Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Roommate found.

No, ph, will not be crawling back to Hall 7 again lah. Because there will be no more need for late nights etc. I hope. Anyway, I never did enjoy my stay in Hall 7 quite the same way.

And the search for a roommate has ended! Now just have to gather my strength for the next confrontation with SAO because our points combined isn't enough to rent a bloody bed in a room.

On an interesting note, I just realised that the email address for the NTU's Helpdesk is spelled wrongly on its webpage. Just send them a rather testy email after finally getting the right address.

To their credit however, they did reset my pin in a mere matter of seconds after I sent in my request.

Just waiting for the month to end so this endless drudgery of logging a grand total of 37 tapes can finally end.


Its been interesting though, and of course tiring, watching interviews with all these famous photographers name dropping Bresson and Magnum because you realise that they're all so old, and it took them a long time to get where they were. But it's reassuring the part of me that screams KIASU... I still have time to get somewhere *phew*


And Darren's visiting in April *internal cheer* so that'll be something to look forward to.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Full Moon in Kushti, Kulna

Finally travelled outside of Dhaka to Kushtia, Kulna, a neighbouring district for an annual traditional religious festival held in the honour of Lalon, famous guru.

Set off at 730 in the morning, and 200 Tks and a couple of hours later I found myself in a bit of a shock staring at endless green fields that stretched as far as the eye could see on either sides of the road.

It was quite a stark contrast to the grey and grimy Dhaka, and if I had known that an hour's worth (3 hours on bicycle, I reckon) would get me all this I would've up and left a long time ago.

But yes, so it was rural paradise. Not quite what we see along the North South highway travelling up to Malaysia, because here it's all flat. FLAT FLAT FLAT. Not a single speck above the horizon line.

And lots of wandering cows, goats, ducks and.. you can form the mental image.

The town seemed like it would be a pleasant, quiet place if not for the festival.. conjurs up the same sense of simple country life the way Elliot describes it so well. You know, the cliche.. a simple folk working hard at the only kind of life that they know. It's much more pleasant than other rural places i've seen in Malaysia. Not too sure why, but it's less claustrophobic, cleaner, more wandering animals (baby goats.. that really gets me).

And one thing i've realised so far is that I always, always end up with the children. I'm not too sure why. The adults are just as interested in foreigners, but the children wants to be my friend.

Every new place I visit, the children are always the ones to guide me around. In Buriganga it's Aasia and Razu. In Old Dhaka it was Paulash and his friend who name I've forgotten. And in Kushtia it was Shauan and Aki.

Aki is beautiful. Not gorgeous, or pretty, but absolutely beautiful. Will post a photo. she's 14. Her smile... just makes me melt.

And I love the children because once they've gotten over the excitment of having someone foreign, they're still friendly. I think it's because they can sense that I need help. But it was very funny during the festival, when I was trying to make my to the stage pushing my way through the crowd of people which makes Little India on a Sunday look like.. erm.. nothing. Yes, anyway, it was funny when I realised that I had one hand with Aki and the other with Shauan and they were in front of me trying to push the crowd away to make way for me and I was trying to keep them behind me to just shield them from all these men who were pushing them.. and it was this protective tug of war between the three of us.

But yes, the kids are the best. The adults... they always ask too many questions. The kids, when you tell them you can't speak Bangla, just giggle and pass the message aruond so that no one asks me anymore questions. The girls always try to hold my hand when we walk, the boys always want to hold my camera.

And you know the cliche about having a renewed faith in the human spirit.. i met women who were so capable that I feel completely inferior. That's the thing about some of the women here. Like Sufia, intelligence just radiates from them, and they seem to be able to handle almost everything.

When I was travelling on the back of a rickshaw van (just a bicycle pulling a cart) I saw a woman go past in another rickshaw with tears streaming down her face. It was so strange to see that, and I realised I've never seen any form of weakness in the women here so far.


-----------------------------------------

Which brings me to a big gripe. Terrible hostel mates. I'm not too sure if they read this, but if they do:

Why is it so difficult for you guys to clean up after yourself?

I don't know if they're used to having others do it for them, but it's no excuse, because I am too. And it's no excuse to leave unwashed pans and dishes, food scattered all over the table, coffee stains on the linoleum. And dammit, even the three plates they washed are still filthy.

Three people, I don't know who's the guilty culprit, but I'd like to bet it's all three. One's a mother. No excuse. One is 28 and she's been staying here since last September, no excuse. The third... well... no surprises.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

SWF seeking.

Since only my friends read this...

Single Chinese Female seeking similar damsel to share room in Hall 9, atop hill. Fantastic view, private roof terrace, close to nature.

Seriously, I don't wanna spend my final year rooming with a stranger. Anybody?

And yes, Hall 9 because i've been around and it's still the best. SERIOUSLY.

Monday, March 21, 2005

News Flash

The BBC weather guy Matt Taylor is a horribly cute kid. It must be the Scottish accent. The same Timothy-Goh boy-boy cheekiness. AWwwwwwwwwwww. There's even his biography on BBC.

That's odd. CNA should do the same man... wonder how detailed theirs would be.

"And after obtaining his degree from NUS, the same time he discovered his homosexual inclinations, Timothy took up a job at..."



Watching HARDtalk with vice-president in Congo.

Wasn't this the same programme that had PM Goh in knots over the capital punishment issue?

Hmmm. Anyhow, news is repeating itself because:

One year ago I wrote in Cenite's class essay that to see whether the world has progressed from Kosovo and Sebrenica would be to watch what happens with Congo. Apparently, we've not progressed.

Facts: One million died so far, thousands dying everyday.

BBC lady (damn I should know her name) currently grilling the vice-president on the acts of his militia army. She's good.

"How long were they sentenced for?"
"I don't know i'm not the judge."
"It's a military court, you're the military chief. You're the commander-in-chief."


He's not too bad himself.

"There's a helicopter in your house, don't you admit that it's because (of the unstable situation) so you can make a quick getaway?"

"What about the helicopter in President Bush's White House? Is he also trying to make a quick getaway?"


And there were other not so new news about China and Taiwan and the UN wanting all countries to hold hands and sing songs.




And digging up something on capital punishment, 2002 article by Reuters:



"The government revealed recently, only in reply to a question in parliament, that 340 people were hanged between 1991 and 2000. In a response to a Reuters query, it also said 22 people were executed for drug trafficking in 2001 and 17 in the year before. Singapore has one of the highest execution rates in the world relative to its population, Amnesty's Parritt said. The highest outright number of executions were carried out by China, the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Amnesty said."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ooh! Colours!

The cat came in and threw up all over my blog. =)

And not only that, in what seemed to be a curse I placed upon myself after reading how my ex-JC-GP-teacher gets no work done with internet access, I spent the whole day reading about Tags and Site Feeds and heeyyyyy HTML is addictive.

I'm now staying in hostel to work instead of coming to office. The Big Boss approves, but not for the reasons stated above.

Still No Coffee.

Alvin alvin. Everyday I wonder to myself why there aren't hoards of girls queued up waiting to get a glimspe of your delicious wit.

Been arriving at work later everyday, ( i can hear the gasps of feigned surprise ) DAMMIT people not my fault if sleep is only one of my two indulgences right now!

But I don't really care anyway, because I'm doing my work at night in room and i'm ahead of schedule (two tapes a day or maybe three so goes the mantra).

And anyway, if I really did want to get up, I would. Like in the mornings when i'm doing my exercise (surprise surprise) i do get up. In other words, it's my own choice to be late.

I'm getting somewhere with all this. Because i'm quite tired ot hearing various people say, "I want to, but I can't". I've said that so many times myself, but the more I say it, the more bullshit it sounds. Cheap excuse. It's a problem then, since it's one of my favourites and i still half believe in it. Shall have to sleep on this one.

Shahidul, the super-man-extraordinaire, once said to me "You'll be amazed at what the human body and mind can accomplish". He said that after I was quizzing him on how he manages to stay operational despite not smoking/eating lunch/drinking tea and coffee/working till late/still remain smiley happy.

"I think we human beings eat way too much anyway."


I don't quite think i'll be going down that road.. Give up food??? My singaporean fat cells yell in horror.



Interesting scene at the rooftop of Cafe Mango yesterday. After a fair bit of internal debate whether it was going to piss anyone off by "showing off" my iBook I plugged myself into iTunes, turn up volumn, put Damien Rice on repeat mode, opened up the damn excel document, spread out my papers, the guy sent me my latte (alvin hurhurhur) and then I saw a man doing push ups next to me.

First I was like WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?

Trying to not act as shocked as I was, I turned and saw this group of 23-25 years olds next to me. The rooftop of Cafe Mango isn't that big, everyone's in close proximity, just didn't hear anything till I saw something. And so I muted the volumn (handy little button my lovely Mac) and had a flash from my past.

they were playing Truth or Dare.

Very loudly. So the guy finished his pushups. And then they started asking all the questions and doing these dumb dares (drinking hard liquor someone had brought mixed with sugar (the girl said, oh oh when its my turn dare me to do that!) and running around the table). The thing that stood out most was that they spoke more English than Bangla, which was unusual. And also, they all had bangla/american accents.

It was bizarre. I felt like i was watching kids in high school.

"Ok ok dude, you gotta play this one. What is the WEirDest thing you EVER masturbated with?"

"WHAT?"

"Come on dude! don't be chicken!"

And they asked the girl, "Ok who do you think of when you massage your boobs?"

"I don't do that! I swear to God i don't!"

Hm. They were yelling so loud, I felt like I was obliged to take our my earphones and explicitly listen.

Anyway, I left before they got to the "good" stuff.


Cannot reconcile their ages and behaviour.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Caf-fiend.

I finally realised today what's the one thing this country doesn't have.

Ok, correct that, one thing this country doesn't have that I want. So that rules ouf McDonalds and BK and whole lotta other stuff.

THIS PLACE NEEDS COFFEE TO-GO.

And while i'm at it, this place also needs AN INCREASED AMOUNT OF DECENT COFFEE AVAILABLE.

I tell you right, trying to find coffee here is very easy. Cos there's only ONE place that has it. And it doesn't allow me to tapau.

So right now i'm missing the times in school when I tapau coffee club express coffee (ala Mr Cenite heehee) and just happy happy sit in aircon room and do work. =(

Can't even tapau tea lor.




So this is the rooftop of the only damn place in Dhaka which seems to sell decent coffee, taken by me a while back when Lars was still here. Cafe Mango.. and its spinoff "Escape from Shanghai" which I haven't visited yet probably has coffee too.. just feel some kind of mounting pressure when I consider going there... will they expect me to love the place????




I love trees. I do, and the huge ones next to Dhanmondi Lake's beautiful in sunset.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Mid Term Wrap Up.

I know it's not exactly halfway through the internship yet.. or maybe it is... whatever the case, the kiddos in Singapore are having a holiday and it DOES make me feel like half a term/sem/waaaaahever is up.

So, being in an unusually chirpy and boucy (??) mood, I'm gonna do a midterm review of sorts.

(Hate that word: Review: makes me feel like I'm starting some government statutory board to review another board which is in the process of evaluating.... yadayada)

Ok, I'm bounch and chirpy BECAUSE I actually dragged my lame sorry-ass out of my bed at 7-fucking-30 am in the morning to do indoor exercise, under strict orders of my temporary personal fitness instructor in Singapore, Jocelyn. And because I had that INSANE workout (it's the toning that killed me Joce, not the cardio) I had to take a bath.

And since I had already done one insane thing, which was to drag myself out of bed at that totally un-Jessica-like hour, I thought i'd add on to the list by taking an ice-cold bath.

Results: Half and hour late for work, and irritatingly chirpy and bouncy.


I realised that I've been digressing.

Anyhoos, Yixin/Gwen has just left this morning for a 10-day hiatus in Singapore. The poor girl might as well be making a trip on behalf of the office, seeing how many damn errands she has to run for the people here. It's not their fault really, since this damn place doesn't process slide film anymore, and doesn't sell black and white photo paper.

But still, thank god i'm not going back. I'll be irritated like FUCK if i had to spend half my holiday doing these things. And of course, that makes me selfish... and really i'd like to defend myself but there's no way around it. So ya, selfish lor.

(who's that idiot in school that cracks a joke about "where do you go and 'sell-fish'"?)


Have I even begun to wrap up yet? Hmmm okok let's see. I'm now working in AV section, which i will trying my very darn best to wriggle out of, because of several reasons:

1. Working with Malu does not exactly elicit sunshine-on-the-plains-rain-on-my-shoulders happy-fuck emotions from me.
2. I DID NOT COME TO BANGLADESH TO DO AUDIOVISUAL VIDEO I CAME TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS.

So actually, it's not several reasons, just two.


And, I'm very very sorry to say this, but the people are getting weirder.

Correction: We have noticed an increase in the amount of erratic behaviour amongst our local acquaintances.

Thankfully, it's still "concentrated" among just a handful of people, but it does make me do my deadpan-face but eyes-bigbig kinda look. this statement does beg for more elaboration, but I shan't.



And, another thing that has been happening that is getting a bit on my nerves, is how countless people have been approaching me to say: "Oh so Gwen's leaving? What are you going to do?"

I still don't have an answer for that, other than.. "The same thing i've always been doing?"

"Oh but you'll be alone! How are you going to manage??"
"Erm.. no I won't."

I wonder how many of them actually stopped to consider that I've been "alone" for the past two and a half months without so much as a whimper of complaint. But the irritating thing is that they almost seem to be expecting some sort of pathetic response like, "Oh ya I know... HOW HOW HOW what am i going to do? *whine*"

Topu told me i'm being overly sensitive, and that people are just being concerned. But ISN'T THAT PRECISELY the whole point? What is there to be concerned about?

My chirpiness is wearing off.


But other than tht, I still like this place. I think being more settled has allowed me to develope more "in-depth" emotions like irritation and very focused forms of dislike, but on a whole... I like it.

I still do get homesick though, but not without a trigger of some sort. An unexpected photo or phonecall, sighting Singaporean/Chinese things randomly.


Which makes me think, Guiqing, that our whole escapism idea (the one where u cut off all contact forever and ever) will work. Because with nothing to remind you of your memories, you only have your future to think about.



And just randomly thinking the other day, about how people are always saying not to dwell on your past and look into the future. And if you think of it as a time-line of sorts, where X marks the present spot, and to the left is all your "past", and to the right your "future".. doesn't the amount of "future" decrease with each day?

Such that when you die, you're left with nothing but your past.

And this could mean either of two things:

1. The past is of immense importance because that's all your're left with
2. The past doesn't mean fuck shit because even though that's all u're left with, you're gonna be dead soon enough.. and so it really doesn't mean fuck shit = thus, it's the future that counts.


I know I don't make sense.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Pink.

With a connection that's elicited screams of horror from very broadband-spoilt Singaporeans, I'm very selective with what websites I visit.

So it was with a certain horror that I contemplated why the hell I was so quick to click on a link to Xiaxue's blog after scrolling down the list of links on Mr Brown. Plus I had just started loading someone else's blog who had provided rather witty and entertaining excerpts on mr brown...

It's all the pink thats addictive lah.

And after all that reading... ( i got sidetracked to other cOol and fUnKy bLoGs~ az well!! ) i'm finding it takes more effort than usual to type coherantly.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Reverse KKK Strikes Back!

Heh Heh Heh.

This post is a tribute to some people who I can't seem to shake off, no matter how hard I've tried. Heh. Had a very nice afternoon with my fellow once-a-week Reverse KKK members.

I know i'm not exactly covering new ground here by saying this, but oh thank lord for the likes of MSN. Pun intended.

And dammit i really miss you xhm and gq. Shall look forward to a very rowdy and politically incorrect reunion in june/july. Quite surreal to think of the three of us, in three different countries, chatting as if not a day had passed since we laughed ourselves to death in the st nicks canteen watching xhm go round and round chasing after a 10¢ coin.

Haven't exactly been the most "available" friend, seem to have gotten my priorities mixed up along the way, we shall see if I'll manage to redeem myself in the future.

I think the pinnacle of all my friendships is when we start getting extremely rude and politically incorrect with one another. Does that mean if all human race were to join in perfect friendship and harmony, we would be complete assholes to one another?

And now Joce and GQ are meeting for a nice afternoon of pure nonsense and occasional wit. Sounds pretty perfect. Look forward to that reunion too.

Since we're born alone, and will eventually die alone, might as well fill up the space between ya? Dammit i haven't felt so positive and optimistic for a long time... must be sickening hehheh.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Quote.

 "I haven't felt that in many places - definitely not in Singapore, where people exist and are often sad,
without the beauty."

N.M. on being aliv.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Wah NTU is so cool

NTU got L I F E.

It has a QUAD too!!!!

Where is the Quad? I have no idea. I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of cool and funky stuff in school.

And suddenly I read that our MPs "bend over backwards" to let the opposition guys speak in parliament. What a way to end an article. Direct quote summore.

Can someone explain to me what's going on?

*confused*

Monday, March 07, 2005

More more more more. This will end soon i promise.



Me and Gwen/Yixin making our quick getaway from our quick getaway. Cafe Mango is in the background. One of the off days we took for ourselves when the workshop was over and we were in a bit of denial about going back to work. Such scenes of leisure don't happen anymore.



Another shot of me surrounded by the usual crowd that follows us at the Buriganga dockyards. It gets harder and harder to remain friendly when you go back. I think being a female made it easier for me to talk to the people there.. the men usually don't talk.. but the women are regular chatterbugs and the kids prefer playing with me. It's not my fault if Lars looks fierce and Rajiv has seen too much of it before. But now when i go back they've started to get pushy and demanding... and when i'm tired... *sigh* it's just difficult to remain smiley and happy like in the picture above.



My one and only sari so far. It's rather cheap since I was aiming for cheap. Supposed to wear it for the reportage project to "blend in" but i think i wasn't comfortable enough in it to blend it. But I was wearing it for like 3 days in a row till Rajiv said "for god's sake go and wash it". We're on the rooftop of Drik and that's a bottle of Sprite. Not heineken. But it could've fooled me, really.


Anyway, been doing the same ol' work these days. Logging and getting ready to do a script. The AV department seems to be in shambles, and i don't know how come this suddenly seems to be "our" problem.

A slice of Singaporean life in Bangladesh i suppose? Wah lau ship sinking drag the whole blardy crew down lah!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

More pictures.

Dear 'ol Lars from the land of the vikings sent me some pictures from his digital camera... and he actually took more pictures of me in Bangladesh than I ever did of myself in my whole 2 months here. Ah well.



A very contented me enjoying my 132tks meal (less than S$4) of : latte and freshly baked brownie with icecream at Cafe Mango. I'm telling some street kids outside that Lars is crazy. Thanks for the photoshopping Lars, I know you did it the pixels gave it away.

Cafe Mango makes me feel very confused. I feel guilty like fuck for going there. And yet I enjoy it to bits. It's the bohemian chic place which I like, because I feel I can go there in tatters and feel comfortable with my book and coffee. And yes I'm not in tatters in the picture above, but a plan is being constructed. And yet, only the rich people show up, one after another. The expatriates, the rich kids driving big flashy cars, speaking Bangla with scatter English with faked American accents "Oh my god you're kidding me!".. It's like a mini Holland V.

And I didn't like Holland V. for this reason. And that's the part of Cafe Mango which I don't like. But I like it because it's familiar, i don't get stared at inside, I get a slice of Singaporean life at discounted rates. It's my escape from escapism.



The happy trio in the boat along the Buriganga River, part of the Brahmaputra River that flows through all the way from the Himalayas. May be very well the dirtiest part of the river too. Just further upstream is where the recent ferry accident took place, a few days before we visited the place. Did not visit the scene of the tragedy because... we had people to meet.


It costs 10 Tks to get from one side to the other. I always wondered how Lars' head supported that sunglasses with nothing for it to grab onto.

A better view of the river. Surprisingly, the water looks clean... but it's actually black and there's a stench sometimes. I forgot what colour Sentosa/East Coast water is. These small boats are tricky to get into, You've to step into the middle, if not you'll tip the boat. But you can't, because the mat you sit on is there and you can't get mud on it. And so, I step on the edge, and kneel on the mat and just twirl around till i reach the centre. Very ungraceful. The others seem to manage. I don't know how.

I don't know why I look like that. I don't recall feeling particularly happy that day. In the background are the ferries.. the same kind that capsized.



Above: One of the people I had to meet. The baby she's carrying is Razu, aka King of the Whole Damn World, the most obnoxious baby I know who manages to be a complete asshole while remaining my favourite kid so far in the whole of Dhaka (except for Noyon, who's already my adopted son according to me, so it doesn't count.) His mom wanted photos.. after I spent 2 whole days pestering them.

According to Mr Lars, "Look at the guy in the middle looking at you. I thinks he speaks for everyone that saw us during those first days. He has that exact “what the hell?” look in his eyes."

True, true.

I'm practicing your name so I can say it to your face.

Haven't exactly been doing much, other than helping out in the AV department, which we found out yesterday we were "a part of". Currently trying to conceptualise an exhibition/multimedia thingy of sorts... which seems to be headed no where. Waiting for approval for another project, and another one waiting in the wings to be scripted.



Quote of the day: "The weather is hot, but the wind is chill." Not by me, or Yixin.



And another one which I just recalled, "I a not a tree."



Listening to The Blower's Daughter... which always makes me feel sappy and nua. Went on a shopping spree of some sorts yesterday.


We thrust ourselves against the post and still insist we see the ghost.ed


Ok nevermind, I mean, we thrusted ourselves into the swelthering lanes of Elephant Road, getting momentarily lost between the cramp, claustrophobic stalls, blinded by the glitter and shine radiating from everywhere. Bangladeshi jewellery, is outrageously gaudy, believe you me. And i'm developing a taste for it. Gold is suddenly not that repulsive.

I bought a new pair of sandals, which I intend to wear out soon enough, it cost 200Tks (S$5.50). And a set of bindis/tips, black with a silvery drop in at the bottom, for 20 Tks, and a dark metallic bracelet and matching necklace for 80 Tks. Oh, and a silver ring with a piece of fake light green glass set in the middle for 10Tks

It's nice when you can enjoy retail therapy and still spend less than S$20. I'll be returning another day to get that rainbow coloured necklace which just reminds me of Sarah Lin in jc. I wonder how she is.


it's like our pasar malam in Singapore, except that this is their "orchard road".. or actually more like Toa Payoh Central on a weekend.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A Confrontation is Brewing.

When it comes down to the crunch, my conservative Asian values hold me back.

What's stopping me from shooting off my mouth at a person who is a compulsive/impulsive liar, constantly trying to butter up his own image and ego in front of me (when I don't believe a word he says), and is simply irresponsible, not trustworthy and incapable of professionalism?


The fact that he is 30+, and holds a "higher" rank in the office.


It's as simple as that, really. Plus i don't want to be shooting any blanks here, but I will get over the stupid power distance bullshit and start shouting at him very soon, because I really don't think I can work like this for 4 months.

Dont lie to my face you fucking liar. Don't fucking insult my intelligence. Do you really think that just because we're foreigners, and 21, we're going to believe every tall tale you say? Ohhhhhhh....... I can't wait to get this over and done with.

Maybe I'm really afraid of making him embarassed. I don't know why i'm trying to help him save face. But, there's no way around it anymore.