Ofo Adventures

I cycled on the pedestrian pavements for the first time in my life. My mom was skeptical and warned me that riding a bicycle alongside walking humans was vastly different from biking at East Coast Park, but I figured if others could do it, why couldn’t I? Plus the route – from my home at Clementi Road to the Jurong Regional Library – was one I could recite in my sleep. So with a downloaded Ofo app and a free first ride, I was ready to go.

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This was when I had already arrived in Jurong East, so I clearly survived the journey and the next few paragraphs may sound inconsequential, but still.

My bravado did not last long. It had been almost a year since I last rode a bike, and the first thing that happened after I hopped on was that I swivelled the handle so hard I nearly crashed into the nearby bin; so much for never forgetting how to ride a bicycle. At this point of time I was manhandling this bulky yellow metal along the small side road next to my block, wondering if I should just give up. Swerving into a bin, not so bad. But potentially swerving onto a road full of oncoming traffic?

But I didn’t want to waste my first free ride on merely 3 minutes and decided to do a trial run around my block. This involved me precariously cycling up and down the same small road, praying no car knocks me down from behind. After about 8 minutes of bumpy cycling and waffling, I decided to have a bit of faith in myself to cycle down to Jurong East. My mantra was going to be “slow and steady stays alive”.

It was a not easy at first. The beginning stretch along the main Clementi Road was populated with pedestrians, and involved a whole manoeuvre of not crashing into them. But along my journey I bumped into (not literally) a few cycling uncles  who shared knowing looks with me at each traffic light.

Soon I passed the dense jungle of humans at the MRT station entrance, and this was where the fun really began. The stretch of roads leading up to Jurong East was sparse of buildings and consequently of foot traffic as well. The only terrible part of this section was having to stand under the boiling sun at every traffic junction. But I made it, about 40 minutes later, at the entrance of Jurong Library and a old security guard who stared at me accusatorially until I parked the bicycle at the designated parking area.

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In celebration of my first pedestrian cycling experience. The CBTL at JCube was really amping it up with the fake planters along their bar table.

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Some overdue photos of Kuta Beach

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Kuta had this online reputation for being some kind of party beach with notoriously drunk Australians… things I didn’t tell my parents until we landed in Bali. Luckily we did not encounter a single one of those aforementioned specimens, and with the power of TripAdvisor I had booked a pretty decent hotel (The Bene Hotel) just a stone’s throw away from Kuta Beach, which meant we could zip down to the shore as and when we liked. Kuta had some strong waves and many, many surf shops/schools which were really tempting.

The best way out is always through.

Hello February. There is a New Yorker cartoon that perfectly encapsulated how long January felt:tumblr_p32qtodaIx1qav5oho1_1280.jpgJanuary felt extraordinarily long, primarily because it was the start of a new semester (the final semester – gasp) and friends who were off gallivanting for the past six months or so have returned to grace our shores. I’m not a hater, and I would like to think I am not a very petty person, but sometimes I am wrong, because it is pretty frustrating to hear exchange stories when you didn’t go on exchange. Most eye roll worthy bit would be because it was unusually cold in Singapore at the start of January, like 20 degrees celsius, clothes won’t dry, it’s constantly raining cold, but of course the people who spent months in Europe would think it was Summer Time and be all like “Pur-lease, this is cold? when I was in Jökulsárlón swimming in icebergs… hon hon hon baguette”. 

 

“It was fun before reality hit”

A bunch of good, not so good, and terrible things that happened to me in the span of the last 24 hours:

  • I met up with two friends from high school (I make myself sound like a relic, but give me this, it’s been 4 years since we graduated). It was nice as I had not seen them in a very long time because of my own self-induced social isolation, but it did lead to some aggressiveness on their part as I did not initiate the dinner. But I rarely initiate plans with people, and I had to reassure them that it was a case of “it’s not you guys, it’s me” and how I really did not want to feel like I’m burdening people if they didn’t want to meet me. (I think) they understood, and was being very sweet to me, and promised me that they’ll ask me out more.
  • It was a night of bad alcoholic decisions on my part, because we went to a Japanese place with free flow drinks for ladies if you spent at least $10 each (which was not difficult to hit AT ALL, one piece of squid tentacle sashimi there probably cost 2 bazillion dollars). We wound up spending about $30 each on really lacklustre food that was extremely misrepresented in the menu pictures, but we did get free flow drinks that made it worth. Well, maybe not so worth for me, because I had a grand total of about 5 glasses of umeshu and shochu. The umeshu was the hardest hitter; it’s easy on the throat and its sweetness masked the alcohol until it was…… too late, and I found myself puking all the udon and yakiniku and whatever nonsense I had eaten over the lawn in front of the MRT station.
  • I thought I would be okay after vomiting everything out and I could make my way home sanely. But it turns out I am the sort of person who can’t walk after 5 glasses of Japanese alcohol, so all I managed to do was to walk down to the MRT station, fumble around before forcing myself to sit down on the first solid surface I could find, hysterically trying to grab onto my friends to stay upright. Between the two of them, they somehow managed to chivvy me back up to the main road where I watched them try to get me an Uber/Grab, before I just figured to flag down the first cab that whizzed by, said vague goodbyes to them, and found myself homebound.
  • It was only on the cab that I realised they had actually called an Uber on my phone (which was arriving in 2 minutes), so that’s another cancellation I had to pay for.
  • Got home, managed to take out my contacts and tossed them onto my bedroom floor, tossed myself into bed and slept off the terrible throbbing in my head.
  • Woke up and I realised amidst my drunken mess last night, I lost my cardholder and a bunch of cards in it. I called the MRT station, lodged a lost and found with the taxi company, but frankly I don’t have much hope.

I suppose I wasn’t completely wasted because I can still remember what happened last night, but damn, I got so buzzed, it was painful. I distinctly recall one point in the night when I wondered how I was going to get myself home – but I managed.

the lives of others

An often unadvertised side effect of law school is the feeling of inadequacy. Everyone knows it’s difficult, it’s a heck load of reading, but no one really told you you will wind up feeling shitty about yourself and extremely jealous of others. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle where the academic plankton of the cohort feels the strain and burden of scrapping passes in order to qualify for the bar (passing it is a different story entirely), the average student fears he should be doing more to catch up with his more illustrious peers, and the cream of the crop wondering if giving up all the other things in life was really worth it for those A grades. Rinse, repeat.

Yesterday, my professor invited a trio of lawyers to come speak to us in class on some issues pertaining to corporate crime prosecution. What struck me wasn’t so much the content (which was fascinating, but not the point of this post), but the profiles of those lawyers. Not just them, but all the other lawyers I’ve met, be it at internships, talks, pervasive online stalking… they seemed, and probably actually are, disgustingly successful in their careers. Stellar education credentials only boosted by years of impeccable lawyering work, they had all their shit together, gathered in fistfuls as they put bad people in jail, sought bajillions of monetary damages for their clients, et al. I shudder to think what inconspicuous contributions I can make to this world upon graduating next year.

Maybe you’re thinking I’m being melodramatic and harbouring illusions of grandeur by comparing my (only tentative, possibly non-existent, probably lacklustre, hopefully not disastrous) future legal career with these heavyweights. Maybe instead of the moon, I should be aiming for the stars. So I tried that, but it was even more depressing. I have schoolmates bringing home championship trophies like I bring home a McDonalds takeout. Schoolmates writing for academic journals. Schoolmates making it onto dean’s lists. And me? I forgot about the existence of my Chinese Contract Law assignment until the day before its deadline. I’m a gigantic mess and I know it. It’s not helpful being so self-aware.

Then I get bitter and sad when I think about other things, such as how I could actually be in Mannheim, Germany exactly right now, instead of sitting in this study room trying to hunt for a legal principle on copyright subsistence that does not, for the love of God, seem to exist. Then I get angry at myself for letting my brain wander off that far into the abyss when I have so, so many other things to be worried about. Like this research point that I can’t seem to address properly. Or my second learning journal for the creative thinking module I’m taking, that’s due end of this week. It’s Thursday already. Oh dear.