Wednesday, April 30, 2003

desire [301102]

i am a bittersweet yearning
calling, calling over the rambling green
over the silvery trumpet-wall, listening
to the echoing silences reverberating from the mists.

there is a peace in exile, a clarity elsewhere unknown
of vision, born of distance,
that allows the estranged heart a reckoning,
a renewal of faith, a melting of the soul:
that in an unvarnished wordless memory
of a single nameless moment in time,
there lives a hope
for the eventual reconciliation of love

in other news -- my econ 203 and econometrics midterms are safely over, and while i made up some answers in both midterms, i think on the whole they kicked my ass. since i'm not expecting stellar grades in either class this quarter, that's fine by me. i now have better things to worry about -no, the stat midterm is not one of them- such as what i am going to do next week while the parents are here -yay!- and what i am going to do this summer re:going home.

dancing today was pretty awesome. now i can do the tandem charleston! and not feel like a total retard! wow, what progress from just yesterday, when someone putting me into a tandem charleston was pretty much guaranteed a tangle of limbs and a giggling me clutching helplessly trying to keep my balance while laughing too hard to breathe...oh wait, that was me two hours ago -grins- thank goodness for patience in partners -thanks to isaac and jan for putting up with my insanity and inability to balance on one foot longer than two seconds.

yeah, that was my big achievement for today. tandem charleston. what tomorrow? =) [not that i'm going to find out anytime soon, since i have that stat midterm to survive BEFORE going to lindy class...]

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

i've been very lonely and mixed up this week. =*( i wish the Wormz were here with me -other than you, jan, i'm still awfully glad you're here- but i'd really love it if alex were here to cheer me up and amos were here to hug me to death and just talk to me. the two of you always make me feel better. more human and more happy, and less like a piece of crap stuck to the bottom of someone's shoe. [i hope you're enjoying your holiday Down Under, teddybear, and that you and amos aren't trying to kill each other as i speak =p]

and of course i wish my she'enedra were here, but i always wish that. she's my common sense, sometimes, i think. i need her to whack some sense into this thick skull of mine, and make me realise that sometimes i'm the most stupid, self-destructive person on the face of the earth. you guys ground me, and i need that.

instead of being with you guys, i'm sitting in my room attempting to make five weeks of econometrics stick in my poor brain long enough to survive the midterm tomorrow. boo, life.

Monday, April 28, 2003

my heart almost stopped this morning: my aunt sent us an email saying that she'd just seen a suspect SARS case, her clinic was closed and disinfected, she and her staff were in voluntary quarantine until the hospital centre for SARS cases called and let them all know if the kid was a SARS case or not. almost immediately i read the next email which said that he probably wasn't. but i was instantly reminded yet again that two of my aunt-pack [my grandpa has four daughters!] are medical personnel and are therefore constantly at risk. while i'm tremendously proud of both of them for sticking with their guns at this difficult time, it's also worrying when auntie mary is spending some time at TTSH [where they're sending all the SARS patients] working with pregnant women/new mothers, and auntie kit is a GP so she's likely to see SARS cases before they're sent to the hospital.

at this stage, however, all we can do is pray things improve soon.

i wanna go home, i miss all my aunts and my grandpa.

every day in every way I’m falling
everything that everyone says turns me on
shine a light on me
so that everyone will see
that I wanna stay here

time exists just on your wrist so don’t panic
moments last and lifetimes are lost in a day
so wind your watches down please
‘cos there is no time to lose
and I’m gonna stay here
and I wanna stay here
so just let me be

i can't believe what a beautiful day it is outside -- it's currently almost seven pm and it's STILL 23C outside, the sun is shining as if the world will never end, in that odd caramel colour that it turns after five in this city, and there are leaves on all the trees, and tulips and daffodils bursting into bloom all over campus. i can hear the law school fountain going through my open windows, which are incidentally opened all the way, and there's music and the sound of children playing floating in from the midway. i spent almost an hour earlier this evening, before church, lying on the quads outside of Ryerson on my jacket, just staring up into the blueblue sky, listening to my music and just dreaming. dreaming of what or who or when, i don't know, but my mind was floating off among the clouds was a great break from getting to know Mr. Government Taxation and Redistribution of Income, which i was doing earlier in the Reg. walking around in this weather is such a great experience -- it's warm, almost hot, when the sun gets you, but at the same time, when the breeze blows it cools you down, makes you walk slower, makes you appreciate the heat that much more...there are people all over the quads today just lying on sheets and mats and towels, playing weird forms of baseball [i think they were playing rounders, actually] cricket and god knows what else outside of Alpha Del, and just chillin' in the lovely weather. it's supposed to stay this way tomorrow too. it's lunch on the quads time!

ooh before i forget -- went to Willowbrook Ballroom last night for swingdancing. it's way the hell out there, but Hanyann had chris's car over the weekend, so she drove up, and Jan and i went for the ride. [Jan's a swingdance buddy, i love dancing with him, it's so much fun] i wasn't intending to go, originally, but when Jan came over to meet hanyann he basically insisted i go change and come with them, and i just decided on the spur of the moment -- what the hell, i'll go, it'll be fun, and if it isn't, i'll sleep/read The Bell Jar [yes mom, i've gotten back into the bad habit of carrying a book with me wherever i go, it's really antisocial]. so i went, and it was really cool -- got to see lots of amazing dancers perform, and then got to dance in my weird Payless heels on this really smooth dance floor...i couldn't control where i was going, but the circles were amazing! i love the feeling of swinging around my partner using the whole momentum of my weight and my's so much fun! lindy is the bestest form of exercise ever. =) i gotta do more of it.

unfortunately, this week will involve not lots of lindying but lots of studying -- Econ 203 and 'metrics midterms back to back on tuesday morning, and stat midterm wednesday evening. not the most enjoyable experience. but -on the upside- my parents will be here next weekend! unless the americans start quarantining passengers from SARS infected regions, in which case i will not see them for a long long time. i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

wow. i just had the most amazing evening, it blew my mind. hung out with sheryl amanda janice yujuan herbert and sidney at sidney and 'bert's apartment, watched some seriously bad television [ElimiDate! it sucks! we screamed at the tv the entire time!], ate some wonderful homecooked food, and just hung out. and made some extremely hilarious home videos which will come back to haunt herbert in ten years' time, when he's some VIP somewhere and we're sniggering away as we broadcast said video on national television. -grins- i haven't laughed that hard in several weeks.

that said, it is time for me to retire to my bed and read The Bell Jar in one sitting. and then put depressing quotes in my IM profile to go along with the ones that are already there...=)

Friday, April 25, 2003

i'm jobless for the summer.

i'm also speechless with shock. the OSMP has been a keystone programme of the PSC OMS since as long as i can remember. as long as i have been aware that the PSC OMS existed. and they've moved us to next year's batch because of the whole SARS issue in singapore -- SARS related reentry problems, and fear of the disease itself. i'm still stunned that they think the situation serious enough to not recall their scholars - i've never really considered that an option of management, though i've certainly wondered what was going to happen re: SARS once i was back in singapore and then tried to come back here in september. i so honestly never thought that they would cancel OSMP that i was more worried about the PMO not letting me come back here early enough to get settled in than about the whole SARS thing.

now i have a whole new set of options for the summer. they definitely include going home at some point, maybe early in the summer holiday [though that doesn't quite make sense 'cos i should wait for the SARS thing to maybe go away] because Ben is going to be home from Sydney [he is coming home, right mom?] and Dad's bday is at the end of june. wow. i guess i'm going to stay in chicago most of the summer too, and just live in hyde park and find some job to do...which will be nice. i could also visit my people in london - they'll love me for descending on them i'm sure- but well...let's put it this way: i'm lazy.

so. wow.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

the blue rose rare
one cannot gain
if glove or guard be worn
'tis only when one risks the pain
of flesh against the thorn

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

so i went to this AWESOME concert tonight - Cantus came to campus and sang at Mandel Hall. Cantus is an all male acapella group from Minneapolis/St Paul who started singing together in college and just kept on going...=) they did a great programme and came back for a really cool encore involving african jazz and a clapping game that three yearolds play which took Cantus considerably longer to learn than the three yearolds. =) i had a pretty wonderful seat, third row from the front, right at the side, but i could see everyone of the ten member ensemble. my only beef with the seat i was in was that i was behind the wonderful wonderful basses and couldn't see them, though i could most certainly hear them. mmmm. yummy basses. i love basses. can you tell? there was also a really wonderful tenor [i know, i know, you may never hear me use the words 'wonderful' and 'tenor' in the same sentence ever again] who sang solo for an irish work song [so now i persist in calling him the little irish tenor though he is neither little nor irish] and just had the loveliest brightest smile i've ever seen on a grown man. -amused-

they have great great control - i miss hearing that, and always wind up forgetting how much i miss hearing that until i go to an vocal concert like this one and realise that i haven't heard such perfect control for a long time - especially of the male voices. particularly the tenors, who were inspired, and as all tenors tend to be, completely insane. i remember thinking after the second song that it is true, all tenors are really strange people, as they sang in weird ghostly voices to a strange devil song. ooh! they opened with Daemon Irrepit Callidus which the RJ Chorale did at some point in my singing career with them, and it was really great to hear it again. it's an inspired show opener 'cos it's really showy and technically demanding. they also did Shenandoah and moved me to tears, i loved singing that song with the Raffles Concert Singers two years ago, the first time i heard it it made me cry [and no, not because we were so bad =)]...and another song they did tonight that made me cry was The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald with a guitar and cello accompaniment. now let it be said that the cello is one of the world's most beautiful instruments - i swear it sounded like it was crying, and i was wiping tears away by the end of the song. so KUDOS to Cantus for an amazing night.

i was also sitting in the concert hall wishing i was up on stage again with all my choirmates and singing again, and i wanted to sing so badly i was almost in tears. it still makes me feel hollow inside to sit in the audience at a vocal concert knowing that i may never be onstage, blending my voice with others in harmony ever again. to sing with people like the RJ Chorale, to be conducted by people like Mr Toh [congratulations on Miss Toh!], to just make music with lots of other people and feel like part of something big and beautiful and perfect. i have the kind of voice that is the choral glue - the technical ability to blend in with anyone, and become part of the whole without my individual voice being lost. i heard that tonight, when they were doing the sacred music, and i missed doing that blending, all the work it took to match ten, twelve voices perfectly in colour tone and pitch, so much i hurt inside. it's ridiculous how much i miss doing sacred music. it's something that you never can do on your own, because you need that balance in the bass notes to have the sopranos shine; the balance in the darkness of the altos to temper the madness of the tenor. i miss listening to the other parts as Mr Toh told us to shut up and listen, and imagining what the harmony sounds like, the amazement with which i realised that someone -the person who had arranged/composed the piece we were performing- had heard all this INSIDE HIS HEAD and put it down on paper. i remember thrilling to the sounds of the bass twos hitting the low low notes on Just The Way You Look [go bass twos! you rock!] and Lonesome Road [one of my favourites in the world because of that beautiful low note in the last phrase] -- you can feel them in your bones, especially when they're standing behind you [and by you i mean the soprano section, waaay higher than they will ever go]. what can i say, except that if i could go back and do it all over again, i would -- all the late nights, the exhaustion, the craziness of concert night, the flowers and makeup and shoes and gowns, the bright lights and crowded dressing rooms, the friendship and the laughter -- i'd do it all over again, but somehow i don't think i'll ever have the chance to.

someone revive the Raffles Concert Singers for good, please! i'll be there, first name on the signup sheet, i promise =)

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Gravity and Center

I’m sorry that I cannot say I love you when you say
you love me. The words, like moist fingers,
appear before me full of promise but then run away
to a little black room that is always dark,
where they are silent, elegant, like antique gold,
devouring the thing I feel. I want the force
of attraction to crush the force of repulsion
and for my inner and outer worlds to pierce
one another, like a horse being whipped by a man.
I don’t want words to sever me from reality.
I don’t want to need them. I want nothing
to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,
or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,
or the sound of water poured in a bowl.

--Henri Cole

it's monday night fourth week. FOURTH WEEK. where on earth did the time go. i checked my calendar this morning, realised that (a) my three insane midterms are back to back next tuesday and wednesday, and (b) my parents are going to be here next friday!!! where did the first three weeks of the quarter go, and why didn't winter quarter go this fast? so it's full panic stations, as i attempt to make up for the slacking off i've been doing all quarter. -shriek-

other than that amazing realisation though, monday hasn't been too evil to me. i called Cece this morning and we talked for a really really long time for the first time in a while. i'd forgotten how much i missed talking to her and having her pound sense into my thick skull. it was so much fun to just hang out on the phone with her and talk about college and being home for the summer and guys and that kind of girly thing that we always wind up talking about when we're together, that's sort of inconsequential in the big picture but oh-so-important in the small, daily life picture. i really miss my sister. and so we're making plans to hang out this summer as far as our schedules will allow, and somehow, in some way, i am going to convince her to come and visit me in this godforsaken corner of the country called Hyde Park and we're going to have a great great time. right? right? =p

and then EUN CALLED ME!!! actually, i woke up turned on the cellphone and got her message, first thing this morning. it was so cool to hear her voice, albeit over voicemail, asking me why (a) my voicemail had an american accent -grins- and (b) why i wasn't awake and on the other end of the line...just kidding. but yeah, it was awesome to hear her voice [just like it was tres tres cool to hear my cousin Jon's voice on easter day, asking me why i wasn't picking up either - well it was seventhirty AM and i didn't have to get up for Mass for another two hours, yo! call me back! =)] and then i called her when i got back from stat homeworking at Crerar and we talked for hours. was a great great time. i miss talking to Eun too, so much, esp since i literally had not heard her voice before this morning since spring break last year. over a year ago. how crazy is that? you'd think it'd be impossible for friends to go that long without talking to each other, and still be as great as we are now. =) but yeah, it was a wonderful two hours on the phone talking about the meaning of life and all that...and the usual girltalk i usually wind up doing when i'm with you guys =)

Wormz -- i wish you were here -- Cece, Eun, Alex, Amos, Ying, Feng, Charles...-wrinkles up nose- we haven't been together in the same place at the same time for so long now. i miss you guys. i could use some hugs and love from you guys. =)

and emily and i signed our lease this evening; we are officially renters. real world, here we come!

Monday, April 21, 2003

it's been a crazy weekend. not in a good way. those of you who know what's going on will know what i'm talking abt; those of you who don't know -- well this is not the forum in which to find out. let it just be said that saturday was not a good day.

easter sunday was, as always, beautiful. for some reason the sun decided to start shining right before we left for Mass at Bond Chapel this morning. yes, i am attending catholic mass for some reason known only to myself -- well really it's because of the absence of an Anglican service anywhere on campus. i love the Catholic Mass anyways; it's so close to what i'm accustomed to, and its ritual calms me. we went in a group this morning -Rachel, Sean, Simon, Eric, Amaris, Paul and me, all gussied up for the occasion...Paul and Sean were dressed in suits [or in Sean's case something approximating a suit] and Rachel looked really pretty =) i wound up wearing a skirt, something i haven't worn to church in a while. [yes mom, a skirt. not jeans. =)] and it felt really good to be at Mass with the people i know and care about, and to be celebrating Easter in with them. it was a long service with parts sung in Latin Gregorian-Chant style [i learned to read Gregorian Chant notation! i'm so proud of myself] but i found myself getting absorbed into it...even when the child in the back started screaming, like the baby in the room always does at Calvert House, where i usually go on sundays. the only problem with going to catholic mass is i can't take communion because i'm not a Catholic. shucks.

i still miss Easter at home with my family and my godparents though. going to church on Easter the last time i was home for it was really good for me. and it won't be happening again for a couple of years yet...

Monday, April 14, 2003

i went to my first ball game yesterday! my second year in chicago, and i finally make it up to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. yay Cubbies! they were playing the Pirates yesterday, so the crew dragged their asses out of bed to make it to Wrigley to watch the game: Sean, Liza, Eric, Amaris, Dave, Kai, Lauren, Paul, Justin, and me. we had tickets, for some inexplicable reason, for the very top row of the bleachers, waaaaay on the top of the stadium, with a chain-link fence at our backs, and the wind blowing from every imaginable direction. i was frozen to the bone in minutes, sitting there huddled in my coat, hat, and gloves, and laughing like crazy at being at Wrigley Field, with the sun shining and the icy wind blowing off the lake. i really like Wrigley Field -- the stadium's really nice, and from our seats perched high above everyone else i could see the lake, and the buildings around the stadium are all old-looking brick. the closest ones have extra seats built onto their roofs so that more people can watch the Cubs play, and now that the controversial screens have been removed, those seats were full of people there to enjoy the sunny day and watch the ball game.

i spent a lot of time shivering while watching the ball game, and having sean and paul explain how parts of the game work IE what certain plays are called, and when strikes are strikes and that kind of thing...and watching people manually change the numbers on the scoreboard from the INSIDE of the scoreboard, which was great. -grins- we drank coffee and cocoa and ate hot dogs, nachos and cheese, and pretzels...and cotton candy. and i marvelled at people who were -despite the freezing weather- drinking cold beer. baseball is such a great game though, i love the sound of the bat connecting with a loud CRACK with the ball, and then following the ball up into the air...and hopefully not into an outfielder's glove. saw a homerun hit by Damien Miller of the Cubs, and the game ended in a shutout -GO CUBBIES! but by that point in time we were all just dying to go home and get warm. it was so cold i was honestly shivering, thankful for the occasion corner of the exorbitantly expensive blanket that Dave and Kai had purchased, and bouncing my feet around to keep them from freezing off. it was the coldest i'd been since the middle of winter, and i still loved being there.

in the middle of the seventh inning, the entire stadium got to its collective feet and started singing --

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

when it gets warmer, i'm going to go to another Cubs game, and spend another afternoon screaming, listening to the CRACK of bat on ball, and just hanging out with my friends at the ball game.

Friday, April 11, 2003

here at the U of C, when the firstyears come in, they're treated to an Aims of Education address by a member of faculty, expressing his/her view on what the experience of education should be. at some point, i'm going to produce my own version of the Aims of Education -mostly because this is my forum to speak and partly because at some point in the past year i've more or less clarified to my own satisfaction what they should be- but for now, i'm gonna focus on government. i don't mean a particular government of a particular country, but governments in general - though of course ultimately i have my own government in mind: i live in a particular time in a particular place, and i would like that particular time and place to be governed in this fashion.

it's in point form, because i'm no speech maker. let's take this as a working paper, a work in progress.

::Aims of Government::

(1) National Security: the protection of national sovereignty. i am to a certain degree a realist. survival is the primary motivating factor of any human interaction. we have an idea or a 'thing' called the 'Government' because we need some way to ensure mutual survival, which we now called 'national survival' because we have the concept of a nation. it all goes back to Hobbes' Leviathan where we cede some rights and liberties to a Sovereign in hopes that it will protect us from one another, and allow us the liberty of going on our merry way and doing what we want without needing to build trust with every individual we meet. this liberty comes with some caveats, like the Golden Rule. same idea. we give up some of our independence to a 'Government' in hopes that in return for our little investment we are allowed to continue to exist unmolested, and prosper together rather than live in abjectly poor anarachy apart. and if i have to surrender my independence to a particular body of people, i would very much like to be able to choose which body this would be, rather than have an invasive force decide for me, a la the Americans in Iraq, thank you very much.

(2) closely related to that idea of National Security is social stability. i think that a government should in some way ensure social cohesiveness and harmony - otherwise why do we call ourselves a society? it isn't the government's job to FORCE cohesiveness on us -they should not and CAN NOT say 'you MUST get along with each other or we will imprison you all'- but by their representative nature their actions indicate to us how we should behave. so if there's discrimination for whatever reason within the government, it's by definition setting the population in general a bad example with regard to discrimination. i would like a government that's constantly aware of its representative function, as well as its function as a Sovereign that knows more about the whole than the parts of the whole know.

to that end i think that governments should be interested in generating equality - not of outcome, because that flies in the face of years of economic training - but of opportunity. how that should be done, or what the best way that should be done, i don't know, or i can't definitively say. all i am willing to firmly state now is that it should be a goal, an ideal we aim for without initial compromise, because that's the only way i think big things can be accomplished. sometimes ideals serve a practical purpose of making us continually work for what seems to be impossible, in hopes that one day it might just become possible. there are many factors to consider when you talk about 'equality of opportunity' and there are surely many factors that governments as institutions cannot control for. but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't control the factors that they CAN affect, just because they can't affect the whole. governments need to treat everyone identified as their citizens equally, regardless of distinguishing factors such as religion or ethnicity.

(3) should there be some kind of moral/ethical goal in here? i tend to think that governments should as far as possible remain amoral. not IMMORAL, but amoral - the constituents of the government should not impose their moral code on the population just because they can. however, in a democratic state you have to call into consideration the representative nature of governments: presumably people elect governments based not only on their policy-making abilities but also on inherently personal qualities such as trustworthiness, or in some cases religion. who knows. perhaps the electoral process is enough to ensure that the moral code that is espoused by the government is representative of the social morality of the nation. perhaps.

(4) should the Government also have a more-than-representative role in the life of a nation? that is to say -- should governments be constructed along the lines of the Philosopher-King in Plato's Republic? i think that to a certain extent, the government needs to play a philosopher's role by encouraging or even just allowing people to formulate their own belief systems - which to me is part of what being an individual means. it doesn't matter that you have the same beliefs as the next guy, as long as they're YOUR beliefs, and you don't believe them because someone else -the next guy, or the government- told you to believe in them. because more often than not the government is a purveyor of education, and precisely because the government has that representative function, its stance on individual liberties and freedoms will limit or not limit the development of an independently cohesive people. that isn't to say that the government should tell you to think or worse what or how to think, but the government -my ideal government- would allow people to think if that is what they choose to do. and listen if they choose to speak - to believe in their representative capacity more than their Philosopher-King capacity, but without letting go of the latter. it's only to a certain extent that governments should be 'more than representative'.

should the government be allowed to say or do things because it thinks it's doing what's best for the people, even in the face of opposing public opinion? [let's shoot for the moon and say there's some way to measure the true value of public opinion without statistical error] the Big Brother or paternal kind of government which i grew up with may or may not be the best thing. sometimes, it is of value, esp when national security comes into conflict with individual liberties [which is a caveat under Hobbes's argument - if you want to destroy the society you've given up your rights to, society will stop you]. but when immediate survival isn't at stake, a policy of government-knows-best may be trading long-term survival through the individual efforts of the population for short-term almost non-benefits in terms of perceived security [but in the absence of a real threat]. at some point the citizenry needs to be allowed to 'grow up' and leave the nest.

in general i think of a 'Government' as a unit embodying the will of a people - very much in line with Locke and Rousseau, but with touches of Hobbes [see, i don't forget EVERYTHING i've ever read in Soc]- and working toward an ideal way of life that is enshrined in the Constitution or equivalent statement of intent for the nation. in America it's the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. in Singapore - well, we have a shortform in the shape of our Pledge, which every school child recites every day of his schooling career:

We, the Citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity, and progress for our nation.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Note to Self: Dancing three hours straight two nights in a row -IE taking four Lindy classes at once- is Not A Good Idea. my quads are rebelling right now, they don't want to do what i tell them to, they're buckling when i walk. -grins- a great state of affairs, i'm sure you'll agree. but on the other hand, lindy is a great way to get some exercise, charge up the system, without running on a boring old treadmill or elliptical machine. plus i have great partners. what more could a girl ask?

it does mean that there is less time to do homework, and when crisis time approaches for some reason people's reaction is 'ask Jeanette for help!''s time for me to start screening calls, resist the temptation to meddle [sometimes people just need to go and fail on their own], and focus on Finishing My Problem Sets and doing at least SOME of the required reading for Civ. which gets shamefully neglected, because it doesn't command a grade for being finished on schedule. it's expendable. and i'm not THAT fascinated by korean history.

so yeah. here's the list of Lindy classes i'm taking: Beginning Lindy [taught by Edwardo and Hanyann, so i'm taking it again]; Continuing Lindy I and II; and Seminar ['Advanced Lindy' which is totally awesome, taught by Brainard and Dana, and their funky-ass moves are the ones making my quads fall apart]. great stuff.

need to read some before bedtime, which is actually over. man, no sleep for the weary...

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

updates on What Jeanette Has Been Doing With Her Life other than Studying [which she unfortunately has NOT been doing]:

(1) SWING DANCING! =) the bestest kind of dance there is. last night -- that is monday night-- the University of Chicago, out of the generousity of its golden heart, sponsored a Second Year Spring Event: a trip to Hothouse in downtown Chicago to hear Yoko Noge and her Jazz Me Blues band play. lots of people turned up, two whole busloads of second years, which is a lot for a second year event, but not many dancers in the i didn't get to dance all that much. i had one good dance with Jimmy a fellow second yr, and i also got to watch my roommate Hanyann dance with the really good people, like Nathaniel and Bradley, who showed up separately since they're not secondyears and didn't get to ride the free bus. -grins- ooh! and i also got to talk to Yoko herself for a little while -i ran into her in the bathroom- about life in college and life in chicago and dancing. tres tres cool. =)

and today i spent the better part of three hours -between seven and ten pm- dancing madly. learning to swing dance on campus, by taking classes taught by instructors affiliated with the Chicago Swing Dance Society, which is student run and organises swing-related stuff on and off campus, like workshops, and the weekly Friday Night Java Jive where people from all over Chicago come to social dance! i'm taking two classes back to back: Continuing Lindy II followed by Continuing Lindy I. that is SO much exercise it's crazy - we spent the first lesson learning how to do some fast Hollywood moves, so we did lots and lots of swingouts, which are exhausting if done fast and repetitively [and that's how we were doing 'em!], and then we did funny dip things that killed my quads. it was great. then Nathaniel and Jenn taught variations on the R-J for Continuing I, and i got to dance with some of my favourite leads in chicago until we all almost collapsed from exhaustion. an awesome evening all round, i'd say.

for more information on the swing scene in chicago, look here.

(2) Watching Awesome Movies . i watched 25th Hour on saturday with Leon, and it made me cry. Edward Norton is a fantastic actor, who made me cry both in Red Dragon and now in 25th Hour. he has a lovely style of underacting that's just really appealing to me - oh, and he and the dog have great chemistry in the movie, i love it. it was also shot in new york post-9/11, and feel to me somewhat like Spike Lee's ode, or perhaps tribute to New York in a difficult time. maybe saying something about what it means to be a New Yorker in post-9/11 days - for new york, time is divided now between before the towers, and after the towers. it didn't completely jive with the storyline -drug dealer spending last day of freedom before going to jail for seven years for possession- but still, somehow, that tribute fit in with the rough and ready, fuzzy-edged quality of the film. it fit with the toughness of the main character, and perhaps Spike Lee was trying to say something abt the essence of a new yorker.

there's going to be a lot of movie watching at Doc this quarter: the lineup is fantastic. this weekend, for example, we have Adaptation on friday and then Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on saturday, and sometime this quarter we're also screening Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Trainspotting...i could go on, but in interest of space, i'll stop. take a look at the schedule online and drool. =)

(3) Going to Great Concerts On Campus. the University of Chicago Presents concert series is pretty amazing this quarter. i have tickets to three of the concerts -the Susan Graham concert, the Cantus concert, and the Tallis Scholars- for the measly amt of twenty seven dollars, for wonderful seats in glorious surroundings [the Tallis Scholars are performing Renaissance music in Rockefeller Chapel, i can't wait]. the benefits of going alone =)

this friday will be a marvellous combination of all three: going from Susan Graham's concert at Mandel Hall to swing dancing at Ida Noyes [the Trilindython is on!] to Adaptation at Doc...such a surfeit of delight!

so that's what i've been up to/going to be up to leisurewise in the next few weeks. i've also been sending emails to prospective students abt the U of C and life in an american college in general as part of my duties as an RJ alum -grins- so lots of typing at the computer. now it's midnight; it's time to either work, eat, or sleep, i have yet to decide which...

Saturday, April 05, 2003

remember RSS Courageous? who was shorn in half by the Dutch-registered container vessel? and remember asking yourself why this horrible horrible thing had happened? well now we know.

maybe some day soon i'll be able to feel sympathy for the guy who made the mistake. but right now, i'm too incensed to even think straight. what the ____ was he thinking? maritime rules exist for a reason and i happen to know that you don't make officer without learning them damn well. for goodness sakes you can't get a boating licence without knowing them by heart. so what happened here?

is there a reason?

all right, so i haven't posted since monday. a little horrifying, but it's been that kind of week, what with tons of email flying back and forth Re: SARS and the wars, and settling classes and all kind of thing. i finally have a free moment to catch my breath, play lots of Snood, and write emails to everyone to whom i owe emails. and now to update my blog! yay!


here's the setup for the quarter: Econ 203 -Macro is your friend, unemployment is your friend, government is also your friend-; Econ 210 -Econometrics! which is statistics on steriods, growth hormones, and possibly recreational drugs; Stat 220 -the pale, wan, underexposed and malnourished younger brother of Econ 210, involving statistical probabilities and expected means and suchlike; and EALC 110 -Intro to Korean Civ by one Bruce Cumings. it's all beautifully set up so that on mondays and wednesdays, i have just one beautiful little fifty minute session with David Clifford [who incidentally shares a name with a famous MD, as Google informs me] and a certain statistics textbook; but on tuesdays and thursdays i wander from torture chamber to torture chamber...just kidding. Macro to Metrics; not a bad combination at all, makes me feel like a real econ student. hah!

so classes are looking good, i'm enjoying myself thus far...but it's first week, so we'll see how it goes.


it's official. i'm working with the Prime Minister's Office this summer, on something called 'Strategic Research', which probably means i have something to do with PS21. that can be good news or bad news, depending on the kind of grunt work they make me do. it is, however, located in Shenton Way, so for those of you who are Singaporeans, you'll know i'm going to vaguely near both reasonably decent food AND my favourite gym. yay! so there are my summer plans for you. =)

::financial situation::

just thought i'd throw this in here so i can bitch. MAN TEXTBOOKS ARE UNBELIEVABLY EXPENSIVE IN THE US. that's all i can say. after bleeding more than 12K into the Bursar's coffers last week, i proceeded to have to purchase, just for this quarter's classes, almost 300 USD worth of books. that's buying as many of them used as possible. beat that. be thankful, those of ye back home in Singapore, that your books will cost nowhere near the cost of mine, either in the numbers on the pricetags, or the actual cost when converted to Singapore dollars. believe me, we could be doing a roaring trade in selling textbooks cheap on this side of the world...keep that in mind...

but yeah, so now i'm broke. which is bad. since i'm planning on going shopping tomorrow. need spring clothes. yeah. =)