Monday, August 29, 2005

Insidious issues

Being the Asian amongst the people in the dorm, I can't help but feel that ethnicity is still an issue that insidiously creeps up on American society. Don't get me wrong, my neighbours are decent people who treat me with the respect of a fellow human being. However, through their conversations, I realised that people somehow tend to stick with their own thereby "othering" groups of people. So far, through observation which might be not astute, vast majority of groups that hang out together on campus largely conprise of a single ethnic group. Although the issue of race has died down over the decades, comments like "light side and dark side" are still common and experiences of public schools are retold as a horror tale. Then again, I'm guilty of it as well. Just that now I'm in the minority spot. I guess all of this just serves to remind us that we are all equal under God.

I picked up a very good piece of advice from a Puerto Rican who was staying in the same bunk as I was in New York. He said the best way to bridge that mental divide with your counterparts is to joke about yourself and your people. I can't agree with him more. Raul, I know you won't read this, but thanks!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The lovely Co-Op and the wonderful Ultra Supplies

I have to mention this. I spent a total of 500USD on books. Can you believe it? I always wanted to do that. Like waltz into Borders and sweep all the books I want and spend 750 Sing on them. But for academic purpose? No way! A course pack of 100 pages (read short) cost 30 USD. I even got a required text that cost 75 USD. Each course has 5 books on the average, multiply that by 5 and each costing 20 on the average, yeap, you got entire paycheck from teaching in July. Xerox here cost 14 cents USD per page. Go figure.

Next time when one of you enters Co-Opt or go Xerox something. Please kiss the place and the staff. We don't know how lucky we are. Long Live the Student Pirate!!!


I'm a little disappointed with the program which they have for international students. The freshmen are out having their orientation but we have no part in it. Instead, the school has tailored an orientation specially for us. As a result, I find myself hanging out with my fellow Singaporeans (for the record they are very nice people). But I didn't come 12000 miles not to get to know the locals. Well, we'll see how that goes.

Part 3: Washington DC

The Allen Lee Hotel: Great price, great location (5 min from the war memorials) but when you pay peanuts, you get a monkey living in the basement with tiny roaches running around. But I survived.

Smithsonian Institute: Huge. You'll need at least 5 days to cover all the museums. I went to the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of American History.

Washington Memorial: Reminded me of Command and Conquer = )

WW2, Korean, Vietnam War memorials: Emotional place. Hey day for the military historian.

White House: White

Capitol Hill: .........

Security level: Paranoid

Yes. This sums up my 10 days of travel. One thing which might interest all who intend to backpack to the USA is that Greyhound uses fly paper for flooring on their buses. Go figure

Friday, August 26, 2005

New York was breakfast. Now Philadelphia Cheese Steak for lunch

My room mate took up 3/4 of the room. He should as he brought most of the stuff. I, however, contributed the phone to our habitat and I'm looking to get a kettle. All of these shall belong to my roomie when I leave. Isn't he lucky?

Philadelphia commentary

Phiadelphia: My favourite city for its unique blend of old and new.

Philly Cheese Steak: Diced Beef and melted cheese on bread. Nothing spectacular.

Liberty Bell and Indepence Hall: The birth place of 21st century hegemony. = )

Lancaster County: Great scenes and delicious food.

Amish people: Quirky

Drive-in movie: One of the most American things to do

Hersheys: Yummm.....

Driving in USA: Fun. Especially so when someone takes the wheel for the first time

I must now make mention for the companionship of Jeremiah from VCF and his friends, Yew Zhen, Iris, Eric and Melvyn and for making my trip to Philly an enjoyable experience. Yes, I do prefer company. Thanks guys!

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I have finally reached Chapel Hill after an exciting 10 days of wandering. Chapel Hill is nice...quiet and simple. I guess that's what we all signed up for. I have a dorm in South campus and I was assigned one of those newly built ones. There's only one word to describe it: hospital.'s that sterile. But apparently things will heat up once all the residents move in. I have an 18 year old roommate and among the things that he brought are TV, mircowave, fridge, PS2. Yes, I'm a lucky guy. Hope he is nice though.

Piecemeal update about my trip:

NEW YORK IN BRIEF though boxers are the choice of intimate wear in my 12 men bunk

Jazz on the Park Hostel: Cheap, good but a little far

Lady Liberty: The hottest babe in town

Metropolitan Art Museum: 9 hours in 2 days ain't enough

American Museum of Natural History: Tells me why I'm in Arts

Empire State Building: Great view period

NBC Studios: Its a wonder how much money trashy TV can make

Chinatown: Ngo Mmm Sek Gong Gong Fu Wah

UN HQ: Satisfied the Political Scientist in me

Friday, August 12, 2005

Bobbert says bye bye

12 hours more and I'll be off. Excited but elements of anxiety exists. Pre-departure jitters they say. Nontheless, I finally get to see the big apple after years of seeing it on TV. Philadelphia and DC are also on the cards. Hope I don't get too lost. For those who have expressed their desire yet inability to send me off, thanks! No worries as it is the thought that counts yes? For those who expressed desire to pray for me, please pray for safety, at least for the next 10 days.

Anyway, I'm all packed. Was deciding if I was going to bring my beloved bolster along. Those who have been acquainted with it know 2 things: It was made by my mum and I sleep better with it around. So, despite the fact that my 18 year old American roommate would probably get a fit upon seeing it, I decided that the bolster reminds me of home and mum and therefore it shall once again leave home after a 15 year break. Yay!

So...Aufweidersehen! See you folks next year!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Pre-travel amusement

Its amazing how much junk one accumulates over the years. Just this afternoon when I had finally decided to clear my room so that my folks won't have reason to meddle with my belongings, I realised I still had odds and ends of my Dunman High days stashed away in some remote corner of my room. Its a miracle that no colony of any sort grew out of these mounds of paper.

Been doing the necessary packing and I'm still bothered by that "I think I forgot something but don't know what" feeling. My friend Ah Beng told me to make a list but the real deal is what's NOT on the list. But seriously, I haven't felt this loved and blessed for a long time. From all corners of my life came very timely loans which undoubtedly saved me huge sums of money. The credits go something like this:

Samuel from church: NIKE ACG fleece jacket
Lyndon my band mate: Hooded pullover
Shaun my gay bud since we were 5: Laptop bag
Derrick my other gay bud when Shaun ain't free: SAF Gortex Boots
Bernice, Delia's sis: Socket adapters
Chien friend from JC: More socket adapters
Junhao fellow choirboy in VJ: Maglite which I don't know why I requested for
My 37 year old elder sister: Samsonite suitcase and travel insurance with her compliments

I think there are more but age has caught up with me. Incidently I rediscovered the one useful thing which SAF teaches all mankind...ZIPLOCK BAGS!!!!! Nifty things, do check them out.

Last note....MOE HASN'T PAID MR LIN!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Procrastination Stopped

Yes..I have stopped procrastinating and set this utterly simple travel diary for poor folks back home to witness the fun that I'm having in the states. Ok..I ain't tech savvy...unlike my 70 year old this is going to be minimalist and basic. Reflects my personality I would think. this space