Another busy week come and going, and things are piling up at an alarming pace. Lectures and tutorials proper have started (for real!) and somehow I still feel I’m stuck in the boots of a kid trying to oppose gravity and wrench my way out of my heavy shoes. How are lectures? Well I skipped my first one today. It’s really an RJ mentality if you ask me: if you can self-study why bother going to lecture?

I had my first project meeting today as well. I’m adjusting, of course-when am I never?- but really, I can’t say I feel any sort of cohesiveness to Tutorial Group 30 at all. There’s no proper communication! No connection! A tutorial group outing is overdue- but not this weekend, I’m taking the bus home for a little mini “retreat” (who am I kidding? I have Powerpoint slides to complete over the weekend, already), as well as to lug over to my almost new home some textbooks and clothes and food.

Yet, as expected, I’m not settled. I can’t settle. It’s as though my heart is at a standstill but things are moving on and leaving it behind. I feel mechanical, like clockwork, like I’ve been put on an exercise wheel and am running, running, running interminably, exhausted, but to step off is not and option.

I’m tired. And I suspect it will only get worse for the next three years, so help me.

On a lighter note (there is always one, mind you), I finally put up the promised recounts and pictures. I shall do this in chronological order starting from the most recent:

Chongxian’s Birthday
Tea with Mingfang
Triple Birthday Bash Drench

Chongx’s Birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHONGXIAN!

Kevin and I wanted to plan something for him, but obviously weekday night birthdays aren’t the best of times because there is never any time to properly come up with something clever and elaborate beforehand. So we decided to crash his room and surprise him with pizza at the stroke of midnight today! I called Chongx and told him that we wanted to go for ‘supper’ (at the neighbourhood hawker centre, Ah Fang, a tad far for inhabitants in our area of campus), so please keep his night free!

(So Chongx said he had something on and would call me as soon as he was available. THEN, because I don’t have caller ID, when Chongjyn called near midnight to ask me about the night’s plan, I thought it was Chongx and frantically came up with some flimsy lie to cover up our surprise. Then in turned out it wasn’t Chongx calling but Chongjyn, then a confusion ensued and etc. Oh well. SGD5 per month for called ID?? I declare that a total ripoff.)

Armed with a pizza, three birthday cards and a present from Kevin and Jasmine, Terry and I made our way to Chongjyn’s room, our meeting point with Chongjyn and Kevin. There, a number of people joined us. Chongjyn’s and Chongxian’s friend (Ing Hao? Ing How? I was coughing too badly to bother asking people for their names) and his friend came prepared with a slice of chocolate cake and a candle – so sweet of them! Our little procession proceeded to catch Chongxian offguard as he ended a birthday phone call.

SURPRISE! (:

After that the guys decided to be boys and play around a bit. They dressed poor Chongx up in two towels:

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and made him pay a visit to the girls’ floor, knock on every room door, and say:
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Hi, it’s my birthday. Would you like to see my birthday suit?

Oh gosh. Hilarious. Well for a while for me, at least, because after that I had coughing fits and things cease to be funny when you lose the capacity to laugh without suffocating.

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But the diversity in the reactions we got were undeniably funny whether I laughed or not. Some girls were game- “WHAT THE HELL!” in between incredulous chuckles, “Ohmygod”, jumping out to happily pose for pictures, etc; some were completely blur and asked, “What do you mean?”.

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After the debacle was over, everyone with the exception of Terry, Kevin and I retired back to their rooms. We ended up going up to the lawn roof of the School of Art, Design and Media to look at the moon, which looked exquisite that night. Bright, but mournful in the glory of the reddish halo that circled the moon- how could we resist going up there to just see such a glorious expanse of beautiful night sky?

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The SADM at night – also where the birthday boys got thrown into the pond a few days earlier
I don’t remember how long we sat there, really (Chongjyn rejoined us after a while), but it was wonderful, just sitting and talking in the semi-dark. Conversations like these keep me going; they remind me of why I love and who I love and why amidst all this bleakness there is something solid and beautiful to fall back on – the presence of people who are willing to stay and talk and listen and understand.

Kevin, I don’t think I can’t see beauty. I see a lot of beauty, but maybe I’m just very specific about the kind of beauty I see.

In any case, despite my terrible cough, I had a wonderful night. Such are nights to be lived for! I hope the birthday boy did, too!

Tea with Mingfang

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Foreboding skies along the way

Another good friend about to leave for the US! It’s really like bits and pieces of my old world are slowly coming apart, and screaming MOVE ON as they go.

Mingfang was my OG-mate in my first year at RJ – 2006. We’ve been friends for really long! Yet somehow I felt that that talk on Thursday revealed more to me than any talk that we’d ever had.

We went to this quaint little tea place at the Sixth Avenue Centre along Bukit Timah Road. It’s called the Tea Party:

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Sixth Avenue Centre

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The Tea Party

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Our seat by the window

It serves scones (albeit not fresh-from-oven ones) and all sorts of teas and coffees in pots. Absolutely adorable! We were the only customers that afternoon, though- it was a rainy and grey weekday afternoon, and I don’t suppose many people would randomly stop at the Sixth Avenue Centre to have tea on such a day.
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Mingfang and our food

Did I tell you? I absolutely LOVE the route of bus 157. It goes from Boon Lay, where NTU is, all the way along Bukit Timah/Dunearn Road, which feels almost suburban and lovely, and to RJ!! It brings me all the way from new school to old school, with lovely sights along the way.

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Little road

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Random abode, still along Dunearn Rd

Mingfang and I chatted about a lot of things- about life, about being different, seeing things differently from other people, old memories, about school- I wish I’d spent more time with her! Only here did I discover that Mingfang loves the idea of exploring random, quaint little cafes too- we should have done that together earlier. The things you find out about people only when it’s too late ):

Scene while I waited for the bus:
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At the bus-stop

I’m missing everyone already.

After that I came back to NTU for dinner with Paul Yap! Hello Paul! Brought him around only a bit, and took him to meet my OG members and seniors. Well Paul! I’ll still be seeing you on Sunday! (:

Triple Birthday Drench

It was a joint celebration of Chong Yen, Chongjyn and Dezien’s birthdays last Saturday. It was kind of fun- we got the birthday boys (Except Jyn who was out) blindfolded and took them to the void deck outside the ADM, where they got lowered gently into the pond and immediately after that, violently splashed with stagnant water from the pond.

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What’s there to say? After a while, it was obvious that nobody was going to leave the place dry. Everyone was dumped in and splashed at, some more than once. It was funny watching Teik Bing, who is normally very quiet, UNLEASH himself that night! I think he had the most fun splashing water at innocent victims.

I was feeling sick and dehydrated that night so I didn’t really enjoy getting drenched, truth be told, especially since I got a bad cough from that one night of playing. But it was pretty funny watching people scream in futile protest while being bodily lifted and put into water! Even all the big guys!
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Us- wet and wild (:

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With the birthday boys! Except De Zien.

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