Thursday, May 3, 2012

Trying to take a break...

I'm attempting to have a holiday.

Really, a week isn't enough. And there is so much coming up it's hard not to think about it - and start to plan for it too.

There's a lot I want to read, and plenty of writing I want to do. I'm reading the new political biography of Xanana Gusmao by Sara Niner, and 'The Nigger of the Narcissus and Other Stories', by Joseph Conrad.

Niner's book is quite insightful. It's a good introduction to Timor-Leste; it covers a lot of the history of the country through telling the story of the current Prime Minister. The fraught relationship between FRETIIN and XG is revealed very early on in the tale. It was never a comfortable relationship and it explains a lot about what is going on now, and what has happened since restoration in 2002.

Reading some fiction is nice now and then. The Secret Agent was great and I'm giving this collection of stories by Conrad a go. It can get a bit dense; the level of detail is sometimes excruciating when he describes things and tells his story, but I still enjoy it.

The conference I mentioned in my last post is a no go. Bit of a communication break down regarding details so I won't be doing that. Kinda relieved actually, was probably too much for me to prepare for considering the amount of work I expect to do in the next three months. Don't know if a paper and presentation is the best idea after I just return from the field - too much pressure perhaps.

Besides working on my own research project - a work in progress - I will be doing some work with the Asia Foundation on their SMS project. They are introducing the use of SMS technology in electoral campaigning to political parties before the parliamentary polls. I'll help with some of the research and writing up of it. It may prove a source of ideas and networks for my own work too. And I'll also be doing a project with the Global Leadership Project. It's got funding from the World Bank and they are collecting data on the people involved in the political and judicial life of countries around the globe. I'll be working on Timor-Leste (obviously). Gonna keep me busy; and time will absolutely fly by. Already thinking about my return. Yikes.

I will write some reflections on the presidential polls eventually, maybe on Monday.

Catch you later.

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