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Monthly Archives: November 2014

finding little gems like this on youtube and thinking again that i would like to learn how to play a musical instrument. i think of things i want to learn and even master, and then i realise how i am a champion at underutilising useful time

things i want to learn in the near future / actually get about to doing it:

1. learn at least 3 new languages (currently learning thai, so i would like to add malay and german or french to that list) – and not just learning for the fun of it.
2. learn how to sew (might have mentioned this somewhere before)
3. learn a musical instrument
4. pick up dance as a challenge – probably will pick this up in year 3

alright time to get back to clearing off the last four chapters of this friday’s final paper. here’s hoping that this semester’s degree audit won’t be too ghastly.

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i asked for directions to the ICU unit and was directed to the 4th floor. i thought: how imminent for the ICU to be on this floor. then i walked past the wooden doors and found myself for the first time in such a unit – seeing small groups of families in the other wards as i walked past and feeling absolutely sick in the gut – and eventually i find your bed near the end. you are sleeping with an oxygen mask and i have never seen you with one before. i thought i had gotten used to seeing you like this but i was wrong. i will never get used to seeing a catheter, the army of tubes or even feeling the coldness in the air that i only experience in hospitals. and then all of the things you have said to me or about me fade away into a distant memory. does it matter. your skin is slightly wrinkled and is soft to touch. i stroke your hair – realizing how much it has grown since then – and you say don’t because it’s dirty. it doesn’t matter. then you fidget around and i feel that my presence is stealing away your rest time. this is when i feel like a grown up and that you are a child.

i am here. and i am so glad i came.

this post is at least a month late.

a month ago i went through my first hell week of the semester: 2 quizzes and an examination. started the week off with the first of the two quizzes – 15 questions (a mixture of MCQs and short answer questions) within a time limit of 15 minutes – and emerged out of it with a 3/15…… which is highly reminiscent of my operations quiz last semester now that i think of it

the next day i sat for my philosophy examination and i think i did alright. then we got back our essays, which i have probably typed a post about, and i got an A grade. and i texted m and said wow it feels so great to get good grades. and that’s when i really realised how i was so accustomed to getting mediocre (and even horrible grades such as the aforementioned 3/15) and i was even accepting of it. and i thought then – that being accepting is one thing, but not striving to do anything about it is a completely other thing.

i probably can’t pinpoint exactly when i decided to accept and be fine with getting such grades but here’s putting it down in words: it isn’t okay and i have always been a firm believer of the whole notion of doing your best so that you have absolutely no regrets. i guess somewhere along the way i stopped putting my belief into my actions. it’s only a few more weeks to finals and i am done with classes (still have my second philo essay & a team project due in the next five days) and i can’t wait to do really well this time.

also, everybody should buy a survival guide for life by bear grylls. initially i did have certain reservations and i think the book deserves an entirely separate post on its own. thank you m for the timely and meaningful gift.

today we visited the memorial of the murdered jews and our very knowledgeable (and highly charismatic, with a sarcastic humor that was highly entertaining in my opinion) tour guide said that the architecture was open for interpretations because the architect refused to divulge his interpretation. he then told us that the common interpretations were that the blocks resembled train carriages and tombstones. and before he shared anecdotes and more nuggets of history (which i thoroughly enjoyed and felt like it was a more detailed explanation of my o levels history) he highly recommended us coming back, walking amongst the blocks by ourselves and also paying a visit to the Jewish information center.

and so we did.

as we walk past rows and more rows of blocks, we marveled at the architecture (albeit simple) as the ground beneath us gradually sunk deeper (i feel like i should be using a better description here) and as the blocks, which were once at our knee level, slowly towered over us. “this is really not the place for people with claustrobia” i remember mentioning and i thought of how the tour guide said the memorial’s architecture was open for interpretation.

and i digress slightly; i was thinking of how in secondary two i topped the class for literature and that literature examinations were probably my very first papers that i realized i had a gift of smoking in papers. then again perhaps that can be expressed more positively as having a very creative perspective on things. and i really wish that i had taken literature because i actually really enjoyed it even though i wasn’t even exposed to the harder parts of it. also i realized that, as five years ago, history has its charm and that it is really fascinating. this just goes to show how i had the potential as an arts kid but……. well. practicality over passion overruled in the end.

so my interpretation was this:

(1) the first impression was that it was many rows of blocks, of similar heights and sizes.

however upon closer inspection and of walking down one end to the other, it really is pretty damn amazing how the blocks slowly “change” in size (particularly, height) and i likened this to the different personalities killed during the mass killings. how the many blocks gives you the impression that they are more or less identical and that there are many blocks, but in reality, the numbers represent so much more. – also during the info center walkabout i listened to a recording of the process of how the Jews were gassed and that the wailings of the people in the chambers could be heard and how after 10-15 minutes there was only silence – hearing that made me feel a little sick.

(2) the Unleveled ground

possibly because we went while it was already darks contributed to the feelings of unease and perhaps even a little anxiety on my part. i felt uncomfortable when the blocks towered over me and i felt trapped. and i likened this to how the Jews felt inside the chambers and during the deportations. of course this unease is only a small fraction of what they could have possibly gone through.

it really was a real eye opener and i’m so glad we went back.