81 | Dancing Queen

IMG_4487IMG_4503 IMG_4507IMG_4398IMG_4403IMG_4405IMG_4436IMG_4442   If there’s anything that made the Dinner & Dance preparation worth it, it was the happiness of everyone who came. From creating the decor from scratch to running up and down to get things done, everything was justified when I saw for myself how much difference it made. 🙂 Thank you all the Chapter members who worked your asses off, and thank you the whole of HR for making efforts worth something.

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73 | Buoy

It’s been a very long while, hasn’t it?

I’m usually quite punctual with my posts, at least once a week or in the busiest of periods, once a month. But I’ve not been here for close to 1.5 months! Mainly because I’m trying to find new direction, both for the blog and for my life. I’m actually trawling through the photo roll for the past month and a half right now and I can assure you that you didn’t miss much, really.

The following four pictures are going to be a quick recap of the past 1.5 months so.. keep up!

IMG_4184140214 Operation Valentines’ with Chapter + 02’s Valentine’s Day celebration

IMG_4295140220 Concluding the last of our presentations for Year 1 w/ ITB group

IMG_4556140307 Lunch before ASEAN Connect w/ Cynthia

IMG_4563140307 Dinner at 18Chefs w/ Cynthia, Russ & Weiyong

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That was a quick run through, but basically, I’ve completed Year 1!

If you ask me to summarize what it’s been like these 6 weeks in a word, it would, without doubt, be burdensome.

Very honestly, I have not been happy all this while. Ever since the Rebecca Minkoff card case incident it’s almost like I’ve been jinxed. I know I’ve always been happy doing juggling 101 things at a go but I think I’ve reached a point where I finally realize: I may be busy, not productive. What then is the point? I’m basically tiring myself out with things that mean a lot to me but I do not truly work for. Because of bad time management and perhaps even bad workload management, I’m going through the motions but not truly achieving anything. This left me sad, disoriented and increasingly fed up with myself. It’s a vicious cycle, you can see. I was truly beginning to lose steam all the way towards exams, like an airplane falling out of the sky (if I ever did cruise that high) and I felt dejected. When the holidays came, I basically lapsed into a slump. For once I felt really alone and vulnerable but at the same time it was exhilarating to not have to account to anyone for once.

My current status is still as per stated above ie. dejected, but there are definitely some things that have changed about me. I have become increasingly certain about specific things, such as the people who truly mean the world to me, people like my family, Jean, Liansheng, Buddy, etc. I guess it’s the toughest times that show you who will hang around you still.

Secondly, I’ve still been lurking around in the literary scene. Or should I say, lurking as an audience of the literary/arts scene. I’ve still been watching shows (as you’ll notice the Been There Done That page is still constantly being updated) and so far I’ve covered two very wonderful plays, a Yue opera piece called the Good Person of Szechwan, and coincidentally my translation lecturer sat beside me and explained a lot of what I didn’t know to me. Of course, I came out grinning like a bobcat, and when my parents come to pick me they have to endure an endless tirade of how marvellous the show was. This then repeated itself when I went to watch a Cantonese opera piece titled The Mad Phoenix. Clearly I have inherited Mummy’s penchant for opera shows! On the writing end, I really haven’t been writing as much, because I’m busy with life, but there have been moments when I felt like I would have an actual unsavoury physical reactions to words not being put on a page (like vomiting) so I had to pen them down.

Lastly, the one thing that kept me sane through this madness: sodagreen.
You may or may not have heard of this Chinese folk/rock/pop/indie band called 蘇打绿 Sodagreen but when I really felt like I was going to have a mental breakdown, it was their songs that sustained me through the day. It came to a point where I was just desperately looking forward to breaks just to have their music in my ears. Their songs are all either curative or invigorating in nature, with a range of toned-down songs like 独处的时候 When I’m Alone that heals you when you’re at your weakest (and ends with a message to look forward) to upbeat ones like 小宇宙 Little Universe which invigorates the self and encourages being considerate for society. For the first time I found myself thinking, Ah, this is what music should sound like. It doesn’t hurt that Sodagreen is very down-to-earth and lead singer QingFeng is especially witty and charming. I mean, this is the kind of character I could fall for. Their songs are not gender-specific, which is a feat in itself, and add that to the powerful lyrics (all self-written and self-composed) that touch on Chinese history, use a range of euphuistic Chinese phrases and words (some of which I didn’t even recognize, shame on me), are spot-on when it comes to hitting you in the heart with raw emotion and you have got, arguably, the most prolific band in Chinese history.

I guess from here, the rest of the holidays will be spent sorting my room (and my life) out, but this definitely won’t be the last post for March. I’ll be back, I’m not sure with what material though, possibly with beauty reviews – I’ve been deliberating for so long already – or even just non-beauty favourites.. I’m not sure yet! We’ll see.

Ending off with a list of dramas I’m chasing: Emergency Couple, Three Days & Ugly Alert! They (sort-of) fill in the gaps between theatre shows and whet my appetite for the big stage. 😉

72 | élan

(n.) distinctive and stylish elegance; impulsive, confident ardor

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I can’t actually remember the last time I posted here at a time other than the twilight hours.

It’s still a rather busy period for me but I’ll keep this a little more concise. Just wanted to drop an update because of Chinese New Year and the dozens of other things going on (at the same time). It’s driving me mad.

The week of my birthday I was down with laryngitis and hated it so bad. I don’t know if it’s because I came to poly or something else, because even now when I’m working my ass off, I still feel absolutely happy to be here, so it was painful for me to miss school because of an illness. It’s the environment perhaps, for someone who cannot stand mundane, routine things, poly is basically a dynamic, energy-filled bubble to be in. Of course with 02 around.. there’s never even a quiet moment.

Shortly after my birthday, I went to TANGS and treated myself with the birthday voucher they gave. Wanted to get a Minkoff which I’ve been eyeing for the longest time but Doorstep Luxury only stocks it at Robinsons Heeren. Will be going there to check it out soon enough though!

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Mushroom Superga!

I’d initially had my sights set on the Cotu 2750 in Black but I decided that it was too mainstream and opted for something else. I’m happy with this colour: it’s cute, and I’ve been comfortable trotting around in this pair because of the excellent arch support. In other news I am also kicking myself and tripping more often because my old Rockports used to feel like air but this pair’s heavy. Then again some close friends reassured me that I’d trip even if I were barefoot so.. I guess.

Celebrated Claudia’s and Janice’s birthday with the class on 30 Jan, and here are the photos –

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Janice looks the same height as us.. ahem.

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Pretty Claudia! 🙂

And as always, a mad camwhoring session always ensues:

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We took it even further and had a private birthday celebration (with candles) for the December baby Micaela, Jan babies Iffah & myself as well as the soon-to-be 18-year old Eunice!

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We celebrated Chinese New Year at home that evening with a comfortable dinner but it wasn’t absolutely fantastic because my mom refused to cook dark sauce chicken – her best dish – on the account of it being black. Frankly though, I don’t care if I have bad luck for a year if I have dark sauce chicken every morning. That stuff is dope.

Second day, we headed to Grandma’s place, and here’s my FOTD, very shamelessly.

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Lipstick: YSL 12 Corail Incandescence

Got to see my always beloved grandma and torture her by taking one thousand and one photos insisting that she pose nicely. She gives me this long-suffering sigh every time I do it, as if to say, “This girl has tortured me for 18 years and she’s not even close to stopping? Damn..” Well no, Grandmama, I’m going to continue it. 😉

Also got to see my little furkid! Always a furkid even if she’s close to 7x my age in dog years now.

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She was excited because so many people were around!

She was so happy that we were all in the house and got a bit mad excited. Bought her some cookies and she showed me the wait command that I’ve been trying to teach her – you know, the one that requires imba self-control on their part. She’s such a good girl :’)

Not much went on except that I had my cousins come over on Saturday and well, although we’re not close it was good to see them! Nothing beats having so many people you know. Of course, I’m an ambivert so this is just the extrovert speaking.

Thereafter we headed to Godma’s house for lo hei which is like the highlight of this year’s CNY. So much good food, company and.. gambling. Had a mahjong session where I struck it lucky and even better – banluck in a big group! I think it’s much more fun like that, even if almost every time I got banluck, the banker ran off with 15 points. 😉

On Monday the others came over to my place for erm, financial recreation. Mahjong the whole day, then banluck, KFC and brain games. I really don’t know what I’d do without my friends from school. Life would be disconcertingly quiet. Mic also made splendid cheese muffins which had pearls on them (they nearly broke a tooth) and they were so delicious.

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Introducing the people who always itch to meet and play!

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Fraser, bc she’s one of the closest seniors and she’s so lovable.

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Cynthia, and even I find how close we are now a pseudo-miracle. 

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Micaela with her pretty puppy eyes. I know what gets you now, Eunice.

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We look very similar I think, everyone gets us mixed up.

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The guys – Ben and Yuanchen! 🙂

This concludes all the merry-making that went on during the new year. Once I began school, things went awry.

On Wednesday, I went to collect a Rebecca Minkoff Bailey Card Case that was a splurge for my birthday. Guess what? The next day, I lost it on the way to the MRT. I don’t even know how. The second best part was that even the temporary card dropped out of my pocket on the MRT. Sigh. That was one dreadful day. Practically $100 flew with my ez-link and cardcase so if anyone finds it please return it to me!

Other than strange misplacings such as these, schoolwork has been picking up. We’re nearing project submission and final week, which is never a really good time. I stayed up till 5AM just this Thursday to finish up DBE and Gen Ed, and concussed for 15 hours till this morning. That’s because I have way too many things going on at any one point of time – schoolwork, Korean, translation, writing, driving, friends. Last year, I used to plan dozens of days in advance but now I’m reduced to taking it one day at a time. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that it’s hard, you know? Even when I know why I chose to bring all these into my life there are nights that I can never really justify the pressure placed on me. It’s not fun waking up feeling like emotional crap knowing that you can’t take it out on anybody, there’s going to be even more shit heaped on you throughout the day and then coming home knowing it begins again a few hours later. Or, you could adopt my mindset and tell yourself that however shitty a day is a new one dawns in a matter of hours, so don’t fret. That’s been my cure lately. Oh and also, more hugging than is necessary.

The one thing that has been keeping me sane are my theatre dates. I am living from one theatre production to the other because that’s the way I stay motivated. Just this Friday I -ahem- left class early to go for a theatre production – Art by Yasmina Reza, produced by Nine Years Theatre. After watching Enemy of the People and now Art, I really feel like Nine Years Theatre is the company to watch out for, the one company I would love to work for. I’m really very thankful to Nelson, the director, who patiently answered my questions after shows.

One thing before I start telling you why Art is an awesome show though, a quick note to all students watching shows: can you guys please keep quiet? I know your school subsidized these tickets, it’s probably even free, but for us we are paying audience members. Please at the very least display some theatre etiquette. I don’t want to name schools but it was highly annoying when audiences are shifting in their seats throughout the whole show, and when it’s at the Recital Studio, one person moves, the whole row moves. I rocked back and forth basically the entire show! Also, is there a need to laugh whenever the actors cuss even mildly? When they stand, when they sit, you laugh. When they talk, you laugh. They stumble over their lines you laugh. Someone even shouted a response extremely loudly to a rhethorical question during the play. HELLO?! Have some sense! I am very supportive of schools bringing their children to the theatre but hey, this is not the right way to watch a show.

Now that that’s done with, Art is a splendid show. If I had to pinpoint a success factor I’d say it’s the actors. The feel that they gave me was, in Chinese, 游刃有余, I felt like they never even hit the depths of their acting prowesses. Their acting transformed a potentially tiresome play into a riveting one. I am not a huge fan of Yasmina Reza’s writing style, but the way she writes conflict is definitely, non-negotiably skillful. The difference between this and God of Carnage (which I hated) was that the conflict was much less contrived. I felt like in God of Carnage they could bloody well have walked out at any point of time and ended the conflict (realism, right?) but in this one I felt that it was less contrived – the conflicts stemmed from the character’s personality and was thus more organic. I’m guessing wildly here, but it worked. It threw me a variety of emotions – I felt my heartstrings tugged when Yvan was caught in the middle of a rapidly digressing friendship, Marc’s obnoxious self was completely unbearable, and respect for Serge grew the more he stayed calm in this conflict. It was also pretty comical and I’m guessing that making audience members laugh when the characters portray fury, anguish and deep betrayal is no mean feat. See what I mean, these actors are at the top of their game!

More than all of these, Art pulled the rug out from under me with regards to my notions of friendship. What are the foundations of which our friendship is built on? Why do we continue to see each other? What did you see in me, and I in you, that made us become friends? What do you do that I object to? What would I do if you bought a grand white painting for 200, 000 francs? What would I do with you in a conflict? Are there any things that I wanted to say but never got around to saying? Also, with regards to Art, I’ve begun to come to the conclusion that yes, art is always subjective. Art is what the viewer interprets of it. If I say a blank white canvas has a million rainbow lines and thus is touching, then so it is (to me). That’s my insight for now, I’m sure it’ll be challenged soon enough.

I have only watched two productions of Nine Years Theatre but they are fast becoming a season-ticket company, meaning, a company that I will buy season tickets for. Simply because the work they produce is of such high quality. I think Nelson as a director is very sensitive to character, in the sense that he understands a character well and can portray it to the audience in a way that is both simple to see while the layers and complexities of the characters are not compromised. The production team seems to be the same one at Enemy of the People and they are a force to be reckoned with. I loved the simple set (don’t I always) because they seem to create magic out of the simplest of props. Oh, what I would give to be able to volunteer with this company. 😦 Thank goodness I managed to get tickets for this!

On a more personal note, after having been out of theatre for some time, I thought the passion might have died off. After all when I first started in SRT’s Young Co, many people thought it was one of my newest fads, and there were also moments of insecurity, but then again, it was because I wanted so badly to do well. But now I realize that there never is a “do well” in theatre. It’s all about the process of creating a work from scratch, collaborating with a bunch of other talented people who are just as delighted as you are to be in a creative space, and working through kinks, problems and having fun together. If I may say so I used to be arrogant when it came to theatre, but I’ve resolved to take a humbler attitude. Just being able to participate in theatre is a joy in itself – I don’t need to be the one working on it or writing it. Just partaking in an art people spend hours pursuing, being part of a message to be conveyed, to be touched and connected in soul with is beautiful. This is what I am in theatre for isn’t it, not to have my work on the stage but to be connected with and to connect with. I am starting over, and this time I am doing it different.

My next show is on Saturday, after the Nine Years Theatre dialogue in the afternoon. I’m going to watch Yue Opera and I’m not sure how I’ll find it, but I’ll let you know. Also, my theatre budget is projected to exceed $1k this year, and I’m not surprised. Ah, the joys of going to the theatre – it always feels so much like home.

71 | Unceasingly

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I suppose the only thing that would justify me putting up a huge poster of me in a ridiculous kaftan top (because it is bitterly chilly out in Singapore no less) and with a pizza in my hands is that I am turning eighteen and this puts an end to.. nonsense. Or perhaps it is just the beginning. I do not know.

It only really began to set in yesterday – reality, I mean – when Mom gave me a hug and congratulated me on turning 18. Then came a flurry of texts and phone calls, most memorably Noel, because he finally busted out the words he’d tried to say for months, Elainn, especially when her relative busted in and told her to keep quiet, and then the voice recordings by Janice which were viciously hilarious, the social media flood from Jean and then the quiet text from Liansheng (which, really, was probably the most surprising). 🙂 I didn’t think anyone else would call but Kaiyang – Kaiyang – called and congratulated me as well. Plus points for sincerity? He’s certainly very proud of it!

02 gave me the most unique memory today with a celebration. I was told there’d be extra class of a module I particularly hate so I was cursing and swearing all the way up only to be pleasantly surprised at the door with paddlepop cake and a birthday song. Thank you guys! They’d heard I’d like to have a class gathering like we did at chalet and that’s exactly what we had, bonding over pizza (CHEESE PIZZA!) and talk. That’s exactly how I like 02!

20140120-222409.jpgKaiyang, squirrel incarnate.

20140120-222520.jpgThis looks so much like a family portrait I can’t even.. all it’s missing is a frame.

20140120-222532.jpgWith Cynthia, who so kindly organized this birthday gathering & gave me this fisheye + macro lens!


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Eunice and I are beginning to look.. alike.

20140120-222539.jpgDirty Juliet’s in the house.

20140120-222558.jpgMandatory shot with the mama, and the daisy-selling, truffle-growing farmer twin.

20140120-222551.jpgFinishing up the paddlepop cake. Look at the chaos 02 is in behind us.

Second surprise of the day came when I was doing my work in my room and I looked out to the living room where – lo and behold! – a fat cake sat there squat. Good golly, was I surprised.

20140120-222503.jpgYes, raspberry cheesecake!

This came as a totally unexpected surprise because when I was little I used to cry – like bawl the entire kindergarten down, whenever someone sang me a birthday song. Teachers said I was shy, but I prefer not to say that now because who would ever believe me? In any case, I think my parents just wanted to see if I’d grown up.. to see if I would still bawl. Na-uh. By the way, Swee Heng’s raspberry cheesecake is delicious! It’s not rich but it’s fluffy. Oh, it’s quite decent, I should say!

I received many gifts today and for that I am downright thankful. Those who wrote me letters, thank you. Words are one of the most beautiful language love can be conveyed in and I am so touched by them, simple as they are. Those who gave me gifts to go along with them, thank you again, because I never for a moment really wanted anything except your company 🙂 Thank you for making my day extraordinary, even though I tried to keep it low-key. Thank you for the kind wishes and blessings in all sorts of languages, whether it’s by personal text, social media or a face-to-face wish. The intention behind these are downright moving, especially when someone texts you after a long hiatus from your life! Perhaps these are what birthdays were made for – to reconnect people who’ve drifted away..?

I’ve felt incredibly loved today, but perhaps it’s time to remind myself that year-long this love hasn’t changed. Some of these people especially, I know they love me unceasingly, but I know it with my head and not my heart. It’s high time I transferred that knowledge where it can be best put to use healing battle wounds!

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18: in eighteen seconds you can rip someone apart, in eighteen minutes you can do basic housekeeping for your room, in eighteen hours you can deliver new life, and what have I done in eighteen years?

Looking back, I’ve made my fair share of blunders, been the more loving one a fair amount of time, worked like my life depended on it. So many fond memories, so many people who’ve crossed my path, some of whom have paths that have intermingled with mine for over a decade, others inching their way there, most just seeing the beginning of the perilous journey to lifelong friendship. I can gladly say that these people, each and every one of you, made footprints just crossing my path, and these can’t be erased. A small word, a kind gesture or a smile could have profoundly changed the way I look at things, and as much as I try to let them know sometimes someone slips through. Here are my thanks, for being on this journey with me and for altering my life just as I’ve (hopefully) altered yours. 🙂 That’s why humans are made for socializing, we create dents and prints on each other’s lives until the fabric of our lives each become like unique, well-worn leather. Some are pebbled, some are grainy and some are cross-hatched, but they’re all still leather and we each leave special somethings on each other’s canvas. Our actions, thoughts and words come back to us through a thousand sympathetic fibres, connecting each of us cosmically, a common feeling of what it feels like to be human leaping between us. This is why I believe in people first and foremost (and on a more down-to-earth scale, why I am in HR)!

It’s tough thinking of what I’ll be in the next 10 years. I suppose I can’t tell with even 20% certainty, but if I had to plot a trajectory I’d say that I’ll probably still be dabbling with languages, linguistics and people. I might have left theatre, or I might be contributing to the local scene. I might begin writing fiction (which has always intimidated me) or have sworn off poetry. There are so many things that hang precariously in a balance, and every day is full of work to get myself from here to the future that I envision myself in. It’s a little tough reminding myself to work hard now so I can live comfortably in future, yet preparing myself for the possibility that I may not have the opportunity to live as comfortably as I live now. Either way I believe that as long as languages/linguistics and people are a part of my life, somehow or rather I’ll come out okay. I’ll be fine, if not happy. These two things are my anchors, or, dare I even say it, the reason why I live. For those two alone I have so much gratitude to give!

In conclusion, 18 is a fine age, and I always say this – I treasure my youth. To be in an age where time seems to crawl and you are free to explore, free to love with abandon and free to chase everything under the sky that catches your fancy, I sense that this freedom is not something I can keep for most of my life. I shall cherish it while I have it, or not begrudge it when it’s gone. 18 brings a sense of finality, a close to my childhood years, and an opening to my adult years. It brings the smell of family and grocery shopping and bills on the wind, but also brings with it a heightened sense of perspective. No longer am I looking up at others from the ground. I am at eye-level, and I am ready to contend and connect. It tastes of naivety, fearlessness and endless hard work, but it’s one step at a time till you have your feet on the clouds.

70 | Appentence

(n.) an eager desire, an instinctive inclination; an attraction or natural bond

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Clearly, 2014 started off with a bang. The first cohesive activity I had was chalet with (of course, who else?) DHRMP02, and I can proudly say that we are really extremely bonded. The entire class has this class spirit I’d never experienced with other classes before and though we clique, we’re close even between cliques. This chalet simply brought us all closer together!

Headed to the chalet at Pasir Ris Park after collecting my Longchamp Planetes (which, by the way, I am obsessed with) and proceeded to enjoy the night barbecuing, sticking flowers in our hair and having heart to heart talks. First round of heart to hearts came over drinks from 10PM closing in on midnight, and round 2 came after we stormed Mac at 2AM in the morning. We basically sat in a circle and talked about our future, our lives, our dating preferences, all the way till 6AM, and thereon we were very kindly disturbed by Kaiyang till 7AM.

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Headed home after chalet only to (no surprise here) receive texts from Fraser and Tongwai for a mahjong session. This is where the miracle begins. Having slept 3 hours, I showered and headed all the way down to the north-east to play. Gave myself the very convenient excuse that since I’d been “deprived of proper playtime” during holidays, I should indulge. Came back after 1/2 a round and proceeded to eat and concuss my way to morning.

School began, and things went absolutely crazy from there on. The first week has been so intense, I don’t even know where these activities came up from. Monday started off on a rather hectic note, which I should really have taken as a warning, because once Tuesday came all the big bombs were dropped without warning.

Scooted off after school with Kimtat to Queensway to collect chapter tees & have dinner before heading to SCCCI for translation lessons. By the time the end of the lesson came round I was so completely bushed (but happy). Wednesday was a trifle more tiring as I had lunch with Eunice and Micaela before rushing off to National Museum to do front-of-house for Nine Years Theatre’s Enemy of the People, as part of the M1 Fringe Festival. I was definitely tired, but you can bet I was happy. Had the immense good luck of watching the show, considering that all tickets were sold out. Best part? The post-show dialogue went on for an hour, and I was inspired by how they said they do Chinese theatre simply because they can. Yes, exactly because I can. 🙂

Thursday was spent welcoming my grandaunt and uncle from Malaysia with dinner at grandma’s place after a long day of catching up on work. Apparently didn’t get to do much, because I got stuck on accounts for a mighty long time. Slept early that day because Friday was simply a piece of hell (or heaven, depending on your perspective). Woke up at 8AM for the earliest lesson I have in my timetable, and when that ended at 10AM, Russell & I hauled ourselves to SPCC for course counselling till 1PM. Which I must say was a great experience. Surprisingly this year, nobody really asked about psychology. Most enquired about the HR component of our course. Splendid indeed. I hope to see you all in DHRMP’s freshman orientation next year!

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Had a short break and a cup of coffee at home before going down to National Museum for my second night at the front-of-house. This time was even more enjoyable. There’s something about going back to the theatre that makes me feel like I’m heading right back home. Handled some admin work while the show went on and facilitated the post-show dialogue. I think I did front-of-house 3 times out of 4 shows they had simply so I could hear the post-show dialogue go on. Boy, it’s always interesting to hear what the audience has to say. If you missed Nine Years Theatre and their production Enemy of the People this time, you’ve definitely lost your opportunity, but catch their production of Art by Yasmina Reza in February in conjunction with Huayi 2014!

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Helping out at Fringe 2014 has given me a bunch of new friends from across the theatre industry, people who saw me day after day and began discussing theatre with me. I’ve also been given insights on how to do front-of-house, how things work behind the scenes, and it’s still a dream I hold one day that I can finally be in the theatre not as an audience but as someone who’s played a part in production. Best case scenario, I’m the surtitlist or even better, the playwright, but if not – I could be stage hands and be just as happy! That’s the joy theatre gives 🙂

Had my last Korean exam at ezSAM before heading off for dinner with my Korean classmates, and later SRT playwrights. What a hectic week! And just when I thought it was over, Monday came around.

This week will mostly be filled with catching up on project work and academics. Oh, and booking shows. I’ve got all my shows penned down in my planner and by the looks of it I will exceed the SGD 820 I spent on 2013’s theatre season. Just Huayi alone is enough to dry my wallet, what with shows like 《如梦之梦》,《南海十三郎》,《江南好人》,and the one I can’t miss, 《艺术》. Maybe these shows will displace some of the guilt and misery I feel for missing The Necessary Stage’s restaging of “The Best Of..” why Chelsea when everyone’s raved to you about the show why do you do this to yourself?

I shall be busting some money on Amanda Lee Koe’s Ministry of Moral Panic tomorrow. Decided to give it special mention because all my esteemed reviewers have given this book the thumbs-thumbs-up and after Sam’s very successful marketing pitch, I am now on a craze to get the book.

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Before signing off for the week, I must share this with you, if only for the boasting rights. Hahaha, things like that aren’t daily occurences.

Some may know that recently, I’ve been increasingly addicted to Korean rappers such as Beenzino, Verbal Jint, Tablo, Dok2, YMGA, Paloalto, Drunken Tiger, etc. I’m new to the hip-hop fandom so I’m not going into all the fan battles or disses, but this is cool stuff.

Masta Wu is a rapper who very quickly ascended to the top of my favourites list because of his drawn, slang-filled rapping. His smooth tone, delayed beats and flow just draw you in before you can say “Rap it.” I unwittingly tweeted and tagged him that day while raving about his songs and bingo! Here he goes, favouriting my tweet.

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I suspected that he favourites all fan tweets but hey, I was in for a glorious surprise when I found myself on the same list as Lydia Paek, GD, CL, Dara and Peter Chun. Talk about a highlight in my week.

Pardon the small-time fangirling, will you? It’s been a long time since I’ve indulged in it. 🙂

69 | Rise

“One resolution I have made and try always to keep is this: To rise above the little things,” John Burroughs.

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2013 has come and gone by as quickly as it possibly could. If 2013 stood out more than other years in memory it was probably because it held so many vivid memories that I won’t be soon forgetting. It was another great year for me, and I’m glad to say I fulfilled almost all of my new year’s resolutions last year, which prompts me now to set a new list to accomplish.

SHORT TERM GOALS

  1. Faithfully journal in any language daily, and complete 1 year’s worth of the sentence journal (pictured above).
  2. Complete TOPIK Intermediate in October this year.
  3. Successfully graduate from my diploma in Translation and Interpretation.
  4. Save $2k in a year.
  5. Write 2 playlets and 7 poems.

LONG TERM GOALS

  1. Be more independent – learn to manage time, finances, possessions and chores more efficiently.
  2. Learn to look at an issue from different angles and with clarity.
  3. Treat people sincerely, even if they’re insincere. To empathize and to seek understanding, not pass judgments.

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Over the course of the year I’ve increasingly learnt the merits of being able to process things logically. I used to think being the wild child was just part of me, but this year one of my biggest successes has been in learning how to segregate the rational side of me and the wild child side of me. A crucial note though, is that I still do not consider myself any more logical. I have merely learnt how when I can be rational and when I can let the wild child out. I don’t necessarily believe a whole lot in logic because logic leaves no space for the kindnesses in life. However, as I have proved this year, being bad at math, and arguably, by extension, logic,  is not the same as being bad at problem-solving. Problem-solving is more a matter of being able to take a step back and process the issue at hand considering the sum of all its parts. I’m definitely better at that than I am at troubleshooting or pinpointing detailed steps to take. Not a very meticulous person, as everyone knows.

Another important thing I’ve gained this year is to distinguish between personal life and work life, and also to keep my emotions in check. It was a sobering lesson but it’s important not to expect that anyone will cut you slack even if you have gone through the most heartbreaking thing in the universe. Nobody is in your exact circumstance and nobody can fully empathize, so don’t expect it. Even in the most shattering of times this year I wasn’t cut any slack. People still expected me to function as well and as fully as I was without the emotional wounds. It’s not a surprise that I was taken aback especially since these people were the same ones I cut slack for, but that’s another story. I learnt a lesson from it, and I’m not jaded or cynical, but I think it’s best not to expect more than the basic that others can give.

After spending 1.5 semesters in HR, I’m glad to say I like this course more with each project. It’s probably safe to say that it’s due to the fact that these projects feel fresher and are more dynamic than regular schoolwork is. I love collaborating with my classmates to bring a project on its feet, I like the way I am more proficient at managing projects than anything else. It might be the only time the extroversion in me is really full-blown. This year I’ve also become more introverted, or as I was corrected, introspective. I have become slightly more controlled and live a little more in my head. I no longer recklessly charge at problems or prospects and I definitely am calmer even in day-to-day conversations. I guess my close friends will be most glad to hear of this if they haven’t already witnessed it first-hand!

With respect to relationships, many came and went this year. Yet for reasons I don’t know, I came to accept these rather peacefully and without fight. It’s not that these people weren’t important, because they were, but I really hope this means that I’ve come to accept that everyone is a passerby in my life and as they come and go they leave pieces of themselves behind that I can keep for ever. That’s a nice thought to conclude my learnings of 2013 with.

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So here’s to 2014, a year of growing up pains, gains & losses and a new window of time to touch the world with. 🙂 Are you ready for it? Because I certainly am.

66 | Augenblick

German (n.) lit. “in the blink of an eye”; a ‘decisive moment’ in time that is fleeting, yet momentously eventful and incredibly significant.

I’m finally back here after the hell that was presentation week. I finally feel like all my previous “hells” finally culminated into one blowup week, and I’m not even sure how 5/7 weeks of hell even occurred, but the important thing is, it’s over, and I am pretty much free to do whatever I want. Nah just kidding, I still have term papers.

I actually drafted this post something like 2 weeks ago, but because WordPress and iPhone photos don’t like each other, I couldn’t flip images. I tried everything, rotating on iPhone, rotating on my computer, rotating on WordPress, and nothing worked, until the idea hit me to try the iPhone WordPress app. Ya right? Slow. All these pictures here could date way back, but they’re here now, so enjoy!

Hit Cake Spade with Janice during HBL Week, and I had a really embarrassing moment there. Janice will give me grief for a lifetime with this one scene. All this hubbub started with that transparent cup you see. Usually in cafes they serve cappuccinos or coffees in general with white cups and or large glasses but I swear I’d never seen a cappuccino in a transparent teacup with a transparent saucer to match. Apparently I said “WOW!?” really loudly and Janice didn’t even dare to look at the server. Talk about shame hahaha.

Exciting incidents aside, I finally tried the tofu cheesecakes which were highly raved about. Was it up to the hype? Let’s just say I had 3 slices of cake that day. Just can’t get enough of that stuff. I mean, the fruits are fresh, the cheesecake is not too thick and it’s not very sweet either. Really appreciated the digestive biscuit base and it tasted delicious too! Bought more cakes to share with the family and busted about $80 on cakes alone. Now no one will believe me when I said I never used to be a dessert girl. In my defence, I am still not one, I’m just a cake kinda girl. 🙂

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Janice also ordered a ramekin which was way too sweet for me. This will tickle all you chocolate lovers out there, but I like dark chocolate and this was just sweet. Cloyingly sweet. Didn’t finish this but it was so pretty I had to take a photo of it!

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In most exciting news this week, my Daniel Wellington watch arrived! I’d been eyeing the watch from Justtangy for a few weeks and when Kwerkee had a preorder, I just couldn’t resist. I thought the Classy watches would be too small for me, although the Swarovski crystals were pretty, so I ordered the Classic with two straps – the Oxford strap was from Justtangy and the original Bristol strap. Changing the strap was the first thing I did – I mean, I see no sense in wearing leather to school everyday. Maybe for functions. I really enjoy the Oxford strap though, fall colours like navy blue, royal red and emerald green are my absolute favourites and I really can’t stop looking at the time now. 🙂

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Another event that nearly drove me crazy with happiness was when my little girl Charis came back from Beijing for a few days. She’s really got my me wrapped round her pinky finger. She is really good at manja-ing me, by the way. I can never resist her. Anyway I hope my little one enjoyed her stay. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and I suppose that’s true. 🙂

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Outside matters aside, every day has been really enjoyable with 02. One thing about 02 is that we are all friends. If we bitch about someone, we’ll go and tell that person in their face, sooner or later. We trust each other, and we’re basically classroom hooligans. Asked Ms Juliana during PTN what her impression of 02 was and she said “dynamic”. ORLY? Just dynamic? Nah, we’re basically energy on legs. Whether it’s having class lunch or having unglams posted (cough, Micaela, cough) I really enjoy their company and they make me miss school on the days I decide to, er, call in sick. I hope we preserve this camaraderie until we’re in Year 3 and beyond, because God knows this is hard to come by.

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Also celebrated birthdays with my family this month. 🙂 Here are all the kids in a rare family shot (and probably one of the few that were actually successful) that a family girl like me would cherish for life. Stuffed myself at the Crystal Jade steamboat.. but then again I’ve not been watching my diet these few days.

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If I didn’t get my information wrong, I believe we’re the first and the earliest class in HR to take both presentations and boy, was it a rush. I basically slept all of 3 hours before DBE presentation, and slept 15 minutes for FOM presentation, and mind you these were on Tuesday and Wednesday, not to mention they came after a week in which I only slept 20 hours in total. That will explain the eyebags and the bad complexion. I have no idea why they choose to stuff a project with such a wide scope within one term, but we did it anyway. I mean, we’re used to this right? Business students are used to making miracles with presentations anyway. /sigh/

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More recent shots after our last presentation. I completely have no mood to study for my written papers now that I’m done with my presentations and that’s a really ominous sign. That also says that the picture above is me step studying. On the same day, Claudia and I both turned up in nautical-themed tops, and I discovered how many people in class were into Heirs.. basically about 1/4 of the class is hooked on this drama and we’re basically just catching up to each other’s speeds and trying not to spoil it for the rest.

Having said that, Heirs is a really good show. I mean, it’s rare for me to like a Korean drama because they’re so melodramatic, and truth be told I really go for actors/actresses – if there’s a few people I like you can be sure I’ll be watching it. All these are rather chanced upon because I don’t naturally start watching on my own. I watched Heirs because Eunice recommended it and I was bored after FOM presentation on Wednesday – and boy did I regret not heeding her advice to start after exams. With Chanyoung, Kim Tan and later Hyo Shin, they got me hook, line and sinker. I thought my heart would shatter for Cha Eun Sung’s plight but no, it shattered for Kim Tan’s predicament. 😦 I am now stuck at Ep 16 trying to wait patiently and not buy a ticket to Korea and rob the SBS studio for the remaining 4 eps. Worse still it’s broadcasted twice a week (and I thought waiting for On Call 2 was bad!) and I am not the most patient of people. Which you might have gathered already, from the way I’m speaking like a drug addict would.

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The past few weeks have been tough on me and the people around me. I’ve been easily irritable, although I don’t get angry easily. I keep babbling when I’m tired (because I just can’t shut up, can I?) and that must have irritated the people around me to no end. School wasn’t the only thing to hit, there were a few other things and deadlines going on at the same time as well, but despite being relieved that it’s over, I realized that I don’t really lament my busy days. I lament the days when I’m stuck at home feeling shitty with nothing to do but I don’t complain about the days in which I only have 3 hours to sleep. This amount of activity scares me because I’m never sure how much more my body can take, but the thought of having nothing to do scares me even more. In fact, it frightens me stiff. My time with SRT’s The Young Co. ends next January and other than some personal reasons why I’d be quite heartbroken to leave, I’m terrified that I’ll have nothing to while away my time. I’m currently tossing around the idea of going for another mentorship programme, or taking a second diploma in translation. Let’s see how much I can save, I guess. I quite like the idea of leaving my writing alone for a while and relaxing myself by indulging in languages.

SRT-TYC has been an amazing journey thus far. We concluded our last external workshop with Rikki, touring director of Peter Brook’s The Suit and have one last workshop with Bill on 7 Dec. Our short pieces will be going into production after that and the trepidation and insecurities are doing me no good. Next year on, we’ll part ways and though the industry is small, I’ll have no reason to meet my other lovely playwrights again. Over this year we’ve met almost every week. We’ve exchanged works, talked about insecurities, caught amazing shows together, and I’ll miss them dearly. I’ve grown close to a few of them and they’re all people I don’t think I could be here without. At this point of time I guess I’ll just have to reiterate my own point that every moment is fleeting and every meeting, transient. These are people I’ll continue loving and memories I won’t quickly forget. They’ve started me on a journey that I hope won’t see completion anytime soon, and where it goes from here is my own call. 🙂 It’s always nice to know I have buddies around though. It makes me feel like this is less of a steep cliff, but rather, just an uphill climb.

Exams will be over in a week, and then it’s partying all the way till New Year’s Day. Till the next time, then! x

55 | Seven Weeks.

YEEEEEEEHA!

I am f r e e.

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PS: All the photos on this blog are not the same as the ones on my Instagram or my Facebook. The assumption here is that you are connected to me on all three platforms (including my twitter) so have a look around. It’s not called stalking if it’s information made public.

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We concluded our third and final paper today – it was accounts on Monday, econs on Wed and statistics today. The rest – management, business communications, and general education were all presentation modules. Yes, that’s all the modules I do well in, the rest are kind of a get-lucky thing.

I think the most classic moment was when we finished Business Comms presentation last Wednesday. My lecturer said our group had the most orchestrated presentation, and in his words it was “almost theatrical”. Now being the goody-two-shoes I am I was busy editing photos on my phone and wasn’t listening until I heard my classmates say, “… Chelsea!” I looked up in shock as they all tried to tell me what had just gone on and apparently I was told I had the “Who, me?” look on my face! Epic, epic.

Now I really hate being restricted, and I don’t know how I survived my GCSE O’s because I was practically jailed during that time (of my own free will, har har) and this time, I felt cooped up and suffocated as usual. Honestly, it wasn’t because I worked extraordinarily hard or anything. I started revising the weekend of the exams, or in the case of stats, the night before. Now y’all don’t wanna be procrastinators like me especially if you’re in JC but I think this has taught me that if I wanna enjoy I’ve got to put in the work on a weekly basis instead of rushing tutorials as I’ve been doing for the last semester. Or not really rushing, just.. copying answers. Does not work okay.

BUT that chapter has been closed and this marks the beginning of a seven-week holiday in which I have absolutely no homework to do. Oh joy!

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Began the the first of my (hopefully) numerous shopping trips & outings with 7 girls – Claudia (that’s her above!), Janice, Syahirah, Carol, Iffah, Cynthia, Taopang! Headed to JEM after the paper and had Pastamania before shopping. I’m glad Stradivarius opened in JEM, I really like their stuff. It’s getting harder and harder to find clothes that I like and perhaps I have too many clothes (and just as much makeup) so I guess I shall have to clear up or move out soon!

Right, that leads me to my topic for today, my bucket list for the holidays. I feel the need to make a list before it whizzes by me without me noticing again.

  1. Top priority of course goes to my writing. I need to get all my poems & plays out asap because I am terribly behind schedule!
  2. Clear out my wardrobe and makeup stash which is, really, quite overloaded. 😦
  3. Shop, drink coffee and enjoy life.
  4. Study whatever the hell I want. Which includes unrelated things like political science, psychology, ethnic minorities, etc. Whatever obsesses me at that point of time, really.
  5. Get my languages sorted!! (more on this later)
  6. Meet up with all my friends whom I haven’t had a chance to see in a while (Noel Ku I’m looking directly at you)
  7. Chase all the dramas & variety shows/singing competitions I want to. (more on this too)

I think 7 is a pretty good number to begin with. 🙂

Recently I’ve realized how badly my language has deteriorated. It’s not just my Chinese, it’s my English too. My Chinese I can understand, I’ve not been using it much and with no one to correct me it’s just harder to form my sentences the right way. English comes as a surprise but it’s true, when I’m so focused on schoolwork, I rarely have the time to phrase my sentences eloquently the way I did in high school. I am very unwilling to let any one of my languages slip away because if not for languages I have no other saving virtue. Especially my English, I mean, what will I do with my writing? The thought of leaving any language behind terrifies me. Also, I need to sort out my Cantonese (get the pronounciation right) and Korean as well. If anyone knows of good sites to pick up Cantonese, do let me know! My Korean is improving every week and I’m a little comforted by that, haha. I also want to get on with memorizing the Tibetan alphabet and consider learning a fifth language – any recommendations?

Part of the reason why I’ve been so obsessed with Tibet recently is because of Chinese Idol. The ethnic minorities of China first captured my attention when there was an episode where they grouped together and sung. I had that on loop for weeks, I kid you not. I’ve always been into unique music, and tribal/ethnic-flavoured music suits me just fine. All of you, go catch Chinese Idol! It’s coming to the finals soon and I can’t wait to know who’ll win! I’m rooting for 阿来 (Aray) and 央吉玛 (Yanggiema) but that’s just me. 🙂 Let me know who you support!

Other than chasing Chinese Idol, I’ve also been really taken with a few dramas lately. I’ve been relooking Moon That Embraces The Sun (because who can get over Kim Soo Hyun’s character – no, not a fan of him – and Han Ga In herself?) as well as L’Escargot. New dramas include My Bittersweet Life even though I’ve been furious at the last few episodes where all the characters are one-dimensional. You see, the mother is perpetually weeping. Bitchy daughter goes around being a bitch, never smiles. Dad is busy pacifying everyone. Then there is this bimbo (or hiao) character who goes around spreading the news and being a complete whiny princessy thing. I can’t stand her, every time a scene comes up with her I just kinda wanna bury my head in my hands and tide it over. Just gross. 

Before I end off, I’m going to announce a manhunt. Or lipstick hunt. Yes, if any of you girlfriends come across a Revlon shelf anywhere on this island, please have a look at the Revlon Lip Butter section for a lipstick called Juicy Papaya. Here’s my story:

One morning, I went to Watsons, saw this lipstick (a shelf full) and I thought it was a really pretty colour. Came home to google for swatches, decided it was so pretty that I had to have it that very day. I went back in the evening. Aaaaaand, TADAH. The entire shelf is gone.

Since then I’ve not seen a single tube anywhere. The closest I’ve come to it is testers in John Little/Robinsons and I really want this lipstick. I don’t buy that it’s out of stock, it just vanished off the shelves. If any of you see it, please just buy it for me and drop me a text! 🙂

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Ending off with a picture of my gem, Janice and I. If you’re wondering what she’s doing, she’s hiding her waterbottle behind her back.

Till the next time,

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53 | Weird Things I’ve Spoken About

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Here’s some good press for my girlfriend Jan Jan! 

With 2/3 of presentations over, I can finally heave a huge sigh of relief and plod plod plod on with revision, my playwriting and the last presentation. I am finally beyond giving a shit helping people who not only don’t appreciate me, but even take my efforts for granted and go backwards on them. Like, are you for real? My work is never substandard. If you’re going to do this whole “I’m better than you” thing, then rest assured I am not going to give you the extra mile any more. 🙂

Digressing from such antics, I realized that my conversations have become weirder and weirder recently. With Janice that day, we were discussing do and do nots during the seventh month. As you all know I am a scaredy-cat and I am morbidly afraid of the dark as well. Clearly we both freaked each other out (I was more freaked out than she was) and now I am bordering on mild paranoia, pinning up my fringe and all that. Grrr.

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Finally! W/ homegirl Tina at Kbox & Ci Gusta today.

Today Tina & I were discussing phones. Sounds normal, until I realized we were waxing nostalgia over old phones we used to love. I used to own the Nokia 5310, which I conveniently donated to a taxi driver in Beijing in 2008. Later, I changed to a Sony Ericsson W995, which.. let’s not even talk about what happened to it. It dropped in.. water. And it died. Or rather I was too grossed out to ever use it again. Then I began hopping around phones like the Huawei I had which drove me up the wall before going to Nokia Lumia 800, which I do still love to bits. I have an iPhone 5 now but I had such a hard time leaving my Lumia. I know it’s ridiculous that I am being all melo over a piece of metal but hey, some phones are really worth it!

I have never been one to use phones for lots of apps. My main purpose would only be to text, call, and now Whatsapp and snap selcas as well. I really like capturing moments here and there, which is part of the reason why I left my Lumia (no front camera, terrible back camera) and came over to iPhone instead. For some reason, the iPhone’s picture capturing is so fantastic that I’ve been happily snapping away for the short week that I’ve had the phone. It’s really wonderful, I mean, look at the colours above. Granted, it’s been edited with one filter each but just look at the richness of colour, lighting and detail. You do not get such things with a Lumia, even though it’s also 8MP. I have no idea why, but the iPhone trumps all in terms of camera and phototaking capabilities!

Another thing I look out for in phones is texting interface. In both the W995 and Lumia, I loved the fonts they used to text, as well as the smileys. When texting is a nice experience, you can’t help but use your phone compulsively and you actually enjoy it. For the money I pay, I daresay I am justified in demanding more than just being able to send out messages and call, right? On the Lumia especially, the keyboard is amazing. It has such small alphabets but somehow my fingers fit comfortably over the phone. I think maybe, just maybe, this phone was made for me. Who knows, right?

Both my W995 and Lumia were very durable. They’ve both been through rather crazy experiences, with the W995 dropping into.. water, and still coming out functioning fine after drying. The Lumia has been thrown across classrooms, dropped from second floor, dropped into water and semi-boiled, etc. It’s STILL functioning fine. The Gorilla Glass screen is amazing, scratch-proof and has given me peace of mind like no other phone has. It has a solid feeling to it as well – people say the Lumia is heavy, but once you get used to it, the weight is actually reassuring. The only defect I had on the phone at the end of 2 years other than the software not being updated was the charging cover being unable to close as a result of a dent. One dent. After so many incidences in two years. Now that is the true Nokia spirit. In contrast, I feel my heart crack a little every time I drop my iPhone. I kind of scoff on the inside every time I drop my iPhone because after using a Nokia for so long you kind of think your phone is indestructible in comparison to the rest of the phones on the market. So I’d be going all, “Hah, so much for all the hype around you, you still lose to my lovely Nokia” until I realize it’s roughly SGD 800 worth of metal I’m dropping on the floor.

In closure I’d just like to ask if anyone is interested in manufacturing a phone with Nokia’s Window interface and exterior with Apple’s app market and camera functions? Because I’m sure it’d be a hit the whole world round. 😉 This is how I shall make my millions.