Coming out of essay/exam mode

My current favourite word: "instantiate"
I used it only twice in the last two months, though.

My current almost-favourite software program: Scrivener
If you use a Mac and have massive research/writing projects, this needs to be your new best friend. Thanks to Adeline for introducing it to me.

My current favourite music: the chirpy main theme from the soundtrack to The King's Speech.

My current favourite soothing drink: jasmine tea.

New memes I had to catch up on: planking (via my flatmate) and Nyan cat (via budak).

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Almost there

Regent's Canal towpath

Despite the exuberance of my previous post, I have had little time of late to stay on top of what's going on in Singapore's post-elections aftermath. I believe the indefatigable mr brown has it covered, though:
On the school front, since early April I've written three 5,000-6,000-word essays on various topics related to cultural studies and a couple more 2,000-word essays for an anthropology take-home exam. I'm currently swotting up (gotta love those Britishisms) for one last cultural theory take-home exam that commences on Monday. I've also drunk countless cups of tea and far less alcohol, while looking wistfully at all these fiction titles I can't wait to read when this last exam is done. Did I mention that when I'm done with this master's degree, which has been fantastic, I want to write a novel next?

Meanwhile: four and a half more days of Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, David Harvey, Peter Sloterdijk and Henri Lefebvre, among others. My brain is tired.

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Fuck yeah, Aljunied

I spent most of last night and this morning trying not to think, not to hope, just in case, because you know, you jinx it by saying it out loud or even thinking it, you don't wanna tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing.*

And then the temptation becomes too much, especially on a half-hour train ride, and the rumours are flying thick and furious in the middle of the London afternoon (after polling had closed in Singapore), and is it too much to hope, to think, it's that close, it might be time to grab a bottle of champagne ...

I was so afraid it'd be 87-0, a pure People's Action Party Parliament, because that's the thing with a parliamentary democracy, it's a crapshoot, right, no matter how much electoral math you do, how many hands you shake and how many people you think you've won over with decency and logic (or glib apologies and aggressive humility). Who knows till the damn votes have gone into the damn ballot box to be counted up by human beings looking at scrawls on a voting slip and trying to decide if it's a spoiled vote or not?

The full Singapore general election results are available at the Elections Department website, but for my own notes:
  • Oh Potong Pasir: Singapore People's Party 7,859 votes, People's Action Party 7,973 votes, and 242 spoiled votes. (You can do the math.)
  • Oh Joo Chiat: People's Action Party 9,630 votes, Workers Party 9, 248 votes, and 314 spoiled votes.
  • Oh Marine Parade (where I'm registered as a voter): National Solidarity Party 59,833 votes, People's Action Party 78,182 votes.
  • But fuck yeah, Aljunied: Workers Party 72,165 votes, People's Action Party 59, 732 votes --- in the process ousting two cabinet ministers (including a reputedly nice one) and one senior minister of state.
  • And fuck yeah, Hougang: Workers Party 14,833 votes, People's Action Party 8,053 votes.
  • The People's Action Party "retained power with the smallest margin of popular votes [60.14%] since independence amid a record turnout" (I'm quoting the Bloomberg report, "Singapore’s Lee Retains Power With Smallest Vote Margin Since Independence").
Time to lift the veil, shatter the façade, whatever metaphor you prefer. Lots of people have worked very hard to suggest what else Singapore can be (not instead of what we have now, in addition to --- why can't we?). More voices, more choices, more colour, more life.

Majulah to 2016, anyone?

* It's a reference from The West Wing, circa 2002; see the snippet from season 4, episode 7 here.