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Archive for September, 2005

How can anything called ‘shopping’ week be bad?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

It’s been an amazing first week of school so far.  Actually it keeps getting better and better.  I have seven utterly compelling classes I want to take, many of which were unexpected finds, like a sociology class on leadership that’s taught like a HLS or HBS seminar, an excellent international law class and a surprising class on the libertarian analysis of economic and social policy.  I even found a final French class to take (completing my foreign cultures requirement and my language citation in one fell swoop) on Parisian Cityscapes – and it’s taught by my favorite Professor C from the last two French classes I took.

Tonight was the first time I worked HUCEP this semester, which explains why I’m up at nearly 3am.  Prior to this I was in bed by 1am and awake by 8am every day.  And I haven’t fallen asleep in a single class yet!!  (Anyone who knows me will realize how momentous this truly is.)

And hopefully there will be more good news to come *fingers crossed*.

To bed.

Setting up camp

Friday, September 16th, 2005

I’m back from the beach at Avon-by-the-Sea, which was fun while it lasted.  Meanwhile, Camp Harvard continues.

Living in the endless hallway that is
New Quincy also means easy access
(and incredible proximity) to multiple room parties.  Woah. 
So. Many.
Parties.  I have never seen so very many finals-club-type kids
wandering around drunk before.  It’s…  interesting, at the
very least. 

Unpacking is very tiresome, although
the prospect of eventually getting everything set up just the way I
want is quite promising.  I’ve hung many dozens of
wrinkled/crushed shirts fresh out of various boxes and suitcases. 
I’ve rearranged the furniture in my room multiple times, finally
deciding on the configuration that makes the room seem most cramped,
maximizes the distance between the broadband jack and the desk and
offers voyeurs in Dewolfe a full view of my bed.  In other words,
I shuffled the furniture around until I got bored and stopped.  I
have yet to find my five-point Creative speakers in storage (same with my
towels), my new computer is still in UPS limbo (although my lcd screen
has arrived), I managed to leave my winter coat in New York with
Sergey, and I still can’t find my white-tie shirt (which I need for
Freshman Jam tomorrow).

Clearly, I’m not ready for the fact
that I have my first essay due on Tuesday at 9am (pushed back from 9am
on Monday, thankfully).  Just two days till classes start – ready
or not, here they come!

(post-modern) Bohemian rhapsody

Monday, September 12th, 2005

I woke up this morning thinking I was snuggled in my new bed at Harvard in my spacious single in the New Quincy building.  It took about five minutes of blissful half-consciousness before I realized that I was in fact snuggled in a new bed in an even more spacious double in a New Jersey beach house.

How lucky can one guy be….?*

As I was saying yesterday, being back on campus just made me so exuberently happy.  There’s no truly logical reason for this, but the sun has been out, the move-in has been easy and punctuated by screams of delight upon seeing old friends (Dougie! Emmy! Judith!), plus not only is there nothing pressing to do, but I honestly cannot even remember what it’s like to have lots of stuff to get done on campus.  Camp Harvard, indeed.

As I told Dave, it’s like being a Freshman all over again – everything just seems so fresh and filled with promise.  It’s the junior high after the sophomore slump, I suppose.

*I’ve got a whole bunch of songs stuck in my head, and they’re mostly ones I heard sung on Friday night at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Manhattan (which is wonderful in every way imaginable).

On Friday, with absolutely nothing to do in New York, I walked from 49th Street above Times Square to the Financial District (from Sergey’s office to Century 21, if you must know), and back again.  That was a lovely long walk in glorious weather (and of course, following a proud personal tradition I was in long-sleeves and a tie, wool dress pants and leather dress shoes, naturally) which took me past many favorite haunts, like the Joseph store in the meatpacking district (where I spotted someone wearing one of those last-season Prada hats!), the Prada epicenter store in the Soho area and the colossal Strand bookstore (which I’ve actually never been in before).

I’m still completely disinterested in shopping, post-London, so I bought just one thing all day – an oversized mug to replace the one that disappeared during Meredith’s REP study break last year.

And now I’m blogging from an unbelieveably nice house by the Jersey shore (distance to beach: 40 seconds on foot) right out of the pages of Architectural Digest or Vogue Living (headline: “Classic New England with a Modern Twist, gracious and functional”).  It belongs to a Din alum who had it built just three months ago – you can still smell the newness of the unvarnished hardwood floors.  His jewelry-designer wife did most of the work and all the decorating, and you can tell that everything has been chosen with great care and thoughtfulness – the bathroom fixtures, the landscaping, the window treatments, everything is just right for the place.  There’re 11 of us Dins here, and there are more than enough beds and bedrooms to go round without using the humongous master bedroom or any of the couches, and the entire third floor of the house is not even finished yet.  There are apple trees in the backyard with ripe fruit just falling off of them (best ones are the ones that land on the enormous hammock and thus escape bruising).  Loverly.  Ridiculous.  Perfect.

And chatting to the owner on the way to get groceries was very comforting too, in a number of ways, some of which I can’t quite explain.  I asked him about his job (lawyer) and how much he enjoyed his work (7/10) and what he thought about making career and life-choices (many tradeoffs).  He concentrated in Government and didn’t write a senior thesis, and now works in Manhattan but spends long summer weekends with his wife and two young children at their vacation home at Avon-by-the-Sea (he works from home on Fridays).

Ok, people are finally starting to get up.  Time to go for a walk on the beach 🙂

See you in the Fall

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

I just had a piece of home-made kueh bankit and a sip of Wyndham’s Estate cabernet.  It made me think of communion so I gave thanks.

I’m all done packing and there’s actually space to spare in my bags.  And it’s only past 3am.  Praise God!

On Monday’s episode of America’s Next Top Model, the girls were made to simulate being a tv correspondent covering fashion week in Paris by reading off a tele-prompter on-camera.  What a fiasco.  Never mind that not one of them could pronounce “Hermes” (or correctly read “Gisele Bundchen” or “Christian Lacroix” – what kind of aspiring fashion models are these??), they were even completely unable to read words like magenta and technicolor!?  Unbelievable and also very sad.

Which reminds me of two things:

Firstly, public school systems all over the world have major (but different) problems.  I’ve sketched out the outline for an essay on why I think people ought to stop being completely ungrateful for the MOE system (which is arguably overall the best system in existence), but since I’m starting school shortly I doubt I’ll be finishing that anytime soon.  (NB: Of course the system has problems and some/many of them can be solved with time/effort/money.  The point is that the way some people blindly idealize education overseas is simply not an accurate reflection of reality.)

Secondly, according to Janine, this year’s Miss Singapore Universe pageant (yes, I know, very sad programming) saw the clear front-runner fall from grace after she was asked during the final interview round to name her favourite festival of an ethnicity other than her own, and why she enjoyed celebrating it. 

The poor, stunned girl named Racial Harmony Day.  And said she enjoyed the opportunity to wear different ethinc costumes.   *ouch*  Just about the worst answer possible, no?

(NB: To her credit, what kind of question was that anyway?  How many “ethnic” festivals do we celebrate here??  Most of our public holidays are either religious holidays which have nothing to do with ethnicity like the Buddhist Vesak Day or the Christian Christmas, and the rest are secular, non-cultural events like Labour Day, National Day etc.  Essentially the only ethnic holiday we celebrate is Chinese New Year – but the contestant was Chinese!)

I sold my Tablet PC today, which was quite a harrowing experience (and also means I shall have to wait to get any photos up). 

I shall be a whole different person in the Fall this year – new hair, new desktop computer, new housing, new focus.  I’ll be almost unrecognizeable.

See you there.

…. in ermine and pearls

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Feeling a little frayed from being up since 7.30am after a brief and light night’s sleep (during which I  happily dreamt about interacting with white silkie breeders 😉  Getting dressed this morning to send Janine to TTSH, I threw on an all-white Boss ensemble and my new pair of Dior car shoes (yes, the very flat pair in soft brown leather and no traction – but most of you already know my theory about nice shoes and traction).  So of course, before noon I had visited not one, but two wet markets at Clementi and Old Airport Road.  Emphasis on *wet*.

At one point in some random washroom I just stood there laughing at the ungainly waddling I’d had to do to get there without falling over or splashing my white jeans.  It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself, I think.  It also helps to make it bearable when it’s other people doing the laughing.

Just about everyone’s gone now.  Luen apparently flew back to CA yesterday before I got to say hi, GJ unexpectedly relocated to Edinburgh and Cal’s already somewhere in Germany.  I suppose it’s my time to leave pretty soon too.  It’s been absolutely wonderful being back though, and feeling utterly comfortable amidst familiar surroundings and friendly faces.  I *heart* my family, my friends and my country!  *NDP song plays in background*