Singapore

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1. I am all tuckered out right now; windsurfing was fantastic today. I actually windsurfed, properly – the wind was at a great level, but a little too strong at times to hang on to the sail without a harness (and I am months away from even learning how to use that, unfortunately!) – and there were a few, glorious seconds when everything was great and I was right on that edge of perfect balance and tilt and wind angle and whatever the other factors are and leaning out all the way so my arms were straight and even more things I probably don’t know yet, and it was sublime.

Then I fell over, of course. But those seconds were fantastic.

I need to make some friends at the club, though, because it’s a little scary to go in alone. I’m not that great sailing on port side (something to do with my left hand being less firm on the mast than my right) so at some point it was hard for me to return to shore though it was down wind, and I eventually struggled my way to the neighbouring bay and had to carry my equipment back to the club, which was fine, but just scary for a few moments. I love the sea when it’s not cold, though. And the beginners’ board is stable enough that you could stand on it and rock on the waves without feeling precariously perched.

For the amount of time I spend windsurfing, my mind drifts of into thoughts of it a lot. Even now, sitting on the couch, I feel the phantom surge of waves. Sometimes I feel like I’m back on the board, again, the dreamy, floating sensation without the physical fatigue. I like the ache and the bruises and the scratches, though.

Hopefully, the weather stays good this week.

2. Have been browsing a few … feminist image-related articles tonight. I’m usually (and unfortunately) sceptical about these crusades, but there are some important and relevant messages in these, I think. I’ll start with this comparison of photoshopped and original images in media, and then this personal account of a professional digital re-toucher who insists that all photos of women you see in pop media are photoshopped, without exceptions, which are both good reminders. I like to think I’m more inured to these insidious negative influences than many, and that is probably true, but I didn’t know photoshopping was so prevalent. There was another post by a woman struggling with the ethics of photoshopping FB photos, and here I thought it was the height of vanity to un-tag myself from ugly photos. This trailer of a movie about these issues, I quite liked, too. (A longer version available on Youtube if you liked it.) There were articles about how the line between pop culture and soft (or even hard) pornography has blurred steadily and disastrously through the years (Cosmopolitan being one of the most prolific example – I’ve only leafed through in the MCL girls’ bathroom and some of the articles are so risque and crude I’m surprised they got published in print, though I must admit I do find the magazine salaciously interesting, for a certain mood.)

I mean, there’s a thing to be said about the fact that the demographics for these informational videos and issues are overwhelmingly American, and many of these issues don’t apply to me directly. Re-touching, for example. The unveiling of the deception doesn’t quite reduce the pressure on me, because in Singapore, at least half the girls I see on the streets are naturally slim and slender. No Photoshop there. That being said, the pressure has always been relatively mild, and even more so now after two years away. I remember being quite self-conscious about my size in general last summer, but this year barely a passing thought has been given to it. Too many other things on my mind, I suppose – both better than worse!

And body image issues are so clichéd, right? But I’ve been fortunate enough to find myself in enlightened circles, too.

3. Of course, I’m in a calmer mood now too with the release of IB results. Being the person I am, my results generated a sharper pang of disappointment than hysterical euphoria (that was a one-time bloom at 4 am the day we left for winter break in our second year, it seems), but suffice it to say that I will be where I want to be come October, and that’s all that matters, now. I’ve been turning the matter over in my mind and I think I can conclude that I wouldn’t give up all the fun I had in second year (and I had a … substantial amount of fun, if you catch my drift ;)) for a perfect score.

… No, I really wouldn’t. I think. Ha.

There’s disappointment that there will be fewer people I know and love in London than I thought, but  – I suppose Scotland is close enough, anyway.

4. I managed to celebrate in style with two second years, and that was great ! Went to one of the classiest bars in Singapore: 71 stories up, gorgeous view of Singapore River, all the skyscrapers and lights for miles around in the Central Business District area. Some scintillating drinks, too, of course, and a tasty pizza.

Then we uh, post-gamed? in my second year’s house, and it was a little hilarious. Confessions all around! I left in a cab quite inebriated at 5 am, and crashed at my house for … around two hours before I had to report to work.

Great times, great times. I couldn’t tell if I were hungover or simply dead tired that morning, though. Maybe I’m one of those lucky few who don’t get hungovers! Fingers crossed. I guess I’ll find out in the UK, eh?

Seeing second years was both a more and less nostalgic affair than I expected. I didn’t consider the issue much, but meeting them was a pleasant, mildly wistful reminder of Pearson first year. At the same time, the memories did not soften the sharpness of the present, and it was a solid kind of good to be meeting and talking as individuals instead of first and second years or even Pearsonites, really – to have left what I think is one of the last vestiges of Pearson behind, finally.

Or maybe there’s something about seeing Pearsonites in your home country? The tourist perspective was also an unexpected treat. Singapore’s great with money. I mean that less derisively than it seems, or you would expect.

In any case, there is enough stuff here to show people around for … at least three days!

5. Love this poem. It deserves to be reposted in its entirety, I think.

“Miniature Bridges, Your Mouth”
Marty McConnell

what we do in the dark has no hands. no
crossover effect, no good-bye kiss after the alarm.
what we carry in, we carry out, end of story. this
doesn’t even want to be love. except in minutes
when your face has the shape of my palm and I think
lungful. let want out with the cat. returns
and returns, something dutiful. persistent.
hold your breath, let it build, let go. this is practice.
I’m losing weight, a bad sign, I’m happy. serious,
you say. contained, I think. the cat comes back
with a dead bird to the doorstep, an offering. bloodless
this should be easy. a two-step to cowboys. you’re beautiful
but that’s not the point.

x

I know my way back perfectly well. like the back
of my hand, as it were. but look, the labyrinth walls
are high hedge and green. this also could be joy.

xx

I literally don’t know your middle name. does that
matter? what systems we arrange for intimacy, small
disclosures like miniature bridges, your mouth. not
what I’d anticipated. softer. to begin with,
I should tell the truth more. I could miss you,
and that’s a liability.

xxx

I am not often off-kilter. but you’re so silent, even
naked, and almost absent. I hush too, why
are we here. go. want to throw things, you, the clock,
break windows until something bleeds and you finally
scream. I tell you too much; we are not
those people. or nothing – maybe I say
utilitarian fuck. how would that be. I want you
to want to fall in love with me and that’s
unhealthy. wrong. leave your shoes by the door
and pretend it’s about the movie. it’s love
in the movies it’s casablanca and toy story
and water no ice come here. pockets need
to be untucked, drawers thrown open,
nobody’s safe. there, I’ve said it:
someone I was could have loved you.

6. I’m enjoying the lull like a docked ship. The harbor view’s great, and comforting, and gentle. But the ocean is out there, and it’s still calling. But two months seem more bearable now (with a faint prospect of enjoyment) with the end certain and in sight.

7. Someone told me recently that I had great friends at home. I do. I definitely don’t say that enough.

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