My Diary #090

Dear Tigey,

Because you escaped a bath last week, I took you out this week on my night walks. Lucky.

Entry #090 (Mar 26 2023)

School

This week, I finished my application for my Sophia University study abroad for the what is this now, third time. Well, almost finished. The one outstanding thing I haven’t done is a checkbox as to whether I want to apply for housing. My priorities have shifted a little bit from when I wrote this post way back, but not really all that much. After my experiences with travelling in Japan from Oct-Nov of 2022 though, my top priority over everything else is a private kitchenette, followed closely by a private bathroom and being near to a train station or within half an hour or so of Sophia University, and preferably near a shopping street or Aeon mall or something like that as well. Wired internet has dropped off the charts because for the most part the various wireless internets I used were pretty good, unlike in Canada, although I’m sure it will vary from place to place.

The one thing that is keeping me from outright rejecting all the Sophia-offered hostels immediately though is the community stuff that I would get in a share house as opposed to some private apartment somewhere, more or less going to school with people from the same school. From a grand point of view, while I’m largely looking at selfish, material things to try to decide what to do, I’m also dimly aware that it’s basically a life choice and each of the Sophian housing options could come with some short-term, long-term, or lifetime friends if I take that choice, that I would not otherwise ever meet if I take any other choice. And that the “best” options for living independently, things like private apartments, are also the most expensive and the ones least likely for me to form social connections at.

There are a very few options that seem like they would offer a social connection as well as private kitchens and bathrooms, like Azalea House on that above linked post, but those come with their own sets of problems too (that one in particular is old, and also more importantly very far away from Sophia University itself).

Decisions, decisions. I did notice that Sophia has a nice Housing List Summary (local) page now — I don’t recall finding this (or a version of this, since this is dated Feb 21 2023 in the filename) when I did my initial research two years ago.

In the meantime, one of the things that I did complete this week as part of the Sophian application process was look through the schedule and pick out some classes to tentatively sign up for. For the first semester, I currently have pencilled in Intensive Japanese 2, The Good Life: From Self to Society, and Remembering the War in Japanese Literature, for 16 credits. For the second semester, I pencilled in Japanese 3 (non-intensive), Introduction to Japanese Literature, Food and Society, Modern Japanese Fiction, and Japanese Civil Society Engagement, for 20 credits. So right now I’m looking at a Japanese + Literature bent, with one food class (as I enjoy food history) and a couple of sociology/anthropology classes.

That last course specifically was interesting because it is one of several fieldwork/social justice sort of courses that Sophia seems to offer that, weirdly, I never noticed in my last two aborted attempts to study here. Yet I will be all over that one if it is offered next year, since above the credits itself, it also seems to be a way to make connections with people in the community and could lead right to a future job opportunity after graduation. Other fieldwork-type courses that looked really interesting included Digital Oral Narratives 1, Anthropology Practicum 1 and 2, and this Meaningful Life course that involves a field trip to a village. I might actually end up pivoting and taking several low-level Anthropology classes in the end as well, just due to recent newfound interest in the field, and how some of that could well intersect with my blog and archival interests. Hmmmmmmmm.

But as mentioned though, even for this application I believe I’m just pencilling in the courses right now, and the actual course registrations won’t start until I’m physically there in September or so. After all, I believe a lot of the courses listed above (especially the Japanese ones) are for the courses that are currently taking or have already taken place, and not the ones that are going to take place next year, yet that’s all the information we have to base our selections on. Also, I don’t know yet where I will place on the Japanese placement tests, and that will determine which level of Japanese I can take, and the availability of those classes and which time blocks they are in also affects which other classes I can take on top of them. Lastly, although I was very gung ho about taking Intensive Japanese two years ago when I first applied for Sophia, I don’t actually think it’s that important now compared to taking other literature, history, or even sociology/anthropology classes, or just having more time to explore the city and do things. So a lot of that is up in the air as well.

I’ve attached most of the syllabi below for reference. Besides the Japanese language classes, they’re all taught in English as well (as far as I know, anyway).

Outside of all that, I also seem to have gotten an award from the Rod and Judith Fraser International Undergraduate Learning Award from applying this year, for my study abroad program. Last year it was the Sandy Mactaggart Award, and the previous year it was Rod and Judith again, but both those awards, which were for $4,000 each, expired because my study abroad kept being postponed, and they were each only good for 1 year. This time though, my award is for $4,500, so it’s a little bit higher to help offset inflation perhaps, but I’m very thankful for that! I actually linked my blog as part of my application too, I wonder if that played any role in it at all.

Dear Students,

This email is to let you know you’ve been selected to receive the Rod and Judith Fraser International Undergraduate Learning Award for travel in the 2023-24 academic year. The value of this award is $4,500 pending confirmation from the Student Awards Office.

I will send on the acceptance form, and other details for the award next week. If you have also applied for the Global Skills Opportunity Awards, notifications for those awards should be sent hopefully by the end of next week as well. Just a note that we cannot double fund the Fraser Award and GSO, so you will receive the higher value award you are selected for.

Student payments should be made approximately two weeks prior to your departure date barring any delays.

I was also provisionally accepted for the Kyoto trip in May-June, the Ritsumeikan Summer Japanese Program,

Dear 2023RSJP1 Applicants,

Greetings from Ritsumeikan University!

We are glad to let you know that you have passed the screening process for 2023RSJP1. We will soon send you a payment guide/invoice to you on April 3rd.

However, this is NOT an official notification of acceptance. You will be accepted only after we have confirmed your program fee payment.

Below will be the process until you join the program:

  1. Payment invoice will be sent to you on April 3rd.
  2. Payment is due Friday, April 7th. Those of you that need a visa, we advise you to proceed with payment as soon as possible after we send the invoice since you will need more time applying for a visa. It will take around 1~3 days for the overseas remittance to arrive at our University.
  3. Only after we have confirmed payment will you be deemed as “officially accepted” in the program.
  4. When you are accepted, Official Acceptance Letter will be sent to you by DHL and visa documents for those that need it. This will take 3 ~ 7days to arrive depending on your address and DHL service.
  5. Visa (only to those that apply): Please make sure if the address you inputted in the application is the address you can receive documents. If you are unsure or you inputted the wrong address, please let us know the correct address by replying to this email. You will be applying for visa in the country that you are currently enrolled at your university.
  6. Book your flight ticket and housing in Kyoto. (Since this program does not include housing, you are required to book your own housing.) We advise you NOT to book your flight and housing until you are done with program fee payment and officially accepted.
  7. Designated hotel: Those that have already contacted us about our designated hotel you do not need to do anything. The invoice will be sent to you and you will pay directly to the hotel. To note, the spots we provide at our designated hotel is fully booked.
  8. Prescription: Those that will bring a daily dose of prescription to the program, you will need to apply for “Yunyu Kakunin-sho” since this is a 5 week program. The Japanese government requires you to apply if you bring in more than a month amount of prescription. This will take around 3 business days to be accepted by the government. Details will be sent to those that need to apply.  https://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/01.html (local)

For any inquires please let us know. We look forward to having you in our program!

So that was nice!

UAI also confirmed that I don’t have to attend the pre-departure session on Saturday, April 1st, since I had already attended one in the past, so I was happy to skip over that and get some time back even though they suggested going anyway. My coordinator also sent me and several others an email listing those people who were going on exchanges to Japan in the Fall 2023/Winter 2024 school year, and who had consented to be on such an email list (for connection purposes). There are apparently four of us going this year — me to Sophia, one person to Shizuoka University, and two others to Chiba University.

Life

I learnt from Kynji this week that a news crew had done a story covering Miss Linda’s Preschool Class in Goddard School, Wyomissing, PA. The video, posted on their local news website, is attached below:

I had written about sending a postcard to them five weeks ago or so, and I actually found it in the video above, which was cool. I’m glad it arrived in time for the video! The postcard I had scanned and linked to my diary entry five weeks ago looked like this:

And I could clearly see it on the wall just below the actual poster here:

How cool!

In other news, I bought that scanner that I had been hemming and hawwing about. It hasn’t arrived though. I ended up buying it from another distributor, Cendirect (local), instead of the one I linked last week for the same price, PC-Canada (local), after reading online reviews. The interesting thing though? Compared to last week, when I had this local screenshot of the same scanner at PC-Canada, I noticed that they had 2 listed in the Missisauga, ON warehouse there, and zero everywhere else. Cendirect matched this too — they had 2 listed in their ON warehouse, and zero everywhere else. Once I bought the one from Cendirect this week, I watched as the stock number of both Cendirect and PC-Canada dropped to 1 within a day. How interesting. I guess they share stock and that’s why the price was basically the same? (The shipping they offered was different, though, though it had to “be confirmed” first, which it was, before I could place the offer, since it was a large item.)

On Thursday night, there was a huge amount of solar activity that reached Earth, and caused a whole bunch of auroras to flare across most of Canada and parts of the United States. I was aware of this and did three separate evening walks to try to catch sight of my first ever aurora (that I recall anyway), and well, there were a lot of spectacular pictures on Reddit and Twitter but I was probably too far into the city limits to see much. It was visible within the city limits still though, but not very brightly nor easily. These were about the best that I could see:

This was through a phone camera too, which is more sensitive to light — in real life, I could see vague whitish waves for the first three but that was it. The fourth one was visible with the naked eye, though, and I brought Tigey along for the walks too.

Conversely, my sister, living with the rest of the family near the edge of Edmonton, was able to see/get much nicer pictures:

At least I got some nice pictures of liminal spaces, of busy roads reduced to abandoned silence at 12:55 am.

i’ve been also sending nonstop noisy reports to my tenant office about my noisy neighbours next door, as they pretty much seem to have a party every night past midnight now (although I think it’s less a party and more watching some loud television or music or something.) I ended up banging on the wall again this week to try to get them to turn down the volume, and if the rental office doesn’t do anything I’m going to start doing this more frequently.

In blog news, I uploaded my first two anime pilgrimage guestbook scans this week to the blog, here and here. Only about what, 30 more to go.

Games

On the PC, the only game I played this week was more Rogue: Genesia, finishing the three-map D-rank campaign a few times and completing a few challenges. I really like the Shopkeeper character in the game, as he gets to acquire a lot more cards than the base character. The game seems to eventually be set up for 6-map campaigns for A-rank though, and that doesn’t seem sustainable, each fight on the Slay the Spire-style maps can take so long that those campaigns would take forever. Also, the game isn’t optimized and my game already always lags intensely on the D-rank maps, particularly on the seemingly-compulsory triple-wave node near the end of the D-rank map, with tons of weapons firing and tons of monsters coming in on me.

On the 3DS, I picked up Fire Emblem: Fates again. I own (or owned, I still have no idea where my cartridge collection is and assume it is gone for good… for now) the base Birthright version, and have played most of that route, and my old save game was apparently still partially saved on the SD card so I had that anyway, but this time I picked up all three versions on the 3DS (with a discount on the other ones) and started a playthrough on the Revelation route, the third route that involves going it alone instead of siding with one of the two main factions (which are the Birthright and Conquest versions of the game). So far, so good. Oddly, I thought they said sales of the game had stopped on Feb 28 or something, but I was still able to buy all three versions on the Nintendo eShop on my 3DS itself anyway. As well as the DLC after that.

I’m still probably going to further buy Yo-kai Watch 3 this weekend, since I have finished 2 (except the final boss) and 3 is apparently pretty expensive in physical form. It’s also probably noting that I still have my Yo-kai Watch 2 cartridge, I have always just left that one inside my 3DS’s cartridge slot itself because I played it so much more than the other physical games that I had, so it thankfully hasn’t vanished with the others. Besides that, ehhh.

Plushie of the Week #88 – Unicorn Keychain

The plushie of the week this week is… not really a plushie, it’s just a unicorn head on a keychain. However, this keychain is an honourary plushie in our books, she’s sat with our collection of plushies since my sister acquired her in our Edmonton 4012 days. We’re not sure exactly when we acquired her, but it was prior to 2003 for sure, since she appears in this May 15 2003 picture that has featured on my blog several times.

Unicorn Keychain, who doesn’t have a more formal name than that, is in the bottom left corner, next to George and the mini Furby that hasn’t been featured yet. But the most endearing memory of Unicorn Keychain that we have is of her hanging from Unibert’s horn, as they were both acquired in the early 2000s and spent a lot of time together on the plushie bedroom chair in my siblings’ room in Edmonton 4012.

As far as my sister remembers, she acquired her as a birthday or Christmas gift, or as part of said gift, either in late junior high or early high school. Late junior high does track with the date of the photo above, since I believe Kel started high school in the fall of 2003.

Anyway, this is a small keychain, so the number of pictures are small too. Just two of them!

One side:

Other side:

Song of the Week #65

Title: Shakespeare in Love
Artist: Layla Kaylif
Album: Enough Rope (1999)

Weirdly, my memories of this song link it with Singapore rather than with Canada, even though it was apparently released in 1999, a year that we spent entirely in Canada, since our final flight out of Singapore was on Dec 31 1998. However, this was probably because for the first year or two (1999-2000), I was still heavily listening to Singapore radio online while I acclimatized to the new culture. I guess I still had this illusion or fantasy that the nightmare would end eventually and I would be able to return to Singapore. I also really disliked the Canadian radio at first and its proclivity for only playing the same 50 or so most popular songs on repeat, so Singapore radio it was for a couple years.

I found both the melody and vocals of this song really beautiful, and apparently Singapore agreed with me — the Wikipedia page for Layla Kaylif claims that Shakespeare in Love was named “Record of the Year” in Singapore, though it does not give any citation for this. It reminds me of my Dunman friends, like a lot of the other Singapore-centric songs around that period do, but oddly or amusingly enough does not remotely remind me of the people in Vernon Barford (Jan-Jun) or McNally (Sep-Dec) at all, the two schools that I would have actually been in in 1999. The song sat in my top 10 songs for a while, I think, and eventually ended up in the lower half of my top 20.

Writing Prompt of the Week #8

This week’s writing prompt reads:

Top 10 time! Imagine your childhood bedroom. List ten objects you remember from the room, and describe what they meant to you.

I went through many bedrooms in my childhood, but we were brought up to never really use the bedroom for anything other than sleeping. A lot of the objects I would have listed are plushies, and are already listed across various diary entries. Regardless, I could probably still list a number of items still, but they would all just be descriptions of boring items as I don’t have pictures of most of them. Or do I?

1. The air-conditioner. All homes in Singapore have air-cons, because it gets so darn hot over there, and there were few better feelings as a child than going out of the swelteringly warm room outside into a darkened and cooled bedroom to sleep in.

2. The double-decker bed. You can see it in this picture from My Diary #020, but we kids did have a double decker bed when we were in Tampines 294, our last Singapore home, and I slept on top, while Jon, who was a little baby (to toddler, to kindergarten kid) at the time, slept on the bottom, and Kel slept in the other bed. There was a detachable ladder that doesn’t seem to be in that picture as well, but I more often than not just climbed up the diagonal support beam anyway.

3. Bolsters, or bolster pillows. You can see them in that picture, too, but Singaporeans have a custom of using those, whereas in pretty much every other country I’ve been to, no one I’ve ever seen uses them at all. They’re a part and parcel of having a good, comfortable night’s sleep for me. I can sleep without them, and I definitely do when on vacation and such, but I feel much more at ease when hugging my bolster at night.

4. The various bedsheets, pillowcases, and bolster cases we’ve had over the years. That racecar one in the top bunk in the picture above (and below), which dates all the way back to 1998, was one that I only finally replaced in June 2020, not that long before I started my blog.

5. My blanket. I used to have a patchwork blanket made out of little cloth squares that I had for the longest time, and I now use that mountaineering nylon blanket that I’ve mentioned here and there. It’s great.

6. My pillows. Well I’ve mentioned my blanket and bolster already, so why not the pillow too. Unlike the bolster and blanket, of which I’ve only ever gone through maybe two or three each since I graduated from the baby ones, I’ve probably gone through about double that for pillows, about six or so, I think. But they don’t get tossed once they get too un-fluffy to use, instead I usually recycle them into cushions for the computer chair or something until they get much too flat (or dirty) to be of much use, before they finally get tossed away. And it is a sad day when I have to dispose of any of my bed friends.

7. Talking about that, there’s a set of childhood/baby pillows and bolsters that have been passed down from me to Kel to Jon, and followed us all the way from our Yishun 799 house (and likely even the Clementi 730 one) all the way to Edmonton 4012. You can see them on the bottom mattress of the double-decker bed in the above picture, but even earlier than that, here are the bolsters and pillows from Jon‘s bed back in Yishun 723 during the year 1993:

A repost of the picture from bullet point 2 above, from 1998:

And then when I visited the family home earlier this year, I was happy to see this:

That small bolster there is totally the large one from the 1993 picture. It’s still around!

The one behind it is also one that has been passed down between us. Back in 1998, it was in a pink Felix the Cat bolster case, and then it switched over to a grey Felix the Cat one when we moved to Canada, I think there was a polka dot bolster case that it was in at one point too.

8. There’s a wooden mahogany-coloured dresser that I used to have in my Edmonton 4012 bedroom, which was the first house where I had my own separate room. That was the dresser for my clothes, one of the drawer knobs was always loose, and I never really liked it due to gender identity issues and how it held all my male clothes, but well, now it brings back memories I suppose. There were also plastic drawer ones from Ikea or something.

9. In Canada, we always had small closets in our bedrooms with a pole to hang clothes on and a shelf above the pole as well, and in particular I was always a bit jealous of my sister and her dresses in there. But this is interesting to think about because our Singapore homes never had closets for clothes.. with the exception of our double-level maisonette home that was Yishun 723, where our parents’ room had a large walk-in closet, which itself had a door inside of it leading to what essentially was a hidden bathroom behind it, that could only be accessed by passing through the walk-in closet in the master bedroom. We don’t seem to have a surviving picture of it, but it was in the same bedroom as that 1993 picture above in bullet point 7.

10. And lastly, plushies. I might have had one or two of them, I don’t really remember…

Memory Snippet of the Week #72

For this Memory Snippet, I’m going to basically paste in a bunch of stuff I had written a couple years ago on a separate page for my memory shrine, which used to be planned to be a separate page, but which I’ve pretty much decommissioned for now because I’ve intertwined all these memory snippets and stuff into my main diary now. Before this diary entry, there were still about 20 or so (local) screenshots of links that I had not imported into my main diary though, so I’m going to place them here in their original context.

The topic that these particular pictures cover is the journey from Peiying Primary School, my Primary 1-3 school in 1993, to the two Yishun homes that my family lived in during that time, Yishun 799 and Yishun 723. We moved in 1992 or so from the former to the latter, but I was still in the same school until the end of 1993, so I still had to transit back and forth from there every day as a 7-9 year old kid.

When I visited Singapore, I walked these nostalgic paths again, so some of what I had originally mapped out was now a little bit pointless because I now have better pictures of the area anyway. Those pictures can be seen on this page in particular. However, I already had written all this stuff back in 2021 anyway, so it would feel weirder to delete any of it as that would create a significant hole in my screenshot numbering system, so I’m including them all anyway.

Original text (with some edits) starts. With this, I think I’ve now finished importing everything I had written for that old, dusty section of the blog.

Introduction

My first primary school was Peiying Primary School (local), and I was here from Primary 1 through Primary 3, before shifting schools to Rosyth School in Primary 4. We moved from southern Yishun (aka Khatib) to northern Yishun (aka Yishun) during this time, so we were still in the same “residential town” nucleus within Singapore, and I didn’t change primary schools. Our home became fancier though, as it was an apartment block which consisted of two-storey maisonettes stacked on top of each other instead of one-storey apartments like normal apartment blocks.

Yishun 723 was located here (local), Our home was on the 12th floor, and there was no actual 13th floor because the upper level of our apartment was basically the 13th floor. Similarly, the unit below us was numbered as the 10th floor, and the 11th floor was the upper level of their apartments, and so on. Note that most Singapore apartment blocks, called HDB flats, have a void deck on the bottom level to allow air and foot traffic to flow through. While there was the occasional Mom n Pops’ shop or ground floor home unit on the first floor, much of the time there were few or no houses on “floor 1”, and the lowest apartment units are usually on floor 2 instead. This was my school transit (local) during that time, and you can see how my travel distance to and from school basically quintupled when we moved from Yishun 799 to Yishun 723. This was still quite short compared to what was to come from Primary 4 onwards, though.

I was really good in school, at least this early on, and was always in the top 3 in my entire grade. More importantly, at the end of Primary 3, all students took a nationwide Gifted Education Programme (GEP) test designed to identify the students in the top 0.5% or so scholastically, who would then be pulled out of their current school (unless the parents objected) and moved to a special class in one of several schools. I did really well on this test, and was the only person from my entire school (I think for some time before and after as well) to qualify for the GEP. I was told later on when I was in Primary 5 or 6 that I had actually scored the top score in the nation on the math portion of this Primary 3 GEP test. At the time that I qualified in 1993, and all the way until I left in 1999, there were only four schools out of the nine on that Wikipedia page above that offered the GEP for primary schools — Anglo-Chinese Primary School. Nanyang Primary School, Raffles Girls’ Primary School, and Rosyth School. None of them were near Yishun! Still, my proud parents moved me to Rosyth, which was a mixed-gender school, for Primary 4.

Path to School (Peiying to Yishun 799)

There are two annotated maps here, and this segment of my life gets a bit confusing. This is the annotated map (original link) of when we lived at 799, for the first two years or so of my illustrious Primary School career. The blue bullseye is my apartment flat. You can see Peiying at the bottom, and a dark red line that was my path home. While I never stepped into Naval Base Secondary School, I remember passing by the front gate many, many times and looking at the older boys and girls there and wondering if I’d go there someday. Nope, it turns out.

The black boxes are areas that I knew fairly well — the immediate region around my home, the immediate region around the MRT station next to my home and a small area with shops there, as well as an NTUC Fairprice (sort of a small department store owned by the government) one street away. I remember the police station (local) on the right side of 798, and a sort of scary but mystical allure about it. I think my parents might have dragged me there once when I was making a fuss while out in public on the way home, just to scare me. The police station occasionally appeared in my dreams, but never as a location that I would visit, just as a landmark in the distance.

I also have fleeting memories of the orange circles — the ground floor houses and the drainage canal in front of Block 793 (local) on Google Street View brought back memories. I remember walking by and kicking pebbles into that thing. If I recall, the actual water flow in that canal was a small “stream” right down the center of the canal, with lots of cement on either side, so it was always a bit of a game to get the pebble into the water proper.

Further along, I don’t remember Block 782 except for one very notable occurrence — there was a Malay night market festival (called a pasarmalam) held either on the ground floor/void deck of that building, or a neighbouring one, or an open area next to it, that I visited with Mom and Dad one night. This was pretty much the first time I remember being out at night, and there were many food, clothing, and game stalls, and bright lights and stuff there. This highly contributed to my love of night cities and Japanese festivals. I think it all gets traced back to this one night festival.

I’m not sure when or why we ever took the bus considering that we lived next to the train station, but I remember this bus stop (local) that was in front of Block 798 and between our house and the station. I remember taking the bus home with my parents one day and I pulled the stop request cord too quickly after the bus had started moving from the previous stop, and the bus driver screeched to a halt and hollered at me. I was 7, maybe 8, then. Okay Gramps.

Come take a walk with me! Here (local) we have a shot where you can see the front of my HDB flat and the kopitiam I mentioned in the previous section at the end of the road. If we turn left and start walking, we get to this junction (local), which was a very important crossroad in my life. To the left is the side road leading to Naval Base Secondary School, and after that, Peiying Primary School. Slightly further ahead (local) is the traffic light that I crossed to get home. I was escorted home by a parent to start, but eventually either Mom or Auntie 795 would instead let me walk up the road and would wait for me on the other side of this junction and traffic light.

Heading back and travelling into the side road, we’ll be going down the dark red line on the annotated map. This (local) is the front gate of Naval Base Secondary School, which stood between my primary school and my home. I walked by this every weekday and I can confirm that I remember blue. Lots and lots of blue. I’m sure the buildings have gotten a facelift since I last walked by it, though. We then pass the side gate (local) of the secondary school, and come across this shop (local) on the left. This caused a flood of nostalgia. I am not sure I ever went in, maybe once or twice, but neither my allowance nor my freedom was very high back then, nor did it really have anything I remember wanting. Just walking by the shop was always comforting for some reason, though.

Past the secondary school and the shop, we come to the front gate of my primary school (local), Peiying. None of the buildings look familiar — this is actually a recurring theme as development moves really quickly in Singapore and schools get renovated and upgraded all the time — but the blue uniforms are exactly the same, as well as the darker blue Phys Ed uniforms. Lastly, walking a little bit further on, we see a horde of people waiting by the side gate (local) of the school. The Google van must have fortuitously passed by right at the end of the school day, and that is a mad throng of parents and students that looks really familiar! I don’t think I would have remembered this if not for Google Street View though, but I do remember coming out of the gate and looking for Mom. I believe the reason that the side gate was more often used for parents picking up their children is that the classrooms were nearer to it than the front gate.

What is also interesting is what I don’t remember. I do not remember there being farms or research stations behind Peiying, but that area was pretty much beyond the edge of the world for me anyway.  I also don’t remember the basketball court and field on the other side of Khatib Station, across the road. I guess we never really went that way. I don’t really remember a water canal running by the train tracks and Avenue 2 either. Maybe dimly.

Path to School (Peiying to Yishun 723)

It gets worse when I go down the road toward our second Yishun home, at 723. This is the annotated map (original), and that’s all I remember of the region from when we moved in my late 2nd or early 3rd year of primary school, to until we moved away when I was in my 6th year. That’s shockingly little. The school move that I did definitely played a part into this, as it was so far that I always had a ride back, either from my dad or from a school bus. I remember snippets that involve taking the bus and train, but never for purpose of school, only for family trips, so they’re very dim. I didn’t really go out and play or walk around the area much either, I guess.

Anyway, continuing north up the road from my previous apartment, past Naval Base Secondary School on the left is a military base that I remember well, but obviously never stepped into or even really openly saw any soldiers training within. You can see it on the map, it’s huge and takes up the entire left side of the journey to 723 and is a complete fuzzy block to me, like the border of a region map in a game.

Heading north up the road, we get to these crossroads in between 799 and 723. This is a fairly memorable junction for me for two reasons — one because we could see it from the balcony of our 723 apartment, and the other because I dropped a dollar coin by the side of the road on the left side one day, because I was fumbling with my wallet while riding pillion on my father’s motorcycle. It’s somewhere around that jutting out red line on that annotated map. If you ever find that dollar coin, please return it to me, it is one of my lingering regrets to this day, as it was the first time I ever lost/wasted money.

Sigh. Anyway, the dark red arrow on the map shows the direction that our apartment faced. I remember looking out from the balcony of our house and gawking at the amazing view from it, which was a vast improvement over our view in 799. If I stared hard enough at the road in the evening, I could even see my dad coming back home on his motorbike sometimes, and I would then go excitedly inform Mom of that, who would then start preparing dinner. If you travel a little bit further along the northern road, you can actually see our apartments by zooming in (local) as well. We were on the 12th floor, so it was specifically one of these apartments that was ours. I don’t remember which one, I just know it wasn’t a corner unit. You can see however that the balconies only appear every two levels, that’s because the second level without the balcony was the top floor of each maisonette/two-level apartment in the block. You can also see the block number, 723, painted vertically on the left.

Oddly though, nearly everything else from the crossroads on to our block is a fuzz. I know Dad‘s usual route, when he was driving me home on his bike from either Peiying or Rosyth, took the left road from here, and we’d follow the blue path home. I do remember this turn (local), and these zigzag lines (local) on the road just after the turn. If I ignore the turn and continue west, I also remember this row of shops (local) existing, though the actual shops itself don’t look familiar. However, some of my dream worlds occasionally feature rows of shops near my dream residence, roughly a few streets away, and these shops might well be the inspiration for that.

Going back to the junction and turning in, I remember some schools on the left, as well as the two roads on the right (this one (local) and this one (local)) that turn in to the 723/724 area (they’re actually two ends of the same road that ring together in the back). That’s, however, where my memories end. For one, I don’t remember the name of the two schools outside those roads, even though I must have passed it every day — Yishun Secondary School is a generic enough name that that might have just slipped from my mind, but Jiemin Primary School (local) rings no bell at all, and that is super weird. Neither does their school uniform. Yishun Innova Junior College, the school between 723 and the crossroads that I could see from the balcony, is apparently a merger between Yishun Junior College, which I do mostly remember (generic name though). and Innova Junior College, which I’ve never heard of. The buildings themselves don’t look familiar though, but I bet they’ve been developed and rebuilt a few times over the years anyway.

I do remember that I did take a school bus home from Peiying to Yishun 723 one year, and that it was crowded because I was always pushing and jostling with people near the front of the bus as it looped around the 723-724 ring road, so this must have been the year, and the bus must have been a Peiying bus. It could not have been Rosyth just due to the sheer distance away that that school was — I did take the school bus home from there as well, but I would have been one of the last people on board the bus from there. Due to this though, I seem to be missing a lot of memories around the actual area just because I never walked there often enough. I remember us taking the train to the two nearby MRT stations — N11 (Khatib) and N12 (Yishun), but I don’t recall how or what buses we took from those stations to get home the few times that we did.

Note: Singapore’s MRT system is really complex and keeps on getting expanded all the time. Note: At the time we lived there, Khatib and Yishun were the last two northern stations on the north-south line, but that was no longer the case by the time we left the country in 1999. If you want to read up more about the crazy expansions, you can probably try Wikipedia or this blog (local), but even today, 20 years or so later, the train network is completely unrecognizable to me as the number of stations has more than doubled.

There was also a shopping mall around the N12 (Yishun) station, called Northpoint. I remember we visited the mall occasionally, but looking at it and the surrounding region on Google Street View unnervingly gives me zero bells whatsoever, besides the actual station itself. Neither the outside nor the inside of the mall, nor any of the neighbourhoods around the mall, ring any sort of bell, not even when I look at photos or walking videos of it.

Last Year’s Entry #41

My corresponding diary entry from last year is My Diary #046. This was published on Mar 27 2022.

I am also a bit tired of writing this week, but every week I think that and every week my blog ends up so long anyway.

I actually found a copy of that Song of the Week on YouTube this year, and apparently the upload is from 2017, but for some reason I didn’t find it last year when I was putting together the SotW entry back then. Probably because the song had two different names, but still. Oh well, I’ve now added it to the blog post. Better than a link to a random site that’s now dead.

Dreams

March 21st is almost certainly going to be rated as another 8/10 dream night, so soon after my last one. March 25th was weird too, one of the very rare times where I did write down some dream notes but had long forgotten the context by the time I properly woke up, to the point that I couldn’t assemble a proper dream scene at all from what I had.

Mar 20 2023
  • I had rejoined Dunman for 4th year classes there, even though I was around 35 years old already. My friends were more or less still there though, especially the guys. Ronnie was one of our teachers, and apparently a beloved one — he taught Math. I remember Eugene, Allen, Harvey, Paul, Zixiang, and Jonathan.
  • Before recess, a couple of us were seated on a sofa in a theater room outside our regular classroom. I don’t remember the contents of the dream, but at some point, Paul put his hand in my mouth and playfully tried to choke me or something. I was trying not to bite him while trying to free myself and eventually managed to do so. There was also something about dividing up into groups of 4 to do some sort of dance for a future class, and the dance itself involved standing up and holding out our hands in front of us, and raising a certain number of fingers each time to represent different numbers. The teacher watched over us and scolded someone who didn’t seem to be practicing hard enough.
  • Once we divided into groups of 4, we could submit our group to the teacher’s room to get a worksheet with a picture list of the dance steps (particularly the number of fingers for each step). I wrote down four names including my own, though I forget who the other three were, on the back of an old recycled worksheet that had other writing on it already. I then waited until the end of class, which led into lunchtime, before going off to the teacher’s room to submit the list.
  • Once I returned, I saw that most of my friends had holed up in the other GEP classroom, sitting at their desks and writing out an essay of some sort. I stopped Harvey outside the class and asked if I had perhaps not gotten a memo to do an essay or something, since I had just transferred in. He said it wasn’t due yet, the class was just being diligent.
  • It was raining, but I decided to take a walk around the school to occupy myself during this lunch hour, passing by, among other things, our old 1L classroom on the ground floor of the school, which was now an alumni room. Next to it was a 1H classroom instead of the 1K one, so apparently the available class letters had been juggled around a bit as well. I went to the end of a hallway and saw a room where some of my McNally friends apparently used to study in, Justin in particular came to mind. About ten meters away was a separate, small, detached classroom that I remembered used to be a music room. There was no shelter along the path leading from the main building to that room though, and it still was raining at this point, so I didn’t go that way.
  • I met an Indian guy here who turned out to be a returning alumni student as well. He reminded me of Vikram from McNally but looked a little different. I chatted to him a little anyway, and while he wrote out and showed me his side of the conversation on a phone to start because he wasn’t sure if I was comfortable speaking, we eventually found out that we both were good at typing but preferred face to face conversations, so that’s what we shifted to.
  • He said he was back here to visit Ronnie, and I showed him our class schedule and said that he was teaching the other GEP class right after lunch, and then our class right after that. I suggested that he come by the classroom and say hi once Ronnie came to our class. It was sure to cause a minor kerfuffle and Lord knows we could use the fun mid-class break. But also that other alumni had done so in the past anyway, and Ronnie was sure to remember him too. He actually seemed a bit confused at this news because he thought Ronnie taught Biology, or Bio-something (perhaps Biodata), not Math, but I reminded him that that was just what Ronnie‘s degree was, not his actual class. Well, not now anyway, it was possible that his taught subject had changed since we were from different years.
  • Fast forward a bit, and it seemed like that alumni guy decided to actually join our class as a transfer student in the end. He was actually 7 years or socolder than me so I was no longer the oldest student in class! And had someone my age group to interact with.
Mar 21 2023
  • A couple people I knew were returning from vacation on a plane — two girls who were sisters, and possibly the lead vampire character from the The Vampire Dies In No Time anime, I’m not sure if he was in this part of the scene or just the follow-up to it. There was also a picture of the plane on a runway and a large, stylized sun partially hidden below the horizon that reminded me of a synthwave sun, except the bottom half of the sun didn’t have horizontal lines running through it like synthwave-stylized suns do, at least not the parts that I could see.
  • Anyway, it was implied that the plane would be delayed reaching back home by a day, and possibly also that it was somehow related to the vampire, whether he was home or not. A day or two after they all arrived home, the elder sister of the pair visited him at his place but found the house empty, and when she arrived home again the next day, she also found it empty. However, she noticed that the garden, with exotic flowers, including some tall pink and purple flowers that were only naturally found in Ethiopia, as well as another one that yielded some fresh vegetables from its flower head, were nicely trimmed and recently harvested, so someone was obviously tending to them.
  • The next day, she returned with her younger sister and snuck into the kitchen with a cute creature, something akin to the vampire’s armadillo companion from The Vampire Dies In No Time. The elder sister dropped the armadillo on the kitchen floor, and they watched as the vampire burst out of the drawer, his two hands scooping up the armadillo before disappearing back into the drawer.
  • When they opened the drawer, they saw him polymorphed into a folded kitchen rag, but it was obviously him because the colours of the rag matched the colours of his outfit, plus it had his face on it. When questioned, he said he thought that the two girls would want him gone after the plane delay debacle, and they said that he should not have jumped to conclusions, and that he should have come and talked to them even if he thought that that was the case.
  • He led them down to a secret basement that he had made just as a delivery guy arrived with a ping pong table. He had been apparently hiding down here, and had bought the ping pong table to amuse himself, but now that the girls had discovered him, he invited them to play with him as well, and the younger sister accepted. There was a white rectangle formed by white tape pasted on the table surface, and this rectangle was about 1 foot in length from the edge of the table at every point along the tape.
  • There were also four shallow metal saucer plates placed on the four corners of that inner rectangle, with two plates on each side of the net, as though to hold the tape down. Between the two plates on each side of the table was another plate, around the same size, but with raised rims so it almost seemed like a weirdly shallow pot. These were used to hold the ping pong balls between serves, and the vampire commented that he had finally found a use for the tea plates that he had. I’m not sure if I was physically present, but I had a thought here that the two central plates seemed like they would get in the way of the ping pong game itself since it had raised rims and would likely interfere with any ball hit down near it.
  • At this point, the scene shifted slightly and I became an actual character in the scene, upstairs in a different room. I was playing AMQ with Satinel, and we were finishing up the last few songs of a game. Some of the songs we had to guess the titles of had the show titles shown in hangman style during the guess phase, with a couple of letters revealed and the rest of them being underscores, and I guessed one to be Cool Doji Danshi correctly based on that, even while I had no idea what the song was.
  • The last song of that round was made up of two words, five letters long each, and with the revealed letters I thought it was Idoly Pride even though I again did not recognize the song, which was sung by one or two girls. It turns out the song was from a random show called Furby Rogue though, except the R was an Ŕ with an accent mark over it, and I commented that we now had two games in a row where this random Furby Rogue show was the final song of the round. I checked the game history though and noticed that the last game had Ending 1 of that show as the final song, whereas this one was Ending 2.
  • We started a new game, and the first couple songs were apparently from boy idol shows. I didn’t know them, but apparently Satinel did, and the second one in particular was Ensemble Stars, whereas I believe we had chalked the first one down to Enstars, even though that was just a contraction of Ensemble Stars as well. For the third song, the game bugged out and continued playing the clip for the second song, video and all, so I knew that wasn’t the answer, even though I began to type it in anyway just in case. However, since we were playing the game in co-op, I could see that Satinel had put in an answer of Kakuriyo, or Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi, although she wasn’t sure about it. I figured that she could hear the actual clip, so I let her answer override mine, and it was correct.
  • Later on, I was upstairs in the living room, seated on a sofa that was lined up against the south wall of the room. Kel was a couple seats away on the same long sofa, leaning against the corner part of the sofa that was in the southwest corner of the room. The sofa extended northwards from Kel‘s corner along the west wall so that it was perpendicular to the part we were on, and to the right of me was a flat-screen television, set against the east wall and facing west. Dad was in the kitchen to the north, getting ready to head to work. Next to him and the kitchen, on the east side, was an entryway to the basement where the vampire and the two girls had been playing ping pong. That entryway faced south toward me, and steps led down northwards into the darkness.
  • I was reading a book that I had recently picked up from the library, it contained a bunch of life tips and was supposedly written by some basketball player, so I was rather dubious about how useful or accurate these tips were, but it was a moderately fun read so I was already halfway through the book even though I had just only picked it up. The title of the book contained a word followed by a number, something similar to Route 11, although it might have had a subtitle after it too.
  • One of the tips I remember from the book was that the quality of home life, could be raised by leaving the television on at all times when someone was awake and present in the house, even if no one was explicitly watching it. Apparently, not only did that give people an outlet to go to when they were bored, but the sounds in general would make the house feel more homely, and electricity costs these days were negligible. The book slyly suggested leaving it on a basketball game or something like that, and that part felt extra dubious.
  • Another tip involved red flags when trying to decide if moving in with a potential life partner was possible or not. The book stated that if you couldn’t agree on a thermostat temperature to set the house to, like if your girlfriend or wife wanted to set it to 15 degrees Celsius but you needed at least 18 degrees so as to not freeze while working in your home office, then that was a big problem and the marriage would not work out. The book also said that the other extreme, setting it to too hot, was also a red flag, especially if it was set to anything above 28 degrees. I liked to set mine to 26, so I considered myself safe. The book said that you could tell when a thermostat was set unreasonably high because the cement walls of the room or house would become soundproof as the heat caused the material to thicken.
  • Lastly, the book had some picture galleries laid out in a photo album style which I realized, to my shock, included pictures of some of my friends from when they were young. I recognized Eisen and Eileen from Dunman, in their PE uniforms. I also recognized Shaun in the middle of some sort of group shot, with a yellow arrow pointed toward him, and I knew that this somehow implied (if the other pictures didn’t already) that it was plagiarized or stolen from my blog, since the arrow was something I had contextually added to a picture as part of a conversation about how I had recently learnt that Shaun was now part of an indie band touring the USA.
  • I bristled at this plagiarism at first but quickly realized something interesting — he had actually credited the pictures to their associated websites in the caption listed below each one, but the ones from my blog were being credited to some other random blogspam site whose creator had partially stolen my blog name and post titles as part of its URL, and who had copy/pasted parts of my blog in order to try to land high on Google search rankings and get ad revenue from people clicking into it. Somehow this dumb basketball player turned positive vibes book author had landed on the blogspam site, thought that was the original post, and credited that in his book instead.
  • Editor: The Shaun stuff is from My Diary #087.
Mar 23 2023
  • Snippet: I remember exploring a tall building whose floors could only be reached via a single elevator. The bottom level of the building was a food court selling a variety of things, whereas the top level of the building was a posh restaurant, staffed by waiters, which sold only one dish made out of thick Asian noodles, but they had a lot of it. I was contemplating which one to have for now and which floor to visit later, and decided to have the noodles for now since I was already on the top level when I had to make the decision and didn’t want to have to make an extra elevator trip.
  • Snippet: At someone’s house as part of some larger overarching plot, three 10-cent coins dropped into the drain part of a sink. They belonged to one of the couple other girls that were there with me. I eventually noticed that there were some coins lodged beneath the sink’s strainer but on top of the actual drain part itself, that hadn’t rolled down the drain and become forever lost yet, so I picked up the strainer, which had eight tiny brown/black pieces in it that I deemed to be dog food, and fished out four coins from underneath it. After washing the coins, I found that two of the coins were part of the three 10-cent coins belonging to the girl, and I returned them to her, although one of the coins was scuffed and stained on one side. The other two coins were larger coins, one circular and one rectangular, and both looked like they were made of a shiny glassy material with paint on them, sort of like a keychain. Apparently they belonged to the owner of the house.
  • Snippet: Lastly, I don’t remember the context but I remember reading and comparing a couple different writeups on digital screens and noticing that there were semi-hidden underlined phrases for some words that I could click on to load up a new page with information on the people or places that were underlined. Sort of like my hover text plugin on WordPress.
Mar 24 2023
  • I was watching the first episode of a 12-episode anime that just released, featuring a girl who managed to summon the leader of a defunct band as a ghost, a man dressed in all purple. She was some sort of princess and at the same time part of a team that was trying to recreate a robot or clone that could represent that man.
  • I’m not sure of the exact premise, but it was something to do with an amalgamation of music, as the song, Leader of the Band, was playing in my head, as well as soccer, as there was a scene where a defending team was desperately trying to keep the ball out of their net, while the attacking team was trying to head the ball to keep it in play and kick it past the goalkeeper into the net. And the commentators pointed at a replay at one point showing a Brazilian player writhing on the ground in fake agony and said that if he had been as enthusiastic in playing the actual game as he was in faking an injury at the point, he was actually in a prime position to score.
  • But anyway, the music and soccer scenes were somehow related to each other as well as to the reason that the group was trying to create the band leader clone, and once the princess girl did manage to summon him, he ended the episode by giving her the power to summon a version of his clone, which she did in front of the others. Someone else on her team, a scientist guy with glasses, pointed out that this clone even had basic speech capabilities, which she didn’t realize. The scientist said that this was still only just an F-tier clone though but that they could use this to develop better clones over the course of the anime season.
  • Snippet: There was something in an earlier dream about completing a form by April 4th in regards to me going abroad. I took this as a reminder to finish my application forms in real life.
  • Snippet: Also, there was something about a world which was a visual representation of my Nintendo 3DS SD card, with piles of “blocks” around the landscape represent installed things, and I was apparently having to choose between joining one side or the other in some sort of forgotten context.
  • Editor: Leader of the Band is this song, by Dan Fogelberg. Specifically, the chorus was playing.
Mar 25 2023
  • Editor: Last night, I wrote down the following dream notes:
    [2:40 AM] Shiara: Some magic mechanic, felt like in onimai, return leg of discussion whit –
    [2:40 AM] Shiara: Undid return leg of those on tv
    I have no idea what I meant to say. Onimai is Onii-chan wa Oshimai, an ongoing seasonal anime. Whit might have been a typo of white or with, I have no idea. What is return leg?

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