perhaps a brief recap of the past month.
1. Had the lab interaction day to burn some of the personal development fund. We started out at the cooking class to cook our own lunch and then to an art studio to paint. Personal thoughts:
A) Cooking classes: Overpriced at best. They assume everyone attending the class is a noob. To be fair, most of them have never wielded a knife in their life, much less a piping bag. I don’t think I would like to go for cooking classes held here. The chefs (probably trained at SHATEC) didn’t allow you room to experiment and to do things you normally do when you cook, which could very well work out for the best. They assume you know NOTHING and treat you accordingly (i.e. like idiots). That really disgruntled me. Plus it’s not even a professional cooking course, it’s a fun fun masak masak kind of thing. Why on earth would that cost $140 per pax? I could probably teach everyone the same things and charge much less. I’m sorry, but I don’t think cooking is an exclusive sort of skill. However the end result was not bad, and everyone had fun so it fulfilled its purpose. I also really liked the female coordinator. She was really funny, contrary to the types that typically organize these team bonding activities that try to sound inspirational and self-helpy (i.e. like OBS instructors) but generally come off sounding like they couldn’t get a proper degree hence their current situation. At least that’s how they generally sound to me. She actually made intelligent jokes (that many people failed to get) and sounded like it was the most natural job in the world to her, that her situation was enviable even. I guess one thing I didn’t mind paying for was for them to do the washing up for me. I almost never do my own washing up, unless liangze had to rush off for rehearsals (back in cornell). Wouldn’t have liked to start then :P
B) The afternoon was spent in an art studio painting and “unlocking our inner artist”. Probably some of their inner artists are best kept locked up. Anyway I really hate that phrase, and all the cliches scientists/engineers seem to use. Is it that they can’t be bothered to polish their diction? Every day I die a little bit inside at the language used and abused in the lab. This art studio was in istana park and they gave us each a canvas, easel, smock, and free flow of acrylic(!!!). I was really excited. And totally ready to use up all their acrylic in painting one of those nice textured paintings in the art gallery in Raffles City depicting rice fields in Thailand or some other rustic scene. The artist uses so much acrylic that each blade of wheat literally pops up off the canvas. Everyone was real frugal in their use of the paint though, and not many people thought of color blending. While painting I distilled two very necessary qualities needed for a successful canvas:
i. Knowledge of what your final product should look like.
ii. Knowledge of the means of bringing that final product in your mind to fruition.
I realised most people only have one or the other, which somehow makes people who have both seem very cool. It’s not really. Let’s say the people who possess quality i lie on a normal distribution centered at the .25 mark, and the people who possess quality ii lie on a normal distribution centered at the .75 mark. Then the intersection of these distributions are the people who have both quality i and ii. Admittedly it is a rather small pool of people, but at the same time they didn’t do anything to land themselves there. Let’s be objective about talent.
2. The GRE subject test. It was horrific. Will probably have to take it again. Better find out when the next one is. I left loads of blanks, it wasn’t even funny. We took two days of leave to study for it, which made me very sad that my leave was being used for evil instead of good. Not that I didn’t enjoy it. Mugging math intensely is really fun in a masochistic sort of way. I don’t think I’ve concentrated that much in a long time. Mugging also seems to be an expensive activity nowadays. I did the first day in McDonalds, and the second day at Cafe Galilee at Bishan library. [At a certain age you no longer care about mugging ‘chic-ly’ in a nice coffee joint with completely impractical tables. You start prizing large, ergonomic tables that you can splay your notes all over accompanied by comfy chairs and bright lights. By these criteria we ruled out Coffee Bean and Starbucks, even though Coffee Bean was my mugging venue of choice in lower sec (back when I still mugged). ] Both were noteworthy experiences. You get to hear what kids (primarily secondary school students) are anxious about nowadays. What young people talk about, what teachers talk about (a surprising number of teachers go to McDonalds for lunch). I felt more connected with Singapore than any other experience I’ve had in the past 150 odd days I’ve been back. It’s really heartwarming to listen to normal Singaporeans chat over food, especially the younger ones. Not the gossipy kind of lunches at Raffles Place where the whole world seems to be bitching about a boss or coworker. Accountants. The kind where they discuss their families (as secondary schools friends) and their ambitions and whether the new cheese shaker fries are worth their salt- (general consensus by the many McDonalds patrons stopping by the table next to me: no. everyone prefers a more japanese flavoured fry to go with the samurai burger. Of course there is the small problem that their cheese seasoning is a quite shocking shade of atomic orange)
3. House toilets finished renovating. had to move back home :( mixed feelings about this. I was really happy in prince george’s park with my new best friend. And the waking up late + reaching work early + free reign over the kitchen! The toilets at home are nicer than before but the design still screams “HDB”. I wonder if the design descriptors for HDB architects tell them explicitly to make things ugly to drive private property prices up. Perhaps ‘ugly’ is too harsh a word. But I seriously can’t think of a better one. Whose bright idea is it to make the toilet bowl the same colour as the door frame as the sink as the tile? Or are all these architects hired at the year’s end? Do people who live in HDBs not have eyes? How insulting.
4. A whole slew of concerts are coming up. Not just classical, there’s a guitar one and then Lisa Ono in two weeks. His birthday is also coming up and I have generously volunteered to bake the cake. Life is really tiring right now, but in a good way.