Singapore / Updates

a distinct lack of productivity

That is what characterizes my days now. (I don’t know why I am pretending that is noteworthy/anomalous.)

Meanwhile, my nose is making up for that by running into overdrive. How is it possible for it to produce a seemingly unending supply of mucus constantly? Irrationally, I blame my wardrobe packing efforts. I rearranged all my clothes this afternoon as a half-hearted pretense at packing. I made little headway, though. I have a pile of what is clearly winter wear (I stole one of my dad’s black merino wool sweaters – why does my dad have merino wool??), a pile of layers, a pile of clothes I am appalled at myself for buying, to say nothing less of flying back to Singapore, and a pile of clothes I cannot decide on.

It must have been the accumulated dust that set off this sneezing fit.

I had quite a few things to say but I have forgotten most of them after that last sneeze. I’ve had a lot of time to think very hard about many things recently. I distinctly remember being in the car two afternoons with my aunt and thinking so hard I was almost – almost – afraid I would break something. I am half-kidding. No, seriously. I could feel a headache coming on. Usually, I’m thinking about university, the finances of it, academics of it, the social aspects of it, etc. etc. I cannot imagine what it would be like, at all, but everyone I’ve talked to about it – who is overseas – have said that it is amazing and the people are amazing and the place is amazing. I am more than excited, and a large part of that excitement stems from my eagerness for the rest of my life to continue. Waiting is difficult, especially when so many of your friends have already moved on; I cannot even begin to imagine how those still waiting out another year/eighteen months in national service or on their gap years must feel, though at least they are also meaningfully occupied.

I don’t know what it is about this class of departure and missing people, but I find that they are better assuaged by either letter correspondence or regular emails/online conversations. Skyping has lost a lot of its allure, and I find conversations less organic, less easy on it. I don’t know what it is about my renewed interest in letter writing, but I’ve already mailed out five letters this month, three more are sealed, and at least four more planned. Skyping is too immediate and not immediate enough, and less than speedy internet usually results in frustrating calls.

Meanwhile:

1) Saturday morning was spent supervising one of my classes’ beach clean-up. As luck would have it, the designated area was right next to my windsurfing area, so that worked out nicely. I found it a little ridiculous that there were two teachers assigned to each class, and neither of them had any official task besides “make sure students aren’t run down by bicycles when they cross the bicycle path” and “make sure they don’t step on sharp objects”. There was a long list of don’ts that defeated the purpose of going to the beach, I think. But the girls had fun, in a way. I don’t know what my sentiments towards RGS’ paternalism (maternalism?) are right now. I told a few Oxfordian RGS alumni about the new, fingerprinting e-attendance system, and all of us were degrees of appalled. Fingerprinting! Even as I appreciate, in a slightly horrified way, the merits of organization and good attendance records, the measure makes me a little uneasy, not least because I remember arriving to school late for at least the second half of my sec 4 year, simply because my class was situated alone in the new classroom block and I figured out that the gates are open and unmanned at 7.40 am.

But girls shouldn’t be regulated like that, should they? Though it is of course more efficient than attendance-taking every morning and effective than attendance sheets. In any case, I’m glad I graduated a few years before this. What does that mean?

2) Windsurfing would have been great, if, you know, there had been wind. There was a light breeze for half an hour, and then it completely died, leaving me looking like a giant tool standing on a board in the middle of the nonchalantly calm sea.

On the plus side, I have been upgraded to the intermediate board, so it is narrower and longer and a little harder to balance on, and I am using the 4.0 square meter sail with the new board, and one of the instructors took pity on my dream of windsurfing in the UK and taught me how to do a Fast Tack.

I also found out a piece of hugely informative and useful news: the difference between a tack and a jibe. A tack turns the board upwind, so you use it when you are going downwind and want to turn around, and a jibe turns the board downwind, so you use it when you are going upwind and want to turn back downwind.

THIS MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. A jibe is easier to execute than a tack, so previously, that was all I had been doing and it … was not very helpful in allowing me to return to my original take-off spot.

I will practice all that before I leave, hopefully. The windsurfing guys are pretty helpful and sweet, if in a old, gruff way, but as a ‘summer visitor’, kind of, I don’t have an opportunity to be more inducted into the community than the marginal extent I already am. The fact that they deign to acknowledge my presence and offer periodic tips is already very much appreciated.

3) Pre-departure dinner was exceptionally pleasant, and everyone I met was gregarious enough and charming and friendly, though undoubtedly this is pre-university/orientation standards, and everyone is on their best behavior. We were at Brewerkz in Clarke Quay, and the food, though expensive, was pretty good. I ordered a Tiramisu cocktail, which was fantastic; I am easily taken with cheap thrills like that, e.g. dessert drinks. It tasted like a liquid tiramisu. You can’t go wrong with that!

Quite a wide range of majors presented – there was a PhD student in statistics, wow, and I am surprised that PPE isn’t more popular, and there are only two girls, including myself; the other is a close friend and from my Sec 4 class.

11 DAYS, but as much as I cannot wait for the rest of my life to start, I’m not sure I want the rest of my life to end – though the dichotomy is illusory, of course.

4) Just had a long Skype conversation with a dear Pearson co-year, and then more first years in a brief, riotous affair, and it was exciting and made me happy. As I remarked to him, Pearson seems a lot more awesome when you’re not there. I don’t know why that is. The inherent fickleness of human beings?

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