Farewells

okay i have to clear the backlog of happy posts.
today is my last day at work! can’t stay down for too long with all the lovely people in my life. they are all of them blessings from God, whether they admit it or not.

I had lunch with carol yesterday at swensens at holland V since there was some one-for-one deal that the impoverished students we are wanted to exploit. the daft aunty kept getting lost from the fusionopolis and was half an hour late, and then the service staff were late with our food, and then we loitered around eating our gelato, and then i missed the last lunch shuttle back to the science park so i followed her back to the fusionopolis, and then we went to the marketplace in the fp basement for a poke around for my chocolate croissant, and then i finally walked back to the science park and she walked me up to the underpass. guess how long the entire excursion took. (don’t worry, i still spent more time in the office in total than out at lunch. reading dilbert.) Even though she doesn’t know it she was a wonderful antidote to the past few days, and I thought i was really tired and not in the mood for hanging out with anyone but she reminded me of how very undemanding hanging out with her is, and how little energy/effort is needed for us to have an amazing time. Thank goodness she doesn’t know about this place or will disown me immediately for the sentimental crap i am typing about her.

And today we went out as a lab to a japanese place in vivo cause it’s my last day! it is incredible that they all remembered and came and actually gave me a treat; i really didn’t expect it and thought it was going to be another regular lunch outing. we were all fascinated with the fake potatoes selling for $5 apiece at the display in front of the restaurant and had a huge bout of indecision re whether to continue stuffing our faces at cedele or to go back. aileen was torn between the two, but eventually (expectedly) we headed off to cedele and she got her chocolate banana cake and took johnson down with her in chocoholic craving. i would have gotten the chocolate truffle cake were it not for scholar’s night and the dinner there. (which failed to impress, i blame it on the recession. i can’t believe some scholars actually emailed marcie and asked if there would be crayfish this yr since their attendance was contingent on that. that’s a level even i would not stoop to! [i can see you smirking mingsee stop it.])

lots of people there! old people i haven’t talked to in yonks, like hui han and hui qi (sonya couldn’t make it in the end T-T), and new people i talked to a bit more like my buddy (there is only one left the other one defected! D: at least the one left is the math major :) and er solomon. i think i’ve been introduced to solomon at least three times in my life at those gep things but he has never rememberd me. he’s actually a right interesting chap and told me about how he expected clubbing to be rife in the states (going to cmu, i think.) and so he went with his parents to clubs like the velvet underground to see what it was like and to get accustomed to it. i thought that was really cool – my own folks would never do something like that – take me to clubs to get me wasted inducted. i told him there were frat parties with lots of weak alcohol and consequently lots of fooling around, not quite like the clubbing scene here (i say like the veteran i am) and he seemed a tad disappointed. i also told him how hui han averaged 3 hrs of sleep (per night, not per semester although i wouldn’t put it past him) there and solomon actually thought it was because the king was partying! while hui han is the (mambo) king for good reason, he had 3 hrs of sleep because he was mugging, and wants to get his masters in 3 yrs, and solomon looked even more disillusioned. our meeting this time was a lot more pleasant than the previous two times anyhow so i’m sure he’ll be quite popular over there. he’s gotten more self-deprecating and gentlemanly, unlike in secondary school when he was still writing his thesis entited “Why Girls Are Gross”. lol. i should have asked him if he still harboured that sentiment.

and even though jon yong did a pole dance for us i still think the whole night was incomplete without sonya there. (no offence jon the pole dance was quite lovely)

Observations

One of the greatest failures of the single-sex education system in Singapore is its negligence in teaching its young charges about coping with the opposite sex. There are so many repercussions that surface later on in life that are not immediately observable in adolescence, so it has always been somewhat regarded as a non-issue. But these frictions between the genders in later life make relationships difficult, and their success improbable. Here I am going to list down several mindsets that should have been but were not addressed in school, which would have made getting along now so much easier.

1. nobody taught boys that it was important to make their girlfriends feel special. nobody said that it was important, almost imperative, for them to take initiative and ask the girls out, which is why apparently many girls are doing the asking. nobody taught them that they’ve got to thicken their skins and take rejection in their stride, to hazard their chances and to lead in the relationship, so that the girl may feel secure and not suffer from bouts of diminishing self-esteem because the boy has neglected to ask her out, or maybe even think that he did not like her enough. Nobody told them that choosing to play their poxy little computer games instead of talking to or spending time with their girlfriends was hazardous to relationships, that it made girls feel like they were even less interesting than shooting terrorists in the head and building new galaxies. Nobody told them about the fragility of self-esteem, and how once shattered, takes ages to build up again. Nobody told them how asking a girl out on the day itself is so insulting, as if she has all the time in the world to sit around and wait for your call. Nobody told them how such insolence and presumption upon the girl’s unpopularity warrants immediate and total rejection, whether or not the girl is in fact unavailable.

2. nobody taught the girls to lower their expectations of guys. being in a single-sex environment where all your female friends are attuned to your every mood and gesture makes one used to such synergy and implicit understanding between friends, and later on expect even more of their boyfriends simply by dint of their office. but projecting such unrealistic expectations on them is clearly unreasonable because they are, after all, boys; they think like boys, and act like boys, and most of these boys (all) will have at least one foot permanently entrenched in their childhood (thank you sonya) – you cannot expect them to know that you mean ‘yes’ when you say ‘no’ and when you tell them to ‘go back.. it is so late’ to mean ‘please send me home’ and ‘flowers are stupid’ to mean ‘if i don’t get a single rose from you on valentines day i will sulk and give you hell to pay.’ nobody told us that our messages have to be clear, as if speaking to a child – because that’s what they are, really. Children.

3. nobody taught the guys never, NEVER to whine about the army (or about anything, really.). nobody taught them that girls expect them to suck it up and not whinge on and on about how tough and draining it was. the army is supposed to make a man out of you, not a crybaby. yes it hurts, yes it is difficult, and perhaps lonely – but what is the point of telling us? do you honestly think this whinging is going to increase our respect for you? or make the girls throw a pity party? or perhaps it is a competition? who suffers the most should get the most glory? well we concede, obviously. you can have the prize. we’re not interested in these juvenile competitions for sympathy – not last time, not now. nobody respects a guy who whines.

4. Nobody taught the girls to dole out sympathy where it is due, and to give love more than they expect it. Nobody taught them that guys too need to be reassured, whether or not they voice it (preferably not), to be comforted, and cared for. Nobody taught the girls that guys have feelings (very possibly nobody taught the guys that they have feelings either, which is why most of them grow up pretending they don’t), and should not be exploited, abused, or used for self-gratification. This doesn’t contradict with the last point because the ideal situation is where the guy’s response to a girl’s love is appreciation and reciprocation, not hankering after more like a petulant child.

5. Nobody taught anybody to give. Nobody taught anybody that love is all about giving, not about making yourself feel good. Neither a girl or a guy is the more important in the relationship – both are equally important, and both have needs that have to be met and very delicate feelings that have to be treated with the proper respect. Both are to esteem the other more than themselves, both are to understand, and sympathise without being asked to, to love without demands being made. On love, and how to give it – nobody taught us that.

p.s. this is in no way exhaustive, of course. feel free to think of/add more.

Carmen Alba

she made up her mind about her future on that long walk home
when she arrived, she went through all of her things and threw them out
erasing herself quietly behind closed doors
like most people live their lives.

i guess she was just tired of dead ends
phone calls that were never returned
promises that were never kept
tripping over the same stone.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός μου πρόσχες μοι ἵνα τί ἐγκατέλιπές με μακρὰν ἀπὸ τῆς σωτηρίας μου οἱ λόγοι τῶν παραπτωμάτων μου
ὁ θεός μου κεκράξομαι ἡμέρας καὶ οὐκ εἰσακούσῃ καὶ νυκτός καὶ οὐκ εἰς ἄνοιαν ἐμοί
σὺ δὲ ἐν ἁγίοις κατοικεῖς ὁ ἔπαινος ισραηλ

I am reaching the end soon. And I can’t say I’ll be sorry to go.
We laugh and we laugh, because there is nothing to be said for crying. Nothing to be said in the deep of the night, and nothing to be said at the crack of dawn, when we wrestle with our unresolved memories and that terrible yearning.

Gallivanting

Shandy (my cousin from the netherlands) is visiting here with her boyfriend and we went for dinner! my family finally has a family photo.
was gadding all about city hall today as i dragged xing yan to experiences with me (this US university fair at suntec). in a vague attempt to be helpful, i brought the cornellians manning the booth sustenance from the donut factory! also talked to prospective students, but i soon realised i knew nothing about my university and left them to it.
guy: “so is there aerospace engineering at cornell?”
me: (hollering to josh) “is there aerospace engineering at cornell!”
josh: “no.”
me: (to guy) “no.”
guy: “oh. okay..” (looks unsure as to whether he is in fact talking to someone from cornell.
(at this point josh cuts in and talks to him about engineering while i stand around agreeing enthusiastically to everything he says.)

well. at least i brought donuts! and i finally met the guy who emails the listserv every friday asking if people want to play soccer at ramin haha. he told me that in tonal theory 4 students are expected to identify twelve tone chords! that is nuts. the most we did at A level was to identify the Italian augmented 6th from the French and the German version, and maybe identify triple suspensions.

after dinner with shandy and rodney the banker my mum made the mistake of going to the supermarket. my brother and i tagged along and very happily dumped a load of stuff into her shopping basket. she was only intending to buy pork for chinese corn soup but we skilfully maneuvred her into the alcohol section and ended up with loads of wine and breezers, among a host of other snacks we both wanted. i also wanted to get asahi and chocolate mint flavoured baileys but we decided to go easy on the banker today. look at our lovely shopping!
DSC02380
this is what quality family time is about. i told her she just bought two weeks of happy children and should just enjoy the inebriation instead of thinking of how much she had to pay. ^^

Molto bella

Ching ching breakfast at evans road prata cafe! dear pei pei didn’t know where evans road was, and the aunty is studying law at NUS just beside evans road! we were all appropriately disgusted. the prata was amazing (and so was the company of course) – it’s the last time we’ll all be together for a good long while yet as mw flies off to botswana come thursday. the first time i went to the evans rd prata house was after a 413 gathering in sec 3 when we had 通宵 mahjong at seems’ place just across the road and a whole night of watching garou’s music videos. i still really like his sous le vent
et si tu crois que c’est fini
jamais
c’est juste une pause, une répit
après les dangers
et si tu crois que je toublie
écoute
ouvre ton corps aux vents de la nuit
ferme les yeux
et…

also had the mahjong klatsch, with three new tai tais-in-training (i exaggerate they were two lawyers and one chemist – none of them look like the sort who will be lounging about until they have established themselves professionally). i’ve missed clara’s house! and its fridgefuls of belgian chocolate. and the gambling glasses (today i was the king of hearts). and the stuffed panda. and the steinway! oh her piano still sounds marvellous i forgot to bring my scores there because i was rushing for tuition T-T else i’d have tried la campanella on her piano, and also Glass’ morning passages from the hours OST. there was misra’s famous bergedil (the only reason i am still friends with clara) and i took lots of pictures of the bergedil. and some of people too haha they should be up on fb at some point in the far future. becks is rapidly improving at mahjong she 胡ed alot of times today and almost 清一色ed and i got a really beautiful 七对子 too. out of all the combinations i think my favourite is still the 七对子 because you get 7 台 for that and 7 is a prime. i gave clara her pig paper clips and she gave me “Dilbert gives you the business” which i think is scott adam’s latest compilation :D where his insults are neatly categorised for efficient use on different departments, like your boss, or marketing, or HR, or like temps. :D perfect for my purposes. we played till 10 but i am still 手痒 gotta organise another session maybe at grace’s place.