I did something I haven’t been doing for a fair while today at 14:30: speaking in front of an audience of 100+ people. (Stage fright is a one-off thing, though; never mind my last speaking gig in front of close to 100+ was in spring 2014…)
My 30-minute “blah” was about a myriad of things — all related to media, journalism, and the like. Things such as framing the news, covert (and not so covert) agendas, and pigeon-holing people. Things such as really trying to make sense of anything from the refugee crisis in Europe to Corbyn leading Labour (what the media thought, and what the academics thought). Things such as how social media was such a big game-changer, and how the Chinese Great Firewall couldn’t 100% define what happened inside the People’s Republic. ▶
Academia is something truly interesting. (“Interesting” as they define it here in Britain, rather.) You don’t have any fixed hours, and nobody really goes after you unless you’ve lessons or meetings. In terms of “work / life balance”, there’s not too much stress once you’re really done with your PhD (which is true, academic hell; I’ve been through this — and I know people who went bald because of this). Yet even with your title now “Doctor” instead, you’ve new problems. The worst I find about academia come in the form of stuffiness, exclusivity, and general pessimism.
What I find hardest to accept about academia is this tendency to constantly criticise, to stay negative (at times paying no attention to real-life situations), and this tendency for polemic and for using complex language. Academics appear the most “learned” of the whole system, yet there is incredibly little they’re doing in the face of real-life situations. I wouldn’t have issues if, following scathing attacks, solutions to solve the situation were presented. I think much of us would also prefer more readable texts from academics. It’s not that they “intentionally use dumb-it-down language”, but rather, they use more approachable language, so it makes sense to more of us. ▶
In September 1996 — I think if I remember it clearly, around 16 September 1996 — I started learning how to in essence hand code “raw” HTML and make that a site. It wasn’t easy, and even if it was done, it produced some pretty raw results. Not nice, obviously, but for 1996, it was a success anyway. But what worked in the past isn’t going to do quite as well today, especially on the Internet.
Fast forward to the present day — just a few months shy of 2016, and next year will mark the 20th year I’m online with a website. I’ve decided to take this opportunity to undertake and complete the largest revamp ever — and to completely redo it, so that it is ready for at least the next five years.
I hope you like this new edition; I put in the best part of a full month into it. This new site will make much more sense for wider screens, mobile devices, and tablets. And I hope you love this new, redone site as much as I enjoyed making it. ▶
I, David Feng, do recognise that I may very well have made decisions, or said things, that have, in the past, irritated people — to whatever extent, be it a temporary or long-term grudge. Whilst appreciating it is quite hard to satisfy everywhere, I do still hope, however, that there be a chance where I can say to those whom I might have crossed paths and hurt in any way, a public, honest and sincere SORRY from the bottom of my heart.
I’d like to take this chance to “drop my load” of negative, unpleasant experiences in the past with this sincere apology. I’d like to move on from this point forward, and serve my family, place of work, and society as a whole. I’m not a fan of polemical criticism or attacks; I’d much prefer that there were real, tangible, doable solutions. There’s a lot of issues in this world, and I’d like to solve as many of them as I can. ▶
16:43:13 on 05 September 2015. As the District line train rolled into Richmond station, that was it for me — I had just travelled the entire length of all publicly advertised lines on the London Underground. Quite coincidentally, I had also finished all of the lines on the DLR and Tramlink networks.
The only bit of the rail networks I’ve still to do are all Overground routes, as well as all stations on National Rail. I’ll probably get these done before my upgrade to Beijing as early as mid-2016. The Overground does, however, leave me in awe — at just how it managed to pass through the oldest tunnel in London (for sure) — the Rotherhithe tunnel. ▶