29.11.11

Up and at 'em

It's past 3 a.m. and I'm still up because I'm syncing my iPhone backup with an old iPhone a friend loaned me, because I dropped my iPhone one too many times (the latest time being last night, post-white wine). Now the phone's "home" button doesn't work, callers can't hear my voice and the phone won't charge. Yes, ownself sabo ownself.

The nice thing about being up in the middle of the night is that it's quiet, still and cool – perfect for catching up on email and other work things. The weird thing, which shows you I've watched too much of The West Wing in the last few years, is that it made me think of the opening to the episode, "The Stackhouse Filibuster", when the West Wing staff's Friday night plans are derailed by a filibuster in the Senate, and CJ Cregg says, "I'm sitting and waiting. I'm ordering pizza. I'm catching up on e-mails." I don't have any pizza, but the sentiment is pretty accurate.

The sian (tiresome) thing is that I really want to crawl into bed and be asleep.

Oh yay, the sync's complete! Except that I now have 11 full screens of apps sorted in alphabetical order, plus lots more apps that there wasn't screen space for, and I'm too tired to sort through them now. Tomorrow lah.

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17.11.11

If you're Singaporean and heading to the UK for postgraduate study

And if you're looking for funding, you should go take a look at the Chevening Scholarship. It's offered by the UK government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (i.e. the equivalent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and applications for the 2012/2013 academic year are now open. There's no bond of the Singapore government variety, although Chevening scholarship recipients are expected to return to their home country and contribute in some significant way to its "social and economic development".

I was one of three Chevening Scholarship recipients in 2010 and the scholarship very kindly paid for my tuition fees at Goldsmiths, airfare to the UK and some miscellaneous expenses. My scholarship interview was also one of the most interesting, rigorous and thoughtful interviews I've ever had. The interviewers struck me as being very smart and very interested in people who wanted to go and do something different (I was planning to go do cultural studies, of all things). They had definitely read my scholarship application from cover to cover, and asked very good questions about what I'd written in there. Plus we talked for close to an hour in a very energetic, friendly way --- how often does that happen at any interview?

So yeah, if it fits your bill, go for it. The application deadline for Singapore is 10 April 2011 3 February 2012. [Date corrected on 12 December 2011; thanks, @dangerrabbit, for spotting a typo in an earlier version of this post.]

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13.11.11

Work, when you've got it

"So what have you been doing since you got back?" people ask when they see me for the first time since I moved back from London. To which I usually say, sheepishly, "Not very much, actually. Sleeping. Catching up with family and friends. Shaking legs.*"

The next question is then, usually, "So what are you going to do now that you're back? Find a job?" To which I give a dutiful but vague answer about continuing with freelance writing, even though the truth is: I'm lucky, terribly lucky, and I've already had a number of great conversations with people whom I'd like to work with, about prospective projects that I'd like to work on with/for them. More details to come when they're ready, but I'm so very grateful to everyone who's expressed interest and faith in me.

And then there's that novel I want to write, which now I have to write because I've accepted funding from the National Arts Council for it, which binds me to certain deadlines and "deliverables" (i.e. write up proper chapters and everything). I like deadlines; they make me write. I just need to, er, not procrastinate on this particular project in the next year or so.

So yes, work --- aplenty, it seems, should I choose to accept it. At a time when politicians and economists are murmuring slowdown (or the R-word), I sure ain't complainin'.

* In Singlish, to "shake legs" is to be idle, to do nothing.

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10.11.11

And then a week went by

A week and a bit, come to think of it.

Here's a belated linkdump of some articles that I was mulling over before my Singapore Writers Festival panel on blogging and writing. I didn't get to any of these points because the focus of the panel and the questions from the audience seemed to be very much on the day-to-day experience of blogging.

About blogging:
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