This is the 12th week of my Ph.D 1st semester in UPM. At this juncture, it is confirmed that my artifact will be Angelina Jolie and my working title is “The Rhetorical Analysis of Angelina Jolie’s UNHCR Speeches During Global Refugee Crises (2012-2016).” This is the 3rd attempt after trying to do Siti Nurhaliza (which I myself eventually find that she is too composed and safeguarded; so I discarded her) & the sensitive 1MDB (my supervisor who is a political rhetorician suggested that but I was quite worry due to political taboo ALTHOUGH this maybe purely academics!).
My supervisor has given me green light and he can see the direction I want to fathom. He also concurred with the exigence I chose in this case (global refugee crises) and echoed my opinion that this issue is a contemporary phenomenon due to :-
- a horrifying image of lifeless 3 years-old Syrian boy named Alan Kurdi was circulated (University of Sheffield, 2015).
- As at October 2016, UNHCR concurred with France President, Francois Hollande for the demolition refugee settlements at north France nicknamed as Calais Jungle as “the Jungle site has been problematic for years” and “living conditions are appalling … and lack of basic services” (Al Jazeera Website, 2016).
Lifeless body of Alan Kurdi which opened the eyes of the western countries on the severity of global refugee crises.
The demolition of Calais Jungle, the settlement for refugees in France.
Apart from that, I also illuminated why Angelina Jolie was chosen as my artifact. This was due to the abundant media attentions towards her and the consistent affiliation with UNHCR since 2001 for the refugees around the world. Many perceived that Jolie’s cooperation with UNHCR is a smart public relation strategy as substantial media coverage is hoped to be able to illuminate the alarming refugee issues of which Jolie constantly affiliated with (Thrall et al., 2008).
I also highlighted that by unearthing the rhetorical criticism behind Angelina Jolie’s speech as a UNHCR humanitarian, it is hoped that rhetoricians could conduct more research on effective humanitarian persuasion speeches and eventually cementing cooperation with the humanitarian agencies in producing effective speeches that would reach the hearts of wider spectrum of audience. Of course, this research is also applicable to the microscopic locality of Malaysia as we are combating our own demons on refugee issues because problems arisen such as “overcrowded settlements, unaffordable healthcare and mistreatment of labours” (UNHCR Malaysia, 2016) of the 150,200 refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia as at August 2016. Now, refugee issues are no strangers to Malaysians as we have Malaysians such as Jamalulail Ismail and his wife who initiated Kitchen in Calais and also Rayyan Haries, a Malaysian who started soup kitchen for refugees at Greece (as the matter of fact, I knew him! Haha!). Hence, this research will also guide any potential “face of Malaysian humanity causes” on delivering effective persuasion speeches for the public (more or less like a blueprint for the Malaysian counterparts)!
Angelina Jolie now serves as Special Envoy of The High Commissioner for Refugees.
Of course, this is still in initial stage and there are a lot of readings and technicalities to be mastered. My research will be supervised by :-
- Prof. Dr. Abdul Mua’ti @ Zamri as my Chairperson (My Supervisor);
- Dr. Hamisah as 1st Committee Member; and
- Dr. Moniza as 2nd Committee Member.
Based on the feedback from Prof Muati and Dr. Hamisah, I may want to see :-
- Why I decide to choose Neo-Aristotelian as opposed to the Burkean Rhetoric?
- Do I need to reconstruct my “simplistic” Research Questions into “sophisticated” ones?
- How to mitigate shades of Social Liability (bias) interpretation on the artifact and how to counter-back the panels?
- Why Angelina Jolie is chosen apart from other humanitarian celebrities?
Angie at Al-Azraq Refugee Camp in 2016. The duration of the speech is 4 minutes and 5 seconds. This is among the 11 speeches I intend to study for my doctoral degree. Insya ALLAH.
On whole, I am excited with the journey. Of course, they said that Ph.D is a lonely journey but I have always been a recluse, no? Yes, I am a Social Butterfly but deep down I am that demented Morticia in The Coffin who just enjoy the silence of the graveyard.