100 Return

The 100th post is always bound to be a special one, and it has been ingrained in time that the centennial celebrations are always the biggest and the best. This will be another superpost, like 099 Results!! formerly known as Results??, which will be updated from time to time. This post has been slated to record my return to Singapore, and this paragraph is only the beginning. I will be leaving Seremban at 0920 hours tomorrow (Wednesday), and travelling down to Singapore by train. I'll be returning to Malaysia on Saturday, hopefully in time for the election results. So, who's coming along with me on this memorable trip?

And, so sorry for the great delay in the update, apparently my Singapore trip lasted longer than it was supposed to and I forgotten that we must never trust WiFi for stable internet connection. Damn you, M1...

Phase 1 - The first coming... and going

Wednesday (5/3/08) - (Un)surprising return
The trip down to Singapore was mostly uneventful, I read the newspaper from cover page to cover page, and it's Election Time, and guess what, they were hitting out at Anwar, and some fiasco about indelible ink. Yeah, makes great news anytime. Surprising? Not really. Other things to note...
Unsurprising things:
- KTM was an hour late by the time the train reached JB
- Singapore was as cold when welcoming visitors as ever (it was raining the whole evening)
- MRTs are punctual, duh!
- Kids use public buses like Malaysians use school buses.
- The Malaysian news are the most interesting things in the Straits Times

Surprising things:
- They changed the lady who makes announcements in the MRT
- I can still find my way around town after 3 months
- They weren't expecting me to turn up at their apartment, with only an address.
- People actually treat a hospital like a shopping centre, they eat there and they walk through it like it's their home.
- I saw this painted in big, white letters on a road, "Strip Ahead", well, well, well, and I thought nudity was illegal.

Thursday (6/3/08) - The slightly problematic eve

The eve of the big day, wasn't as exciting as it was supposed to be, but nonetheless, had it's fair share of notable things. It was my first commute from Ang Mo Kio to Novena, the first of the few long walks from the flat to the MRT station and it was raining (again!). I took my first step into Novena Square 2 for lunch, via Tan Tock Seng Hospital, (yes, we casually walked through it, weaving around labcoats and wheelchairs).

Nightfall saw my return to Boon Keng and McNair Hostel, for the first time since the 8/12/07, and after having dinner at the place remembered for being the location of JTS (Junior Treat Senior cum Merdeka Celebration), I got back to hostel to collect letters. And, let me tell you, looking through a pile of envelopes for your own letters is an unenviable task, let alone, after the first round, you noticed important letters missing. Now, that is excitement. Went to the "mamak" place near by for tea, and I decided to take the 133 bus back to Ang Mo Kio, leaving by knapsack back in Novena for the first time, so I had one bag here and one bag there. The seal of the .5 resident of the apartment in Novena.

PS: Strangely, the missing letter worried me more than my results.

Friday (7/3/08) - The Big Day

Signs and symptoms that you are excited:
- Your extremities (your arms and legs, not the extreme positions, you smart fella) becomes slightly numb, which is a step beyond the clammy hands of anxiety
- You can go for close to 24 hours without solid food, apparently, adrenaline is one heck of an energy provider
- Riding a bus feels like riding a rollercoaster, I was holding the seat in front of mine so tightly, as if it was going to break away, on the 142 bus to Potong Pasir
- Getting to college seem to take an awful long time. You should see my face at Toa Payoh Interchange, waiting for the 142.
- You pray it doesn't rain on that day, because, I don't know... you tell me.

You know, I want to write my results here, but like my PW (oh no, vulgar word, sorry) results, it's deemed not very nice to boast about in a public space, so unless you really want to know, don't read the following sentence. A for Physics, Maths, Chem. Distinction for H3 Chem and Physics. B for KayEye, and that adds up to Top Science student, Go Figures!

OK, after all the rigmarole and camaraderie of the post A-levels result thing, which at that time, I haven't eaten anything for close to 20 hours, I had my first plate of Spaghetti Carbonara for dinner at Paragon, and all was well... almost everything was well, won't tell what happened, but you should just know that eating Italian Food can get ugly sometimes.

Saturday & Sunday (8/3/08 & 9/3/08) - The Crazy Weekend

The reason why the two days are placed together, is because, I honestly don't know when Saturday ended and Sunday began. Here's what happened...

Saturday and Sunday, the 8th and 9th of March 2008 were significant days for several reasons, in descending order of importance

1. Polling day of the Malaysian General Erections Elections. We all know what happened, BN lost the 2/3 Majority, along with 5 states, which includes the Crown Jewels of the West Coast, Penang and Selangor. Yup, stayed up all night on the internet, and the phone waiting for updates. It was an apartment filled with Malaysians, and rather excited Malaysians, to say the least. The news of the fall of Penang came during dinner at Fish & Co., Novena Square. We were scrambling for confirmation then, using the free internet service at Novena Square. And there was Samy Vellu's loss... it was a long night as news came in. Shocks, surprises, it was just crazy.

1.5. Samy Vellu's birthday, and he lost in Sungai Siput, serves him right... you wanted to retire, right? Great birthday present, then.

2. Unknown to many, I always wondered how it would be like walking outside in the middle of the night, alone. Solitary long walks in the day time, will always be disturbed by the noises of the city. And so, I did it, at about 4 am, Sunday morning, I started off on a long walk from Novena to Ang Mo Kio, it took slightly less than 2 hours, and after that I slept until noon. Furthermore, the only place I could do it is in Singapore, since it would be unimaginable to do this in Malaysia. And, no, I wasn't looking for Mas Selamat, and he didn't find me either.

3. I had the Swensen's Iced Cappuccino, my replacement for having an ice cream there, since I hate ice creams with a passion, and hey, same initials, IC. It was great, having it after... I don't know... half a year. It must be the whipped cream, yup it's the whipped cream on top. And also the Aglio Olio. No wonder we all like going there (for me, it's reasons other than ice cream.)

4. Had a lot of Pizza Hut pizza for lunch on Sunday, 2 pizzas for 2 people is always a little over the roof. But hey, it was free, courtesy of my aunt, the host of my Singapore stay, thank you for that, and also for the bottle of Pepsi, which I enjoyed for the next few days.

5. Watched PS I Love You, good show, this one, and the interesting show with the very sweet Irish husband and his letters to his bereaved wife, combined with the anticipation of the election results, made it all very surreal. I usually don't cry over movies, and I didn't over this one, but nevertheless it was a good attempt. But after all that, it was back to event number 1.

6. NTU Open House on Saturday. After stalling over departure time, we finally got on our way after lunch. NTU, isn't the closest and most accessible place in Singapore, and we got there for just the admission talk, picked up some stuff, and left. Not very eventful, but still worth the visit.

Monday (10/3/08) - Black Monday

I lost my wallet at Novena Square, along with quite a bit of money, the green cards, EZ link card, and ATM card. So, I lodged a police report, replaced the ATM and EZ link cards and that was all. A little frustrating, but I still think I'm the least upset person to ever lose a wallet. Lunch and dinner at Kopitiam, the former at Novena , where the incident happened, and the latter at Dhoby Ghaut. Didn't watch Rule #1, and I went back early, The End.

Tuesday (11/3/08) - The Blustery Day

Went to the ICA to see what I can do about the missing green cards. Well, it was, as it turned out, much ado about nothing. They cancelled the green card, gave me a social visit pass, and I can go back with immediate effect. Yeah, and I thought I had to wait the two weeks to reapply for the card. Things were really looking up. And then, after a few days of nearly no rain, it decided to rain the whole day.

In Malaysia, rain doesn't deter you, you drive the car out, rain or otherwise. But in Singapore, getting anywhere in the rain is a pain. We had packed chicken rice for lunch, and I had to go out in the rain with my very battered umbrella to buy my train ticket to return to Malaysia. And I came back quite wet... actually it was my soaked socks and shoes that were giving me a lot of trouble. After dinner at Han's Terrace in Novena, I got my stuff together from the Novena apartment, took it all back to Ang Mo Kio and here ends the first phase of my return to Singapore.

Phase 2 - On Official Business, sort of...

Saturday (15/3/08) - The Second Open-er

My second return to the little island nation, was due to reasons other than to see all the people living in the Novena Apartment, well that was one of the extra bonuses though, and I upgraded myself from a .5 resident to a full but non-PR status. The checklist of things that needed to be done was...

  • Go for NUS Open House, and I was so hoping that it would be more enjoyable than the NTU one, since I really want to do Physics at NUS
  • Get my copies of certificates certified, I know, I know, it's a little late to do it... but I wasn't supposed to be in Singapore until last Tuesday...
  • Get that recommendation letter from Mr. Mannan, once again, a little late... but, what's the difference?
  • Have a bit more fun before going back to the boring little town, soon-to-be boring city of Seremban.
  • and, maybe, maybe spot Mr. Selamat... just kidding. I'm not that pretentious, and not as audacious as he is.

...and guess what, NUS didn't let me down, and so did their Subway sandwiches. And it was surprising to note the number of my fellow countrymen and women were studying there after STPM. Interesting... must be due to the 'Q' word thing. Now, which hall of residence to go to...

PS: Someone got a little high on Chivas that night, and my God, I haven't seen you like that before...

Sunday (16/3/08) - A Two-part Outing?

Yes, you heard it right... a two-part class outing... two places, with two slightly different groups of people, and the best of them all, two lunches. Didn't know one stomach could take two meals, back-to-back.

Part 1 was at Mingles in Novena Square, and Part 2, Pastamania at United Square... The problem was that Mingles was not halal, and a Malay friend who was not supposed to be able to come, made it for the outing. A change in the venue was required, but the wait was too long for one person, so minus one, plus one. And plus one again, for a resident of the apartment who was late. So there were 2 people who haven't eaten and the rest had a light lunch while waiting, since we all sat down at Mingles already, hence a second lunch. Spent a little more munny than necessary, but what the heck, an afternoon of food and light chatter, there is nothing better...

PS: Hostel called, informing me that my missing wallet was mailed there...

Monday (17/3/08) - Back to School, Part 1

Yes, this is official business, I had to get my certs certified, but there were slight problems. I had to rearrange the original with the copies, from the 3 separate sets that I had, in the General Office, it was really quite a sight to behold, the sorting filled up an entire coffee table and the floor around it. And with teachers milling in and out... Just strange... My Recommendation Letter was delayed since the internet server was down and Mr. Mannan left it in his e-mail inbox. So, got one thing done, and another was stalled, oh well...

But, it was a morning and afternoon of meeting teachers, catching up with them... I spent the afternoon in the Timetabling Committee office chatting with Mannan, and then another 15-30 minutes with the Deputy Principal, just talking, ah, they were great times, how often will it happen again in the future. And then, there was another stretch of nostalgia...

I took the route that I have taken hundreds of times, from the College back to the hostel. The walk through Potong Pasir, towards the MRT station, nothing much has changed in that place. It would always look the same, I guess. I was retracing the same route I had always taken, it seemed so natural. Then there was the short MRT ride from Potong Pasir to Boon Keng, and the walk through the Towner flats, to the crossroads at McNair and Towner, and I jaywalked there for old times sake. Got to the hostel, retrieved my wallet, had a short chat with the Madam, and then to the bus stop at Balestier Road, the same bus stop I would go to every Tuesday night on my bread delivery route.

Early PS: It was called Morrie-ing in jest, reminiscent of the book "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom

The paths were so ingrained in my mind, I didn't have to think twice before turning left or right, or crossing the roads. I knew it would be one of the last times I walked down the exact same route, but when you walk, you have to move onwards. And there will no time to look back down the route you taken and think, "Did I just walk down that stretch of road?" and "Will I ever return here?". No, we just walk on, looking ahead at the road ahead of us...

PS: Other notable things to note for this day are, 1) The wallet had everything in it, except my money and $40 worth of Kinokuniya vouchers. 2) I was in the middle of an apple juice fixation.

Tuesday (18/3/08) - Back to School, Part 2 & Other Miscellany

It was the last day in Singapore for quite some time, but it proved to be, after a slow start, not devoid of notable events. Mannan finally got around to printing the recommendation letters, but in the end there was not one, not two, but 3 original letters, quite worth the wait. If not for that trip to school, I would have bored myself to death, for the first time in Singapore.

The trip to school was so different than the one on the 7th, for it was devoid of the excitement that plagued the earlier trip, it was strangely normal. On the 142 bus, I was thinking of the that trip and how I was gripping the chair so tightly, and how that would never happen again on any other bus in the near future.

Lunch at KFC was with only one other person, with whom had just gone for cyrosurgery (cyro = frozen, surgery = cut, the rest is imagination) to remove a "corn", and we compared stories since my "corn" was removed differently, by electrodissectation (electro = electricity, dissectation -> dissect = oh, those poor lab rats!, once again, imagination required). And there was talk about chakra and yoga, after that. Rather interesting, I must say.

The afternoon was spent downloading and playing Scramble, an encrpytion game that messes up famous quotes, and leaves you to unscramble it. It employs a simple substitution cypher, since it's meant to be solvable, can't imagine one that uses a Vigenere Cipher, like the ones I use here.

Dinner at Pizza Hut at United Square was great, judging by the fact that it was my choice, since it was my last night in Singapore. Thank you, everyone, and after that it was a scramble to get to Tanjong Pagar in time for the train and I was reminded how fast Singaporean taxi drivers can drive. This marks the end of my return(s) to Singapore, and also the longest post. So long, and thanks for all the fish fun.

PS: This post stands at close to 3000 words, hands down the longest single post ever written. The 100th post has always been meant to be this great.