“If there’s no meaning in it,” said the King, “that saves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn’t try to find any.” – Alice in Wonderland
As Alice falls asleep under a tree with a book in her hand, she has the most curious dream ever, and that dream will become one of the most read children literature from Victorian England.
Maybe the moment my mother named Alice, she also left a curse on me without knowing it – Just like Alice, I fall asleep all the time reading or watching TV. That I managed to finish my Master’s Degree in English Literature, even with good grades, must be some kind of divine intervention (The fact that I found a job afterwards, is even more so.) So those times when the usual attacks of drowsiness stay away from me, when I stay awake long enough to marvel at certain aspects of the stuff I am seeing – that’s a moment to be remembered, to be written down, to be shared.
Growing up in Hong Kong with only a few TV channels that show low-brow soap opera with poor acting or low budgeted local productions 99% of the time, I had learn to despise watching TV. Instead, I turned to the world of books. Starting from Jane Eyre and Tuck Everlasting, I grew to love the world of beautifully crafted language woven around intriguing twists and turns. I also gained an interest in literary analysis, probing into the history, context, choices of words, characters, narrative techniques, plot and tropes of the work in hand to find more meaning. Though I ended up studying music in first university years, unlike my love for music performance, my love for literature never burns out. In 2016, mesmerised by the medieval ambiance of Frankonia, I moved to Germany and started my masters degree in English Literature.
I have made plenty of weird choices in my life, including studying music, studying English in Germany, or having watched marble races despite hating it…but everything has turned out great! My life in Germany is exactly how I wanted it – plenty of time to reflect, to develop an inner life, to find a hobby, to see the invisible, and to hear the silence. Thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime (not a commercial), my perception towards popular visual culture changed. I used to think watching TV is only a meaningless and unproductive way of killing time and that it is time wasted. Indeed, I would feel guilty watching TV for more than half an hour. But now I realise that watching good programmes offers a way of navigating around an ephemeral world of uncertainties and fractures. It is also a way of negotiating identities, expectations and judgements, the things that make us who we are and the world what it is.
I have always love writing, particularly the process of reading before writing. So I have decided to write down my thoughts about the series, films and books that I am reading and watching. This is a process of finding my voice and finding myself. This is a quest of finding the things that truly matter to me. This is the search for meaning. And as the King in Alice in Wonderland so eloquently sums up, this is flirting with the trouble that comes with it.