My Last Few Days Here

I’ve decided, even should I have to redo another semester at NUS, not to stay in hall any longer. It’s time to move on, and anyway I should be getting a place to stay outside anyway.

Some place with air-conditioning.

I don’t think I’ll miss staying on campus much. It wasn’t really much of a home. I stuck in my room and kept interaction with neighbours to a minimum, so it’s not surprising there’s no emotional attachment. My neighbours look like losers, so I have no wish to get to know them better. Actually once I get to know them better they’ll probbaly lose loser status, and I need to bitch about them sometimes so I’d like it if they stay that way. I’m closer to my mates from my various societies, so it was real fun when I used to stay at Prince George’s Park and we’d meet up almost every night to do stuff. These days I stay at Old Kent Ridge, where no one else stays (other than Wei Chuen) and is a long bus ride away from the old group.

The constant having to move-in-and-out means my decor is alawys changing, which just makes me feel like I’m living in a shoe-box meant for mice with short life spans. I used to have one wall covered with all my posters last semester, which I thought looked rather nice and cool (and fed my ego, since they were all posters I’D done), and I’d hoped to be able to keep it when I moved out but the by-the-book administration wouldn’t even hear of me leaving the broom in the corner. The clerk who came with me to check out of my room took a look at my beautiful wall, shook her head and proclaimed it illegal. I tore it down with her help, and when she asked if I still wanted to keep them I told her no. It was a heartbreaking thing to have to do, but to carry them all would have been armbreaking (I was weighted down with the laundry basket). This semester the wall is bare.

I have never used the communal kitchen, mainly because I am a lazy bum, but also a little because it’s always crowded with the Vietnamese. It’s always the Vietnamese. I’ve seen the Indians sitting in the kitchen drinking beer and cracking peanuts before, but only the once. I’ve seen my Malaysian neighbour sitting there entertaining some female once, and staking out the fridge (story below) once. Other than that… it’s always the Vietnamese using the kitchen. They have almost every meal there, as far as I can tell. Lunch/Dinner is always rice in that transparent bowl, with assorted quick-to-cook foods in the assorted pots and pans, which I usually witness in a state of unwashed dirtiness in the sinks. It stinks to have to use a sink dirtied by someone else. Evidently they have enough utensils among them to last an entire day without doing washing, which means I try to avoid the kitchen in the afternoons.

(Sorry Gina, I’m sure not all vietnamese are like that. But I lack a suitable label for the ones in my block.)

The kitchen has another problem – a communal refridgerator. I have the habit of buying twin packs of milk, of which I usually finish one carton within the day, the other requiring storage in the fridge. IT ALWAYS gets stolen. I have had my milk stolen at least ten times this semester alone (I have an amazing faith in the goodness of my fellow man). And I am not the only victim, it turns out – for a week there appeared a note stuck on the fridge – “The one who stole my milk will go to hell! Fucking milk-stealer!” Which resulted in me losing all faith in the goodness of my fellow man (sharing some milk can’t be that bad) and my Malaysian neighbour staking out the kitchen to find out who it was who was stealing milk. He asked me if it was me, to which I replied that I was lactose intolerant and only drank soy bean. I didn’t really want to tell him the truth – he might have tried to rope me into staking out the kitchen with him to avenge his carotns. Nick once suggested I add some laxatives into a pack and stake out the toilet to find out who does it, which I thought was clever, but unfortunately I never got around to doing it.

Communal toilets aren’t that hot neither. I am blessed this semester with hostel-mates who are at least clean in their hygienic attentions. But occasionally we still get the bad-aim-shitter or the shampoo-all-over-floor incidents that result in the mass exodus of users to the toilets across the road. Plus, being the oldest hall in campus, our toilets are in a sorry shape – flushing the toilets is a bicep exercise and footwear in the baths is absolutely necessary to avoid foot-injuries. The water heaters’ knobs have all fallen off, and are always set on “high”, meaning when you turn the tap on the resulting first blast of water will scald you. Depending on where the tap is aimed it can be a painful experience indeed – some parts of the body are not suitable for the common treatments of ointment and plaster.

My room is on the side of the block facing the road, meaning I get stereo-surround-sound-type acoustic effects every time the bus goes past. It used to wake me up early in the morning when I just moved in, but luckily I adapted and now I sleep so heavily nothing short of painful torture can wake me up before eight in the morning. Also, Singapore being a green garden city, it’s roads are paved with flora of all kinds, which are in turn infested with a most respectful variety of bugs. These bugs tend to crawl into my room, and it is most unfortunate that I am not a student of biodiversity, because otherwise I might have collected a mighty collection of preserved insects. As it is it just means I use a lot of tissue paper and my dusbin is always a graveyard of tiny lives (I’m not Buddhist, no qualms about killing bugs – support the culture of death!). I wake up every morning with new bites from god-only-knows what horrid things, which I’m sure contribute to my myriad allergies.

No, I don’t think I’m gonna miss living here. Really.

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