Wednesday, 3rd January '07

Progressions

It has come to my attention that I haven't done a 2006 recap yet. Or even blogged, really, in a long while. Blame the holidays; when there are much better things to do, even if it's just sleeping in the mornings, it's going to be harder to get off one's ass and blog.

In recent updates, thanks for the phone conversations Babs, it really worked wonders. I don't know why I'd been feeling a bit off balance and talking to you put things in a little more perspective. In other news, I did not end up with a PADI licence because of gastroenteritis, bad weather and a recent shark attack that no one seems have heard about except my father. Pfft. I also did not end up learning to play the drums. What I HAVE done is caught up on sleep, been involved in the needless consumption of a lot of more turkeys than necessary, toffee nut latte-d myself sick, and watched reruns of Roswell. Very productive, I know.

Oh, and I applied for a couple of paid blogging jobs. Right up my alley, I know. They select bloggers from all over the world though, so I've no idea what the chances are of getting picked. I'd really be stoked to get the job if I do though, especially the one about blogging about Singapore. With all the tourguiding I've been doing for all the visitors over the last half a year, I'm rapidly storing up information on all the touristy and non-touristy exciting things to do around here with no avenue to bleat it all out to. And of course, blogging about Singapore on a personal website would be a bit superfluous, seeing as the readership of funnyfishcakes is mostly Singaporean anyway.

But back to what I really wanted to do, which is to do something to tie up 2006 nicely. As in the immortal words of the song: "it was a very good year". A lot of firsts got chalked up, I think, now that I look back on it. They may have been trivial, but I suppose important to self-growth in their own way. New interests developed, new friends made. A small list, perhaps, should ensue on the interesting highlights of the year:

1. First New Year's in New York City. Was Times Square all it was cracked up to be? I wouldn't know, we never made it there. We did, however, make it to about 10 blocks from the main party, enough to scream at the ball dropping (though we didn't see it), and jostle with the drunken, psychotic crowd. We took photos with firemen on duty, climbed fences and ran after the mounted police. We had sangria in a restaurant to celebrate thereafter, and the next morning we had Qiong admitted to hospital, dehydrated and in need of two bags of normal saline. I wouldn't call it a mad party (though some would), but I would call it an adventure with the 401 gang I'd remember for a long time. *sniff* Good times.

2. First Chinese New Year away from home, and until then I never realised what an important holiday it was to me. If the angmohs get cut up over missing their family at Christmas, CNY for me is the big family holiday. That having been said, Auntie Lilian makes an awesome low hei - seriously it was some of the best I ever had. And cooking for the angmohs on chuyi, with the setting off of the fire alarm and the fire brigade tearing down to the YMCA - can't say anything like that would have ever happened if I had been home in Singapore.

3. First time snowboarding! The most exhilarating new skill I picked up since learning to skate. There's a sense of freedom and reckless abandonment I get when whizzing down a hill, and I'm so thankful that by the end of 2 sessions a simple run could be completed without wiping out. Without a doubt my favourite achievement of 2006.

4. First time skating on an outdoor rink. A big over-anticipated thing for me, of course, being the skating nut / winter bunny I am. Though I admit the experience was quite overrated, possibly because I am NOT living in a romantic Christmas comedy like Love Actually or Seredipity. One realises that ice skating in the snow really only reaches full whimsical force when you have occasion to slip and fall into a lover's (or at least potential lover's) arms, giggle and stare into each other's eyes as he helps you up. Said romanticism is not found, however, when you're skating with Mick and Jess, and you're the most adept skater so falling is really not an option, and there won't be anyone there to catch you if you did. In addition the ice is badly surfaced, the boots hurt, and your nose is running a marathon in the cold.

5. First experience with foreign health care. And by foreign I mean provided in FRENCH. Jess was totally my saviour; there was no way I would have been able to consent to treatment and give medical history all by my lonesome. This happened, by the way, on my first taste of frozen maple syrup on -34 degree weather, when the front tooth decided to unceremoniously detach and become embedded in the syrup. Much to amusement of travel companions David and Mick. Yes, it was potentially the most embarassing event of 2006 as well.

6. Speaking of which, the first half of 2006 was devoted to an interesting study of the male psyche. A few female companions were present, and I might have just DIED without Susann, but overall, it was all rather testosteroney. Yes, members of the female species, there is definitely precious little in there but sex, drugs and rock n' roll. I must also be one of the rare females who can end up in the company of 6-7 very attractive boys at a time, without actually being a hot chick. In fact, the way things usually go, I'm closer to pimp than anything else. Pity I get no money for my pains. But no, seriously, it was an eye-opening change of scene.

7. First time watching a Stars on Ice live. So so so awesome, and I'll remember everything about that day for a long time to come. Everything from wings and cider with Vicki to Kurt Brownings' leather (PVC?) pants. My hereos, all the performers.

8. 2006, also the year for a puberty-type mental growth and several meaningful discussions with various people on issues of love, life, lust, sex, pregnancy, marriage and how many of these must go together at any one time. Still a time for figuring one's value systems and as usual, I come to no conclusion that I can even successfully hold for even a day at a time, much less decide should be the right course of action for everyone in the world. Morality is relative, I think. But then that opinion will change by tomorrow.

9. In a silly girly way it might be a good juncture to note that this was the year of first non-platonic interactions with a couple of interesting catches. Being kissed by a tall, dark, handsome foreigner (yes, movie star hot) in a club is everything that it is cracked up to be and the stuff dreams are made of, and yet it is not - an irony-charged point that I'm glad I grasp the nuances of. A less sober person might not have done so, especially when the guy is as glib and charming (and did I say hot?) as scripted fairytale heroes come. Which is not to say that the heart does not go a-flutter and that it did not feel flattering to have a hand to hold and someone to carry my coat for a while. It just means that the heart flutters in a very informed and controlled manner, while the brain continues to function overtime - which only means to say I was simultaneously calculating the number of germs that can be passed mouth to mouth and wondering about brands of lip balm. Leave it to me to ruin a romantic experience, I know. But it's a story to brag to one's grandchildren about, assuming I ever get to do anything that could one day result in grandchildren.

10. First time as a little lost girl in New York. Think of the Home Alone kid, and you have me, totting 65kg of luggage around Newark trying to find my way home amidst cancelled flights and non-corresponding airlines. I was posessed by an indomitable (Tzo's words) sangfroid, but it was still a harrowing experience. Meeting the posse of Singaporean boys at the boarding gate was such a relief, I only knew ONE of them and not even remotely well, but somehow seeing locals with a connection to you had never felt so much of a relief. I remember one tried to help carry my luggage and I my hackles were already raised so high from having my alert up all day that I snapped back with a rather ungrateful "What the hell are you doing?". Sigh, for a moment I thought he was stealing my luggage. But never had I felt so much pride in my countrymen - the boys on the plane or just the awesome service of SIA's Executive Economy class. Electric sockets for the laptop, 10cm extra seat, constant feeding (you can even make special requests like instant mee), insanely polite stewards / stewardesses, and the full KrisWorld package. Instant balm for my frayed nerves.

11. First time with CABLE TV! All for the world cup experience, and for the first time I knew people in countries who actually had a vested interest in the outcome. For the first time there was actually a Singaporean Shamsul to cheer on, even if in the very unlikely capacity of a referee. And for the first time I actually found myself a fan of a footballer (albeit for entirely unintelligent, girly reasons) - England's Steven Gerrard - and having the tools with which to watch the matches I wanted to. This would also be the first time I had a bookie (Bookie Chew) set up shop in my living room and placing bets on everything from the final outcome to the player with the next yellow card.

12. First REAL JOB landed. Not a little show gig, not a little part time job, not a temporary internship, but real live job. One with a contract, CPF, benefits, gym membership, and career prospects. The sheer notion of tying my life to being a corporate drone is scary as hell, but what you gonna do?

13. First experience with the upper law school side of NUS, meaning getting to pick classes. They were every bit as gruelling as promised, Conflicts especially. Not that I didn't enjoy it while it lasted. Any degree of school has got to be infinitely better than work will be. Efforts to be friendly to exchange students don't go very well, I realise, potentially becasue they are not very interested in what ordinary Singaporeans do, and our varied interests do not line up so closely with their very singular ones (partypartyparty). Perhaps they find us boring, what with all this "mooncake festival" and "join us for mahjong?" nonsense.

14. First time with Limin to hang out with during the term time. As you know, she stuck around way to long wink, giving rise to certain problems. First time also witnessing the frighteningly Carrie-like qualities of Limin's tongue. When I received news of a certain couple's breakup within HOURS of her saying their union was not right, I felt like I should have been struck by lightning.

15. First Next Wave as a senior, with the attendant stresses. Many moments to remember, including the need to practice harder and not look like an idiot, car rides with Bryan and Dewi, my first ever time leading tech class alone (the stress!), getting chewed out by Zaki, the slutty costume which was oh-so-liberating, and the to-and-fro dashes with Mel. And the continual realisation that there's just so far to go.

16. Got closer to the law students as a batch too, with the doing of Law IV. Even Law IV aside some previous acquaintances have gotten closer, via MSN convos and Conflicts mugging, than before. It's nice.

Other Special Mentions

Bookwise it's not been much of a year, I've started and not finished way too many books, including 1984, The World is Flat, The Horse Whisperer. As far as new author discoveries go, Michael Conelly is a good but somehow not entirely satisfying mystery writer. But the combination of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (who collaborated to produce the smash hit "Freakonomics") is a joy to behold. Certainly my pick of the year, and the first non-fiction book I have ever found so thrilling and so palatably written that I could not put it down and finished it in a night and an afternoon.

Moviewise not that hot either, though Hard Candy was a precious gem. Most shows this year were pretty acceptable entertainment otherwise. Will be watching Borat tomorrow, probably censored beyond recognition thanks to the Singapore censorship board, but you make do with what you have. Will tell you how that goes.

Right. Now I have to sleep.



en ying snapped a shot of life @ 12:57 am
[1 photograph developed.]


1 photograph developed.

qiong:

sigh. thanks for the special mention *lol* incidentally, am sick again, albeit in stanford, and rememebering your advice and chugging lots of gatorade. as it is i've not gotten sick the entire year ever since that unfortunate hair-raising one in NYC, and now it comes back to haunt me in full technicolor glory in SF, made all the more painful by the fact that the weather outside is NICE dammit *sigh*

haha. but i like your round-ups, as usual. What is this about paid blogging jobs again?





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