I’m presenting “The Evolution of Merlyna’s a Critical Monkey’s Intellectual Freedom” (bottom) .
It was part of my last public lecture which basically attempted to provide an alternative imagination of possible career/life pathways. It’s my take vis-a-vis a (valid) critic of the state of intellectual freedom in academia by a brilliant Jorge Cham/PhD comic in 2011 (top). I think Cham’s is on point, but luckily his comic doesn’t apply to me.
~ eh, ini beneran lho dari slide kuliah umumku ~
I believe in (trying my best in) being curious, having fun, and staying critical. Also “naughty” — and becoming naughtier as I get older . And never stop to be really bothered by injustice–hey, a critical monkey can be really angry, too . No, never follow the “money” or the “safest” pathway. No, it’s not easy or smooth; sometimes you fail and/or people/institutions failed you, but speaking for myself and myself alone, I never and will never regret this choice. FYI, I am one of the lucky ones who survived academia and became a tenured professor several years ago by fully exercising my own freedom, doing research that I believed in. I hope to swing up-side-down while holding a banana when I am an emerita professor (if I ever become one someday) and grin satisfactorily when I RIP .
~ aku katanya kelakuan mirip monyet, tapi ngga suka pisang sih ~
I made an initial drawing, then my talented artist-friend Rivi Rian decorated it with beautiful viney leaves.
p.s. some grad students who took my class probably had seen this critical monkey appeared in their assignments .
Grad students, have you ever received an email from a publishing company claiming to have selected your thesis/dissertation for publication? If you have written a Masters or doctoral thesis, you probably have. I have received tons of emails like that in the last 10 years.* It seems that end of semester is the peak time for “bad” publishing companies to send such emails. Sorry to bring you bad news, no established and quality publishers will actively solicit publications from doctoral/masters thesis!
My grad students asked me for some tips to handle conferences’ Q&A session. Here are my answers. I actually use these not only for conferences, but also in everyday interactions.
1. when you think you really know the answer, wait 5 seconds before you say it. sometimes you don’t really know whether you really know or just think you really know.
2. avoid a ‘stupid’ moment: before reacting (negatively/harshly/carelessly/…), think of something stupid and don’t say it.
3. don’t answer too quickly, always buy time. for example by saying “thank you for your question”, “that’s an interesting question”, or just “thank you”.
4. when someone gives you a stupid irrelevant question that has nothing to do with your topic, you can say “oh gosh this is so stupid” in your mind, but verbally say “thank you” anyway. be gentle, stupidity is not a crime.
5. when you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know, but you don’t have to say it too enthusiastically.
6. when someone attacks you with a rude or dismissive question/statement, focus your eyes on his face and imagine an ugly(funny) caricature of him, and take time to smile before responding.