"The happiest place on earth"

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Saturday, March 09, 2002

Bookout Post:

Restored Post

We were weighed last week and I gained another kg, to 90.5. I've since shed that kg, so I think I've gained back the excess weight I lost during my bout of flu.

While at Kilo for the weight review last week, I surreptitiously bought a can of "Rich and Creamy Mug no caffeine Root Beer". The sample can in the machine was actually A&W Root Beer but this was not bad, though I do prefer A&W. Rich and Creamy Mug Root Beer is creamy and froths in the mouth. It has a slight sourish tang, and I detected a slight metallic taste - maybe it's just me, or because it's been in the can for a while. There are some strange ingredients - "purity gum, quillaia extract". The drink tastes more artificial than that of A&W, but Miranda Root Beer takes the prize for artificial taste! Yeos actually cans 3 types of Root Beer -A&W, Miranda and this Rich and Creamy Mug. Two timing?

Trench digging sucks. I don't know how much rougher my hands are now. Luckily though, I got Roy as my partner and the help of my sergeant. Even though they did the lion's share of the work, I was exhuasted. But Roy was very nice about it - "I know you're trying your best". I feel quite bad. This reminds me of my TCHS OBS Sea Expedition partner, who did most of the paddling. Another nice chap.

The day after Trench Digging, we had the 12km route march. I think I'll concuss on the 16km one, seeing how bad 12km was. During the first 4 km, we sang a lot of songs. On the 2nd 4km, the number of songs dwindled and on the last leg, we were quiet because we were too tired. How people motivate you during your route march - "You've done 4 click already, don't waste it!" or "4km to go only!". And if people want to fall out nearer the start, they'll probably go, "it's only been 2 km and you want to fall out?". So it's a no win situation, you never get to fall out :)

After the Route March, our Last Parade was at about 5pm. Someone had brought in a VCD of a Chinese Gongfu movie, so a lot of us crowded around and watched it. It's been a while, so I'd forgotten how funny (both intentionally and unintentionally) and impressive (all those extras standing around) Chinese Gongfu movies were. And impressive too. This one had many jokes inside, but too bad it ended unresolved. Apparently a sequel was to have been made, but it never was.

I've come to the conclusion that the biscuits they give us in the field rations are actually very good - crisp and tasty. But I think we've eaten so many, we're sick of them.

The best way to do 5BX - go into a training shed, turn off the lights and shout loudly.

One sergeant's bored of shouting "thousand" for warmups. So he moved on to making people shout "thousand" in other languages. Then one day he made us shout vulgarities instead, and "confinement" was not accepted :)

Taurus has over 70 OOCs and Charlie, 55. Well done.

The Honeydew Cordial they give us sometimes in the cookhouse is a vile colour - dark green like dishwashing liquid. I wonder what the makers were thinking.

Our sergeant was so tired of people exposing their underwear when they run that he imposed a punishment of 10 pushups for doing so. Heh.

I think I've seen maybe 1 or 2 cockroaches on Tekong so far. Weird.

The first aid dressings they give us are all expired. And we're expected to carry them everywhere (even when booking out!). Bah.

I don't know why people love to set their alarms blastedly early, do everything and go back to sleep. It's okay if you're the only one affected, but I'm the lightest sleeper in my section and the one who wants to wake latest.

I was pondering one day after calling us "sad sobs" when I realised that "sob" was not "sob" per se, but "s.o.b". So I've just insulted myself and my lot (and this was not the only time too). Oops.

In the end, I *was* attached out for the SIT Test after all. I did it with Hawk, which meant that I saw all my old RJ friends. My section was warning me about how bad it'd be, but it was actually quite okay. Hawk's a 'welfare' company, while Bravo's a shit one, so that explains it. One fallout from the first Sit Test confirmed that ours was much easier. During the Bravo one, they slept at 12pm and woke at 6am. We slept at about 9 one day and 10 the other and woke at 5:30. Also, we didn't have to double to and from stations. Maybe it was partly due to the fact that we were in "Platoon 5" so we didn't get knocked down as punishment.

I was in Andrew Tan's detail, which meant I could finally get answers to some questions I'd been meaning to ask. :)

A suspiciously disproportionate number of the people in the Mineclearer job were those from Gryphon and Delta who'd been attached after they'd missed their Sit Test. Ahem.

Apparently field rations taste much better if cooked, but we're too lazy. And those who did start fires all cooked Instant Noodles. Oh well.

The Delta people tell us they have a billards table, table soccer and a King of Fighters 95 machine with free play turned on in their Recruits' Mess. Oh well.

Lucky Calvin's No 4 nametag says "Calvin" instead of an ugly "K W Chong".

My section mate convinced me to fill my powder bottle with Prickly Heat, so during the powder bath, my body was aflame. "My balls are on fire" - someone.

We used our bayonets to open coconuts to drink the water inside (and those who were game scraped the meat to eat). Mmm, they were good.

Being obese has its advantages. Me and the other Gryphon guy were excused crossing a ~2.2m wide gap ~3.4m above the ground. "2 and 7, excused" - Assessor.

Andrew Tan cursed (albeit softly) 'lan jiao' when he fell into a hole. Ah, not even he has escaped the depredations of the army.

I think taking S Papers makes people speak in English. Few people chattered in Chinese during our Sit Test. Too bad it doesn't make them enunciate the "th" sound.

More ways to detect officers: The buttons at the end of their No 4s when they are in Long 4 mode are not buttoned tight.

The Sit Test actually reminds me of OBS in some ways, the "overcome this obstacle with your team" business. I'm very bad at "Knots and Lashing" so I couldn't help much with lashing logs to each other. Oh well.

One sergeant speaks with a quite pronounced American accent, but he slips into a Singaporean accent every few words. He also couldn't pronounce some more complex words, and he lamented that his English had gone to the dogs. I wonder if that will happen to me (sans accent).

We were late for our 12:30 boat. I was the one who most closely followed the timing given us (most of the rest went to bathe and came down late). The sergeants kept playing with a football in the company office, and some people didn't march properly so we were slowed. To add insult to injury, someone changed the channel on the TV in the fastcraft to Channel 8, and we saw soldiers doing the SOC and the flying fox (is it called that? The one where you slide down a rope holding onto some wheeled thing). Later I heard Lee Hsein Loong (on the radio) saying "National Service serves as a rite of passage". Right, that rubbish again. You might as well brand everyone, that'll be a shorter and less painful rite of passage. Oops, we have 2 BCGs already. Ahh you can chop off the tip of everyone's left pinky, then.

Apparently a rule is coming down in BMTC saying that resetting of pushups is now disallowed. I leave a wake whereever I go.

I think Going Back To Camp Syndrome intensifies sadness. I felt very lousy about my dismal showing on Thursday.

Some people try to encourage or congratulate me with things like "You're a man now" or "Men don't cry", but they don't realise that this has the opposite effect. It's really irritating.

Another irritating thing is this person who loves to not do things properly, eg moving in the file (a LOT), talking loudly in the file and doing pushups improperly when we're punished even though he plainly is capable of doing proper pushups. Yet, he's the first and loudest to scold "jee bye" when others do likewise. There's another person who's been on unofficial excuse for at least 3 weeks, skipping all the physical activities. Apparently his back hurts and he's afraid of getting Out Of Course, but it is really unfair to the rest of us.

Royston my buddy has OOCed. Most sad, with us having 3 weeks to go.

More sexism: We're freer nowadays since we've finished all our major activities, so I finally get to read the Straits Times everyday (excepting weekends when it doesn't come). In fact, I think I read it more often now than before I went in. Anyway, the Booker Prize winning author Arundhati Roy was jailed for 1 day to "show the magnaminity of the court and reflected the fact that Roy is a woman". This is disgusting.

All of us are excused the SOC station, the balance beam, where you high port (a term no one can pronounce! It always comes out as "i pod" or something) your rifle walk up to head level on a beam and then walk across precariously on a winding beam and then jump down. Yeh!

Kilo has a weird chant while marching: "Kilo, Stylo, Milo". I am flabbergasted.

Arms drill is painful. The foresight tip keeps digging into my right shoulder. Ouch.

2 of us were bundled into a rover after our Endurance Training run to help the sergeant buy Prata for the instructors. Too bad we didn't have any money (I had $1 in my slingbag but I didn't bring it down - pity's me!). Mmm, prata.

People keep calling the sling bag "shu1 bao1". I suppose the habit's ingrained already.

An explanation one sergeant gave for vulgarity use is that they are sometimes so frustrated with us that using vulgarities is the only alternative to physical abuse. Apparently when he was a recruit he felt the same way as me too. Well.

More information on the RJ female officer cadet (not all verified):

- she's a councillor
- "she like went directly to ocs.. in tri service now.. so she has one white strip.. soon we will all have to salute her.. : P"
- "They are applying for SAF overseas merit scholarship....
and thus have to do 10 weeks basic training.....plus OCS"
- "just so happened that Xiao Qing (3F)... applied for it.... in fact... the girl you saw in army garb is prob xiaoqing...."

Just in case said person visits this page (one of the disadvantages of my infamy and the grapevine), I think there's nothing wrong with joining the army. But I'll have to salute you soon.


"Do you ever get the feeling that you aren't sent to [the] Army, you're sent to a Boys' Home?"

"I have a very low respect for RGS girls now"

"[Me: The woman {there} looks like a man] Woman, where?"

"[On the coconuts we were drinking from, presumably from the trees growing beside the sea, which was the peeing are] You know where the water come from? It's from your pee. You are drinking 30 years of recruits' pee. (comes)"

"[On the disgusting things JC guys do to girls] They shave the girl, they cut the girl... They cut the girl while shaving."

"[On his SISPEC 'award'] Mine is rusty bayonet."

"[On my GP] Yah lar, B4, you must have insulted some religion... How can he get B4?... Too cheem already... Maybe he [the marker] was watching a soccer match, "fuck lar", B4"

"[On sand being kicked up] Jee bye, this place becoming like desert already (is becoming like a)"

"[To me] The Hawk people, all the same frequency as you"

"[On the fruit bars we get in our field rations] I went [to] CGH [Changi General Hospital]. I saw, buy 3 [at $1.65 each] get 1 free. [The free one was] Mixed fruit... We throw them away everyday."

"That's how I understand Tamil movies... First the boy and the girl will start dancing. Then a hundred people will pop up behind the boy. Then a hundred people will pop up behind the girl... Then the boy and the girl will dance around a tree... They will go to a vegetable market... The man will have a big belly and a moustache"

"[On wrapping towels around the body at the bust level] I find it very hard to breathe. I don't know how you stand it"

"[Before we booked out on the 7:30pm boat] I say again, cookhouse food not very healthy, eat less, later book out and eat."

"I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
Jack Benny (1894 - 1974)"
I happened, just on an off chance, to check the PSC application website and I found that the essay (if I deign to submit it) is due on the 20th of March, which means that if I want to apply this year, I'll have to do it by tonight. Right now I'm leaning towards sleeping.

Anyhow I'm locked out of the site for a while because my modem lost the connection and 'multiple login is not allowed'.
I've sold out!

This morning, Kairen asked me to accompany him to the SAF Music And Drama Company auditions. So I went. While there, I sung in my natural voice and had to perform a dance routine taught to us. So much for my making fun of Flesh Parade! And my dismissing of modern music.

Dance is actually very tiring - the warmup along was worse than 5BX and we were all panting and sweating by the end. And my natural voice has appalling range, and it still feels awkward to sing with it. And Weiyi came down to audition too. Ahh I've surely lost :)

Well, all the other people were so much better. At least it was something different to do for one afternoon. And I met my old Chinese Tuition classmate Alex Er, who's in Delta. His voice is very subdued now, and he is not the boisterous person he used to be. The travails of slavery!

As is usual when I book out, I've been feeling sick. There might be an explanation for this - apparently some people are intolerant of water from The Isle of Doom.

I hear there's this guy from Leopard who went mad. Ouch. Looks like my rants and ravings aren't altogether figments of my imagination.

My Brother in law has abysmal taste in music. Right now he's into German Industrial Rock, where their instruments include rolling barrels filled with ball bearings and chainsaws. Their singing makes them sound like they're on drugs. Then again, they probably are.

Apparently Evil Cult sucks even more now! Maybe when TBS returns it'll pick up.

Look who's in the running for Miss Singapore Universe! Wah.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Bookout post (up to 27/2):

When last I left, I went to the East Coast for dinner. While there, I saw a girl in pink floral berms, which went past her knee. I believe this is the first time I've seen floral printed bottoms which are so long!

Restored Post

There was a screwup on the first Monday. They ran out of food [the disgusting Chicken Pau and Lor Mai Kai], so we had to wait while they fried sausages and fish patties. Even at this stage in my life, I am called "Xiao3 Di4" :) They are very wasteful in the cookhouse - they throw away the end parts of loafs, the ones which no one wants to eat.

One of the tastier soups that the cookhouse brews, which does not taste like plain water with pepper and/or msg, is the one with pork bones and salted vegetables and is a bit sour, and which I like, incidentally.

My section made comments about the soft toys (of sorts) that I brought in. I've been sleeping with them every night for a while now - a rabbit, a leopard and a rainbow coloured bear, the first 2 given by Screwed Up Girl and the last by my mother. The latter 2 are Beanie Babies (which my section mate persistently calls 'Beanie Bears').

People like to chatter in Mandarin, but it does not mean that they have a high standard of Mandarin. In fact, I daresay I am better than some of them in that language. Incidentally, my brother-in-law's mother thinks that my Chinese has improved. Gasp.

We had a very interesting Stand By Rifle. The sergeant walked in and asked "Whose weapon is clean?... Those who never put up their hands, go and carry on 20" and then walked off.

I've noticed that no one curses in Malay or Indian languages. The most they go to is "bhuto" (whatever) and since that means idiot, they aren't actually cursing per se, but just scolding someone. Why this is so is a mystery. Another mystery in the area of cursing is why people like to curse "chee bye" but not "lan jiao". I think no one curses the latter except for my Platoon Sergeant. My theory to explain this distribution is how I explained what "lan jiao" and "chee bye" were to Huijun and Huimei when I went back to RJC during Chinese New year - "lan jiao" is what they have, "chee bye" is what they want".

When people 'borrow' soap from me, they always squirt out a lot. Usually, the amount they take to wash their hands is more than the amount I use in a shower. My previous Body Shop Jasmine Exfoliating Body Wash just drains away.

The bias towards women and children, and by definition, against men, that pervades society irks me sometimes. Males are always deemed inferior, or more worthy of blame. I once watched this Channel 8 drama serial where there was this "ethical" killer who proudly proclaimed, "I don't kill women and children". More recently, and what sparked this paragraph, the Commentary column by Asad Latif on 25/02/2002 quoted this woman on why she'd saved some Bengalis as saying, "Because they were women and children". I don't really understand why men are seen as evil (for lack of a better word) and women and children are innocent and free of blame. All are tainted by Original Sin, and I don't think women and children manage to avoid adding to it along the way.

And someone finally used the word "column"! I was sick of hearing "rows" when people meant "columns", then one night the sergeant said, "form up into 5 columns". However, he still issued the command as "bergera kerkiri ber tiga tiga" when it should have been "ber lima lima", since tiga means 3. Oh well.

Some sick guy was leading the marching song, and he changed "As the cold wind blows" to "As my girlfriend blows". Eww.

We were forced to watch 'Defence Watch' again, and they were showcasing the soldiers in East Timor. They showed one giving biscuits to a boy. It was the rations from the field rations. We were all quite amused at his apparent generosity.

The bookout criteria for the 3 obese companies seems to be quite similar, at least for running, something like 14:00 for Delta and 14:45 for both Bravo and Gryphon. This is really quite unfair since the Gryphon people are maybe twice the size of the Delta people.

Occasionally, we get this thing called 'Birds' Nest Cordial' at the Cookhouse. I wonder how much Birds' Nest there is inside. Maybe it's 1 PPM (part per million).

We have come to the conclusion that our dear Bunk Cleaning i/c Chee Hwa is obsessed with Bunk Cleaning. You should see the fire in his eyes when he says, "Do your bunk cleaning". The passion and the drive are unmistakable.

A few beds down is Tze Li. Unfortunately, he OOCed about 2 weeks ago, a really bad time to do so, because our course is ending and knowing how long the SAF takes to post people out, he'll probably be here after POP. Poor him.

One really disgusting thing is the way people's shorts and trousers keep coming down. Maybe it's because we've lost so much weight, but whenever many people move, their shorts ride down, revealing their underwear. For some people, their instincts have been honed to the point where their hands will subconsciously tug at their shorts to reveal their underwear the moment we are free for extended periods of time. And sometimes people even deliberately pull their shorts down.

If people try to cheat during Water Parades by drinking less water, they are made to drink more water, as a punishment. This really isn't appropriate as it will instill a dislike of drinking water into the recruit. A vicious circle thus results.

For a week or two, Platoon 1 had an interesting rhyme to chant during water parades, after reciting the 7 SAF Core Values as part of the not-so-subtle indoctrination scheme. It goes, "Drink water good, drink water good. Don't drink water get heatstroke. Get heatstroke, you will die. Then your whole platoon will cry. XXX days to POP!".

I am told that, even after 12 weeks in BMTC, I still bounce when I march. Oh well.

OC night was when the various platoons put up skits about our BMT life. Ours featured Khairuldin and his infamous jock strap, and had someone imitating him ironing his Smart 4 after Lights Out, wearing just the jock strap, while donning webbing for the light the torch afforded. And then someone came by imitating one officer (who was imitated in all *4* of the skits) who was rather perturbed by the sight. Of course, no evening would be complete without a cross dresser, courtesy of Platoon 4.

One of our sergeants decided to be funny, so on two occasions, he made our file contort while marching by issuing, alternately, the "empek kiri" and "empek kenan" commands.

I realise that there's one person whose voice is rather like En Ming's, especially in the way he gives commands.

The rest of the bookout post will be posted after I return on Friday night, since it is now 1:38AM and I am tired.


"[On why I should have scanned the RJ yearbook and not the RGS one] RGS secondary school right? The girls haven't develop yet. (is a secondary, developed)"

"[On Taiwan] You will go there and fight with the people there... You will suffer through sleepless nights, 4 days. That exercise is called R&R."

"For those of you who want to sign on, you can compare it to marriage. Why marriage? Because it's the stupidest thing you have done as a man. (will have)"

"This is my first obese batch. It's been one of a kind. The smell also is one of a kind."
Observations on my (second) return to RJC:

Sister on the RJ girls she saw as we were driving in: 'wah lau, look at those girls... Like convent girls'. The number of people with the A03 look and the A03 behavior seems to increase every year actually :)

There was some female officer cadet with 1 white bar (wah). Quanxing said it was michellle seng or something. Apparently she was from Science. Maybe she's the RJ girl I heard was in Whisky, one of the 3 Whisky girls.

Even with a shaven head, red jacket was still in his jacket.

Howe was in school uniform, the only one I saw who did so, even though I did see some in a RJ T-Shirt and their own shorts.

Odd things one sees: 1 Canteen having vending machines from 2 companies. Apparently they're trying to set up a competitive market, inasmuch as a duopoly can be said to be competitive. There was a machine with a picture of a Pepsi can on it, but which strangely did not vend Pepsi, with the price of its drinks as 70 cents. Across the canteen, the F&N machines vend drinks at 80 cents a can. In the arena of Asian Drinks, the Yeos machines are placed near the ones vending Heaven and Earth drinks.

I do wonder what the students of RJ, being rational consumers, will do.

Ruxin was talking to the school servant. She's one up on me! I chat to canteen vendors (even fierce ones like Monty's Auntie Mary) but she talks to the servants too. Hurrah! :)

Tim got 3 As too - a B for F Maths, and a M for Maths S. Otherwise (and for Chinese) he got a perfect score. What a disgrace for a professed lover of Maths :)

Okay, I did say I wanted to practice essay discipline, but this disparate collection of thoughts really can't be congealed.
Today we got our A level results.

Indulge me a bit.

Hearing my mother's lecture just now, you'd think it was the end of the world. Hearing her ("you don't want to do what I say" - on taking History), you'd realise that she has a plan for my life all mapped out. Right now she's urging me to apply for a place in NUS before they are taken. Looks like her dream of me becoming a PSC OMS scholar like my brother-in-law (ahem) are wrecked (awww). Sometimes, I wonder what's the point. Is boasting to your friends really so important? Or projecting your ambitions on your progeny?

Studying at an Overseas University (hopefully prestigious) is something that the top echelon of Singaporean students desires, nay, expects. Since my parents can't (or won't, as for my sister) pay, this means that I'll have to sell my soul (but I'll be damned if I sell it to the SAF!). Right now it seems the worth of my soul has gone down a few notches, and seeing how bad I am at interviews, I'm probably at the bottom of the heap :) I really don't mind NUS, but it seems likely that Overseas Education is nice.

Hmm, This sounds like it's going to degenerate into an angsty post. In fact, it already has, but it'll end here. The heavy stuff, that is. No more, no Sir.

In the end, I did the same as in prelims, more or less - 2 subjects improved by one level, and 1 deproved by one level, so there was some slight improvement.

I actually had a (rather low) lower bounds of expectations - 3As, a B for history and a B3 for GP (and nothing said about the S papers, for which the intellectual stimulation was reward enough). Now I have missed History and GP by one grade each (letting Yortsin down doubly in the process!). Oh well. Well, at least my name's on the green board as one of the top 587 (or so, of ~850) in RJC! I will now go and kowtow to all those who got 4 As. At the risk of appearing condescending, I will voice my respect for Seng Pou, who got 4 As, who persevered in doing 4 subjects despite being adviced to drop Computing.

Perhaps this shows that there's something wrong with my writing :) My essay discipline is horrible, as is my organisation. Perhaps worse, I tend to have a style of writing which irks the hell out of some people (probably not frequenters of this humble establishment, too). It also didn't help that I used the imaginary word "cohabitate" instead of "cohabit" for my tract on why marriage is not feasible :) Mrs Chan, my GP teacher, actually said she expected an A1 from me. Oh well, there weren't any A1s in her form class 3S06A anyhow.

Ah, hell, I screwed up my essay on why the idea of one partner for life is not workable. Perhaps a peril of choosing the 'interesting' question, or one in which I have personal interest. Now that I think about it, that was one weak essay. Ah, the benefit of hindsight. Maybe I need to blog more, and not post incoherent posts consisting of one sentence paragraphs based on notes scribbled furtively during slavery. Or stop pouring thoughts out of my head one by one like in this paragraph :)

Many people were surprised by my History results. I have no idea why people think I'm good at History. I might know a thing or two about Hittite culture, or appreciate the significance of Shang 'Dragon bones' but writing an essay is really quite hard even so. Knowing random facts is good for SAT II (800!) but doesn't really help for the A level paper.

My sister actually suggested that I retake some A level subjects. I might just do English (Literature) for the hell of it, and write quirky [and marginally correct] stuff that will come out in the Examiners' Report but earn me a fail grade. Hindi would be fun, but be totally out of my depth. But then, most Private Candidates don't do well. In fact, most of them don't even attempt the paper - my basha mate during the SIT Test told me that he was drunk for most of the papers of the 5 subjects he took as a private candidate.

Oh well, when's all said and done, as my revered senior Eugene (now a storeman who books out everyday, a job I would love to have, though a CMPB job, even being the guy collecting urine, would beat that) said, in a few years, I'd not care or remember my A level results. " im sure u dun talk a lot abt o level now do u? =p". Whereupon I related the exchange I had with Quanxing (who might be reading this now, and who took offence at my mentioning that he owed me money but *still* hasn't returned it):

In 2001...
Me: What did you get [for O levels?]
Friend: 8 points
Me: I also got 8... A1s
Friend: Fuck you, Gabriel.

But then he beat me this time, so I guess we're even :)

Some people love to put disclaimers on their pages saying "this is my page, so if you don't like my style, get lost", but I think I shouldn't torture my small but loyal following (yes, they do exist, I'm not deluding myself!). So I will strive (but probably forget) to follow essay discipline, as preached to me by The Associate (who has gone into a leaky attap hut in the forest to meditate, presumably).

Monday, March 04, 2002

Apologise for the bad english in last line of last post- getting incoherent there.
Got back to melbourne on sunday nite, went over to chaowan's [Ed: Who was listed as a 'perfect scorer' on the RJ noticeboard, one of 41 I believe. Loraine and African are in there too!] room again (seems i spend precious little time in my own room not sleeping). Went down to gym- gosh was a whole week since i last trained. Slept.

I'm incredibly grateful to Ben Tan, senior student in ormond college, for helping me out around the college and miscellanous stuff. Including how to get to the airport and back, and emergency phone numbers. Wonderful fellow. First encountered his presence when I espied a nametag on his former room that said "These quarters belong to Benjamin Tan" in a Very Familiar font. I would have just walked away if not for other Very Familiar logos, namely the Babylon 5 Fan club logo and the Psi Corps logo (this one you should know, it's the greek letter "psi" that looks like libra, the scales)

Monday was the first day of classes- lectures mostly. Hung out mainly with the other asians i knew (seriously think i should be less introverted and mix around more with people whose home country's national language isn't malay or bahasa indonesia!!). No scandalous gossip yet, (well, at least none i *care* to share). Today's monday nite, so ... Oooh I went down to the student union library and took out 3 terry pratchetts!!! Soooo excited, just started on The Light Fantastic. Apparently the creative arts students are putting up Wyrd Sisters in april (one of the girls in ormond is acting in it), will catch it then. Student Union library also stocks dvds/videos to rent!

Oh Wutien if you're reading this, is there any way to get around mp3/icq/irc restrictions on the uni network? Oh right, there *is always* a way.

News update: Gabriel (known on Balderdash as agagooga norlan) told me abt ICQ lite, at
that is a web version of ICQ- a new window opens as a column on the right of the screen. Ah well, have to build up contact list from scratch. Send andrew messages if you're online!
Next morning and the day after were more orientation games- ditto, ditto. I drenched myself running through the fountains at south bank gaining points for my group (originally comprising people holding on to a jack of spades or jack of clubs card, we called ourselves the black-jacks) made my way back to ormond college to pack my stuff- chaowan hadn't joined in orientation, he went out for lunch and got back just as I was leaving. Took 2 trams down to spencer st to take the skybus down to the airport.

Flew back to singapore and spent the next few days sleeping/reading/slacking. Apart from the scholarship interview (which i will tell u more abt only if you ask me nicely). I didn't bother telling pple i was back- lynette foo was, like, "i just sent you an email wishing you all the best in melbourne and now you're here??" SMSed the ns guys to tell them rumour has it a level results out on wednesday, amongst them only patch caught on that i was in singapore. By the way, A level results out is confirmed!!
Uh-oh. Backwards posts. AH well.
Then college orientation had just started as I got back. I informed admin I wouldn't be around past tuesday afternoon, then joined in the activities. Basically running around, cheering, playing games (some fun, some just dumb, some intended to cause embarrassment- I will not divulge details unless sufficiently bribed), tour around the college in the afternoon, a short chapel service in the evening. I had just enough time to change into a suit and rush down to chapel- which is located on the second floor of the main building, overlooking the quadrangle near the entrance. Amazingly, a number of the girls had enough time to change into gowns And put some make-up- eyeshadow, lipstick, mascara. No rouge. The choral scholars filed in (ooh! asians amongst them! I might have a chance!) and sang some lovely renditions- all pretty modern arrangements- late 1850s to 1900s, including benjamin britten. A short sermon; the deacon mentioned the wide range of religions amongst the student body and read from John 3 and (gulp) somewhere in the old testament. It's a uniting church (i think it's a union of anglican/presbytarian doctrine and tradition); the uniting churches form a big portion of the churches around. Services are sundays 7pm, I definitely will be popping by some of them. Chaowan went for the last one and was uncomfortable with the preacher's somewhat irreverent attitude to the bible.

After the service were pre-dinner drinks outside (cold wind blowing, no idea how backless-gown-wearers survived without their oh-so-out-of-fashion pashminas)- suspicious looking non-alcoholic fruit punches with bits of canned fruit in them, and waiters serving sushi/suspicious samosas/sandwiches. (andrew: Alliteration! Ed: No you don't!!! [Real ed: He's framing me]) A student jazz band was also playing- not bad standard. Then a formal dinner (i.e. i didn't have to queue up behind the dining hall to get my plates of food) with candlelight, tablecloths, napkins, the works. Lovely atmosphere! Before the main course, the college choir got up to some a cappella jamming.Some of them were rather unconventional, i heard a lot of pretty rude words in the lyrics and there was a lot of raucous laughter in between the parts I didn't hear. Ended with "wade in the water"- an afro-american spiritual.

Dinner followed by a "mad hat party"- don unusual headwear and turn up for more suspicious drinks at the junior common room. I pulled on my dark blue beanie (i can just hear my brother go "Not beanie! Woolly cap! beanie's the cap with the helicopter top!") and went down; seniors were serving cordials with a little alcohol in them. All drinks came in gaudy colours- BRIGHT green, red, orange, yellow. Thankfully no blue.

Had a stupendously great time on the dancefloor- a mix of techno, rap, good old-fashioned rock. Dead beat, retired at 11 something
Haven't blogged (andrew: hopefully this word will enter future editions of the OED/Collins/Webster's) for a very long time so this is to make up for it:

First Weekend since last blog:
College Orientation started Sunday. Rushed down to Swanston St. Church of Christ for the 9.00am service (which i was conspicuously late for- arrived at 9.20am). They use a lot of hillsongs material (so most of the songs were familiar); congregation about 200+, LOTS of international students. A large portion of the service was devoted to announcements and messages about current/future missionary/other projects, it was about 10am when the sermon started. Can't remember much about the sermon (bad andrew! must take down notes next time!) except that it was something about giving up all for Christ; then closing (don't remember an altar call); then this friendly guy sitting next to me started talking to me and offered to introduce me to the other singapore students around. The servers (aka ushers) on duty were from the church's international student fellowship aka asian uni students in the church; went out for an early lunch at mekong's with the OCF pple around. Mekong's (vietnamese restaurant) is great value for money; ~A$6.50 gives you a BIG bowl of beef noodles or a plate of "broken" rice with your choice of meat- pork chop, roast beef... , and you can order the $7.50/$8.50 one if you're starving, or just want to share the meal with someone else. Do note that at least for the beef noodles, the sliced beef in the soup is quite rare (Raw), the idea is that the beef should cook in the hot stock in your bowl, at least until most of it isn't red.
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