NUS Modules Review

I realized up till now in my life in NUS I have never bothered to do a module review… so here I shall do module review of everything! Maybe a brief one first, then detailed one in a separate post when I have the time!

I think I will go backwards…so let’s start with Year 3 Sem 1.

EN3227 Romanticism

Conducted by the famous and impression Dr Susan Ang, I personally I feel that this module is very amazing and information intensive. You learn so many aspects about Romanticism from the values that the people of this time period embodied to reading highly whimsical poems such as “I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth. Good points about the module include: Dr Ang is simply brilliant and learning from her means that you will really push yourself very hard; she analyzes all the texts very carefully for you so it hones your close reading skills; she is very organized and each of her lecture is basically an argument so you leave the lecture knowing the whole point of the lecture which is very rare, I dare say. Bad points about the module include: each lecture is really really content heavy so please don’t do what I did and cram all your literature modules into the same day (ESPECIALLY NOT POSTCOLONIAL THEORIES) you will die I swear; Dr Ang provides lecture notes (a transcript) but each transcript is about 20 pages, so make of it what you will; a huge number of poems to read, at least 20, plus 10 or so short stories and 2 main texts (for me is Frankenstein and Villette). Rumor has it that Dr Ang knows if you did not read the set text and she will definitely hang you out to dry…but the trick is not reading in the time of great constraints….the trick is to look as if  you have read it. Hint: Sparknotes.

Assessment:

Presentation (15%) – Got A-, went smoothly for us because Cherballz and I were first to present, seemed like Dr Ang didn’t like a few of the presentation after, and here is how to tell: the more she stops you during your presentation to ask you questions or to make you clarify, the lower your grades go.

Participation (15%) – According to Dr Ang, she is prepared to start from 0 so you need to speak up, but I don’t think I spoke up that much since there are always one or two people (as we all know) who dominate the discussion in every class, but I don’t feel like Dr Ang was particularly impressed by the said people’s verbal diarrhea either. It is more of quality, not quantity for her.

Midterm Test (20%) – Oh boy that was horrible, I got a 7 out of 20 and the class average was 7.2-8; a lot of people scored poorly, like 4s and 5s. Not much analysis questions, everything was based on her lectures and the factual questions like…”which mountain did Frankenstein first saw his Creature?”, or “What is the name of William Wordsworth’s sister?” Everyone including me made up our own names…

Final Test (20%) – Got a B+, I felt that it didn’t go too well for me as I was really burnt out by then and my mind was kind of blank during the test. I think there were 8 questions, and pick one to write an essay on. Comparative questions.

Term Paper (30%) – I got an A- for this, totally unexpected. I felt that it was close to one of the worse papers I have written since it required about 3500 words and I totally lost track of my argument as I wrote and I had to go over and over it. You can submit a draft two weeks before submission date; Dr Ang is not too stringent on the deadline so long as you let her know beforehand. Having a discussion with her helped me sharpen my focus greatly and you don’t need to be creative, but you need to be very clear about what you are arguing. My essay was on “The Gothic Other as a Means of Undermining Social Categories” which is boring, like I said, haha.

Overall grade: unknown, praying for A-

Conclusion: Module strongly recommended, but not for those who intends to pon every lecture and not read the texts. Death will befall you in the form of terrible grades.

EN3264: IN OTHER WOR(L)DS: POSTCOLONIAL THEORY & LITERATURE  

By Dr Tania Roy, one of the other remarkable professors in NUS literature department who has a strong fan base of her own. Dr Roy is very sweet and patient, willing to meet for consultation and acknowledges your effort (if you put any). If you are the type who is interested in gossip, I heard that there Dr Ang and Dr Roy each have their own individual fan bases: yeah I am totally thinking about Harry Potter in my head where we got like Roy’s Army and Ang’s Army. Rumor also has it that some tension exists, but I don’t really know since whatever people tell me I have the tendency to not remember quite well. I quite like both Profs, so not an issue for me.
Class Participation (20%) – Seminar Style class, don’t pon it guys. Or at least pon wisely and when you need the time the most. Try to talk more and make yourself look smaaaart.
Midterm Evaluation (20%) –  5 pages, TNR font size 12. Did pretty well for this, got A-. I thought I would get A because I had no criticism from Dr Roy in the paper, but I guess you need to be even more creative for that A.
 
Midterm Test (20%) – 5 pages, TNR font size 12. Ours was take home so nobody really keeps to the time limit and honestly Dr Roy never bothers about checking whether you wrote too much to be within the hour plus “time limit”. I did pretty well for this, it was all numerical grade so it makes absolutely no sense to me – Dr Roy flooded my paper with “excellent” and “lovely” BUT be careful, coz despite all these you may still get B+. Hurhur.
Final Essay (Term Paper) (40%) – [update] Got A- for this, whoots! I realized that you won’t really be able to start early if you face the same problem we did: firstly, too much work due; secondly, the questions are not released from the start of the year. Questions are really long and need you to engage with the postcolonial theories and concepts taught and apply it to a text. You can also formulate your own question but I find that too troublesome.
Conclusion: Module highly recommended. The texts are interesting and Fanon is awesome, just don’t take this with Romanticism so you won’t feel like killing yourself.
EN4234: PYNCHON AND THE POETICS OF INFORMATION
This module, conducted by Dr David Teh, screwed my life over this semester. It is abstract especially in the first half of the module and esoteric in the very least, defying everything I ever knew about literature seminars and modules. I have so much grievances about this module that I can write a whole entry on it. But let us be brief: problems with the module is that I don’t see the focus of each seminar, nor do I see how the concepts taught are linked to Thomas Pynchon’s texts. Dr Teh attempts to do some application that remains confusing to me till this very day, and his demonstrations often involve reading out large chunks of texts from Pynchon’s works or from Wikipedia and then going, “Do you see how…?” Took this with Cherballz and she dropped it after our botched presentation where we were stopped halfway and not given the chance to finish. Devastating, but since I appealed to FASS and they won’t let me drop it, the only thing I can do was to grit my teeth and work hard for it, so the second half of the semester saw some improvement. I must say, I am crazy proud of myself. (I will save my grievances for a future post)
Assessment:
Seminar Attendance+ Participation (10%) – Dr Teh takes attendance for every single seminar do not pon it. You will incur his wrath.
Seminar Presentation (15%) – Pick a week and do the corresponding topic. My advice is not to pick any topic before recess week because you will most likely be still confused. Topics that seem more interesting to me include Panopticism by Foucault and The Order of Things also by Foucault. Good luck trying to speed through your presentation, talking like a bullet train because boy our prof is very stringent about time limit.
Review Essay (25%) – I got 68/100 (I think), not that bad as I thought. I asked around and most people got around 65-68, a few at the 72s and I saw someone with 63 so I guess I am around a B+ to A-. Write on any of the Pynchon books and apply theory. Contextualize and historicize. Meet Dr Teh and see what he says about your essay – if you do, you will score better.
Final Essay (50%) – Lordy. I wrote half a draft and turned it in for the him to review first before editing at length. I still don’t know my grade but I sure hope it is not screwed up, you can basically fail this module if you screw up the essay. [Update: I now know my grade it is a highly unpleasant B; according to Cherballz who checked for me, a lot of people got B saved for one genius who got A. I have no idea how he does it.] I wrote on Pynchon’s Vineland even though I don’t really understand it. It is the second thinnest book: you will balk looking at Gravity’s Rainbow or Mason and Dixon.
Conclusion:Will I recommend this module? Hell no. Never.
GES1010/SSA2204: Nation-building in Singapore
I am not entirely sure why people give this module such good reviews or tell me that it is very manageable, but I assure you it is neither good, nor interesting, nor manageable. I have taken Singapore Society in 2015/2016 and it is so much more interesting than this dumb module. The lectures are dreary 1.5 long droning on and on about what is nationalism, how it came about, and we were asked ad nauseum whether Japanese Occupation gave rise to nationalism in Singapore. The tutorials are even worse: write a page long essay and go to class for discussion. Every week without fail we are split into groups, share some nonsense insight with each other before presenting in class. Terrible and dry. The readings are not interesting either BUT THEY ARE SO DAMN LONG. The shortest reading is around 10 pages. The longest one can go up to 30 pages or more. You get approximately 3-4 readings a week, and 1-2 in the first 2 weeks. Some of the readings does not really seem to answer the topic of the week nor is it very direct in providing any form of insight, you still need to wreck your brain thinking about it. Oh, lectures are a must since they don’t record it, and the skeletal notes given are close to useless without actually hearing the boring lecture. I went for a total of 2 lectures before I decided to just not care since I am overworked, exhausted and thoroughly dismayed by this module.
Assessment:
Essay 1 (10%) – Got a B+ for this despite my tremendous effort. I thought I could do well, but nope. Even went to see Prof for consultation but the consultation left me more confused than ever.
Essay 2 (20%) – Got a B+ again BUT it is worth it since I spent roughly 2 hours reading the notes and writing it. No shits given anymore to this crappy module.
Class participation (20%) – Go tutorial and talk crap, some people will dominate the discussion but if you really want to do well then make sure you talk I guess. I did bare minimum, didn’t turn up for one tutorial and had to hand in one page essay which the prof asked for but no doubt DID NOT read since he just said “ok thanks” and that was it. So thank god I wrote that in half an hour and still benefitted from the net time gained from not travelling just for the tutorial.
Final Exam (50%) – Crammed like crazy for two days, made my notes, asked around for notes and stuff, only once kind hearted soul responded to me and I gave her my notes too. I felt so relieved because I did not study “woman” and “globalization” topics and neither came out bwahahhaha. Hopefully I will pass everything with flying colours.
Conclusion: Module strongly not recommended unless you love dry and boring stuff.
 SC2212: Sociology of Deviance
Love-hate relationship with this module: the module’s content is lovely and it is super interesting to understand the idea of deviance. Professor George Radics is a charming speaker and engages everyone super well. Only problem is the copious amount of readings: each week is a chapter from the textbook which I did not buy but photocopied from the RBR that amounts to some 20-30 pages, plus extra readings around 3-4 sets. Readings are not as thick as the Nation-building one, and infinitely more interesting. Lectures tend to be just a simple overview of the textbook, also webcasted (God bless Prof Radics even though I am non-religious), but it is not enough for you to understand everything.
Assessment:
Tutorial Attendance and Participation (20%) – Go for the tutorial and speak up.

Three Response Papers: 30%, I got A-, B+ then B: I put in the most effort for the second paper and got a B so I can’t be bothered with the last one anymore.

Final Exam (50%): 2 sections, section A has 6 questions and section B has six questions. Pick 2 questions from each section! Section A was application questions, I did the ones asking us to apply theory to anything we have read from NUSWhisphers and another one on any issue causing moral panic in Singapore or SEA. For Section B, it was case studies based on the syllabus, most of which I did not read but I tried to figure it out anyway – I did the one on Singlish/ Symbolic Interactionism as well as the one on ISIS foreign fighters/anomie.

Conclusion: If you are hardworking and enthusiastic, please take this module because it will definitely pay off. I didn’t do a lot of the tutorials or the readings so I figure I will be pleased with a B+. Especially if you love Soci, then try this mod coz Prod Radics is really awesome and has this smooth american accent. Weww. Hopefully I will do well for this mod so I don’t have to SU it.
Toodles for now, next post up will be my Year 2 modules.

MOBAAAAAA

So as some of you know, I have been quite addicted to MOBAs like Dota. I would have played LoL but I haven’t downloaded it yet. Starting a new game always poses a lot of entry barrier.

Hence, I tried Mobile Legends instead.

Upside:

  • Play on the go, don’t need to be rooted in front of my laptop (Also, my new laptop cannot support games properly without overheating, since it is no longer an alienware. Sobs)
  • Play with friends yayyy
  • I am a noob and Mobile Legends has a huge share of noobs who cannot play Dota or LoL properly and falls back to playing a shadow of MOBA game called ML. So, I don’t get dissed too badly!
  • Easy last hits compared to Dota

Downside:

  • Actually the toxic level is about the same, just that on laptop people can type faster etc while on ML it’s a phone game and people can’t type as fast etc. Doesn’t mean they don’t want to – they will try at every possible chance they have.
  • Noobs here and even noober than noobs in Dota and the noobs in ML think they are REALLY GOOD which is the main problem (i.e. yours truly). This is because ML lets you climb up Warrior rank without dropping star: you gain stars if you win and lose no stars for losing. Which is a bad bad bad idea IMO.

This morning was the greatest rage I ever suffered in playing this terribly addictive game. As a noob player myself, I think it is okay if you can’t get any kills (well as long as you don’t die too many times) or basically you are noob. the worst part is being a self assuming noob. This morning’s team match up was bad from the start. We had:

Layla – Marksman, ranged, carry

Balmond – Tank, Melee

Karina – Assassin

Miya – Marksman, ranged, carry

Eudora (me) – Mage, ranged, nuke

YOU SEE WHAT’S THE PROBLEEEEM?? Two freaking marksman (none of which who are good enough to carry well by the way, Layla killed 2 and died 5-6 times I can’t remember).

None of them are willing to change to another hero – which is another nagging suspicion I have: they cannot play another hero!! When I was in my Warrior/Elite/Master phase, I owned total of like 5 heros and I can only play 3 properly. I suspect it is something like that. I mean, I would prefer to think they can’t play other heroes than to think that they are just selfishly hoarding what they want. (You can do that if you are playing match ups, but not ranked….)

Gah. Afterwards the two marksmen both DIE DIE want to go mid lane. Which usually has one person. And then weird weird Karina has to come and squeeze with me and Balmond at the bottom lane, which is the second weird thing of the year. so we have 2 heros at mid, 3 at bottom and enemies easily pushed top. Balmond and I kept binging the top and still no one goes…until we lost a tower.

THEN THREE PEOPLE WENT TOP. MID BECAME EMPTY.

Enemy took mid.

THEN ALL THREE WENT BACK TO MID.

LIKE WTFFFF errrrr???

And mind you we are not ganking or anything ok, that was like the what? First 2-4 minutes of the game and we lost a couple of towers to sheer stupidity.

Out of rage I scolded the marksman on the team, which of course I should not have done. But again I don’t know what else I could have done since I was guarding a lane on my own against 2 heroes and they were just having some kind of pilgrimage back and forth the lanes. The funniest thing about when you tell people they are doing something wrong, their first response is always, “You very good meh. You not very good why you tell me I no good.”

Which kind of makes sense I suppose. But not really. It is like, I don’t have to be completely beautiful myself to be able to judge who is beautiful? I also don’t need to be ugly to tell that someone is ugly?? Okay bad example. But you get it.

Anyhoos. Staying off the game for a while because whatever ranked game I play recently is always a loss and I dropped 8 stars since then. Haiz.

How I Maintain the “Skinny”

(This is a sarcastic, dark-humor post. Please don’t take me seriously. Stress makes people do funny things.)

So the question is: how do you keep your weight down once you have lost weight? As you know I lost weight from almost 63kg to around 52kg today.

Recently I realized that my weight doesn’t go up as much even when I eat high calorie food every meal. For example on that one day I had roasted chicken rice for lunch. Then I had Mac and Cheese, Garlic Bread, honey roasted wings adn pizza for dinner. I thought I will gain at least 1kg the next day. But nope. I stepped on the weight scale and to my pleasure it was still 52kg. It was still 52kg the day after that day – it was kind of strange.

But you see, the thing about weight loss is not about what you eat or DON’T eat in one day. It is an accumulation of those. Like how I don’t gain weight from eating one giant unhealthy meal, we are also not going to lose weight from eating one meal of salad. You get what I mean? If you want to keep it down, then keep eating less than what you spend (meaning input < output) and after a few months, your weight will drop.

Anyways.

I stopped eating regular meals recently. So busy I can’t remember to eat. I don’t feel hungry. When I feel hungry I don’t feel like eating you know? Like I see the food (it is always the same food at NUS FASS Deck, duh right?) and I don’t have an appetite. Out of maybe the 10 stalls in Deck, let me assure you that perhaps only 5 stalls are edible – the rest have serious hygiene and taste issues. Out of the 5 remaining stores, some have freaking long queues at lunch time – like Yongtaufoo and chicken rice, sometimes even Western. I don’t like queueing – I rather eat something I don’t like. So I have 2 choices left. I have been eating these 2 stalls for a VERY long time till I am tired of the food. Hence, I just stopped eating. Or I eat very early. Like laksa YTF at 9am or 10am in the morning. Then a linner at like 5pm. Or no linner. Eat a dipper (dinner+supper) at around 9pm.

Yesterday I ate a brunch at 10am of some homecooked fried rice. Then I went to school and felt stressed all day and forget to eat anything substantial. My next meal came at around 7.30pm. I was strangely not hungry till I saw food at 7.30pm. I think I saved a lot of money yesterday.

I am running on Coffee and random snacks now. So freaking unhealthy – I know, but main meals? No mood for those when you have a 2K word essay due in one and half day and you still don’t know what the heck you are writing.

At moments like this, I want to sleep, cry and shut out the world – maybe even dig a hole in the ground and hide in the hole forever – till the time passes. But the bad times won’t pass until I face it, you know? I know life is equally shitty for the rest of you or even worse – especially if you are my fellow coursemate in the same modules. Every 3 days hand in one 2.5K word essays. Coz we are essay writing machines.

Today I had presentations. 2 of them in fact. Prepared for them to varying extents but mainly my mind was  more like “don’t care”. I am so so tired. I just want to sleep. I wanted to sleep when I was talking during my presentation. My friends say I sound very confident and calm. But it is really because my brain was so sleepy I couldn’t even have the adrenaline rush to feel anxious.

Cherlyn is my BFF in lit now, together with Brian I guess. I love her, she is so amazing and she brightens each of my terrible day in school. In my worst moments, I text her and I feel better instantaneously. I had actually given up on trying to find a friend in Lit or in school until I met her in American Lit. It is like, probably the only good thing that happened out of American lit is the god-sent Cherlyn (thank you for ditching Boring Bizz and coming to Exciting Eng-lit, Cherzzz). The thing about her and Brian is that they are so real. They don’t try to praise me or something just to make me like them. They don’t even try to appear to be nice. They are just themselves – human, with flaws and incredibly sincere (so far la hor, let’s not extrapolate HAHA).

Of course got other amazing people, but I will keep them on my mind instead 🙂

Who am I if I am not…”good”?

It has been a rough week and I have been completely burnt out and exhausted.

It will continue being a rough week for the upcoming week, and honestly at this point as I am typing this, I feel all the enthusiasm and zeal seep out of me with the final straw landing on my back.

You would think I am exaggerating, and I probably am, depending on your point of view.

I got back my grades for a module assignment for which I had put in plenty of effort – research, consultation, going through it…I did it all. Somehow, when I got it back, the grade just…sucked.

For all my effort, it wasn’t even at the median.

For all my research and work, all I have gotten back was a crappy bottom of the cohort kind of grade.

For all my enthusiasm and interest in the module…I have been slapped in the face with the renewed understanding that perhaps, just perhaps, interest and passion were not enough.

I will be truthful. The lousy grade stung. When I saw it, my heart went from the rapid drumming of anticipation to a steep plummet down a deep dark abyss. The abyss that I have slowly been spiralling into for the past week, only to be pulled out repeatedly by my best friends and buddies. The abyss of self-doubt, of fear, of tremendous amount of stress.

The deep, cold tunnel of “I am so fucking done”.

I know that the typical comfort I get from feeling really moody getting back a poor grade will go something like this: grade does not define anything. Don’t let your grades define you. You are so much more than that. 10 years down the road who remembers what you got for that one assignment for that one module? Also, never never ever compare yourself with other people.

Unfortunately as far as the construction of self-identity goes, my grades have and will always continue to define a part of me as long as I am a student. It is not just about creating my self worth on an arguably arbitrary value on a assignment marked by professors who have seen a million permutations and combinations of the same work. It is about a sense of pride that is repeatedly hurt and diminished – I take a strong sense of pride in my work, in completing it early and in presenting what I have tirelessly found out in the process. I take my modules because I am either interested in it, or I have no choice but to take it.

Imagine you went into a module loving every little bit of the content and thinking that you do know it well enough to write a good paper…then bam.

It kills you a little inside.

It sounds awfully pragmatic and realistic when I confess to myself that the moment I saw the terrible terrible grade upon my gradebook, my interest in the module took a sudden and rapid turn to intense dislike and was that…rejection? Frustration? The change was swift and fast, cold and unfeeling like the grade that was mocking me from my computer screen.

I even scoffed at myself a little bit for being so interested in learning for the sake of my own interest. Why did I ever take this module that jeopardize my CAP, my grades, my chance of a first class honors?

It was also at this moment that I pushed aside my just-started research for a soon to be due essay and started questioning myself on why I felt so broken and lost.

If everyone was right and if grades don’t define me…what does?

I felt so frustrated. The frustration extended to my other module’s presentation tomorrow too. I could be doing extra. I could be more interested than most people and more enthusiastic in researching and learning. I could go the extra mile but what I am reminded is “keep within the time limit of 10 minutes” for your presentation. It frustated me that my extra efforts aren’t acknowledged.

This has been a bad week.

Next week. Next week. I fear it.

 

Must Guys PAY for your meal?

I am once again triggered by some of the implicit assumptions that some people make about couples when I was initially having a rather relaxing (almost mindless) chat with my friend today. Then I got angry. Really angry because it is implied in his message – as far as I read it – that my boyfriend pays for my meals therefore, “Poor *boyfriend*”.

Firstly, clarifications: my friend if you happen to read this, you are still my best friend and you are still awesome but I really disagree with your statements. Yep, I sent you some angry ranty messages on Telegram because I am just so incensed.

Secondly, am I a feminist? Nope, never. Am I trying to say something about gender steorotypes or something some some some about equality and something? Maybe, I need to summarize this later because like I say, I am just so annoyed.

Here comes this burning question I am sure everyone has considered somewhere in their romantic relationships:

ARE GUYS SUPPOSED TO PAY FOR YOUR MEALS?

My answer to that is, “What the hell, no.”

To begin with, that statement itself is wrong the moment it makes the assumption that your boyfriend is OBLIGED to treat you to food and pay your monthsary and anniversary dinners, but actually no they are not. True, couples do buy each other things very very often and treat each other food often, but they are never ever obliged to. In fact, they are not even obliged to celebrate every single monthsary (if both of you can reach a consensus and agree on that) with surprises.

Meals are not obligatory.

Surprises are not obligatory.

They are things that your significant other do for you because they love you and want to show you their appreciation. Therefore, it is important that when we are treated to a meal or anything else, we don’t take it for granted, like this is the standard that is expected. I know that nowadays most guys often treat their girlfriends to meals, and I think that that is really really sweet and TOTALLY OKAY as long as both of them are okay with it – i.e. there is no prior and enforced expectation that the guy HAS to pay.

You get what I mean?

I will give you an example of what I mean by my own distinction between the two:

~*~*~*~*~*~

Scenario One:

Guy: Dear today I treat you to lunch okay?

Girl: Oh what’s the occasion? But that’s very nice of you, thank you!

Guy: No occasion la, just feel like it.

Girl: Aww, that’s so cute!

~*~*~*~*~*~*

Scenario Two:

Girl: Dear what are we eating for lunch?

Guy: Uh Idk maybe *something something something*?

Girl: Orh can, you paying right? You are paying right?

Guy: Uh, can is can la…

Girl: What do you mean “can is can”, you are supposed to pay.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

You see what I mean now? Scenario one is completely fine because there is no expectation for him to pay and the guy’s offer to pay is met with gratitude and thanks – which we all know is a very very important thing in ALL RELATIONSHIPS and not just romantic relationships. You try to tell your mom that she is expected to cook you lunch and see if you are met with a spoon flying into your face, y’unno?

Scenario two is something I have yet to witness in both myself and my friends because it is not just the unfair expectation that your boyfriend has to pay, but also a lack of gratitude since you are taken it as a given. An expectation like how sun is supposed to come up in Singapore at around 6.45am and if it doesn’t, something is wrong. That is inherently problematic on so many levels because….

  • Isn’t this supposed to be a (relatively) equal relationship? (I say “relative” because there is realistically never an absolutely equal relationship)
  • Suggests that you are taking someone’s good intentions (doesn’t even matter who) actually, for granted?
    • If you don’t expect your parents to treat you to meals every now and then, how come this is expected of your boyfriend?

If my arguments are confusing to anyone who has lived their lives thinking that guys should pay…watch this video of a handsome guy breaking it down for you!

(sidenote: that guy is just melty isn’t he?)

Basically, what Matthew Hussey is saying that if you think that a guy should pay for your meals because hey you are the one making time for him, something is very wrong because that guy is ALSO spending his time with you. It is mutual and it shouldn’t be something like he needs to “pay for your time”.

So…what makes me so upset?

I am upset with the implicit assumption made by my friend that my meals are being paid for because each time we have a fairly pricey meal and I tell the said friend to try the good food sometime, he always ends off with the same comment…”Poor *boyfriend*”.

Today is the day that comment triggered a level of unprecedented ire in me. Because for those of you who know me, I don’t freeload. Like, I don’t go out expecting people to pay for my meals, boyfriend, friend or family. I always offer to split the tab in the way most agreeable to the other party because that’s is just something inculcated in me as I am being brought up. Have I been given treats? Definitely. But where possible, I remember to reciprocate and thank the person – either through treating them back or through other means – when the time is right.

I mean that whole paragraph is for people who don’t actually know me, so if you do, you would be like yep, sounds about right.

I feel so incensed because I feel that there is this implicit assumption in my friend and my conversation that:

  1. I live a high maintainence lifestyle (where food is concerned) and I am forcing my partner into it. Probably against his will too.
  2. He pays for our meals. Hence, poor thing him and ohhhh you evil YY(so I feel is implied).

Despite me clarifying time and time again that no my partner does not pay for my meals most of the time (to which I got the reply “WHY ARE GUYS EXPECTED TO PAY” which is ANNOYING because I don’t expect you to pay!!! WHO SAYS YOU HAVE TO PAY?!?!?) I am still made to feel like a expensive freeloader. Not only am I freeloading, I choose expensive stuff to freeload. Afterwhich when I highlighted that I don’t freeload, I am returned with the argument of “it is not about who is paying, it is about your lifestyle”.

Now that is just more confusing. Why is my lifestyle of any kind of affect if I am usually not the one choosing the dining locations? It is not as if I drag my partner into a random place and force him to dine there. I usually don’t choose since I like most food (except for a select few + hawker centers in afternoons BECAUSE SINGAPORE HOT HOT YOU KNOW?? I eat hawker centers A LOT in the evenings and nighttimes or even mornings. That means it is an environmental thing, not a food choice thing).

Anyways. Shan’t go on and on about this anymore since I have essay plans and projects and shit to do. Sighs. Guys, don’t assume you HAVE to pay. Girls, don’t assume you HAVE to be paid for. Then the world is a haaaaapppy grateful place. :3

 

Don’t Dare to Sleep

Okay before you think this is going to be some creepy ghost story thing, let me clarify – it is not.

It is about my sometimes occuring insomnia. I don’t know why I even have insomnia given how unimaginably tired I am after a long long day, but yes, sometimes I am totally drained and exhausted BUT MY MIND WON’T LET ME SLEEP.

It is nastily annoying, let me assure you.

This is why I am still awake at 12.21am and not sleeping because I am worried that when I go to bed, I will be awake till the WEE HOURS OF MORNING and not sleep a single wink. Which sucks totally, because it means…

  • I could have watched Kitchen Nightmares in that period of time
  • I hate lying around and not falling asleep it makes me feel like I am even a failure in something you cannot possibly fail at. What the.
  • My heart gets all angsty and I can feel it beat way too hard and too loudly for my own comfort.
  • I keep checking the time and feel more and more frustrated with every moment I cannot sleep
  • I think about having to wake up early the next day and panic about not sleeping now – surely I will die in my lecture the next day

Overall, I intensely dislike insomnias. I mean, seriously, who likes them?

The weird thing is this: I don’t get insomnias often. Like maybe once or twice a month at max or sometimes none at all for liek a whole half year.

BUT. When I get them they all come at once.

Meaning, if I have insomnia one night, I will probably have it either next day or sometime in the week. Partly fuelled by this intense fear of having insomnia. Or by the fact that because I didn’t sleep well one day, so I took a nap the second day and that made me TOO ENERGETIC at night.

LIKE TODAY.

I was horrendously tired though I did not have insomnia yesterday – I had it on Saturday night. I was giddy with exhaustion and by 6.30pm after dinner. I fell asleep and woke up at 8pm.

Means according to my now screwed up body clock, my body believed 12.27am now to be something akin to 12.27pm in the afternoon.

I don’t dare to go to bed. I don’t want to lie there for hours listening to my brain go mumble jumble and then have a cranial rock concert all by itself. No thanks. I am in control, Brain. You can’t just keep me up all night as you wish.

But I can, muahahah, smirks my Brain.

Argh. Now I am having imaginary conversations with my brain. My brain is like the type which refuses to focus when it needs to and refuses to rest when rest is due. Damn it. Then when you most need it to focus like during an exam, it gets really sluggish and sleepy.

Please don’t recommend sleeping pills. Sleeping pills don’t work for me in the one time I tried them. I had some stress issues in 2015, my mom gave me 2 pills to help me to sleep properly and I woke up at 8am the next day bright and fresh like I had never eaten pills at all. Again, my system may be malfunctioning so I can’t be that sure.

I am just typing away so I don’t have to go to bed…maybe I will go watch some shows instead.

Tootoos, update another time.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

It has been quite a while since I have the time to properly settle down and read a book with all my attention. Usually I am so busy that even with my assigned literature texts, I am reduced to googling for their plot summary and themes. This time, thanks to recess week, I can finally indulge in my old hobby by reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner for my South Asian Literature Module.

My verdict?

It is beautiful, and so so very poignant.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I have only read up to the fourth chapter so far and Hossini has already brought me through a roller-coaster of emotions – disgust, rage, displeasure, sadness, sympathy… The character of Amir is both worth sympathizing with yet at the same time contains a “mean streak” that makes me resent him.

I love how Hosseini has crafted Amir to be this beautifully dilemmatic character whom I cannot decide whether I want to hug him or slap him – his desire for paternal love and affirmation is so relatable that I feel anguished that Baba constantly deny him of the affection he tries so hard to earn. I see Amir’s possessiveness of Baba mirrored in myself as a child, where I resented my parents showing other children any form of attention or affection. I feel my heart break a little for him when he hears Baba speaks of him disapprovingly – he is trying so hard to change himself to be what Baba wants him to be, but alas, it is not in his nature. Baba – unable to appreciate the nature of Amir – pushes him away time and again, shutting him out both physically and emotionally. The pain is so clear in Hosseini’s words. Hosseini’s language has powerfully evoked all sorts of emotions in me through his short but impactful description of Amir’s stream of consciousness – his hurt and rejection, his insecurities and cowardice.

My heart hurts whenever Hassan is brought up in the story. He is a chararacter whom you cannot help but feel so sorry for because of his social circumstances and also because of the treatment he receives from Amir whom he considers to be a close friend. I feel peeved even when Amir plays “harmless pranks” on him as I see a potential for the harmless pranks to grow into something larger. Just as Hassan’s daunt in facing the bullies evoke a sense of admiration in the readers, Amir’s silence and cowardice is a cause of both disdain and irritation – yet at the same time, you can’t help but empathize with him to a certain extent.

I can’t stop analyzing Hosseini’s brilliant use of language, pauses, sentence length, intertextual references and foreshadowing that send chills down my spine. My text is full of sticky notes and highlights now and I really loved every sentence I have read this far. Never did I think that I will enjoy reading a book so much, so undistractedly again!

It is a tragic piece – so poignant that the story will stay with you long time after you read each chapter.

Manhattan Fish Market 1-for-1

A week ago Manhattan Fish Market was having one-for-one deals and I was pretty excited as I find them a bit pricey usually. One for one is like the best time to try out some place new!

We were caught in a dilemma between 2 choices…namely:

Dory n Chips with Chicken Wings

Dory n Chips with Country Mushrooms

The posters presented a crazy tantalizing shot of the food and we decided we had to try it! We went to the Star Vista branch on 10th February around 4.30pm or so? It wasn’t dinner time then so the restaurant was sparsely populated and we could sit freely. After ordering our meal and waiting for less than 10 minutes, our food arrived! The sight of it made us so excited!

Manhattan Fish Market Dory n Chips

It looks good, albeit quite different from the one you see in poster, which is to be expected since in posters they don’t actually drizzle tartar sauce – it will make the fish soggy. They usually drizzle white glue instead because the visual appeal is stronger.

However I didn’t like the food as much as I thought I would – the fish was not as hot as I wanted it to be and my fries was bordering on cold. What made the fries warm seemed to be the dory on top of it, and the process of heat transfer from the fish to the fries meant that my dory wasn’t as hot as I would like it either. The golden mushrooms that we were looking forward to wasn’t seasoned well – just bland little mushrooms coated in batter and deep fried – no distinct flavour. The side salad was dry but I have not much complaints about it since I don’t plan to eat it anyway, so that’s okay, but when I checked with Ken, his fries were warmer than mine, though still nowhere near the hot and fresh condition that one usually expects.

Although the staff service is generally decent and the ambience is pretty good too, I don’t think I will eat Manhattan Fish Market again for 2 reasons. Firstly, it is possible that the quality of the food is not consistent across outlets or even within outlet between different batch – despite being served at the same time, one serving had cold fries while the other warm fries. I would personally rather not risk getting cold fries again – why waste your calorie count on substandard fries right? Also, for $13.95, I would rather eat the Fish and Chips in NUS Royals Bistro which costs only $11.90 and tasted about 3 times better…also without the trouble of travel?

I am not sure how your experience with Manhattan Fish Market is like but this is either my first or second time trying and as far as I am concerned…I am not going back in a jiffy. ^^”

 

Royals Bistro – NUS

Delicious, convenient and relatively affordable?

I am sure all of us ever had this experience: extremely busy at school BUT at the same time CRAVING for classy cafe-standard food? I have this feeling only too often – the more stressed and busy I am, the more inclined I am to have a good lunch or dinner! Consider it a form of compensation for myself for working so hard – I really need the extra food to make my day!

So if you are stuck at school feeling obliged to mug all day but really want some better food that is not your usual food court food, you have to give Royals Bistro a try!

We decided to have dinner at Royals Bistro for Valentine’s Day this year because, MIDTERMS be screwing up happiness since week 5.

Royals Bistro – Fish and Chips $11.90

One of the mains we ordered was fish and chips! The portion is pretty generous compared to external cafe standards – for the same amount of money you may get half to 2/3 the portion you get here! Bistro’s fish is deep fried to a crispy perfection and arranged tantalizingly atop a bed of golden fries that are equally hot and crispy! If you intend to go for Manhattan Fish Market’s one-for-one dory fish promotion: I will suggest you come here for this instead. The quality between the two restaurants cannot be compared. Basically the fries I got at Fish Market was lukewarm and “nua” (i.e. not crispy but kinda stalish tough) whilst the fries here are so much fresher! I also love their inclusion of a side salad drizzled with this tangy dressing (possibly balsamic but I don’t eat salad much so I don’t know).

Above is a top view of the fish and chips so you can appreciate the beauty of a seemingly balanced diet…and a false sense of healthiness created by the greens. But honestly, don’t care because the food is delish!

Royals Bistro – Fried Chicken Wings $8

If you are there and you are ready to indulge in food, why not give their fried chicken wings a try? They are deep fried to a beautiful dark brown perfection and smell so wonderful that I almost drooled at the sight of them! For $8, you get 6 pieces (which are really 3 pieces cut in half). The skin is very crispy and well seasoned while the meat remains tender and succulent,  with an occasional squirt of aromatic juice. The hot sauce provided is sour-spicy and goes very well with the chicken especially if you are the type to get bored eating chicken without sauce. Nonetheless, I like my chicken without sauce because I like to taste the unadulterated (?) taste of the chicken as I chew them contentedly.

Love is simple and love is fried chicKen.

Grilled Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce on Mash Potatoes

Ohhhhh just look at that beautiful grilled skin on the chicken! I always have to fight the urge to tear off the entire piece of chicken skin to shove it in my mouth. I LOVE CHICKEN SKIN and I love it more when it is grilled nice and crispy but without the burnt taste. Though I won’t mind them grilling the skin a bit longer just to make it more crispy, I am still very happy with my chicken. The black pepper sauce drizzled on it is of a thick consistency and packs a pretty strong peppery punch which is pretty delightful, especially with the mashed potato. What I appreciate most about the mash is that you can tell that it is not instant mash – it tasted fresh with a good consistency and a hint of buttery milky flavour. Eat it plain or with the black pepper sauce – there is enough mash for 2 people when I was eating my meal.

Neither of us ordered any drinks as the 3 items amounted to roughly $32 and we thought we would be slightly more frugal with the drinks HAHA. Maybe we will try the drinks soon and do another post…but till then, check out their menu below (I think they have updated the menu since this one though).

Royals Bistro Menu

You can follow Royals Bistro’s Facebook page here to keep yourself updated with their latest specials and promotions! They are located at NUS Utown, next to Subway! You can access Utown using NUS internal shuttle buses (D1/D2) I think or external buses like 96 and 196 that stops behind Utown… If you are ever confused, google it! 🙂

*Disclaimer: I paid for this meal in full and I am in no way sponsored or affliated with Royals Bistro. As usual, all opinions are my own, sponsored posts or not.