Friday, August 18, 2006


Yesterday, while waiting for our professor to arrive, my classmates and I were seated at the steps going to the AV room (where all of the graduate classes are held for the department) and since we were all non-Singaporean in that particular conversation, the talk inevitably turned to adjusting to life in Singapore. Marisa, who was from Sri Lanka, and Raras, who was from Indonesia, were both bemoaning the fast-paced lifestyle that Singaporeans were used to, and that people were always rushing from here to there. And then I laugh, and say, "This is a vacation for me." And they were like, "Oh yeah, how come?" And I say, "I'm coming from advertising. This is a welcome change."

And there is already slight differences - most of my classmates are coming from either a teaching background, or a newspaper writing/editing background. Most of them hold undergraduate degrees in Literature; some have jumped from the undergraduate Honors program to the MA program in the span of a summer holiday. I'm probably the only Creative Writing student right now who jumped into this program, and aside from that, since my work in Kestrel was far from literary (unless it's trying to think up of creative ways to get out of trouble), my brain is far rustier than theirs in terms of thinking in literary terms.

So right now, I am supposed to plow my way (in the span of four days) through the Oxford edition of Robinson Crusoe, which is written in 17th century English and painfully reminds me of the time when I had to read "Gawain and the Green Knight" and Beowulf in the approximate Old English translation. O_o There's also a poetry collection by Okot p'Bitek called Song of Lawina which we're discussing on Tuesday; this one is more interesting in the sense that it's based on the Acoli oral trdition, and yet since it's written in English, all sorts of cultural differentiation and tension will be coming from there. Critical reading-wise, there's the introduction from Edward Said's Orientalism, Johan Fornas' "Modernity" essay, and and a couple of excerpts elsewhere for discussion. @_@

I have four days.

Four long, arduous days.

And I will be repeating this again and again and again for the next year and a half.

So nowadays, my day (in as far as weekdays are concerned, since weekends are a bit more flexible once lunch rolls around) consists of waking up anywhere between 9 or 10 and doing my bathroom ablutions. Coffee, a granola bar, and an orange wedge is the usual menu for breakfast - usually savored while in front of the computer and saying hello to the various people who inevitably pop up on my Yahoo! Messenger during the course of the morning. Then chores: fixing my bed, sweeping the room, doing laundry. Then, once I have no excuses to bum around anymore, lunch comes along and saves me. This usually consists of checking the fridge and determining if I had made any preparations the day before. If I had, then it's simply popping them into the microwave and waiting. If not, then it becomes a bit more complicated - choices being, I would go to Alexandra Road (two bus stops away) and eat at the nearest food center or shopping mall OR go the opposite direction and eat at school. Either way, the stomach has to be satisfied.

Afterwards, the difficult part comes: staring at my books and determining if I can read them or not. This goes on until around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, when I realize that I have to take a shower and haul my arse to school. Depending on the day, I either go home with Wang Wei, who's Chinese, or Grace, who's Taiwanese, past 9 in the evening. Dinner is something you eat before going to class, and bread is a life saver, especially with Nutella and orange juice. (We don't have a stove.) And then the computer comes to life again, and I do a bit of writing before watching TV and then turning in for the night, usually past 1 in the morning.

Of course, I have a feeling that this routine will be disrupted soon - my schedule dictates that I will be committing ritual suicide come the months of October and November because all of my reports and presentations are due around that time. Sigh.

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