Pulau Ubin and so on

So, Thursday evening. No classes tomorrow, and no assignments until next Thursday. Good times, and finally a free moment to update this blog.
Last weekend I went on a trip to Pulau Ubin Saturday morning. Pulau Ubin (Ubin Island) is an outlying island of Singapore about 10 minutes by boat from Changi Point, on the east coast of Singapore itself. The trip was arranged by some of the professors resident at the residential college, and we hired a bus to get the 30-odd people that composed “us” to Changi Point.

Just a Chameleon eating a cricket.

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Long time no post: The zoo, lectures, Vertigo

So, Thursday evening, and the weekend has started, at least lecturewise. I have no classes on Fridays, which is a happy coincidence. I’ve now had lectures for two weeks, and I’m getting into the rhythm of it all, which includes bringing along a pullover to wear when inside, since some lecture theatres are airconditioned to about 18 degrees or something equally silly.

Continue reading “Long time no post: The zoo, lectures, Vertigo”

Weekend, yes! First lectures, hmm.

So, Monday evening here in Singapore, and I thought I might take a bit of time off before studying for tomorrow to write a post.

Saturday was quiet, only thing worth saying is that we played a board game in the lobby. Good fun, but I still didn’t win, even though it is a game I brought along. Oh, and Saturday is the only day of the week when the dining hall here at the Residential College does not serve dinner, so I had the green curry from the Thai stall at the food court in UTown. Green curry is the most spicy food I have ever tasted, but this particular rendition was not too bad. Yes, I could certainly feel my tongue and lips when eating it, but, like a true local, I saved the rice for last, to clean out the taste from my mouth (Local knowledge, local customs).

Sunday Jonathan and I went to church. A local undergraduate had invited us to her church, which holds its service in a Cinema in Vivo City, a shopping centre 12 kilometres from campus. The service was the youth service of the Every Nation church in Singapore, and as such very evangelical. No creed, no lord’s prayer, no hymns. But certainly electric guitars and drums, and keyboard backing almost through the entire service. It was at times deeply meaningful, and at other times slightly awkward, but overall a very interesting experience. After the service, we had lunch with some of the church leaders and volunteers, themselves around our age, and they are all very friendly.

Today was the first day of lectures. I started the morning early at 6.30, had breakfast, and was on the bus to the other side of campus at 7.30. My first lecture was Macroeconomics, with a very engaging professor, speaking a not-too-unintelligible Singlish. Certainly kept me on my toes. Some of the material presented I’ve already covered in previous courses, but since it is the first lecture that is to be expected, it seems to be a standard pedagogical trick to lure the students into a false sense of safety in the first week, and then suddenly spring something totally new on them later. An interesting thing is how the university student code of conduct stipulates a dress-code: “dress smart as a sign of respect to others.” Now, either I am not sure of the Singaporean definition of “smart,” (I mean, it might mean logo t-shirts, bermuda shorts, and flip-flops, you never know,) or no one but me has read the official university student code of conduct. Today is certainly the last day I am going to lectures in black trousers and closed shoes, because even though the lecture theatres are air-con’ed to around 20 degrees, then the outdoor heat is too much in those clothes.

My second lecture was Set Theory, one of three classes I am currently in the process of applying for. I just need one of these three to make my schedule work, and have the required workload, but I might take two, just for fun. Certainly Set Theory was interesting, and the professor was very friendly. He came up to the row where I was sitting with Karin from Sweden, and said “you look different, where are you from?” in the most friendly way possible, and used the first lecture to give an overview of what the class would cover.

Third and final lecture was Complex Analysis. This was disappointing, since it seems we are going to be spending the first two weeks “learning” complex numbers. Yawn! Maths HL in the IB diploma programme introduced complex numbers, and I’ve also had it covered at university previously, so need to think whether to keep this class. It seems that we might get to something interesting at the end, reading the course outline, but I think I might drop it in favour of Ordinary Differential Equations, which I am having tomorrow I think.

After lectures, I grabbed food (meat, vegetables, and rice for S$1.80, under 10 kr), and did some paperwork and walking back and forth between offices to get Financial Mathematics II, a course I really want, but which I have had some trouble proving I have the prerequisites for. But it is sorted now. For future reference, it is a much better strategy to already have the required form printed and filled out when visiting the department, than to go and say, “I really need this course.” I guess saying “I need this form signed” seems a bit more upfront, but it seems to be the way to do it here.

This evening I have been running. I’m training for the Inter-Faculty Games in the road relay, just because I thought it sounded fun.

Wednesday, National Day, Friday

Short post here detailing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (WordPress swallowed my first draft. Grr).

Wednesday was uneventful. I went swimming, bought some shorts from Clementi mall, Cinnamon College held a welcome introduction/barbecue for exchange students, and we went into town in the evening.

Welcome barbecue in the Cinnamon College courtyard.

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More tourism, more Singaporean by the day.

So today is Tuesday, and I haven’t written anything since Saturday evening. But here goes anyway.

Sunday consisted of another city tour, this one arranged by the residential college at which I am staying. In contrast to the previous one, where we travelled by MRT, the organisers of this one had hired two buses. We were split into groups, each group led by a local student. But our group singularly failed to stay together, so much for those good intentions… First stop on the tour was Lau Pa Sat (“The old market” in some sort of Chinese dialect supposedly). Lau Pa Sat is a cast iron octagonal building, which nowadays is a food court and performance venue (the band performs on top of the central drinks stall, I must remember to go some day, because seems like a interesting setup: cheap, good food and music).

A building site close to Lau Pa Sat, Singapore style.

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