realise how many important apps/accounts were linked to my Facebook account so I have had to activate them again to log into my app before deactivating again). I wasn’t actively using it much though it was my default app to go to after looking at everyone’s Insta stories (and their mothers and pets and pets’ pets and their pets’ mothers).
Deactivating Facebook wasn’t a huge loss. My main gripe was that it gave me a myopic worldview and very little tolerance for anyone who espoused political views (or Kardashian views) different than mine (seriously, I will cut you up if you tell me that the Kardashians are talentless). Facebook had become my echo chamber (especially since I was relying on it more for news). Countless arguments with Lawrence over politics, feminism, leftists, liberalism etc and the way that I reacted to him (emotionally and not very intellectually – angry tears were involved in an argument about Oprah and Harvey Weinstein that began with a stupid meme posted by his friend) when he poked holes in my oft-repeated mantras made me realise that leftists (along with people on the right) too can ascribe to a totalitarian type of tribe whose members have embodied a very specific, narrow line of thinking.
I also deleted my account because Facebook was boring – and yet I could easily spend A LOT of time on it. I thought my time could be better spent doing other things. But then that “other things” turned into Instagram and more specifically, Instagram Stories.
I then decided to “go big or go home” and delete the Instagram app on my phone. This is not a forever thing and I suspect I will go back to it at some point – possibly when I’m traveling again. I honestly hate not knowing what’s happening in my friends’ lives but I guess this means that I have to learn how to keep in touch with them more (something that I am admittedly horrible at).
The byproduct of the absence of both apps: Time.
I read a lot more now: Both the news and books. I also successfully binge-watched five seasons of Breaking Bad over 1.5 weeks so I’m not sure how healthy that is. But hey, I am reading more!
I don’t think anyone reads this anymore but I also thought it would be nice if I started documenting what I’m thinking, listening to, reading, watching, or writing on this space.
I’m currently reading two books now:
- The Essence of Islamist Extremism: Recognition Through Violence, Freedom Through Death by Irm Haleem
- The Talibanization of Southeast Asia by Bilveer Singh
As you can see by the titles, they are heavy but crucial for me to understand terrorism (which is what I’m currently studying and working on). The Essence of Islamist Extremism is vital in understanding how Radical Islamists explain and justify the use of violence (Spoiler: Islam is not inherently violent but rather extremists use religious tenets of Islam to justify the violence). The Talibanization of Southeast Asia is a good primer on terrorism in Southeast Asia – especially with the rise of Jemaah Islamiyah in the 90s.
I have totally neglected fiction because all I’m reading now is stuff that will help me in school and at work and needless to say that it can be bleak. So I’m try to slowly ease myself back into fiction.
I will be re-reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. The book is heartbreaking and funny (I couldn’t eat squids for a week after reading the book) and it’s also incredibly well-written with economically elegant sentences.
I’ve also been semi-fascinated/obsessed with Modern Chinese history recently so I may look into reading a couple of books that can give me insight into the Chinese civil war, Great Leap Forward and the subsequent Cultural Revolution. I listened to a podcast panel session on China that included author Madeline Thien who spoke a little about her book Do Not Say We Have Nothing. The book spans forty years starting from Mao’s reign in the 40s to the aftermath of the Tiananmen protests. It’s definitely a book to check out and I’m excited to get to it!