Wednesday, September 29, 2004



Tuesday, September 28, 2004


I wanted to write this down since I moved into Netherhall, but I always forget. This hall is rather extraordinary in many ways. First of all, the individual bedrooms do not have keyholes and so, there are no keys (or anything else) to lock the rooms. In other words, anyone can barge into the room as and when they wish. Seems a bit hair-raising in the beginning, but as one gets used to it, this “security issue” becomes redundant. I don’t know if thefts are common in the hall or not, but so far there are no thefts at all. So a lot of security actually depends on our own vigilance, the integrity of all the other hall mates and lastly, how much trust we have in each other.

Second, there is no internet access in the bedrooms, though there are common laboratories where we can lug our lap tops from our bedrooms to, and then plug them in to get connected with the whole wide world… I need to get used to this, especially since I am so used to leaving my machine on 24 hours 7 days a week when I was in Camden. Without the internet at my fingertips, I feel disconnected with the world. Then there is this stupid and pointless firewall, which I tried very hard to bypass and alas, I found the software Hopster to bypass and tunnel it (all the rest e.g. Http-tunnel just cannot work). But download speeds are damn slow, I give up. The verdict: no more free movies from now on.

Then, this hall has got curfews. Haha, an all men’s hall and yet, there is curfew. The times are actually reasonable but I just can’t accept the existence of curfews. A bit absurd and ridiculous, just like army and NS, but I guess it just takes time to get used to it. Anyway, rules are meant to be broken. So, let’s see…

One more thing is the laundry service. The hall provides such service at an exorbitant price of 7 pounds per week. And this has to be paid termly in advance for every week in the term, even though say, you don’t want to wash clothes for a week. So, the laundry cost actually amounts to 70 odd pounds per term. This is ridiculous man. I can’t imagine myself paying S$210++ (for 10 weeks) to do my laundry. And there are no other washing machines available in the hall. The hall is like giving you no other alternative except to succumb to their over-priced laundry service. This sucks big time man. So, I am not giving in and am still scouting around Hampstead for a reasonably-priced self-service laundrette. I can’t believe I have to wash my clothes in a public place with all the other British uncles and aunties. I thought such scenarios only appear in Mr Bean and Friends and the like. Hmm… this should be a novel experience in the days to come.

Despite all the negative attributes about this hall, everything else is fabulous. The food is ok, the people are very friendly, even the Brits (I’m amazed). Actually, living in Hampstead already outweighs everything else. I think if nothing goes wrong in the days to come and if I’m able to tolerate all the above mentioned, I might possibly stay here in my third year. I thought Camden was good, but I would never expect there is another place in London better than Camden. Hampstead is simply gorgeous and awesome that no words would do it justice. I have yet to explore the little shops, restaurants and pubs though, and of course Hampstead Heath. Shall go jogging there when the opportunity arises.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Photos of the Netherlands Uploaded

Penis-shaped chocolates in Amsterdam! Would you like some?

Keukenhof Gardens in bloom!

Scheveningen and the North Sea!

Very interesting architecture in Rotterdam

Lastly, how can I forget the windmills of Kinderdijk?

Saturday, September 25, 2004



回到伦敦已经 5 天,这 5 天,天天很伦敦式地 cloudy, dreary, 今天(其实只是早上而已),伦敦终于放晴,天空很蔚蓝,风依旧很大,气温很舒服,大概 12-13 度,而且空气不像岛国的潮湿。走在大街上,很凉,很爽。白天和黑夜还算正常,不过现在太阳每天迟两分钟升起来,早两分钟下山。换句话说,萧瑟的秋天和冬天即将来临。


现在居住的地方在 South Hampstead 一个小山脊柔和的角度之上,离大马路和 Tube Station 只需要走上 5 分钟。虽然如此,周围很恬静,根本听不到任何嘈杂的声响,只听到鸟鸣,还有孩子们欢蹦乱跳的轻快叫声(我的住处在一所 junior high school 旁边)。

来了短短的 5 天,虽然还没有真正深入 Hampstead 探个究竟,就已经爱上了 Hampstead。Hampstead 是一个能够让你马上和它陷入爱的旋涡的地方,就好像 Oxford 一样。这里设施应有尽有,还有一个超大的 Sainsbury。(我还以为 Camden 的 Sainsbury 已经很大,没想到现在这里的比 Camden 的大一倍。)基本上 Hampstead 跟 Camden 没有什么分别,只是没有Camden 来的杂,来的乱吧。或许应该说 Hampstead 比较像 Notting Hill 吧。 但是,Hampstead 又有绚丽的 Heath,这一点 Notting Hill 比不上。

也许 Hampstead 唯一的缺点就是,它距离学校实在远,而且没有 direct bus,搭 Tube 又很贵(因为 Hampstead 在 Zone 2 和 3 的边缘)。又不能像以前走路去学校,因为 Hampstead 离 Camden 有超过 3 公里的距离,而从 Camden 走路去学校,已经要花上 30-45 分钟。所以,日后怎么以最快捷,最便宜的途径去学校,日后开学了再研究吧。


是应该写点周围的人了。这里比以前的宿舍还 cosmopolitan,有波兰人、法国人、德国人、意大利人、哥伦比亚人、非洲人等等,而且亚洲人不少,有中国人、菲律宾人、泰国人、印度人、香港人、马来西亚人……当然还有表面很热情的英国人(因为要和英国人熟络起来需要很多很多很多的啤酒来 break the ice)。人太多,我们介绍完了之后,已经把对方的名字忘到一干二净。

谈话之中,竟然发现这些人对岛国并不陌生,至少他们没有问我岛国在中国的哪个部分?来自英国的 Neil 问我:“Which part of Singapore do you come from?” 的时候,我愣了一下,不知道怎么回答,然后我回答说“Have you heard of Bedok?”,Neil 接着竟然说出:“Oh, Bedok Reservoir? Near East Coast right?”然后还说了一大堆,说今年12月5日岛国有 Singapore Marathon(真的吗?这个他也懂?我是新加坡人我自己都不知道),还有很多很多,仿佛比我还认识岛国。

Father Joe 也知道岛国刚换了总理,还问我李光耀在岛国还有多少影响力,还有,Alvin 也和我谈起有关岛国的种族问题,还有新马关系。天啊,这些人太厉害了,岛国这么小,他们却懂得这么多。换成是我,要我随口谈 Tony Blair 的政治作风,还是 British Pound 会不会也换成 Euro 等政治课题,我是做不到的。


Sunday, September 19, 2004


一年的时间其实很快就过去了。多几个小时又要坐飞机。我很喜欢坐 SQ322 的班机,因为时间很容易过,晚上 11 点多的班机,尽管要飞 13 多个小时,但上了飞机就吃饱饱,看电影,睡睡觉,不一会儿就抵达伦敦了。而且,因为时差的关系,飞机抵达伦敦正好是早上 6 点,自己好像因为时差赚到 7 个小时。到伦敦后,时间也很容易过,上课,读书,背包,旅行,不知不觉,一年的时间又将在我的指缝间溜走。因为如此,今年说再见仿佛很容易,也没有什么牵挂,比如昨天错过了 MAF 也没有什么遗憾。所以,顿时间的心情好像很徐志摩似的“挥一挥衣袖,不带走一片云彩。”


Saturday, September 18, 2004




如今,公司和友台合并了,究竟对我们的影响有多大,现在还不清楚。以后工作的模式会是怎样也不得而知。电视新闻还会做下去吗?我们独有的双栖记者还会存在吗? 以后工作量会因此而减少吗?新闻的素质和种类会有变化吗?以后有机会到电视组做工吗?……???


*On another note, SPH has just decided to increase my monthly maintenance allowance cos PSC has revised theirs. So, I'll be getting 880 pounds per month, instead of 800 pounds. Now I won't have to eat bread everyday... :)

Friday, September 17, 2004




Thursday, September 16, 2004

Goodbye to summery Singapore

A couple of days more before I say goodbye to summery Singapore.

To sum up this summer, the first time back home has been rather fruitful and fulfilling, though the weather is still unbearable. 7 weeks of internship at wanbao was rewarding with novel unforgettable experiences and extremely friendly and humane colleagues. Immediately after which was 2 weeks of YEP in the land of a thousand smiles. Like a friend had written, “This opportunity to travel abroad to challenge ourselves, to help a less fortunate community, to do something meaningful in summer was more than just that. New names and new faces forged lasting friendships, the revitalizing knowledge of a job well done due to the enthusiasm and hard work of every vital member.”

This YEP has certainly raised the possibility of volunteering in the hearts of many of us, which we hope to realise in the near future.

No serious travelling was done this summer though. This was my only regret.

Nevertheless, summer 2004 was a great one for me, which hopefully heralds the start of a great autumn as well.

(A short holiday to Paris or Prague before term starts will be great to start off the new academic year. Still contemplating… :p)

Monday, September 13, 2004

那晚喝 Baileys 很写意

前晚,我们在 Esplanade 外面的新加坡河边,仰望着天上闪烁的 Orion 还有其他星星,然后天南地北到凌晨。之后,我们喝了半瓶 Baileys (Baileys 真好喝!),陷入昏昏欲睡的状态,然后体力不支,倒卧在河边睡着。可是,我们并没有像上次在 East Coast Park 那样醉,只是心累,身体累了。不过,那真是一个很写意,很凉爽的夜晚。有酒,有星星,有清风,有好友,天天这样该有多好……

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Peru? Or Nicaragua?

Oh, this is getting exciting. I've just found another opportunity to volunteer. It's at Peru!!! The descriptions and pictures of Peru look extremly appealing. I suppose the Peru expedition should be better than the Nicaragua Project. Then besides volunteering at Peru, there's visiting the Amazon Forest and the Incan ruins, hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu (this is gorgeous, heard so much about it!!!), horseback riding, visiting the ruins of the Sacred Valley, crafting ceramic pots with local masters, and many other unique experiences.

But the whole trip costs over US$2000, not including the air ticket from London (or Singapore) to Peru/Lima/Cusco. And whether SPH allows and whether time permits and how to arrange my summer schedule to fit in my 2-month SPH internship are three huge problems.

I think I'll commence to solve the 1st problem by starting to eat bread when I'm back in London.

Friday, September 10, 2004

黄城 vs. 国大

今天在黄城里开会,校园很是静谧。虽然因为放假而显得冷清,但在黄城游走还是很自在、很舒服。在 Coronation Plaza 的可爱鸡吃了午餐后,在外面的巴士站等 151 号巴士的时候,清风不断吹来,在炎炎夏日,很是凉爽。

之后,到了 NUS 的校园,死气沉沉,才呆不到 5 分钟,脑里的第一个以及唯一的念头,就是想急忙离开书局,离开国大。然后,还没有找到我要买的课本,就转身跑去巴士站等巴士逃离校园。在这片令人窒息的土地上,学生好像行尸走肉,校园里一丝风都没有。要我呆上多一秒种,不如干脆把我杀了算了。还好,我不是读国大的。

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Reasonably happy

I have been leading a reasonably happy life these few days. Carefree and laidback. Plain reading, watching Hong Kong drama series, cooking and eating. Didn't do anything constructive at all, cos the next few days will be productive. Will be going to the optician, roaming around the island for textbooks and food stuff, meeting people, packing my luggage, doing things I should have done blah blah blah. (btw, I should be giving this year's MAF a miss, since it's on the day before I fly back to London.)

Life in Singapore is ending pretty soon. Didn't eat much local food. Didn't visit as many places as I wanted to. Simply because of the humidity that makes me wanna coop at home and not go anywhere else. Looking forward to a much less humid and a much more favourable temperature in London (but not the dreary sky). Looking forward to green leaves turning crimson in Autumn. Looking forward to backpacking in the UK and Europe again...

It's strange now that I realise, I like travelling but I hate the process before it - packing. Facing my messy room and empty luggage, I need to get some serious work done. Argh...

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Insipid life in a sad mad world

I should be writing something, since I've been very free and unoccupied.

Haven't been doing much lately. Not that I don't have things to do. But as usual, I've been procrastinating -- things that I have to do, things that I want to do, and things that I hope to do.

As a result, life has been dull and insipid.

I am actually looking forward to leaving Singapore, and to going back to London and Europe.

Not that Singapore is no good, but perhaps having been away for a year and then back again, I yearn for the freedom and independence that overseas life (and not the life here) has been able to provide me with.

Now I'm used to (and maybe prefer) doing things alone, staying alone, cooking alone, eating alone, travelling alone, studying alone, ***ing alone (whatever *** may be) etc.

Therefore, I feel uncomfortable and weird when my parents (or family) are monitoring me when I'm doing stuff.

Guess it's just the matter of getting used to people entering and exiting my life at different junctures in my life.

September is here already. My favourite season, Autumn, is nearing. It is the season of leaving again. Many people have left, and more are going off soon, including me.

Soon, it's an all new beginning. A whole new academic year ahead. Along with familiar places and familiar people come new courses, new events, new places, and new people.

And I just realised I'm always saying "Glad to've met you" to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, even though I find this to be kinda sad, kinda funny.

Well, the world you and I live in is a sad and mad one. No choice.

Enjoy Mad World by Gary Jules.

The words in bold are adapted from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger.

Mad World
by Gary Jules

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very mad world mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kinda funny
I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very mad world ... world
Enlarge your world
Mad world