Monthly Archives: August 2010

Empty vessel

During one of my lectures today, i finally caved in and whipped out my copy of The Economist to read. The lecture was agonizingly boring – every other student was busy burying their heads in either their doodles, iPhones or hell, like a couple of my friends, who were pitting against one another in Scrabble on Facebook. My friend seated beside me was busy reading the autobiography of Johann Sebastian Bach. Another was texting me from across the room, telling me how she was trying her best not to fall asleep. Why do lecturers not realize something is amiss? Because they are too busy reading off from their laptops to pay any attention to their audience.

After the lecture, one of my acquaintances walked up to me.

“I did not know you read The Economist.”

“Yeah i do,” i smiled, trying to partake in this social interaction.*

“You are like [insert name of one of the sleaziest guys in the cohort], he reads The Economist too!” he mentioned excitedly.

“Erm, please do not tell him that,” i said hurriedly, already foreseeing the unsolicited attention from a guy i rather not spend time in the same room with.

My acquaintance frowned then continued, “Are you into politics?”

“Nope.”

“Oh, so you read because you don’t want to appear stupid?” he said (without any hint of malice or arrogance).

I stared at this guy in front of me, amazed at his ignorance.

“No, i read so i get an idea of current affairs and have a more balanced perspective,” i replied in astonishment.

I never knew that something as innocent as reading a newspaper could be taken with such ulterior motives.

“Oh i see,” he said.

My goodness.

*Don’t get me wrong. This is one of the rare guys whose company i enjoy – that is we can hold a decent conversation without me being bored or disgusted. But his mentality reminded me so much of the people back in The Homeland that i was astounded. Astounded because he had spent more time overseas in a Western country (at least a decade!) than me, and yet his attitude still retained such a Homelander attitude. Wow. Roots grow deep.

A new watch a year

Does anyone go through their watches as fast as i do? I seem to damage one watch a year; it’s starting to be quite expensive.

For no rhyme or reason, this is what happens:

How did moisture get in there??

A close up:

The amazing thing is the watch still works!

Should i just bite the bullet and invest in a really expensive watch from a more reputable brand? G-shock and Casios do not seem to last very long. Maybe i should look into Timex; after all they are used in Ironman marathons, aren’t they?

On other news, today was the last soccer match of the season. I find it ironic that at the start of the season, i was playing at the back of the field, as goalkeeper. Through the season, i was progressively shuffled forward and today in my final game, i was playing as striker. Some of you may think it is a good thing, but of all the positions that i hate on the field; the striker has to take the cake. I am a defensive player; it is just no good to put me at the head of the field. My teammates all know how much i detest that position and how much i will fumble so they all could not help but chuckle when the team layout was announced. This is the fundamental problem with the coach. He does things without thinking. Clearly he has our best interests at heart; but he sorely lacks the skills of reading the team dynamics, boosting our morale and inspiring the players. There was a week he gave us a pep talk that to be brutally honest, was really meant for 13 to 15 year olds. The average age of my teammates is in the late twenties. I could not help but cringe as he went on his speech which he probably lifted off some website he googled.

Also i have been benched one too many times and for too long per game. It does eat me because i am taking my Sundays off for this league. I have better things to do such as volunteering at the RSPCA. The worst thing was players who were not turning up for training, were allowed to play whilst i have to sit out. I tolerated this for a while but today i asked to play in the last few minutes of the game. He said no. I asked why, and he said i have already played half a game. When i stated that i have been to all the training sessions, he gave me some non-committal sounds as answers. I can get upset about it or i can just shrug and move on. I am seriously re-considering my decision to commit to the team for the next season. A few of my teammates believe that this warrant a discussion with the coach but i am not holding out much hope. Something makes me feel that this coach is treating me the way he is because unlike some of the other players; i do not make a fuss and i accept his decisions no matter how wrong they are. But i think he mistook my silence as consent for treating me a like doormat. Silence on my part does not indicate agreement; it just means i am giving him the respect as my coach. He has lost my respect, and i am not going to be kind anymore. Why do people behave better when they are treated unkindly? I don’t fucking understand this concept.

Anyway, it does not matter. Like i said before, i do not mind turning up for trainings and not play in games, as long as i am not expected to turn up for the games just in case we need a substitute. My time is precious and is not meant for time-wasters like this dude. Plus i have just discovered new activities (what’s new? haha) that can allow me to indulge in soccer without having to pander up to a moronic coach.

Exciting times lie ahead. Heh. But i have to mention this – i do not regret joining this team. Some of my teammates are fantastic people (not just players) and i have learnt a lot in the process. They are good people and that’s why i am willing to stay and train without playing in games.

Time

Unexpectedly, i had the whole day free today – that means, no lessons to attend and no appointments lined up. I wanted to sleep in but found i could not. I was up by 7.45am; and because i was obstinate about sleeping in, i let the dog in and went straight back to bed, alternating between semi-consciousness and the awareness that the time i was wasting could be put to better use by studying.

Anyway, with the free time (actually i had a flute lesson which i canceled because i was caught up in a ridiculous traffic jam that resembled a peak hour traffic on weekday morning – i was appalled and trapped for twenty minutes – what the commotion was, i never found out; and i postponed my Japanese lesson to tomorrow because my soccer teammate MAY want to go out for drinks), i went to collect my copy of The Art of Tim Burton which i had pre-ordered a few weeks back when i went for the exhibition during my study break. I love the exhibition; i never knew Tim Burton made the animation for Mars Attack. It was cool to see the drawings he made in his formative years and in his free time, on napkins and hotel notepads.

The Batman car that welcomed us at the entrance of the Tim Burton's exhibition.

It was cool to see the car that dominated the cartoons in my younger days, in the flesh.

I also went to an art exhibition where i finally had an introduction to the different eras – Modernism, Realist, Impressionalist, Neo-Classical – and now have a vague idea of what each represents. Previously, i had no clue and paintings to me were simply categorized into scenery, portraits, and abstract (think: anything else that i can’t decipher). I bought a catalog and an art print of The Jealous Lioness by the German painter, Paul Meyerheim. It is a rather intriguing painting.

The jealous lioness

But the most engaging exhibition that i have been to this year (i have already been to four! To think that at the start of the year, with my busy schedule, i actually despaired that i will not have the time to visit any exhibits) was the one i went to this afternoon. It was the last day of the exhibition so i was fortunate. It was the kind of exhibition that i read about in my Frame magazine – really artsy and abstract and full of environmental messages. There was only one other person at the exhibition, so my first impression was Geez, is it this bad? The first part was a bit perplexing. I saw loads of images but didn’t quite get their meanings or the artist’s intentions. The highlight was located in the next space.

There was an exhibit with several rows of matchboxes with little people in them. These figures were made from gum; chewing gum that the artist had salvaged from under desks, on floors and in elevators around his campus. Gum that had undergone mastication by unknown teeth and mixed with mircobes-laden saliva. Eeks. But he made such cute figures with them! His message? His exhibit will last a lifetime because gum is latex just like our tyres; we need to clean up our act. Wow.

The other installation was a glass bottle with a written note and a photography of the message in a bottle in different parts of the world. Basically, the artist had invited audiences to take home one of the small glass bottles and a package addressed to her, and to write the date and time and the place wherever the member of the public chose to take the bottle to. After that, the photo and the bottle will be sent back to her and she would exhibit them. From the bottles and the photos, you get a brief glimpse of the people who walked through the exhibition space – bottles went to Japan, China, The Netherlands, Australia, and the USA; all over the world. It was fun to see the community spirit in play. Obviously the Housemate and i took one bottle each. I intend to take mine either to Japan or back to the Homeland before sending it to the artist.

Update: Anyway i just received a text from one of my teammates. Apparently we are meeting at 12am at a club. I was flabbergasted. I have never been a clubbing person, and have never understood the purpose of clubbing other than to get hooked, high or wasted; all of which i refuse to spend any of my precious time on. So i guess it will be an early night for me! 🙂

Naps

One of my busiest weeks ever.

I come home, try to read a few pages of material before collapsing on my bed to take a nap. Naps which i never usually take. Naps which i have taken EVERY SINGLE DAY of this week. Naps that are refreshing enough for me to resume studying but exhausting enough to skip any physical workout that i want to do. I have not been to any BJJ training this week. I have only attended my soccer trainings because it is a team sport and therefore irresponsible on my part to miss just because i am unmotivated. (Thank God i joined a team sport or i would have morphed into a couch potato a long time ago.)

There is so much material to revise, assimilate and apply. There are so many lectures, tutorials and presentations to attend. There is barely enough time for me to sleep.

I try to push myself but the guilt from sacrificing certain activities is eating me alive. That day, i spent the morning reading journal articles. Then i felt extreme guilt and misery for not going onto the wards to see a few patients. I spent one hour agonizing over my ridiculousness. Fellow medical students were appalled and told me to cut myself some slack and that i deserve some time off. Fortunately, the afternoon was spent a little more productively revising my clinical skills. But why oh why is my timetable scheduled such that i have lectures from 7-9am; a gaping big hole in the afternoon and then another lecture at 5pm?? This is so disruptive.

Argh. I regain motivation to study in the night but feel a saturation in information assimilation after two hours. I could of course practice my flute, or read through my languages but then i feel so DAMN GUILTY. And then of course when i decide not to practice my flute or look through my languages, i feel so DAMN GUILTY AGAIN.

You got to love life.

Anyway, enough ranting. It is 9.30pm. I should get some flute practice in. So damn tired. Too bloody busy. Overstretched for time.

Good to eat

A friend came visiting for the Homeland today. Recent events have made me treasure close friends even more. Deep meaningful friendships are really hard to come by!

She was tasked with the mission of getting certain things for her colleague.

Guess what these are?

A slice of apple pie and a block of butter?

You will be forgiven if you got it wrong.

In actual fact, these are blocks of soap. Yes, you heard me right the first time. Soap in such brilliant packaging huh? You know how much these bars? slices? blocks? of soap cost? 500 grams each and $82.

Dear Lord, almost a hundred bucks for soap. Shit, i hope they have a good time in the bathtub.

My friend and i were reeling from the shock of such exorbitant purchases even as we exited from the shop that i had passed by innumerable times but never took notice of. We were struggling to break down the price in smaller normal consumer prices. Assuming that 1ml of soap is equivalent to one milligram of soap; then the soap we normally buy from the supermarket cost $8 per 500 grams. This soap costs $40. Does that put things into perspective now? Wow.

No meals to fret about

Non-descript

My order for home-delivered meals arrived today. The Housemate got home earlier than i did and saw the white styrofoam box outside our gate. There were no names on it and i forgot to let her know that i was expecting the delivery. She opened the box uneasily and peered at the contents – a plastic bag full of aluminum boxes. She left it out because she was worried and did not know what it was. It was amusing.

Although the packaging is non-discreet, the food is actually not bad. I had chow mein, although i was a bit surprised when i uncovered the meal. I was expecting fired noodles but it turned out to be rice and cabbage fried with mince. Despite the surprise, the food was actually quite good. The rice was soft and moist, the cabbage actually tasted a little Chinese. Hah. Certainly much better than the bowl of instant noodles i whip up for myself. I have to say that the portion is really quite big; or maybe i am no longer used to consuming large dinners since i have a tendency to skip the last meal out of laziness/exhaustion. Not sure whether it is a good thing now that i get to eat proper nutritious meals albeit more than my usual intake.

"Chow mein"