So now I’ve gallivanted from one side of the world to the other I have very little time to do anything! So I shall write up the blog of my last two weeks in Asia.
On the following Monday (from our last day in Thailand) we travelled back from the ‘Land of a Thousand Smiles’ to Singapore. Our tour guide gave us a lovely farewell (despite sending us to the wrong place for departure! Haha!).
Whilst at the Airport I bought a book called ‘Quiet’ which is about Introverts in a society dominated by Extroverts. It is a highly interesting book and I have now finished it; I would recommend it to everyone.
We landed around 10pm and after customs, baggage and travel we got back to NUS at around 11:30pm.
The Tuesday was mostly a day of recovery for most people, as everyone was worn out. I spent the day writing up postcards as well as buying some memorabilia from the Bookstore at NUS UTown. On the evening I had dinner with Kareem!
On Wednesday I finally got my Canadian Study Permit application sent off, at the expense of not going out! Other than that there were two dreary lectures. I then had a fantastic chat with Adanna, a Kings College (London) undergraduate, who’s studying International Politics. we both discussed introvertism quite extensively.
Thursday was a very good day, despite having little in it. I gained confirmation from the University of Western Ontario, that I would most likely be able to do the composition courses that I enrolled onto. This was an amazing feeling as I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to composition there. I sent off the postcards that I wrote on the Tuesday and edited photos from the field trip (which I’m still doing!). On the evening I met up with Duy, a guy from Vietnam who I quickly became friends with.
On Friday we had a presentation day. MERGH! Actually it went quite well. Our powerpoint and presentation included various aspects of Singapore’s culture and diversity. After the presentation Victor, Trent, David, Maggie, Rahavie and I packed and went to Bintan, a resort Island in Indonesia. The Ferry was OK, but David fell ill. When we arrived we went through the most stupid system I’ve ever encountered for visas. We then found our rooms, went to a restaurant (that was bloody expensive!) and then went to the Beach (in the dead of night, where we sat and chatted). After this we returned to bed, where I slept very badly.
On Saturday David and I spent some time after breakfast on the Beach.
We then met up with Maggie and went for some archery and shooting.
Our party then went on to get lunch, after which David needed to nap, so Maggie and I went to the beach! We returned to David after 50 minutes and went on one of the best experiences so far – we rode Elephants!
On the resort, however, were a few things that really upset me, one was that there was a horse that was being used to entertain people, yet its condition of living was disgusting, as was its treatment. The people there glorified Elephants, yet neglected an equally magnificent animal.
To our delight some people from NUS decided to join us. We all went for dinner, then the group decided to get merry off drink.
On the morning we had breakfast, and I returned to Singapore, ahead of the rest of the group. I met with Duy and we walked and chatted for a while. On the evening I met up with Jing, a friend on the Main campus of NUS.
On Monday I had a few lectures which were the last lectures of my time at NUS. On the afternoon I met up with Duy and we went to the cinema to see ‘White House Down’, which was a fantastic movie.
On Tuesday I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with Pei, a friend of mine who was studying at UoB on a Ministry of Education Scholarship from Singapore. Pei took me to the zoo, after which we had a wonderful lunch.
Whilst at Lunch Pei discovered that she had won another year of the MoE Scholarship to study for a Masters at Oxford, I was so happy for her! After the exciting news headed to the Gardens at the Bay, a magnificent park, that reminded me a lot of the Eden Project. Whilst there we bumped into Ngiam and his friend, which was fun!
After exploring this fantastic place we went on to meet up with Steven, another Singaporean who is studying at Birmingham. The two of them took me around various places, such as the Esplanade, Marina Bay, Bayfront, and the Merlion (All fantastic picture opportunities).
We then went for Bean Curd, which was an interesting experience, but wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I cannot remember whether it was before, or after but we also had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I drank copious amounts of Chinese tea that was infinite in supply and ate a wonderful array of dishes, including a soup dumpling thing that is exactly what it says – a dumpling filled with various things (Crab, fish, pork) and soup! It was wonderful. After our wonderful day we departed, and I hope to see them both some point this year.
On Wednesday and Friday, instead of lectures we visited several museums; the Maritime Museum on Sentosa Island, the National Museum of Singapore and the Asian Civilisation Museum.
I then had the most wonderful shock to find that Anna, a friend of mine who’s originally from Italy, but has had a lot of her education in the UK, was also in Singapore on an Internship at the Nanyang Polytechnic. I immediately contacted her, then an hour or two later we met up at Bishan for a coffee! We then parted ways, then I later met up with Jing.
Thursday morning was spent gathering thoughts and items to take home together. I then met up with Duy where we went and got food at a Vietnamese Restaurant, whilst here I had Vietnamese Pork Pho, which was a really tasty, and interesting dish (a few elements weren’t to my taste, such as the heart and intestines, but I gave it all a try!).
Friday was primarily spent exploring the Museums. I returned back to start packing everything up as I had a very early morning flight. On the evening was the Farewell Dinner, which was a sad and happy time. We all ate and were jovial! I received a wonderful gift of Eileen with an even more wonderful note, both of which I shall forever treasure. The professors then requested that I play the piano to them, as they had not yet heard me play, so I did, and they, along with the rest of the students (to my terrified delight) seemed to really enjoy it!
I bade many people farewell, some I assumed I would meet again, others I assumed I wouldn’t. Being the type of person I am, I don’t get particularly emotional (I’ve been called heartless numerous times this year). I was, however, very sad to leave some people, so I’m not as heartless as I might seem.
I decided that to make sure I wasn’t ridiculously tired when I arrived in England that I would stay up all night (it sounds contradictory, I know), then sleep on the plane, so when I arrived in England it would have been as if I slept in the UK, rather than in Singapore (there is a 7 hour time difference!).
The time to leave eventually came, so I said farewell to Trent, who was the last person in the suite. I then met up with my friend Duy who so kindly said he would accompany me to the airport, which I am still grateful for. I then said farewell to Ngiam who gave me a small, but amazing note, in return I gave him my room key and a promised dedication.
Duy and I then got the Taxi to Changi where he also gave me a card. I checked in my luggage which was incredibly overweight, but due to the airline I was charged no extra fee. I had a wonderful last drink in Singapore with Duy in the airport. Duy and I joked a lot about this, and it was eventually time to say farewell, which is always difficult.
Both Ngiam and Duy had requested that I wasn’t to read their messages until I had parted from them. Along with Eileen’s note, the wonderful words found on paper brought me to tears. It was a very emotional flight home.
The flight itself was uneventful; weirdly enough, like on my flight to Singapore I was sat next to an English person, and an Australian was next to him, but instead of Right to left, it was left to right. I tried the famous Singapore Sling on the way back, which was OK… To my despair there were two babies on board. One was excellent, but her father was highly irritating whilst the other baby cried a lot, but he was too cute to be irritating.
I slept for around 5 hours, making up for my lack of sleep the entire evening before. Once I landed I knew what my immediate reaction would be: I HATE BRITAIN! And it’s safe to say, I guessed correctly! London Heathrow is a vile and disgusting place.
My memories of Southeast Asia will always remain with me. I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to study there and meet all of the amazing and wonderful people that I did, both on the Summer school as students and staff, and outside the summer school. My experience there was one of wonder, awe, excitement, thrills and above all it was fulfilling to gain an understanding of some of the cultures in the gem of the world that is Southeast Asia.