Blogging and life in 2012 and 2013

Sunrise over Lake Toba, Sumatra

Sunrise over Lake Toba, Sumatra

Another year has ended. Well, two weeks ago. I have been busy traveling Indonesia with friends, so this blog post is a bit late. New Years Eve was awesome. We had spent the day in Yogyakarta, a kingdom that is still ruled by it’s Sultan in spite of being a part of the democratic nation Indonesia. As the plane descended towards Jakarta, we could see the early fireworks from above.

After dropping off our bags at home we had to make a choice. Either go out on the main streets, where a big party for the entire population was being held. Or go down to the park on the fifth floor and watch the fireworks from there. The later option had amazing view over the fireworks, and didn’t require us to walk anywhere. Thus we ended up there, and got to see how the entire sky lighted up with fireworks. I have never seen New Years Eve in a metropolis before, not like this. A wonderful way to start the new year. (New Years Eve in New York, almost two decades ago, was fun as well. But in very different ways.) Two days later, we moved on to the island of Sumatra.

2012 has been a quite intense year for me. The second half of it, that is. The first half was the same old usual, working a bit while studying. In August, however, I left Sweden for Southeast Asia. Started this blog on the very same day, wrote my first real post as I was waiting for the plane that would take me from my home country.

A few weeks later the blog switched language from Swedish to English, and switched focus from being an electronic postcard about my life and travels to being mostly about my thoughts on human rights and social science. My goals here are quite simple. To write down my thoughts. Not as a manuscript with a specified target audience, but as a work in progress and as as a basis for discussions with some of my friends. It is written for whoever finds it interesting.

So far, my visitors have logged in from 33 different countries spread over all continents. Sweden and Indonesia tops the statistics by far, no big surprise there. Getting some people from elsewhere as well was a pleasant surprise that really shouldn’t have been any surprise at all. The world is shrinking, and the issues that interest me are global.

In a way, this blog is the biggest problem in my life right now. But it is a good kind of problem. There is so much I want to write about, and time is short. And that’s in spite of hardly writing anything at all about my personal life. So much has happened over these months. The people I have met, the places I have seen, the situations I have encountered… Some of it I prefer to tell about face to face only, and some of it not at all. Some things will come into writing later, usually in very anonymized form.

One problem is that many experiences cannot truly be reduced to text. Another problem is that culture is not about what people actually believe and how they actually behave. Instead it is about what they are coerced into pretending to believe, and about how they must be seen to behave unless they are ready to face the consequences. The stricter the social pressure is, the more absurd the theater becomes.

The main thing I have seen here in Indonesia is that we, the population of the world, do not consist of different peoples. Only people who wear different masks and who are pushed into different allegiances. Culture is an overlapping mesh that covers us all to various extents, not a set of monolithic pillars that make us stand apart. Those who would divide us may invoke culture or race or whatever, but an argument is not valid simply by the virtue of getting used a lot.

2013. New year. I have two plans for it. One is to finish my master thesis in Human Rights Studies. The other is to expand this blog. I will split it into one English only blog and one Swedish only blog. I also plan to start videoblogging. That will also be split by language, into two separate youtube channels. While the written blog will still be about expanding my ideas, the video blogs will be more about explaining them. Perhaps also entertaining a bit. Finally, a little wiki to catalogue concepts that I use, things that I write, and so on. I think it will be a convenient format to keep track of the various posts and clips and such, so it’s all easily accessible from the main site.

The master thesis and the blog are both about expanding and expressing my system of thought. So this will really be my singular focus for the year. I actively plan to not work very much on the side. Bad for my short-term economy as that may be, I really can’t afford the distraction right now. Having to cut back on work I actually get paid for, I must also cut back on my volunteer work and social life. The thesis must come first, while the blogging is included as being part of the same mental process.

Going to be tough, but well worth it. All in all, I’m really looking forward to this year.

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