August 20th, 2007

New Zealand

University, followed by political satire in music

You know what I hate? Slack universities. Some of you may recall that due to an asthma attack during the regular exam period at the end of this year's first semester, I had to miss one of my exams and instead took it during the supplementary period just before the start of second semester. That was over a month ago now. You'd think that I'd have my results back, especially considering that things proceed much quicker after the regular session that has a far higher volume of exams, but no. I'm still waiting. I'd love to know if I achieved a clean sweep of H1s in the first semester, H1 being 80-100%. As I just implied, I got an H1 in my other three subjects, including a 92% overall in Crisis Zones of Europe. I don't know about marking systems elsewhere (I've certainly heard of some that seem to give 90%+ marks more willingly), but a mark like that isn't easy to come by here.

I don't believe I've posted this semester's subjects, so here they are:

131-211: History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
131-225: Terrorism in Modern Conflict
131-226: The Struggle for Universal Human Rights
166-030: Transitions in Central and Eastern Europe

So three history courses (the 131 subjects) and one political science, which breaks my pattern of normally splitting my subjects equally. I originally had a second political science subject, Global Movements: Emerging Paradigms, but when I discovered that Dr Horvath was taking Universal Human Rights, I switched to that as it had a very similar timetable. Horvath took Crisis Zones of Europe last semester, and I think part of the reason why I did so well in that subject was because he's so meticulous and thorough. I feel like I definitely made the right choice. Universal Human Rights should allow me to finally write on some New Zealand history, something I have been craving to do: I may be allowed to modify one of the mid-semester essay topics and write about the New Zealand women's suffrage movement and how the country came to be the first in the world to grant women the vote.

Speaking of New Zealand, I have finally been able to get my hands on a song called There Is No Depression In New Zealand by Blam Blam Blam. Fancy a listen? It's a satirical rock song from 1981 about the political climate under Prime Minister Rob Muldoon and contains the fantastic chorus of "there is no depression in New Zealand/there are no sheep on our farms". I doubt people unfamiliar with the times would really get much of the lyrical content, but for me, it's great - a satirical/political song that I can really strongly relate to. Despite my political interest, I generally feel like an outsider when listening to such songs from the US and Europe; I relate more strongly to the general emotion rather than the specific message much of the time. Of all the political songs I've heard in my life, this one definitely strikes me as the most meaningful.