Archive for May, 2010

Mucking about

A year ago during my year out, at about this time, I commented on this blog that it was nearing the academic year end and all the part-time students in my office were all stressed out about their work. Well, I am back in uni and truly in the nightmarish final weeks of the year. The final review was recently concluded last week, and now a final two week to work on criticisms, praise, and comments (mostly criticisms) from the review panel in preparation for the final pin-up.

Also, I’ve applied for exchange in the final year and the current result is that the (internal) panel was undecided. I think my internal indecision about to go or not was shown all too clearly in my thesis proposal, and thrown back at me. Looks like I’m gonna have to make some personal decisions about what’s gonna happen the coming year before the panel will approve/reject.

So really, I think it’s impossible to finish Part 2 of the previous story for the next couple weeks, though I really want to.

Random whiny facts: I got the cheapest chair available in Argos after my old one, broke, and after sitting on it constantly for a whole week (with hardly any sleep I might add), my butt literally aches. Shifting positions worked for awhile, but now it aches in every position. It’s not easy to imagine having to sit on it for 2 more sleepless weeks.

Also, before the final review last thursday, I realised that my only physical contact with the outside world the whole week was when the postman called in the mornings with more parcels for Flora…

And finally, possibly the most depressing: My only sense of a day’s passage is when my sister logs in to Gtalk every morning when she goes to work in Singapore at 9am  (2am over here). It’s not a good feeling when I see her going online in my chat client and realising our last exchange was 24 hours ago when it seemed like 2 hours ago. Sunrises and sunsets, to me, only mean its time to switch off/on the lights.

Enough with the whining… and resting. Time to get on with it!!

Me and Felicia, in the studio one freezing January evening. Prior to this drawing exercise, I haven’t used a T Square and a drawing board in years!


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Some years ago, I had a strange dream. It wasn’t like a normal dream; I was partly conscious, or perhaps fully conscious – it was in the twillight zone between day-dreaming and actual sleep-dreaming.

In that dream, I was in a small mountain village. I wasn’t myself – in that I wasn’t Alex Tee; I was someone else. I looked different, had a different identity, a different history. I was perhaps in my early forties, and was born somewhere far away, in a big city, a major metropolis. For the past few years though, I had been in that mountain village – and the locals, who knew who everyone was, had began to slowly accept me as one of them.

I was running away from something – A refugee from my past. I had the sense that my appearance and subsequent settling down in that village was the culmination of a long, exhausting journey, over many places, over many weeks and months. Yet I had found respite in that village, and had started to rebuild a broken life in that mountain village.

The village was high among the mountains and lay at the foot of a huge mountain. The mountain was so dominating, so assertive, that it appeared as if the village existed entirely by virtue of the mountain. The mountain was physical, the village ephemereal. The shadow that the mountain cast on the village was real and tangible, the motley jumble of brick and concrete dwellings almost metaphysical in existence. The more affluent households had white render on their walls, and the village was characterised by steep slopes and gravel roads, well-used but meticulously kept in good condition by the villagers. It was quite a big and busy village, almost a town. This was in part due to its location as the centre of a clutch of similar villages scattered around the mountains.

I had a skill. The skill was, while not unique, relatively valuable to that village. I offered my services in return for a roof over my head, food, and for something to do to pass the time. It was partly the reason the villagers accepted me – they didn’t know anything about big metropolises, but they understood a skilled craftsman, especially a useful one, and for that reason I quickly became part of the community.


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