The White Tie of Goodbyes.

March 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Procrastinating studying for lit and history because at 17 I am clearly in dire need of some bad life decisions.

Today we had this special session where the teachers had to go through Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore with us.

I had originally wanted to do a post on Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore but in the end I realised I don’t really know his contributions to Singapore, aside from the generic assertions of “building out nation” and something along the lines of “never letting our minorities feel like how we felt like a minority in Malaysia” (that’s one of my favourite quotes from his old rallies they keep repeating on Channel NewsAsia).

I do have utmost respect for the man and what he and all the other founding fathers have contributed to building Singapore to where we are today, but to write an entire post espousing his greatness when I myself lack proper knowledge in the area seems rather… insincere and superficial in a way?

So this post is kind of my own reflections to my own feelings towards his passing.

I did get teary eyed and weepy on the first day of mourning when they were showing the clips of people shouting his name when the hearse passed by as well as old black and white rally clips. In a way I feel that I am saddened because dying represents change and it has an air of finality to it. Humans don’t really like finality.

In the days prior to his death and we were in Perth, my dad and I would talk about Mr Lee’s illness and people getting angry over the fake death announcements that was circulating. Maybe it’s my age and its accompanying characteristics of naivety and desperate hope, I told him that given a man of his qualities he could fight back from his illness and recover. To which, my dad said, “He’s on a machine, and once you have been on a machine for more than a month, the machine is what is living – not you.”

So i have kind of thought early on it was common knowledge that Mr Lee would be unable to survive for much longer. Albeit, I still held onto that hope. That glimmer and niggling belief that he would somehow claw his way out of this coma, just like how he had done in his life. Evidently, Mr Lee unlike what we’d like to think him as a hero, is just as human as anyone of us.

In the days before Mr Lee passed on, during one particular dinner, I was getting sad and choked up again because my dad had outright pointed out to me that Mr Lee was unlikely to survive when I told him earlier that I was still semi-confident he could make it.

Then my dad kind of looked at me emphatically and said, “Why are you so sad for? He is probably on the other side already, enjoying tea with his wife and laughing at the lot of us down here. There is nothing to be sad for.”

And his words kind of made me realise that mourning seems to be a rather selfish thing. I think in TFIOs Hazel Grace says the line, “Funerals are for the living.” We all cry and discretely wipe our tears as we read Mr Lee’s quotes and watch his speeches, and we feel this inexplicable sadness for a man we all knew and yet not really know, because in the end, it was we who had lost a man, a father-figure and the foundation to our nation.

(Of course, there is nothing wrong in mourning, because to deny grief seems to deny your own state of living.)

I think I cried mostly because I don’t like formal goodbyes. I prefer Goodbyes without the huge occasion, the collective teary-eyeing and the goodbye cards and the countdown to The End.

Death is probably the white tie of goodbyes. Maybe that’s why people don’t like them all that much.

My life is a dramatic irony

March 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’m so hilariously sick that it has taken March CTs to an entire new dimension of #yoloswegtheupperrespiratorytractinfection edition.

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I was so proud I hadn’t gotten sick this entire year (Yes, it’s just been 4 months but in JC terms it feels like three years) because unlike last year it felt like I was singlehandedly driving Singapore’s tissue economy. But just as I was proudly proclaiming to my dad about how my new hygiene routine of consistently washing my hands was clearly effective when –

*~*BAM*~*

YOU GET A SORE THROAT! YOU GET A BLOCKED NOSE! EVERYONE GETS THE BLACK PLAGUE!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOO

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On Colin Firth, disappointing lack of the cold and ambiguous minorities

March 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

I remember Ms Hidayah saying in at least two of her lessons, when we were learning about Woman Warrior, how we being Singaporean and Chinese in a land dominated by well, Singaporean Chinese, are unable to fully grasp what it feels like to be in a minority. Our conclusions and feelings towards the problems faced by Kingston and her family – being Chinese immigrants in America – come from something of a position of superiority(?) because we ourselves have never fully faced the isolating and alienated feeling of being the minority race. It’s kind of like how some people can never understand how that bloody dress is white and gold when it is clearly blue, black and hideous.

In some ways, I kind of understand what she means.

I was telling my mom when we were in a shopping center in Lakeside yesterday, how utterly aware of myself as a Chinese and a foreigner, as I stood in a sea of blonde hair and green-blue eyes. I become conscious of how I speak, how I look and how freaking humongous these white people are. (Seriously, some of them might as well have been the gorillas in a National Geographic wildlife conservation series with all their hulking and grunting)

The difference between Singapore and Perth comes mainly in the form of how people interact with each other. There’s always the “Hi, how you doin’?” idle chitchat at the counters, and their great tenacity to maintain eye contact and small talk/make jokes. It’s quite disconcerting when compared this to the aloof symbiotic relationship of: “I GIVE YOU THE GOODS, YOU SCAN THE GOODS, I PAY YOU MONEY FOR THE GOODS” relationship shared by the average shopper at the NTUC counter and the cashier.

Aside from the introspective musings, I have probably whined to my parents the statement: “Perth isn’t the same without the cold” the same number of times Mr Seng has complained about us being “fake art students”. Because for the past decade or so, or as far back I can remember, we have always gone to Perth in the winter. So naturally, I made the connection between Perth and the perpetual blissful escape from the humid and stuffy confines of Singapore. However, because it’s only March now and Perth is currently in “Autumn” (a rather generous overstatement if I say so) the weather is disappointing me in its clear lack of chilly winds and ambiguous rain-hail.

One thing I love about going to Perth is that I can stock up on my DVDs. Practically 90% of all my DVDs are from Perth because they have such huge collections available because unlike in Singapore, there is probably still a healthy market of people not illegally torrenting Mean Girls from ambiguous websites with equally ambiguous pop up windows asking me if I want a “Hot Chinese Girl”. Anyway, I finally got my hands on The Kings Speech because it came the closest to having Colin Firth with the word “king” in the movie title other than Kingsman (which won’t be out till June of this year to my eternal disappointment) The best part it was only $8. EIGHT. DOLLARS.

So I spent the entire night watching Kingsman with my parents. As I expected, my mom promptly fell asleep and my dad was laughing at obscure British mannerisms. Meanwhile, I was internally fangirling about Mr Colin Firth’s beautiful, beautiful face. (Ever since Kingsman, I have defected to the camp of teenage girls who solemnly swear that Colin Firth is a national treasure.)

Studying is proving slightly difficult because most of the time I just want to laze around, drink copious amounts of Dilmah “Extra Strength” tea and watch my movies. The pace in Perth is so different from Singapore, because Singapore seems to be mainly about Shopping! Studying! Sacrificing our individualistic desires for the greater Society! On the other hand, we were driving around yesterday and we passed by a huge football field (this “football” in questions is also affectionately known as Australian “Footy” and resembles more of American rugby than what the British knows football to be as soccer) and there was a match going on. However, the key difference was that there were actually parents sitting on the sidelines in clusters watching their sons play. Literally. They were not on bleachers or anything, just little pockets of them with their foldable arm chairs seated on the pitch like they had nothing better to do on a Saturday morning. This is totally unlike in Singapore where parents only come to watch their kid perform if it was in the Victorian Concert Hall with a full orchestral accompaniment.

Today is a lazy day because we would mostly be lazing around the house and cleaning up. The parents absolutely abhor crowds (which explains my aversion to people touching me) so we usually prefer to keep the travelling and visiting to the weekdays. Though I might fancy asking my dad to drive me to Lakeside because I am running worryingly low on post-its (because, well – Lit.)

A very random post but this would have to do. Also, lack of GIFs because it takes up too much data to google for them and upload them to wordpress.

The chronicals of 2.4 km (Part 1)

March 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

(part 1 because I see this being a regular thing in my future)

Failed 2.4 again because I gave up on the second round. That means more mass PE for me yay ._. 

I tried doing the thing where people chiong in the first two rounds and slow down from then onwards and speed up on the sixth round but I chionged for literally half a round and I knew that it wouldn’t work for me and I wouldn’t pass even if I kept normal pace. 

At first it was okay because I felt like Gazelle from Kingsman when I was sprinting for that blissful wonderful half a round because she is woah. But after like 20 seconds my lungs were like, “ha ha ha ha nope.”

Then my brain did the thing where I do the whole cost-benefit analysis thing and once I start thinking about giving up it’s a gone case. I think ithe whole mind over matter mantra for running 2.4 does make sense. Unfortunately for me, my dad has ingrained in me “don’t let your heart rule your mind” so the minute my mind decides on a thing it’s literally a gone case. So I guess if I had been in a better frame of mind I might have passed (but even then I think even with the discipline and will of a thousand flaming Rocky theme songs my sucky fitness level would have undermined me sigh)

I rationalized it that 1.) I wasn’t fit because I thought we would be retesting after the hols and not today and based on my previous run where I did not stop at all and felt like dying I already took more than the passing timing. 

So I had 1. No motivation 2. No fitness and I decided it wasn’t worth it if I was going to run and not pass. 

I felt slightly bad for giving up and seeing the people who passed and stuff but I knew deep down that even if I tried it would be for nothing. 

(But it was super heartwarming to see Jessica and Clarence running across the field to encourage Rochelle😊)

Not a faintest clue to how I managed to pass in Y2/3 because I know I failed it in Y4 except they miraculously let me get a bronze so I have no idea. But even then my timing was like 18 minutes plus so technically I have been unfit for two years lol

(Though today I really saw the difference the way a teacher handles an issue can make a difference. Seriously some people have no chill.)

Busybusybusybusy

March 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

So many things happening/to do in the next one and a half days ;-:

For instance I have yet to start on anything concrete for the Kargil essay due on Friday AND I still have to go through all of Mr Seng’s criticisms in my very sucky AI/Indo-Pak essays/essay plans to find questions to ask him questions on Friday after the heinous tediousness of the GP MCTs. (If the GP Department decides to be troll and mix Gender with some weird topic like Sports I will be so pissed)

Plus, I originally wanted to spend tomorrow afternoon going through GP but since I am leaving the Kargil essay till tomorrow that’s not really gonna be a thing. Sigh. I do have new examples I can use but I am not really familiar with them so I did originally want to spend an afternoon leisurely going through them + finding more vocal words form Times to improve my paltry language score. (Ms Hidayah didn’t give me a A for my language score in the previous essay. Like what is the use of a 13/20???) In any case, I need to find the time to read more books/Times I feel my language abilities going down the drain with each passing day.

Did I also mention I still have yet to pack for next week? And if it were just the normal stuff I wouldn’t sweat it but I’d have to pack all the homework I want to bring there so that’s going to be a massive logistics pain in the ass.

I swear, the day I finally understand how Mr Seng wants us to write our history essays is the day I win at life.

Hair woes

March 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Cut my hair today! I was planning to go last Friday as an after school TGIF reward but had to stay back for sports meet photograph duty + Homa dinner so I pushed it back to today. I have a love hate relationship with my hair because I still get traumatic nightmares about the hairdresser screwing up my hair like what happened in Y1/2. So that inevitably means I do everything in my power to ensure that I don’t have mini panic attacks while someone is taking a scissors and attacking my hair with shears.

Usually my response to my after haircut is usually one of either relief mixed in with slight panic because I hate change and even though it is probably in the long term, good change, that doesn’t mean I have to love it.

Some of the Y7s came back to school with really weird hair colours and cuts which to be honest, looked exceedingly ugly and a painfully obvious DIY job. What possesses someone to look at the row of hair dyes in Giant and thinks: “Wow, I’d love my hair to have the exact same shade as a golden retriever”.

Maybe it’s the existential crisis post A’levels, maybe’s its that feeling of change and wanting to feel that no matter how shitty you possibly scored, you are still your own special, unique snowflake.

Though let’s be real, my dad would probably murder me if I went ahead and dyed my hair magenta pink, special snowflake or not.

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In which I am Eggsy

March 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

Today we had our 2.4 km test and I inevitably failed with a timing of 23 minutes. :’D This is even when I jogged/died for 6 rounds with no walking, albeit at the rate I was going, a grandmother with arthritis could have probably power-walked and overtaken me in a heartbeat . Though, I had already told myself beforehand I was just going to do my best and even if I fail I will just keep going for mass PE and become fitter again like my NP days. -flexing arm muscle emoji-

Anyway, after the run and Mr Tang announced our timings and I went up to him to ask about having to take a re-test (even though I was silently praying he would say girls wouldn’t need to retake HAHAHA) he went like “Actually I am already very proud you girls (Chloe and I) for not giving up and walking and just jogging for the whole 6 rounds, especially compared to before (the training sessions outside school and stuff).”

And his words seriously made my entire day man. (and it nearly made me okay with having to go back for possible training lol)

I feel I don’t really seek that much validation from my peers, but when it comes to authority figures that I admire (in most cases teachers), I am like a approval-seeking puppy and making them proud. Same thing for lit because every time I get a B for an essay I feel sad not so much that I got a B but more that I am letting the lit teachers down and the fact that I’m a H3 student.

Although this time I didn’t really keep running because of Mr Tang, but more of not slacking on the last ever 2.4 in my life – but it still felt pretty nice to be told “I’m proud of you” because asian families don’t really go for that kind of thing. More of like, “it’s good that you got a A, see I told you you can do it.”, which the sentiments is kind of the same but you really have to dig through all the lack of emotion to get to it.

It’s like those movies where there is this retired sensei and he recruits this young whippersnapper and trains him and when the Young One overcomes some great hurdle and then the sensei says he’s proud of them before dramatically sacrificing himself and dying and the whole cinema creys while the Young One looks on like his entire existence has just been validated.

(essentially kind-of-not-really the plot of Kingsman lol)

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(credit)

^ I am Eggsy, Eggsy is me.

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