28.10.01

I have about ten minutes to rush this entry out before we leave, so here goes. Let's go chronologically backwards, huh? Because I think my mind will handle that better at this early-but-not-early-enough-to-be-godforsaken hour of the morning.

We're up early because we're going hiking in a while. The mountain-climbing/hiking goddess Cindy has decided to organize a hike to Pulau Ubin, an island off the east coast of Singapore which is scheduled to be urbanly redeveloped into some hideous farce of a 'resort' island. Meanwhile, it's still reasonably pristine and not too modern --- when I went there for hikes in my schooldays, we always joked about the lone taxi on the island, though there were a number of motorcycles. I think they're planning to build apartment buildings on the island as well. Whatever. The point is, they're closing the island in a month or two's time, and Cindy wants to hike it now. So a-hiking we will go, on a Sunday morning.

We don't have to be at Changi Jetty till 9 am, but we need to grab breakfast from the prata place downstairs first. We skipped dinner again last night, even though there's leftover roast duck in the fridge, and I think hiking on an empty stomach would be a bad idea, though we're well-hydrated --- Terz advised drinking half a liter of water last night before we went to bed, and I think I only drank half of that, but that was all my stomach could take.

By the way, Pulau Ubin is not a difficult hike. If it were, I'd give it a miss without a second thought (like I refused to go climb Gunung Tahan earlier this year with Terz and his boys) and still be in bed.

Ugh. Terz is getting dressed. I need to type faster.

Last night, Terz went over to his mom's to watch Band of Brothers because we don't have HBO and she does. I didn't because I tried to be a good student and do some preparation for that 15-page essay I have to write by next Monday. I did pretty good work, mostly because my mind concentrates better on studying-type things at night, and also I'd taken a two and a half hour nap before that.

In the afternoon, I was at my ex-classmate Gerri's place. Gerri got married last month. She also announced yesterday (albeit awkwardly) that she's four months pregnant. The awkwardness is not due to the mismatch in wedding and conception dates. Gerri had the legal/civil ceremony months ago because she and her husband needed to do that in order to buy the apartment they're living in. (Public housing is very draconian here --- you can't buy any if you're living in sin.) The awkwardness was due to the fact that they didn't figure on having a kid so soon. I'd still be freaking out four months into the pregnancy if it was a totally unexpected thing. Fortunately, when everyone looked expectantly at me after her announcement (I was the longest married person in the room), I could confidently tell them that no such announcement was forthcoming from my corner, thankyouverymuch.

Then we had lunch. Gerri and Ben (Ben and Gerri sounds so --- well) made dumplings from scratch, which rates hugely in my book. I mean, Terz is a good cook and I'm halfway decent (more halfway than decent), but you won't catch us making things from scratch. I'm supposed to learn to make kueh lapis (a kind of cake) this holidays from my aunt the veteran cake-maker, and I'm a little apprehensive about the idea because that's a really elaborate kind of cake to make too.

Lunch with friends was good. They're all my junior college ex-classmates, and we don't get together enough. I'm sufficiently inspired to want to throw Gerri a baby shower, except that when talking to another of the ex-classmates on the phone last night, it seems people do that after the birth of the child here, so as not to jinx it or just in case anything untoward happens at the late stage in the pregnancy. Ugh. I hadn't thought of that. But I want to throw a party while Gerri is still pregnant!

Less talk, more writing.

Yesterday morning, I went to a god-awful Ministry of Education meeting. I can't say what went on there because it's all tip-top secret (it was a meeting for examination officials for the November Cambridge examinations), but when I have the time, I'll tell you just what sorts of stupid questions teachers can ask, which makes us as a profession look even more stupid and less professional, which makes Mel (my colleague/fellow exam official) and I realize with a deep sigh why we get so little respect from the Ministry. Suffice to say, it was a frustrating morning and the afternoon was much better.

Okay, I gotta go. Terz has already given me the water bottle to tote for the day. More later!

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