Singapore

there there don’t lynch me

It is a terribly, rainy introspective Saturday afternoon and there is that metaphor of emerging, gasping, from a exhausting week of work and reverie, weighed down by a common cold. At least the past two weeks are over (though again I am left wondering if I am merely counting down the days as I used to do what has been the difference in my movement?) and I have emerged relatively unscathed though worn, and with at least little accomplishments to show for it.

My history essay, though it was the hardest essay I felt like I’d ever written, and in the end I despaired so completely over it that I simply cleaned up the style and grammar and abandoned it to the wrath of my teacher, apparently is deserving of a solid 7 and a personal (albeit delivered with the awkwardness that is the current status of my relationship with my teacher at the moment) remark. Of greater import are the various detailed comments he’d written, which I take as stronger reassurance than any grade. I have a sneaking suspicion my English IOP (independent oral presentation; either 7.5% or 15% of my final IB grade) went remarkably well; on my part, after a diastrous hour-long rehearsal in my room where I stumbled over and halted between every single word, the actual presentation flowed surprisingly well for me, and I didn’t even have to use my cue cards (they’ve always been more a distraction for me, in any case) and both my class and my teacher seemed understatedly impressed, so that’s that, I guess. Too soon to say worth the effort and the last-minute change of topic, but it was solid work, not last minute cunningness, so if anything, that is satisfying.

(I can’t remember the specific point, though I know it was recent, that my admiration has shifted mostly from natural genius to honest toil, particularly with myself. In Raffles, there was always this subconscious reluctance to expend much effort on anything because it seemed like an indication of a lack of natural ability, but here the importance is placed on action and diligence, and I suppose also that since I realistically admit to having a modest level of ability, both natural and intensely pressed out of me through the years of Singaporean schooling, it is easier to trust in the effectiveness of a combination of both. I suppose. All things considered, hard work and talent will get you further than talent alone, which is such a blatantly obvious statement that I feel stupid just saying it, but – being away from the clearly delineated Raffles/Singapore system and also its codependent, peer-pressurized nature is kind of forcing me to figure out what’s more important to me as an individual? I’M NOT SURE THIS PARAGRAPH MAKES SENSE. I suppose I’m just less emotionally involved with the people here, and the increased uncertainty regarding my Future is causing me some grief.)

Math test was slightly disappointing in results, because all the marks lost were due to carelessness, but at least I feel like I’ve broken the psychological streak of math anxiety. Philosophy essay was really, really remarkably bad, but I can live with that, especially I know what I did wrong, even as I was doing it :P

Through that thicket of academic jungle, there’s been several nervewracking moments throughout the week as well. Besides the English presentation I had to deliver standing in front of the class !, during village meeting my name was also randomly called and I had to get up in front of the whole school and talk about my opinions and though I don’t feel like I said anything particularly illuminating and my face was burning with nerves, at least I was clear in my speech and people understood me, so. Last night I had to introduce a speaker, Tim Ward, who wrote a couple of books about Buddhism and spent a year, I think, in a Thai monastery and is also a phenomenal speaker, to the entire college, and it was pretty bad in that it could have been better, and pretty good in that it could have been a whole lot worse. Little steps, right? Public speaking is such a bitch.

It’s always the self-consciousness with me. These days I am sometimes reminded of the fact that I’m almost 18, goodness gracious, and in much of the outside world, particularly the English-speaking region, people will think ‘responsible adult’ when they look at me, instead of ‘JC student’ or ‘teenager’, as I imagine they would in Singapore. It’s kind of tragic that I have this deep-seated fear of calling organizations, or strangers, up on the phone, you know. 

As always, the verdict: Working on it. 

I feel like I’m not talking about anything exciting at all. Last night we had a Middle Eastern dinner in honour of the recent crises in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt, and the food was pretty good. We have people from both Egypt and Jordan here, and a few of them were actually interviewed by the local news station. After that, we had a band from Victoria High School perform at night, transforming the caf into an (alcohol-free) club, and people were just dancing and having fun. Quite a lot of people dressed up! I went for around an hour because I wanted to go to bed early so my body completely recovers and I can return to a punishing~ regime in the gym (no, not really.) 

This week has been gloriously sunny (save today, of course, since it’s Saturday and weekends can’t be sunny because then we’ll have way too much fun) and the days are lengthening as well; dusk now only sets in at around 5.30 PM (UNIMAGINABLE, I KNOW) so spring is nigh (and then summer break). There is an econs trip to Cuba planned, and I am really stoked about that though I’ll only go if the costs aren’t too exorbitant. Cuba! 

… LJ just ate that last bit. But I was undecided if I wanted to post it, anyway, so I guess LJ made that decision for me. I feel woozy again, so back to bed it is.

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