Monday, December 29, 2008

This Just In!!!

Okay. So there is some breaking news. Results just came out for sem 1. HAHA! CUI!!!

I think I got the grades that I rightfully deserved. That's to say my grades weren't fantastic nor were they rock bottom.

I was kinda stressed out about this result cuz it would validate the choice that I made a couple of years ago and the choice that I made earlier this month. I WILL SURVIVE! Strive on.

Okay. Enough about results.

Over the weekend before Xmas, I spent some time in Orchard doing some carolling for the Hall Prod Fund. Walking up and down Orchard, it really began to sink in how commercialised Xmas has truly become. It's not like I haven't written the same exact thing last Xmas and the Xmas before that, but it's still something that bothers me. Worse still, I think I've lost the true Christmas Spirit as well.

I remember when Christmas was such a big deal in my family. When we used to host 40 people around a gigantic table set up in my living room. I don't mean buffet style. I mean an actual table where everyone has a place with a name card, a plate and cutlery set up for each and every person. When we used to take time off every one's schedules to set up the Christmas tree together and go the Cold Storage at Centrepoint to buy the food (haha! it's almost a Eurasian Christmas tradition). How we'd wait for everyone to be seated and say Grace together. My family hardly ever says grace before eating, so Christmas dinner grace was a 1x GOOD ONE to settle the rest of the year. =Þ

This year, I admit I had almost nothing to do with the Christmas celebration at home. It was all my sister this year. She made everything happen. The presents, the decorating of the house, the setting up of the Christmas tree and the shopping for food. I really should have made time for all that. I put hall stuff in front of home stuff.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the true Spirit of Christmas is in the food, presents and a fake fir tree. It's the celebration of the first Christmas present, Christ Himself. But in the midst of the good food, wonderful presents and a well decorated (albeit fake) tree is the one thing that matters. Family. The celebration is as much about family (or in fact more) than all the glitz and lights and showiness that is today's commercialised Xmas.

Well. As it is year after year, New Year's is just a week away from Christmas and is in fact just a couple of days ahead of this post. Is 2009 a time of change for me? I honestly think so. It might just be the right time. We'll see.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Year end Report

Well. This year has been quite an adventure for me. A lot of first times to experience, a lot of people to meet and a lot of new environments to get used to. So my year end report is really really long. Hope you guys enjoy.

Official Release Day

It's been a funny sort of year. I started out my year well and truly in an ORD mood. My ORD date was in February but my understudy came late in the previous year so I was in the office more as a figurehead than anything. Coincidentally, my ORD fell on the same day as Chinese New Year. So not only did I get angbaos, I also got my NRIC back from the SAF (symbol of freedom!!).

Strangely enough though, ORD was a little hollow. I'd been working with these people for about one and a half years and it was strange not having to wake up at 7 in the morning and make my way to squadron where we'd bitch about how much we didn't like certain organisations, whose name shall not be mentioned, and then leave at 5 in the evening. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I wanna be an NSF again. It's just that not being able to hang out with the people in squadron kinda sucked.

One teh O aise limau, one Bandung

Saving slowly dwindled in March as the hunt for a job turned up nothing. But it was in mid March that I joined Bro_isk, Narada, Durani and Sam for a ride in Bandung, Indonesia. It's a smaller city abt 200km from Jakarta and we went to ride up dormant volcano in nearby Lembang town. Fantastic views and some really good trails. The best of which was a trail through a tea plantation. The plantation was terraced and we were riding along one of the terraces. So we'd have tea bushes on one side and a sheer cliff down about 10 metres on the other side. Excellent.

Another year, another candle

April wasn't too fantastic in terms of job hunting either. But it was my 21st birthday, so some aunts and uncles gave angbaos which helped to boost my bank account at least for a while. My birthday was just the way I wanted it. Small gathering of the people that are important to me. Got ponded and raped by them. But they're still important to me.

Of first times and good times

Also in April, I set off again to get my passport stamped. This time with a US stamp. It was the first time I'd ever been to the US, so I was undeniably excited. The plane ride was torture. Making me sit there and wait and wait and wait..... and wait some more. Haha. If only planes were like a looooot faster.

New York was amazing. In some ways, Manhattan is very like Singapore. There always stuff to do and the subways are really excellent (except on some weekends when they do maintenance works). I liked going for walks around Manhattan and just people watch. I caught a little league baseball game down at what I think was Hudson Park, went to see Lady Liberty, ate at this great burger joint in the middle of Madison Square Park called the Shake Shack and saw the FDNY in action. Later that same trip, we went to San Francisco as well. Went to the Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf and the Farmer's Market.

The Thin Red Line

After I got back from the States, I had a really interesting time relief teaching at back at my old JC. Haha it was only a week and it was only teaching PE but it was still a fulfilling stint. It was actually kinda weird sitting with my former teachers in the canteen having lunch with them. It was like crossing the line between students and teachers. It was kinda boring having to watch people trying over and over again to pass their fitness tests, but it was fulfilling watching some of them finally pass their test. The look of achievement on their faces made it worthwhile.

From Paris to Berlin London

Yet another first that came this year was my trip to London and Paris to visit my relatives there. I loved London. There was history and culture everywhere you turned in Central London and there was no shortage of things to do. Haha. The only thing that I didn't like was that you couldn't get booze after 12mn. Totally wth lah.

But just being in London seemed so exciting. There was so much to see. The British Museums, the old buildings like the Tower of London, the West End, Greenwich, the National Gallery, the Tate and so many other museums.

Paris was just as excellent. On recommendation, we stayed at a small three star hotel just on the bank of the River Seine. The Hotel Victoria Chatalet. The best part? We were like 5 mins from the Louvre Museum, a stone's throw away from Notre Dame cathedral and had a direct bus to the Musee D'Orsay. Awesome!!! The first day we got into Paris, we kinda got lost walking around the Subway system. The hotel was just across the road from the station entrance but the station entrance is like a 5 min walk away from the platform, and frankly, the smell of the underground stank. It smelt of old plasticine, in short just plain disgusting. To top it all off, it was raining. To make it even worse, we hadn't had lunch and it was 4 pm. To compound that, the first meal we had in Paris, FRANCE, was KFC!!

But it was summer, so thankfully we had light till about 10pm. That very evening, we went to see the Notre Dame cathedral, the Royal Opera House and the lights of the Louvre at night. Over the next two days, we went through the whole of the Louvre, walked the whole of the Champs Elysée (with all the super expensive branded stuff), climbed 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, went through the whole of the Musee D'Orsay, took three different elevators to the top of the Eiffel Tower and ate the most expensive piece of Salmon I'd ever tasted.

After this trip to Europe, I only have to venture into South America, Africa and Antarctica before I can say that I've been to all the continents on Earth.

Back to School

After coming back from Europe, I had about two weeks before the start of Hall orientation camp which would signify the start of my university life.

August was a time of change and a month to remember for me. A new school, a new room, new neighbours and a totally new lifestyle. So when I unlocked the door to my room in hall for the first time, I was undeniably apprehensive.

But from the first icebreaker games on the first night of FOC, I could feel that there was something about this group of people that promised a great week ahead and even better times to come in hall. And the time that we spent together during FOC proved me right. The games that we played during the day and the late nights spent at the block 13 car park practising for the Cheer Fight Cheer was physically tiring as well as mentally exhausting but it bound us together as a family. Even after FOC, the strong bonds that we formed held as the freshmen went through their first semester in NTU with our seniors in hall guiding us through.

Staying in Hall One has been a whole new adventure and the friends that I have made in hall have been a integral part of that adventure. Although it may sound clichéd, it is true that my life in NTU would not be at all the same if it wasn't for the crazy, fun-loving bunch of people that I live with in Hall.

'Tis the season to be busy

Finally, December is here. It's been a really busy period and although there is no school, I find myself spending my whole week in school. Hall prod rehearsals in the day, meetings at night, hanging out friends at night and inter-hall games and trainings meant that life got really busy. And it still is. I have carolling sessions to raise funds pretty much all the way until Xmas eve so that's keeping me busy. Plus the song writing which is actually behind schedule. But I like it cuz I'm doing something that I'm truly interested in and that is totally different from what I trudge through in school.

Well. This is probably my last post of the year (unless there is some breaking news that I would want to share). But it's really long so it should sustain you guys for a long time.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Busy 25 hrs a Day

In between rehearsals, song writing, meetings, inter-hall games, trainings etc, I barely have enough time to sit down and do nothing.

I guess I kinda like that as well. Being busy all day beats having nothing to do and stuck at home or in my room. And I'm enjoying pretty much everything that I'm doing right now so I don't really mind.

But guess the lack of sleep is kinda slowing me down. Have been sleeping like an average of 4 hrs every night this week. Yeah, yeah. I know it's not too good. But I can't really help it.

Oh well.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Not for the First time, not gonna be the last

I know it's not going to be the last time I feel this way but it sucks.

On a slightly different note, I'm feeling creatively constipated. I still need to work on my songs but nothing's coming out. Haha. And deadlines are fast approaching. DIE!

I've watched like dozens of musicals just to get inspiration. HSM 1, 2 and 3, Hairspray, Phantom, even bloody Sound of Music. Haha, I don't think I've ever been so Musically saturated at any other point in my life. Heck, I've even watched some of the old Disney cartoons.

HAHA! I just realised I wrote an unintentional pun. "different note", "music" haha. Get it? zzzzzzzz