My post on the Peak District is in the works - I promise - but for now, here’s another deflection from my life into something infinitely more interesting and worthy of note! Jamie Oliver is the 2010 TED Prize Winner!
Click through to see his wish. I do hope he succeeds; Food really is of prime importance in our lives, socially and health-wise. I want to eat better too, and I agree that everyone should, especially children.
His corresponding video for this Prize Wish, if bordering on the theatrical, is passionate and sobering.
I’ve always wondered what Jamie would think if he went to Singapore and took a look at our school food. Granted, we don’t make it a point to have super fresh ingredients or anything like that, but the schools and the parents do make it a point to minimise fried food and sugared options, especially in the primary schools, and make sure cooked food is offered, rather than just processed nonsense. In fact, if the schools offered just all kinds of weird straight-from-the-microwave fare, the parents would raise a mega hoopla. Most parents, if anything, are too conscious about what their children eat, regulating everything from fizzy drinks and french fries to chocolates and ice cream, and ordering that their kids eat copious amounts of fruit and vegetables, and drink tonnes of water. I can’t imagine a Singaporean primary school kid without his/her water bottle hanging from a sling across his/her body.
And this all happens just as a matter of cultural norms; we expect our schools and parents to feed children well. Nobody’s had to wage a campaign/revolution about it; it just is, that’s the way we as a society have always eaten, and these food habits grow old with us. Ok, so we have a lot of other unhealthy (yummy) nonsense - coconut milk-laden laksa, lard-laden char kuay teow - but as far as I recall, everyone eats these things with a mix of glee and guilt of “ok, just this one time this week/month - tomorrow, back to cai fan! (Veg + rice).” We have specific vocabulary dedicated to describing the different negative feelings some kinds of food can give you, if you’ve had too much of it - gelat, heaty - and it’s so funny to me that no one thinks twice about this, in Singapore, no one realises that it’s really quite unique to us, or perhaps to Asian cultures more generally, to have internalised thinking about food as a way of life, the way we do. I promise we don’t intentionally contrive to think about these things, not like the diligent way in which people count calories or design diet plans - we really don’t deserve the credit that should come with making that kind of effort! - it’s just the way we operate.
A big salute from this Tufts student to President Bacow. So glad he’s going to be the President for all of my four years at Tufts, and the President at my/our Graduation. Couldn’t have asked for a better, wiser, more approachable or likeable University President. Thank you, Larry!
I will always remember being part of the victory-run mob when the Red Sox won the 2008 World Series, stopping outside his house, and seeing him emerge, stand on his door step, take off his Red Sox cap, and wave it at us, the cheering crowd!
Oh, Horror of Horrors - I’m having an exceptionally bad academic year with technology.
Not long ago, I misplaced my trust F30 Fuijifilm camera on an outing with friends. I’m quite sure I left it at the Mitre, and I went back for it a couple of times, but it never turned up. So I got myself a swanky new camera, the F72EXR Fujifilm, but because my laptop and SD card reader were both too outdated to read the new SD cards, I had to download the photographs from my camera directly into my laptop, which I suspect is the reason for their extremely poor, pixelated quality. In short, I’m still not used to my new camera, I really don’t like the pictures I’ve taken with it so far.
Over winter break, I dropped my relatively new Nokia mobile phone and the screen cracked clean through the middle, destroying the LCD display. I had to get a replacement phone with a spare line, for all of £15 - which, of course, means that my current phone is a very basic-primitive LG model that doesn’t even let me add decent ring tones, let alone have a net browser. I’m planning to ship it home to Singapore to see if it can get fixed - it’s still within its 1 year warranty.
Then this Saturday, I spilled coffee on my Macbook of 2 years. I’ve got the Apple Care protection plan, which should give me global repair, but because it was an accident, I don’t think I’ve got any grounds to make claims. I thought it was just my keyboard that’s gone haywire, but as the days passed my laptop started not being able to start up, or starting up only in safe mode, then for some reason losing sense of its airport - which means I can’t just get an auxiliary keyboard and poof, problem solved. I went to the Western Computer shop today, to ask what I can do, ask for repair quotes, and was told since it’s got to do with my keyboard, my “logic board”, it will cost upwards of £300 to replace the parts. (!) He offered to set me up with people who might want to buy my Macbook for parts, I told him I’d think about it, I guess that’s really the best I can do right now.
Which means goodbye, Macbook. Goodbye iTunes, goodbye Garageband, goodbye iPhoto.
Which brings me to my resolution -
I’m not getting a replacement.
On the first level, it’s too expensive to replace it, not when I can just wait it out till when I’m back in the States to get myself a swanky new Mac with Snow Leopard and all the good stuff. On another level, it doesn’t make sense to reward myself for my poor care of my technical equipment with a nice flashy replacement. On yet another level, I think I’ll actually be more productive, being forced out of my room in order to surf the Net, write papers, etc.
On the final level, as I found last night, I actually really enjoy working in the computer lab in the Mac building. (!!)
This may be mystifying. The Mac building is the main residential building at Pembroke, housing its residents in typical American-college dorm-style settings - nothing like the typical quaintness of Oxford staircases, but very community-building, as you can imagine, like Hill Hall back at Tufts (good times!). The Mac computer lab is this dreary little isolated room on the 2nd floor of the building, located precariously close to the kitchen and the laundry room, which makes for some interesting environmental smells. So why on earth would anyone enjoy it?!
After spending a large part of my past 2 days there, I realise it’s a very social working space. People come in and out all the time, printing essays - people I wouldn’t get to see or talk to if not for being there. Some people spend enormously long stretches of time there, such as Ross, last night, reading Silas Marner till past 3am in the morning (!), which means constant access to company and conversation, especially if they’re as genuinely thoughtful and interesting as Ross. Ellen and Andrew found me super-easily, when they needed to talk to me, because they live in the building, and even Olga could come send me food (unsolicited! I promise! She’s just really sweet!) as she came in and out of the Mac, getting her laundry done and checking in on it. Weirdly enough - or perhaps not so illogically after all - I felt connected to the Pembroke community, not as lonely as I would be, all cooped up in my cozy room.
So here’s to a more productive and less lonely working style!
And fellow Pembrokians - if you read/hear no more updates about me getting a new laptop - consider dropping in on the Mac computer lab every once in a while; you might just catch me there. (:
UPDATE: My dear Macbook seems to work fine with an auxillary keyboard!!! Once I got it to shut down properly, and start up properly, not boot up under safe mode, everything seemed fine! Yayness! Going back to get a keyboard tomorrow! £30 instead of £300, quite a steal, if I do say so myself.
Nothing against the colour, just something against the colour on me. (Looks just fine on other people; case in point: my sister.)
I’d like to pretend that it’s because it’s Chinese New Year - speaking of which, HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! - but I’ve never really worn a ton of red during CNY in the past, and I’ve even less reason to start now, with no visiting to do.
Me wearing red really just means I’m too occupied with something else to care, like staying warm, or rushing out to make an appointment on time (or as little late as possible).
This year, it’s all about the essays. It’s all about the essays and the essay-writing.
Abi once said to me “Life is one big essay crisis.”
Since the start of the term began, I feel as if I’ve been living from crisis to crisis. Any time in between was deliberately stolen, in a desperate escapist attempt to pretend for an hour or two that the next crisis wasn’t approaching, that I didn’t have a deadline tomorrow or a tute to get to where a 2,000 word, 6 page, double-spaced thing didn’t have to be in my hands, ready for the reading/summarising. Worst part is, I really don’t have anyone to blame but myself and my poor time management!
Yesterday really took the cake though. Just as we reached the halfway mark of term, and the academic year, I spilled coffee on my beloved Macbook’s keyboard. Now two of my loves are merged - a coffee-smelling Macbook, who could ask for more? Talk about creative strategies for increasing productivity - but, of course, the keyboard won’t work properly. I’ve crippled my loyal companion of 2 and a half years. :( We’re getting her/him/it checked out tomorrow, and getting crutches (ie: auxillary keyboard) for her/him/it if necessary.
For now though, I’m confined to the computer lab in the Mac building, typing away on foreign keys, getting to know British keyboards (yes, they are different), with my eyes on a foreign screen. Let’s hope the foreigness will prove good motivation for getting this essay done quickly.
And then maybe we can move to happier updates, like the mini-adventure Brianna, Claire, Davis and I (WHY doesn’t my name start with A/E) had in the Peak District!
People at home, enjoy the awesome food, the even better fellowship, and of course, collecting ang baos (translation: red money packets). :)
From time to time, like every amateur singer on earth, I record myself. It’s a good exercise, let’s you go back and nit pick, you hear how you sound like to others, etc. I’ve very rarely shared these recordings with anyone, they’re usually terrible - pitchy, airy, weirdly enunciated, you name it. The one time I posted a recording online I lived to regret it (I actually gave a whole 2-line spoken introduction to it right at the beginning, can you say CHEESY?!).
But I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of being embarrassed/sheepish/shy about my singing/music, all those feelings just means I practice/perform less and improve not.
So here goes nothing!
Here’s me trying Ingrid Michaelson’s “Be Ok” on Garageband. It’s not good by any means - I’m obviously struggling with the beat, rushing terribly, not getting the syncopation quite right, I shoot at the wrong pitches at times, flattening on the held notes, the phrases of all the different parts I’ve recorded aren’t exactly aligned, I have weird plosions on consonants like “Just” and “oKay” and “Gallery” and clip my vowels in “jUst” and “I” - just goes to show how incredible Ingrid Michaelson is! She makes this song sound so natural, when there actually are so many things to take care of in it.
A note about me sharing recordings of myself, for reference from here on out: I choose to be open to constructive criticism, and I very much welcome and appreciate it, but let me be embarrassingly honest and say that I’d also very much appreciate it if you were as delicate as you can be when giving it. Those who know me know I’m terrible at taking comments, be they positive or negative, but I know I really need to hear them and I really want to hear them and I’ve really been making a strong effort to get better at processing them over the years - I think I’ve gotten quite a bit better, though I’m still far from being completely in my comfort zone about it. I do hate it when I feel like someone’s just “being nice” though, so if you do have any thoughts, do just be brave and honest with me and let me be uncomfortable, just let me squirm and pull weird faces and learn to listen with grace, it’s good for character-building. :D
A year and a half ago, I visited the Kellys. On any given day, when Mrs Kelly told Matt and Mike to go practice their trombone/trumpet, or Matt/Mike announced to the rest of the family that they would be practicing for the next _____ minutes/hour, all the other members of the family would acknowledge this, then proceed to go about their affairs around the house, completely shutting out the sounds, good or bad, coming from the basement. At this, I remember feeling a powerful pang of envy, thinking “that’s exactly what I want.”
Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for ‘Make It Mine’ AND Best Pop Collaboration with Colbie Caillat on ‘Lucky’. Yayness! Well-deserved, and long time coming.
Still doesn’t justify him not winning Best Song for ‘I’m Yours’ last year - come on, people, even if you got tired of hearing it, I promise you I traveled to quite some places over the past year, and everywhere I went, everyone knew it and sang it all the time, drunk or sober, that in itself has -got- to earn it Best Song props. Even John Mayer, who won the award instead for ‘Say’, said he felt Jason should’ve got it. (They had a very ‘aw, shucks’ exchange online, where John said that, and Jason was flattered and said thank you, another one of those great moments in music/the music community.)
Clearly, I care more about the Grammys than my schoolwork… Badbadbad.