After so many futile attempts since last year’s December, I finally managed to conduct the 2nd PhD Committee Members Meeting on 29th March 2018. But minus one member which was Dr. Moniza Waheed as she is currently attached outside of the university with scholarship, abroad! So, I had the meeting with my Chairperson, Prof. Dr. Abdul Muati and Dr. Hamisah at the faculty’s Bilik Kesuma. Thank you so much to the Supervisor’s Personal Assistant, Iecha for helping me so much. God bless her; what a kind and helping soul, she is!
Prof Muati & Dr. Hamisah – my PhD Committee Members. Dr. Moniza is outside of radar. Hehe.
Based on the discussion, my committee members were not happy with the direction of my research. It seemed that I am still having vague idea on how Neo-Aristotelian analysis should have been conducted. My preliminary analysis was not in-depth and they were afraid if I were to continue doing this, I would not be able to defend my thesis in viva because what I’ve given them were simply superficial.
Dr. Hamisah said that Neo-Aristotelian is an old philosophical communication method and to comprehend it is to read more about it. To her it seems that my analysis did not reflect what an aspiring rhetorician should have been. Prof Muati concurred with her as my analysis was merely on the coding layers, with no in-depth proposal. Hence, Dr. Hamisah proposed that instead of focusing on rhetorical criticism of speeches, why don’t I gauge the feedback from audience :-
- survey distribution?
I was a bit on daze as these are quantitative approaches whereas rhetoric is meant for qualitative, no? But I guess she had points on the fact that I should have shift my artifact; instead of the speeches, I should get from the perspective of the outsiders, the audience.
Prof Muati concurred with that by proposing me to conduct :-
- Focus Group Discussion (FGD)
; and I could refer to Madiha Hashmi’s thesis (who happened to be one of his students and I’ve got the chance to interact with her when I was pursuing my Master’s Degree) as she was also doing Rhetoric but with FGD as her artifact (subject).
The two journals spun from Madiha’s thesis. She is amazing, no doubt!
In addition, Dr. Hamisah expressed that choosing Angelina Jolie may be risky and wasted – the chance for the thesis to be commercialized here locally is thin; I would mostly keep the thesis for my own personal archive. On contrary if I were to choose a local orator, I would probably stand the chance to commercialize the findings; let’s say if I were to study Dr. Mahathir’s speeches. The current scenario is very interesting in terms of academic perspective. Years ago, perhaps people were quite hesitant to express their honest perception of Dr. Mahathir’s rhetoric as he was the reigning Prime Minister. By studying his speeches now that he is in the opposition side, it is expected that the findings would be richer and varicoloured – and the prospect of commercializing it is high! Prof Muati was teasing me saying that maybe I chose Angelina Jolie because I was a hardcore fan but he agreed with Dr. Hamisah on the practicality. Besides, a lot of people have been studying Dr. Mahathir (including Prof. Muati’s!) and all I could do was just to get these research and flipped to the “Future Recommendations” to see the gap of knowledge and emulate that to my new research! Moreover, I am still going to study Rhetoric but from other subject perspective!
Your PhD research is like your baby. You nurture it deep in you. So you get sentimental with it. It’s like you are pregnant with it. When anyone asks about the progress or say something bad, you are quite taken aback and sensitive. That is normal for PhD candidate.
I have to confess that I do have that sentimental element. I have been devoting myself with Angelina Jolie for the past 3 semesters (9 months) and out of a sudden, I was told that this isn’t relevant and would be hard to defend in viva. Furthermore, I already went through my Proposal Defence (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2017/12/16/my-ph-d-proposal-defense-an-unarmed-academic-duelling-battlefield-the-self-discovery-of-my-own-strength-the-power-of-mothers-doa/) last December 2017! Nevertheless, Prof Muati and Dr. Hamisah are definitely not forcing me. They are simply assisting me, forecasting to whatever difficulties I may encounter during the final phase of my research if I were still adamant on doing Angelina Jolie. They asked me to go back and ponder and present them new manuscript/analysis/proposal in the next two weeks time.
So for the past two weeks, I have been referring to theses suggested by Prof Muati. I’ve read Madiha’s thesis “Discerning Goodness of Leaders Using Thin-Sliced Judgement of Nonverbal Cues Among Lay Malaysian and Chinese Perceivers” and the two journals she spun from thesis :-
- Interpreting Cues of Goodness: Thin Sliced Judgment of Malaysians and Chinese towards Political Leaders;
- Exploring Perceptions of Goodness Among the Malaysian and Chinese University Students: A Focus Group Study.
I have also reread the thesis by Khor Mi Nee “A Rhetorical Analysis of Speeches Delivered by Malaysian Chief Executive Officers According to Economic Climate (1998-2008). From Madiha’s thesis, I understand the perspective of which my Committee Members would like me to see. By having that Focus Group Discussion as a sturdy and stable methodology, it would serve as a great scaffolding for my research as so far it seems that my rhetorical criticism is not yet, ‘in-depth”. From Khor Mi Nee’s thesis, I now get the picture of the “in-depth” analysis I am supposed to do – that is to peruse line-by-line of the speeches.
One of the journals spun from Khor Mi Nee’s thesis.
As conclusion, I feel like I still want to give my Angelina Jolie’s rhetorical criticism another try and at the same time, try to see Dr. Mahathir’s possible rhetorical angle with Focus Group Discussion incorporated in it. So at this juncture, I hope I can hand two manuscripts to my Committee Members, hopefully by this week :-
- Improvised rhetorical criticism analysis of Angelina Jolie
- Focus Group Discussion approach to study rhetorical elements of Dr. Mahathir’s speeches.
Angelina Jolie or Dr. Mahathir? You know, I am equally fascinated with Dr. Mahathir as I am to Angelina Jolie. In fact, I have written a few blog entries on him, Che’ Det so the idea of being gravitated towards him is no question because I am his ardent fan. BUT, I still harbour that sentimental value towards Angelina Jolie’s research. But maybe like what my friend Sha commented in my Facebook – I can always “revisit” Angelina Jolie once I’ve got my PhD, no? For the time being, focus on what’s practical and necessary! So far, Che’ Det predominates the scene. but we’ll see on the outcomes of my manuscripts.
Insya ALLAH. Amin. Hopefully this 4th semester goes well.