9 July 2017

I wasted my entire Saturday away and it felt great!

The whole thing began on Friday (7 July). I’d just finished a night shift in camp and decided to go home. For some strange reason, I’d been looking forward to cleaning the house, even despite the appeal of a solid few hours of sleep in camp. I took the public bus home and bought myself a breakfast wrap on the way. My parents were on the way my grandparents’ place in Marine Parade to help with some errands.

That morning was satisfyingly productive. I listened to music and played RuneScape for a bit while having my breakfast, then made a phone call about my exam dates before starting to clean. How responsible and adult-like! If only I could be like that all the time.

Naturally I was exhausted by the time I started my second night shift on Friday itself, but I took the first sleep shift starting at 7pm, dozing off while trying to give my Dad a call to tell him goodnight. I’d managed to call Mom before I knocked out, though, so she told him on my behalf.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I was still feeling very fatigued despite having five hours of sleep – luxurious by my standards. I could also feel a flu building up – you know that vague and diffused discomfort in your nasal and chest area? And the wincing pain in your throat that signals an impending sore throat? Yes, that. I think my enduring sleepiness has to do with not drinking coffee when I’ve been so dependent on it. I’m not the most avid drinker of coffee, but I’ve still be trying to cut down on it. Hopefully as I wean myself off the caffeine, I’ll be able to stay awake and productive without it.

Dad picked me up from camp after my shift and we got breakfast from Pasir Ris. It was so nostalgic to go back to my childhood neighbourhood, where I lived until five years ago. I can’t believe it’s been that long. I had this sort of breathless disbelief about what has changed and what has remained the same after all this while, and kept on calculating periods of time as percentages of my life. For instance, I’ve lived 25% of my life out of Pasir Ris, and 20% of my lifetime has come after my trip to the United States for the Microsoft competition in 2013.

At home, I was knocked out almost immediately at 10 and got up at three in the afternoon. Mom and Dad were going to my cousin Jeriel’s birthday party. I was feeling way too ill to go along, so I stayed home, lying in bed and indulging in YouTube. By seven, though, I was trying to get some work done on my languages, but there was a Windows update first that took two hours.

Lately I’ve been focusing heavily on Chinese because my speaking exam is on the 17th. I think I’ll be fine, because even if I don’t have 100% of the vocabulary I might need, speaking comes to me a little more naturally since I’ve grown up surrounded by the language, attending classes through all of my education and hearing it spoken. My sentences may not always be perfect, but I get chunks and phrases that come flowing very naturally, and that makes a difference, I think. As for German, I’m preparing myself by charting out the different ways a conversation might flow. The speaking exam for ‘O’ Level German has a specific list of topics, which helps a lot. It was the same for French last year.

This time, the French oral exam includes a presentation component. I’ll have to prepare and rehearse a spoken piece about a selected topic. Because I’ve read a few French articles on the topic, and have been getting more and more invested in the support of LGBTQIA+ rights, I’ve decided to give a presentation on the legalisation of gay marriage in France, known as “le mariage pour tous” or marriage for all. That brings me back to last Saturday, when I attended PinkDot. It’s too big a deal for me not to write about, so I’ll nestle that here.

PinkDot – 1 Jul 2017

It’s a huge picnic-cum-rally held in Hong Lim Park every year in support of LGBTQIA+ rights in Singapore, which is still pretty conservative on the topic, although gradual change is happening. The attendees wear pink and make a huge pink dot in the park, which I read is supposed to be the result of hypothetically mixing the red and white on the Singapore flag.

I’ve always wanted to attend because I’ve always been a supporter of the cause, and think that discrimination of any sort is a travesty. Last year I finally felt like I had the autonomy to decide to go, but I was on weekend duty in camp. So this year was my first time attending. It was also my first time wearing pink, so my wardrobe is now a curtain of black with a pink strip in the middle.

KY went along with me. I’m so thankful to her because I was having pretty bad social anxiety the night before. I might not have gone if I was going to go alone. We got snacks from Compass One (including rainbow goldfish, because RAINBOW).

The lines for the security checks were ridiculous, but moved fast enough. We could also hear the various speakers on stage while we were queuing. They kept making jokes laced with dissatisfaction about the presence of the barricades and security checks, which were in part to ensure that foreigners wouldn’t take part. There was a huge polemic in the first half of the year because conservative bigots in Singapore think that PinkDot and the LGBTQIA+ Rights movement in Singapore is some nefarious agenda on the part of foreign companies and the Decadent Liberal West. In response to this, the host kept harping, without any bashfulness, about the fact that there were 120 Singaporean sponsor companies and that the maximum capacity was reached while hundreds of people were still outside the barricades.

The music was awesome and by seven in the evening, everyone was on their feet and the event slowly morphed into a concert-esque celebration leading up to the Light Up. That meant everyone was going to turn on their pink torches to create a huge, glowing, pink dot for drones and a photographer in a nearby hotel to photograph. There’s a “special surprise” every year, and this time, it was that volunteers with white umbrellas and coloured torches were dispersed in the crowd, positioned so that they would form a huge rainbow cutting through the pink dot by shining their torches on their umbrellas.

PinkDot 2017

It was crayballs. I really can’t wait to go again next year!

Other Mundane Bollocks

Is that actually a vulgar word? I know it’s crude but I’m not sure if it’s vulgar per se. I’ll use it to sound EDGY.

My life right now basically revolves around Chinese, French, German, music, poetry, and flat design. I’ve been writing lots in those three languages to practice, especially French since I’m taking the ‘A’ Level paper for that, and there’s no guaranteed success. You actually have to think. The same applies to Chinese. My German paper is an ‘O’ Level one, which is no walk in the park either, since German in itself is no piece of cake, but they don’t really expect wonders from you. They just want you to have the rudiments of the language and some scope in terms of vocabulary.

Music-wise, I’ve still been fixed on chillstep. ‘Petals’ is one of my favourite mixes on YouTube. “Written Imagination” is a great song by Sam Pearson. K also introduced me to a Bollywood Mashup sung my Shirley Setia, who collaborated with Kurt Hugo Schneider. K and I both agree that Shirley has a gorgeous voice and Kurt is a legend with the copious number of instruments he plays. The mashup is in Hindi, and the song made me really, really want to get back to it. I did it for a while in February and, maybe, early March, but I had to put it on hold to focus on my exam languages.

I’ve decided to use flat design to try making an animated educational video on languages, like Kurzgesagt or NativLang (although I’ll never be able to achieve their beautiful animation styles!) I dream of having a channel with a series about languages and linguistics, but it admittedly takes a lot of time creating all the animations and doing so much research. It might be a one-off project, or something I do only very occasionally. The main point is my own exploration of the subject and practice of flat design. I’m currently obsessed.

Some of the flat design images I’ve made, which
I’ve been showing off everywhere!

It’s now 3.20am and I should probably get some sleep. I’m planning to go to the library again tomorrow, and, depending on whether my conscript pay has come in yet, I might visit Kinokuniya, the Land of Sin and Temptation.

Auf Wiedersehen!

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