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and so it begins

Friday, 30 November 2007 by ranon

yes it begins now. my essay is over and done with. the term has unofficially ended and i am a happy man now. i'm really happy i've friends who bother running to my place with krispy kremes in tow after becoming an unsuspecting recepient of such an exquisite gift, and allowing me to indulge in 4 of them i think. i lost count. and it was off to evolve in leamington spa for a night of partying. didn't really get wasted coz i'm saving it for tomorrow when ming and i head for the WOC christmas party thing at the grad club. and i need to pick up my 65 litre backpack from tesco direct soon. it's gonna be one helluva week.

i'm missing home all of a sudden. i have a sudden craving for long island tea, something i haven't had in the ten weeks i've been here.

international distress

Thursday, 29 November 2007 by ranon

my world politics essay is staring at me with 559 words, and that is after i quoted the whole of article 1(1) of the united nations charter. it's extreme frustration that's probably making me hungry. it doesn't help that after such a hearty dinner complete with ice cream and chocolate hobnobs, that i choose to stuff my face with an ultra big frankfurter and bread now.

1941 words to go. i just need to get through this essay and then school's out for me.

food fight

Tuesday, 27 November 2007 by ranon

tonight's one of those nights you remember always as a hallmark event in uni life. food fight. when nothing else matters other than getting everyone else as dirty and wet as you probably will get. grabbing hold of ketchup and salad dressing and mustard sauce and flour and anything else that can be squeezed out or squirted at someone. armed with a saucepan and a sink full of water, i fought my valiant battle scooping pot after pot of soapy and dirty sink water and splashing them at the others. alliances were not formed and everyone was each for his own. wrestling on the flooded kitchen floor with sauces flying overhead, it was a laugh and definitely a night to remember. i remember seeing raw slices of chicken flying overhead.

and so after a 30 minutes bloodbath, we surveyed the battlefield and it dawned on our brave heroes the immensity of the job at hand - cleaning up before getting fucked by sue, the fearsome house cleaner. and off we went, scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming and eventually, ironing the carpeted floor. yeap. armed with two irons, we painstakingly ironed each and every inch of the killing grounds and yet, it still squelches with every step we take now. we gave up to shower and now, i'm all ready to snuggle back in bed, crawl under my sheets, safely hidden and tucked away from the memories of a night of untold joy and laughter. my battle weary body now craves for a reprieve before it caves in to the pressures of a lit presentation at ten in the morning.

the unsung heroes.
the mess.
warriors of the flour.
the flooded kitchen floor and part of the wrestling that occurred.
more of the mess.
the chair was originally salmon pink. the pictures do no justice to the wet carpet.
having a good laugh even after the truth struck us.

i love uni days. and my family.



Monday, 26 November 2007 by ranon

hobnobs milk chocolate definitely has to be taken off shelves with immediate effect to curb any further tendencies to grab it off the racks in tesco and to stuff it down my face in the wee hours of the morning like now.

and it doesn't help that i sleep so much everyday and i'm still yawning now.

at least henry green's over and done with and i've a plan for the coming week that should foresee my emancipation by thursday night.

and before i know it, the week that follows will mark the last week of term, and the tedious process will then be made known to me of planning a eurotrip a week prior to departure. the excitement.

it's amazing that i actually am craving laksa now at 2 in the morning, considering the fact that i never really fancied it back home.


Saturday, 24 November 2007 by ranon

diarrhea and chronic stomach aches suck. especially when they render you weak in your knees, and you have to run to the toilet every so often to unleash the nastiest of things.

and so i spent the whole day huddled up in my bed under my duvet, feeling chills creep down my back and sweating it all out. feverish and weak, i made no attempt to even make myself lunch. tried reading henry green but gave up to sleep some more.

but it's nice having friends who will drop in to cook you dinner just to perk you up and fill your stomach. although it was instant noodles with egg and chicken, it was nice filling up a stomach that was fighting itself. and then there was half a slice of viennetta that served its role as comfort food after a sad day of pain and misery.

friends make me smile on days like today, even when they feed me food that aren't necessarily gonna contribute to my overall recovery. and for indulging my unhealthy obsession with junk food when the stomach is not agreeable. and for offering pills that mean i have to wake up every 6 hours to take them. it sucks falling sick in a foreign land, but the people about you make up for it i guess.



Friday, 23 November 2007 by ranon

i'm getting too fat for my own good.

where the fuck is my neck.

it's time to not eat 3 dinners a day. and not eat one half of a whole strawberry cheesecake after coming back from tesco's. and not skip training to do my essay. and not drink so much alcohol. and not come back after a night of partying to gorge on 2 chicago town pizzas. and not pinch cadbury milk chocolate ice cream when everyone else is eating it.

someone make my fats go away.

fluorescent adolescent - arctic monkeys


Wednesday, 21 November 2007 by ranon

it's 1 in the morning now and i'm staring at 635 words on my introduction to research methods essay now. i've to write 1865 words more. the question's enough to bore anyone to tears - what are the distinctive features of the discipline of politics in Britain and USA? i got distracted by my rumbling stomach, this despite having had 3 dinners today! annie made me pasta at 5, brenda brought some claypot chicken rice over at 5.30, and i had like mash and chicken at 9 with maddie. i know i should really be happy that i've 3 girls feeding me, and i'm not denying that i am, but the thing is, three goddamn dinners! that's fatness piling up and the emergence of a never-before-seen paunch. i've sinned.

and i know i should really really be working on my essay, but my mind's drifting. it's full of random stuff now. and i decided to look through my iphotos album, and these snippets offer a glimpse into my mind's preoccupation right now, other than food. and someone quell the thunder in my stomach now please.

ah. the good old days of being in green and mud encrusted.

i miss the gang. and the days of being tanned. and of course, good hawker food.

i miss everyone i left behind. and i couldn't help but think back to the 24th of sept where i threw it all behind.

and look where i am now. love the hair. love the shot.

and the adventures that i've been through - jailbreak.

life is pretty much different now i guess. i'm settling in very very well. except for the occasional hunger pangs, i'm doing pretty alright.

ok. gonna start reading henry green's living for next week's presentation. the essay will wait. oh, and chocolate hobnob creams will satisfy the stomach, for now.

first times

Monday, 19 November 2007 by ranon

it was the british indoor rowing championships over this weekend. warwick didn't take part coz we were co-organisers, but we had a friendly with birmingham uni and though we trashed them, my individual result left me totally devastated the whole of saturday.

sunday we were event staff for the championships and we saw lotsa pros coming down. the oxford rowers were anything but splendid, and the great britain rowers who were in the open category totally blew us all away, especially when one of them broke the english record there and then right before us. so yes, it got me so much more motivated to train harder and to row better. i know i'm not gonna be like them, but knowing that i have improved and that i'm actually working hard towards a goal, is good enough.

and for the first time ever today, i encountered snow! it was lovely to say the least. and we had our first ever snowball fight and it was hilarious. i was rolling about and doing somersaults in the snow, rolling down horizontally on a snow covered hill with jue and throwing snowballs at random people. basically the gang was there and we were trashing each other. exposed butt cracks had snow and ice creeping down their asses and faces were treated to heaps upon heaps of snow. everyone got drenched and soaking wet and all our fingers were numbed beyond belief. but it was so much fun. my white shoes are thoroughly muddy and wet but i don't really give a shit. it was definitely a night to remember. expressions like "knn" and "ccb" rang shrilly throughout the night no thanks to people like jue, and i was struck by the juxtaposition of such a familiar language set against the foreign landscape. i love home where it is now.

came home to sip nice warm milo and the family had embarked on a project to recreate nativity using plasticine they had won at the RAG quiz. so i ended up helping and i made baby jesus, and the straw for the manger. our house is really decked up and ready for the christmas season. it's a real pity coz all of us won't be around but we know that it's gonna be a real special christmas for many of us. i'm not heading home for christmas for the first time ever. it's gonna be spent with matt and annie at johanna's home in germany and we're gonna go through a traditional german christmas with her family. life's getting on real sweet here. 

but yes, i love my family. they make life here so much more bearable. singaporeans on the other hand serve to ground me back home to my roots, and it's with them where you know you'll always be "safe" and looked after because afterall, they're your fellow countrymen so to speak. so yes, i'm thankful for being able to achieve and strike that balance between having good friends from singapore and friends from here. that's what studying overseas is all about isn't it? meeting new people yet at the same time, not neglecting what firmly binds you to an identity you can never totally shed when you're 13 hours away from home by plane.

the singaporean gang. tired out after our first ever snow fight.
maddie preparing mary.
craig grumpy over an ugly manger.
the final product.
the final product with a lil bit of posh thrown in by me.
the christmas tree in the living room.
home is where the heart is.
finally done. spotlight and tinsel included.


Saturday, 17 November 2007 by ranon

as promised, here's a recap of jailbreak. changed the way i looked at life, and opened up the microscopic view of the world and people i've had for the last 20 years of my life.

we arrived at the piazza at 8a.m on saturday morning. 2 teams, 7 people from whitefields 12. at 9.15, the event was flagged off and team RAW (Ranon, Annie, Wesley) trekked through a lil shortcut made known to me during runs around campus to end up at a main road leading to birmingham and coventry.

team RAW! hoo yah.

standing by the road side, we waved our hands frantically and jumped up and down shouting to cars passing by and in less than 10 minutes, we got our first ever ride to coventry train station! the nice lady who was sending her 13 year old kid to school in coventry offered us a ride and we were seriously over the moon. the first taste of success is usually the sweetest and boy could it only get better.

so at coventry station, we were pondering long and hard how to get aboard a train to get to any of the ports, and we finally plucked up the courage to ask a ticket conductor to let us onto his train and give us a ride. before we could open our mouths, the guy was like "you people doing the charity thing eh? the first carriage's for you guys. fill it up." we were jumping in joy literally when we heard it and we dashed into the carriage. there were a few other jailbreakers there and so we took a ride to birmingham new street. we decided we would go to portsmouth since everyone was heading to dover and we figured there might be an heavy influx of people in the latter.

first train ride!

so to get to portsmouth from birmingham, we had to get onto 2 different trains. the first one would take us to guildford first, following which we had to change to another train to get to portsmouth and south sea. as apprehensive as we were, we daringly approached the ticket conductors and they were more than willing to help. there was no hesitation and never did i thought it would be this easy. people are genuinely helpful and this came as a shock after hearing of how nasty some of them can get. and the ticket conductor on the train from guildford to portsmouth was nice enough to offer us a complimentary drink voucher and he even made a personal phone call to his friend at portsmouth to aid us in our journey.

the second free ride.
an absolute essential. without doubt.
final destination within the uk.

by 2.30 in the afternoon, we had arrived at portsmouth and south sea train station. that's very very early. we walked to the port and to our horror, it was empty. there were no passengers around and the only people were a handful of porters and only brittany ferries was open. they do rides across the channel to france and we decided to approach them to see if they might have excess tickets on the next ferry to slot us on, or to even grant us tickets in the name of charity. and this marked the onset of a period of great depression. the counter staff were so unwilling and so unhelpful, we called their head office and put them through the line, and as much as the people over the phone were willing to help, the counter staff simply refused on the pretext that they were closed and their management only worked mondays to fridays from 8 to 6, and they were thus uncontactable since it was a saturday. the inefficiency of the british system started to bare itself before us. so they kindly told us to wait for LD lines, another ferry operator that had a ferry operating that night too. 

thing was, their counter only opened at 4 and so we waited. 4 o clock came and went, and then 5 o clock came and went. 6 o clock came and they finally opened. we waited and talked to other people, non-jailbreakers, who were around waiting to buy tickets from LD lines. so when it opened, we approached the guy at the counter and he refused too, saying that their company policy was a strict no to last minute charity hitch-hikers. we were devastated. totally. total desperation. we moped and got over it and decided to go to southampton airport to try our luck. got a free taxi ride to the portsmouth train station when we realised that flights end at 11 and we would have to wait till the next day before the airline counters open. so we turned back, got another free taxi ride back to the ferry terminal and decided to wait till it was boarding time for the ferry and beg the counter guy to give us any available tickets. so we arrived and waited and we sat around talking to the other passengers who were waiting with us, and out of pity, they decided to pool money together and donated 3 tickets to us! our spirits were lifted almost immediately! and when we got the tickets in our hand, could you imagine the joy?!

a drink to celebrate.
the golden ticket.

and so we boarded the ferry at 11 and we were on a 10 hour ride to le havre in france. i could swear i nearly kissed the ground of the ferry when we boarded it. the view as we left the port was beautiful and after that, it was a party on board with the fellow jailbreakers we met - 2 girls from bulgaria who were studying at warwick and another 2 guys from bristol. and we drank and drank and drank and got pissed drunk. all i remember after that was falling asleep on the floor in front of my seat, and getting rudely awaken up by some man who told us we had arrived! i totally missed a french sunrise on the english channel just because i was wasted. i could have kicked myself.

total ecstasy.
belgium made beer at its best. 8.5%. 6 bottles.
living life on the edge.

and so we got off the ferry, immensely groggy, immensely excited. yet the excitement was contained due to the pounding headache the hangover delivered. before we knew it, we were whisked to the train station on a shuttle bus. the trains only operate from 11 onwards and we were 3 hours early. found a nice lil french cafe for coffee and for me to sleep in. reality slowly crept in that i was in france i slumped over the table, trying to make sense of the world i was in.


11 a.m came and we weren't even sure if we were gonna even get a ride on it. some guy who was on the ferry with us translated our predicament to the ticket conductor and he was agreeable! i mean, we're not even french, and it was a 2 hour ride to paris, and the ticket conductor didn't even know what Children in Need was! and he said yes. i was moved, but my heavy head refused to be anything but happy inside. so i was asleep for most parts of the train ride to paris, waking up occasionally to watch the french country side go by, it was beautiful. finally arrived in paris at 1.30 and i was all geared up and ready to explore the romantic city of love.

we got onto the metro and we were soon zipping to the eiffel tower. the view was splendid as we turned out of the eiffel tower metro station. we were on the terrace of a museum that provided a splendid view of the eiffel tower in all its grandeur and beauty and magnificience. we bought crepes and sat on the steps facing the eiffel tower, soaking up the atmosphere and the magnitude of our accomplishments. took countless photos of it. we started walking towards the tower once we were done with our crepes and along the way, came across a carousel directly in front of the eiffel tower. as a toast to our celebration, we paid the fare and hopped on like little children, just being kids and totally enjoying our lil holiday. i haven't been on one since i was like 6 i think. finally reached the tower and we decided we would climb to the middle platform. and up and up we went and the view was amazing. didn't go all the way up coz you had to pay more and the view probably won't change that much. and we saw a full rainbow in its entirety! it was absolutely beautiful.

at the metro station.
crepes and a view.
bloody hell. i'm in paris.
like lil kids.
the eiffel tower up close.
midway up.

headed to to champs-elysses after that and it reminded me of oxford and bond street in london. saw the arc de triomphe and to congratulate ourselves, we indulged in an authentic french dinner in a restaurant facing the historic landmark. opened a bottle of wine as part of the revelry. food was excellent. couldn't have been better.

car showroom with fantastically mind boggling cars.
the arc de triomphe.

after dinner, we decided that we had to finally find a way home. decided to try euroline, a bus service that went from paris to a port in france, and then onto a ferry to dover in the uk, and eventually to victoria coach station in london. it was full! and we spent an hour getting to the metro station only to be told it was full! we were starting to worry so we headed to charles de gaulle international airport instead, hoping we would get a plane ride. i mean, we could pay for our ride back so we didn't mind how. most importantly was, even if there weren't any flights, the airport would be a safer place to sleep in compared to the streets of france. and true enough, there were no flights till the next morning. we ended up sleeping on the floor in the airport and it was freezing! oh my god. woke up at 5 on monday morning, got tickets on air france and we were on our way home! flight was at 9 a.m and we arrived at birmingham airport close to 11. hitched all the way back on the train and bus and finally arrived on campus at 1.

sleeping pretty uncomfortably.
on the plane.
coventry train station. you could smell home!

it was one helluva adventure. seriously. absolutely life changing.


Wednesday, 14 November 2007 by ranon

just a quick one before i hit the sack. promise i'll update more when i squeeze out the time.

jailbreak over the weekend. main aim: to get as far as we could away from the campus without spending money on transport, all in the name of charity. and this is where i got to. 
i will offer a better and much more detailed account of my journey when time allows. promise. gist of it, i learnt alot and have come to love my housemates even more. paris was amazing and i fell in love with it. photos are on facebook. if you're patient enough to sit through 5 albums of photos, you'll understand how my whole journey went.



Wednesday, 7 November 2007 by ranon

geppetto, poor as he was, was a gifted and talented woodcarver who sought to breathe his dreams and life into the wood he worked upon. he fell in love with the blue fairy, not for her extreme beauty and elegance, but for her intellect and nature. he saw how she refused to transform pinocchio into a real boy, allowing him to venture out and taste for himself the harsh nature of a world that she knew too well. yet at the end, she intervenes his hanging and saves him to show him the compassion of a world she has grown to know.

geppetto knew that his love would find no way to her heart, for her heart was enveloped in an attachment to her role as a beacon of hope and that had shut her off from the tuggings of worldly love. she was a lonesome figure to envision - radiant, silent. she belonged to another plane of existence, a world he was unaware of. an ethereal presence, he walked behind her, following and struggling to catch up. their paths would never cross again, for she lived a life away from the poverty and menial life he was all too familiar with. she walked the clouds and he walked the soil. all he knew was that he was solely connected to her by their common love for pinocchio - crafted out of his father's love and the blue fairy's wisdom.

geppetto was a craftsmen of dreams and the blue fairy was the giver of dreams. she gave him hope amidst solace and in return, he had nothing to give but his love. he was to die a lonely man, accompanied by his son, and dreams of a love he could only foresee but never accomplish. but he wasn't a lonely man, he was satisfied, for he knew acceptance would bring nothing but misery and a chase to catch up would break his old, frailing body.

yet sometimes, geppetto wished he took the leap of faith forward to pursue a love he knew, almost certainly, would have been rejected.


Tuesday, 6 November 2007 by ranon

where do i begin? 
thurday night's salsa party for the whitefields and rootes international house people at graduate club. basic salsa dancing, music and partying after that. small comfortable group. family attended and we were all very happy people. whitefields 12 is family now. it's home too for now.

sexy sexy salsa.
family love!
hardcore partying.
more family love.
family's love - chips and curry.

we left for london on friday afternoon. coz jue and i were staying at anj's place, we agreed to meet the rest of the gang at fabric later on in the night. met anj, left our stuff at her place, changed and headed for dinner at hare and tortoise, which sells very good asian food. i say asian coz they sold an assortment of asian food, from malaysian curry chicken to ramen and sashimi. that's basically what jue and i had. and the food's fantabulous and very very affordable. haha. pre-drank with a healthy dose of krispy kreme with jue while waiting the time out to meet the rest at fabric, which is supposedly london's number one club. music was very drum and bass and the rest got a lil bored i guess. i was enjoying it though. haha.

next day was dim sum lunch at chinatown. food was so damn good. i mean, it's the kinda food you'll never get in coventry, and we were just pigging ourselves out. egg tarts and har kau, oh my god. you could cry eating them i tell you. went shopping and the girls bought stuff. i was on a shoestring budget so i allowed myself to watch. haha. though a pair of skinnies were so so tempting at urban outfitters. and h&m is totally overrated. didn't like what they had to offer, and their shirt lengths were so so long. haha. had dinner at another chinese restaurant and had roast duck and char siew and all the shit you get in chinese dinners. this was orgasmic. totally totally orgasmic. had coffee on the streets of london after that and the group went our separate ways after that. walked and roamed the city with jue coz we figured it was too early to go back. it struck me so hard that i was finally in the uk, living a life i've always dreamt, and that i was actually away from home. the london night line does wonders to the mind.

sunday morning we slept in and headed to hare and tortoise for lunch. again. haha. we decided to walk to camden town station to meet the rest but we were distracted along the way, partially by burger king's strawberry cheesecake and apple crumble ice cream, and little venice we uncovered by accident. haha. so we were 40 minutes late. camden market kinda reminded me of chatuchak market in thailand. bought a shirt and ear studs and the aldo sale shop was so so tempting. it's real aldo by the way and i wanted to buy a pair of shoes for 20 quid but i had to resist the urge. pay day's coming in a week. i'll hang on to the thoughts of my shoes just for now. dinner at kiasu again and i fucking hell had OH LUAH. i was amazingly terribly elated. it wasn't as good as the ones you get in singapore but good enough considering i've been deprived of it for 6 weeks. haha. finally left london around 9.30 at night from victoria, where the girls were totally traumatised by the pigeons who were flying overhead. mind you, this was indoors. haha. and it was so foggy on the way back, i swore visibility was like 5 metres. the bus was swerving from left to right it was unnerving i tell you. 

so now i'm home. it's reading week so there are no classes for me. haha. need to do laundry. and start on my essay. top b's calling to me tonight. and there's circuit training in 3 hours. haha. throat's killing me too. damn. oh, and my hair's a real mohawk now. i shaved off the sides. totally. haha

outside hare and tortoise. someone's acting cute. again.
inside fabric.
my love. 
travelling in style. the thailand way.

the hair.
bestest shot ever. with kok aka ah ming aka xiao ming
storm troopers in london.
they're not my toes. but they look like middle fingers. haha
this is for qian.

totally cracks me up
getting married in style.
little venice in london