Archive for August, 2009

aunties and uncles

Recently found Danger Overseas, from the new Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery series in the library.

(Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys are now featured in their respective and combined new series in which their adventures are recounted in first person, instead of third person, as in the older stories. And YES I still read Nancy Drew books. :P)

In any case, I found this excerpt from the book rather interesting:

“It sounds amazing, Aunt Estelle,” I said.

“Nancy Drew, I am surprised to hear such lazy adjective usage from you.” Aunt Estelle told me a bit severely. “The word ‘amazing’ should not be used as a substitute for ‘interesting’ or ‘fascinating.’ Its meaning has more to do with being startled or shocked. I know that many young people today are, shall we say, cavalier in their use of overheated vocabulary to convey perfectly ordinary sentiments, but I believe you can do better.”

I could feel my cheeks reddening. “Um–sorry, I think.” I glanced at my friends Bess and George for help.

“Don’t look at us,” George told me. “Just accept it.”

“I would if I understood what it meant,” I retorted.

Aunt Estelle unexpectedly burst out laughing. “Touché!” she exclaimed. “I’m sorry dear. I was being pompous.”

“Aunt” Estelle isn’t actually my aunt. She’s the great aunt of George Fayne and Bess Marvin, who are my best friends and happen to be each other’s cousins. I call her Aunt Estelle because she asked me to. “It’s just what I’m used to,” she said.

The front bit about language change (lexical change) aside, it was the last bit that piqued my interest and reminded me of something I learnt in class; that addressing elders as auntie or uncle was unique to some varieties of Asian English.

From my Hist Variation notes:


Kandiah uses the example of the word uncle (also auntie) (in Lankan English [LkE] [Sri Lankan English], as we as in SgE). In BrE and other Older Varieties, the term refers to the brother of one’s parents or in certain situations to ‘honorary’ older males that one is familiar with. In LkE and SgE, the term is used in those ways as well as to older male adults that one is not familiar with (from point of view of children) of equal social status, or an adult male in position of higher authority whom the speaker views with affectionate identification even while recognising distance (respect).

In other words, uncle and auntie were not adopted directly from BrE [British English] but were transformed through interaction with the new cultural contexts, so that the terms now have a different range of meanings.



I quite like this 2008 entry from Taiwanese writer Wu Danru’s blog:















from here

adjectives and nouns

Today (technically yesterday) during 19th C lecture the prof asked us for adjectives to describe Wuthering Heights (I think she meant the place, not the book).

Then someone said, ‘Farm.’ (I think this was swiftly followed by ‘Moor.’)

And the best thing was that the prof said nothing to contradict the contributors!!!

Ridiculous! I immediately turned to Siew Hui next to me and started complaining to her about some people’s inability to distinguish between adjectives and nouns, grrr. And she replied that they should get more English majors to come to class.


After fashion show rehearsal in school today, I went to Clementi Central and saw an uncle selling Singapore Sweep tickets. So decided to buy one for fun. First time buying a Singapore Sweep ticket! Lol.

After I had paid, I whipped out my ezlink card and showed it to the uncle, to prove that I am over 18. He was totally taken aback, and his face immediately displayed a 措手不及 expression. HAHA. I bet I’m the only customer ever to do that voluntarily.


over food

So I had my last dressmaking lesson yesterday. Nobody was in the mood to do anything. Only A and I were hard at work completing our skirts. :P

The sky looked threatening at around 4 pm, so we all ended our lesson early and piled into of the aunties’ SUV, which was a striking deep metallic cerulean, and went to our instructor’s house.

We put all the food on the long table and went around the house, opening doors to check out the rooms.

After that, the best part of any gathering: FOOD!

Our instructor used studied dressmaking in Italy a long, long time ago. She made angel hair pasta with chicken bolognese……


and also a salad (which we ate with Italian dressing).

A brought stewed chicken wings from Crystal Jade (very nice!) and another aunty made konnyaku jelly:


In the foreground are Japanese cheesecake cupcakes I made. They were sadly sunken (I think it was because I opened the oven not very long after I’d put them in). But they still tasted delicious. :)

Another aunty had gotten her aunt, who’s of Peranakan descent, to make the Nonya kuehs in the background. (This aunty came to the lesson just to pass us the kuehs, even though she had something on and couldn’t make it for the party! So nice!) The kuehs were VERYVERYVERY NICE! I had never tasted anything remotely like that before. :)

After that we sat around a bit before having a second round of food: durian! :P

Anyway all the aunties left the gathering close to 9 pm, whereas I stayed until almost 11 to finish my long black crepe skirt. :)

Can’t believe 12 weeks and 12 lessons have just passed like that. Time flies. Really.

over food

So I made my way to the NUS Guild House for the FASS Mentorship Dinner Reception. Apparently, 96 takes a million years to come in the evenings, so I reached the place quite late. But it was still cocktail period; everyone was still milling around the posh lobby sipping drinks and eating peanuts.

After that we made our way into the banquet room. Was seated next to my mentor, whom I shall call Merrily, as her name sounds like that ;) ; and some other strangers. Lol.

After long dreary speeches and souvenir-presenting sessions, we could finally have dinner! It was served buffet style, so we had to serve ourselves.

I finally put my etiquette skills, learnt at Shatec eons ago, to good use.

I decided to eat in proper order. First, had bread with delicious mushroom soup. Then I decided it was too troublesome to get the salads and main courses separately, so I took a bit of everything. And finally rounded off my meal with dessert – that’s the whole point of dinner!

Anyway my mentor didn’t talk to me much :P – she talked to her ex-mentee from the last academic year and seemed pretty distracted (her sons were acting up at home I guess). So I mainly talked to this girl next to me. Her mentor, from the STB, didn’t attend. I assume there was an emergency meeting to deal with falling tourist arrivals? I also listened to this other mentor who’s from the Singapore Media Academy, who told us the trials and tribulations of being in the media industry. Long hours, late hours, no life, etc.

And during times like these, the temptation to become a taitai is especially strengthened.


third day of school

Very long and busy day.

First off in the morning:

EL 4200 Research Workshop
As part of the preparation for writing research papers or Honours Theses in language studies, this module aims to help students understand the methodological strategies, modes of justification and argumentation, criteria for evaluating claims, analyses and theories, as well as expectations and conventions governing research in diverse fields of inquiry in the area. The major topics will include research questions; research claims; methodologies, evidence and argumentation; critical evaluation of claims, evidence, and argumentation; and rhetorical conventions and strategies.

Prof Mo seems interesting and challenging enough; we’ll see how this goes.

Ah and he actually said that Medicine and Dentistry should be part of FASS cos we all deal with human beings, heh. :)

After that had to rush to Computing for my Physics lecture:

GEK 1530 / PC 1328 Life as a Complex System
The main objective of the module is to fascinate the students with the concept of interpreting life as a complex system by critically analyzing discoveries from Biology, Physics and Chemistry in a stimulating and unconventional fashion.

Some of the stuff seems to have been taught in JC Chem.

Lunch perked me up considerably. CAI FAN!!! Love the cai fan at Frontier. Everyone looks at me oddly when I rave about Frontier’s cai fan but KN agrees with me that it is simply delicious. Nicer than arts’, and way nicer than biz’s.

Then rushed back to Arts for my last lecture:

EN3261 / EU3217 European Literature I
This module explores a selection of generally short, popular, and major European literary works which work with the legacy of Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism in the new context of post-World War Two Europe and the rise of the European Union; several texts are by Nobel Prize winners, and all are acknowledged as “contemporary classics.” Various genres are represented, and the module takes a relatively wide sweep across Europe. In addition, filmed versions of the texts are considered where appropriate and available. The module therefore will explore texts both in their own right and as representative examples of major tendencies and developments of an essentially European tradition.

I haven’t seen Prof Turner for ages! (He taught me in my first year first sem.) Yes he does seem to make a joke out of everything. :P

And this is another class full of unfamiliar faces. :P

Thank goodness the weekend’s here.

second day of school

EN 3223 Nineteenth Century Literature & Culture
The module will cover selected poetic and prose writings from the Victorian period, an age that witnessed the nineteenth century’s most historically important developments. Students will be directed to study literary and other cultural works with the historical context in mind.

I haven’t been in a class full of strange faces for quite some time! (Most of the students are third year Literature majors.)

Anyway sometime during the class the prof started mentioning a long long long list of books and stuff  we were supposed to have read cos we’re Literature students; luckily I’m not, cos I hadn’t even heard of 90% of what she’d mentioned.  HAHA.

Lunchtime; the Deck was well and truly crowded.

EL 4252 Interactional Discourse
This module focuses on how the phenomenon of discourse might be analysed and will consider how a number of frameworks can be used in a complementary fashion to give a fuller description of discourse. These include the frameworks of register and genre; speech-act theory; co-operation; face and politeness; exchange structure and conversation analysis. This module is appropriate for students reading or intending to read English Language honours.

Hahahahaha PETER TAN is back! With big bowtie in tow. :D

OH this module seems to have many readings!!! :P

Okay tomorrow I have a free day!!!! :D

first day of school

Last night I couldn’t sleep until 4 am, and this morning I woke up 15 minutes to noon.

And my first lecture, GEK 1530 was at 12 pm. So I missed my very first lecture. And was totally blase about it. Haha.

Was slightly early for my next class though.

EL 4880 Topics in English Language
This module will be taught by a member of staff or a visiting senior academic and the topic will be in an area of his or her specialisation.

The prof Peter Wignell wears a gold hoop earring in his left ear! So pirate-y.  And the topic he teaches is called Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG), which is like lexicology and syntax and a whole lot more of cheem stuff thrown in.

Enough said.

Okay better sleep early. Night!

lawless newton

The day after my birthday, Ahgong, KH and ZQ took me out for dinner.

Prior to that, Ahgong asked me where I wanted to eat, I said someplace cheap, and decided on Newton Food Centre.

So I reached Newton at slightly past the arranged time, and was inwardly congratulating myself for my absolute punctuality. Then I found out everyone was there already. :P

And hence we ventured into the lawless place that is Newton Food Centre. Almost immediately, we were beset by people showing us to empty tables, offering us menus and offering to take our orders. Was a bit taken aback since I’ve never been there before.  Totally unlike the East Coast Food Centre.

So anyway we sat down. This (Malay? Indian?) guy from a drinks stall plonked his menu down on our table. That menu surely deserved an anthropological study of its own; it boasted an amazing array of colourful drinks. So we ordered drinks first.

Some aunty with a beehive hairstyle a la Marge Simpson had placed her menu at our table, and she looked kinda annoyed when we asked her to take it back cos we didn’t really wanted to order yet. :P

I suddenly announced, to everyone’s amazement, that we should order from the stall that ripped off the tourists in that infamous tiger prawns case. But we didn’t know which stall it was, so.

We ordered from a friendlier auntie instead. I insisted on having sotong youtiao and didn’t really care about other dishes. So we ordered sotong youtiao and sambal stingray and some green veg. The sotong youtiao was delicious – piping hot fried stuff’s usually delicious – and so was the stingray, which tasted somewhat refined as compared to the famous Old Airport Road Food Centre version. But the veggies tasted somewhat blah – we should stick to seafood dishes next time! :)

While we were eating the Marge Simpson auntie walked past us.

KH: 刚才那个auntie走过的时候,还瞪我们一眼!
Me: You dunno meh, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

After that we MRTed down to Orchard and ended up in Taka cos I wanted gelato. Shared two scoops with ZQ; we had coffee and passionfruit – one rich and one really sour. Haha!

The boys wanted to check out the toys department – now what is it with boys and their toys? :P So we went to see the toys. And ended up photowhoring there. Second time doing that; the first was Toys ‘R’ Us VivoCity in 2007.

And oh KH very nearly gave me a litte DIY Gundam figurine, but luckily he didn’t, or else I’d probably name it Sweetheart. Haha. :D


Was totally astounded when I read this article in Mind Your Body on Thursday:

Speak Singlish to your baby and that is what your tiny tot will pick up.”Children will use the language they are exposed to and familiar with. If family members use Singlish, the baby will likely pick up the colloquialisms, rhythm and speech patterns that make up Singlish,” said Ms Fiona Walker, principal director of Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning and Chiltern House.

“Children who are exposed to both standard English and Singlish can switch effortlessly. This ability to switch between codes of communication will be modelled on their parents, grandparents and teachers,” she added.

excerpt from Baby hear, baby speak by June Cheong

An article which mentions Singlish but fails to slam it to the ground? I swear this must be a first for ST!!!



In bidding round 2A, there was only one vacancy for EN 3223 Nineteenth Century Literature & Culture. By the time open bidding ended, the highest bid was 2895, extremely ridiculous for a Literature module.

Siew Hui told me to just bid, since I couldn’t use these point anywhere else anyway. So I threw in 3200 and won! Ridiculous really. :P

(Samuel’s right; in the next few sems people will be checking the bidding statistics and being astounded by my bid.)

In the same round, I put in 500 for EN 3261, European Literature I, which also had one vacancy left. The winning bid was 1311. Seriously lar!

The most ridiculous thing was, in round 3A, there were suddenly 8 and 9 vacancies for EN 3223 and EN 3261 respectively. And the lowest successful bid for both modules was the grand amount of 1 point! I had just put in 2 points for EN 3261 for fun, and very happily got it for 1 point.

Isn’t this utterly ridiculous?!

Or maybe I just don’t get economics. Ridiculous.

finally a break

Finally, a week’s break after those mad months.


I can’t believe I woke up before 9 am this morning; I was planning to sleep in until noon!!!

In other news, Grand Dotter is back! WELCOME HOME!!! :D

after freedom was regained

Had a very busy day today.

General Bio exam first thing in the morning. The place was like a maze, almost couldn’t find the lab which was the exam venue.

60 MCQs;  some were quite tricky. Possibly harder than writing the usual two essays cos one had to figure out each option, especially when they looked like this:

I. x
II. xx
III. xxx
IV. xxxx
VI. xxxxx

A. I only
B. I and II
C. I, II and III
D. IV and VI
E. none of the above

And some of the questions were phrased so awkwardly (I wouldn’t even consider those Singlish!) that it was a pain trying to figure them out. Bleah.

And if I ever see endoplasmic reticulum or Golgi complex ever again I shall shoot myself. :P

After that had to rush for my fashion show rehearsals.

Quite amazed by what some of the designers have come up with in the past month while I was fretting over assignments, papers and tests! :P

And spending a few hours with tall, skinny girls with impossibly long legs makes one feel like a trainwreck. Naturally.

Anyway my models were great. Very glad.

After that had to rush off to dressmaking class.

No wonder the other time Jaewai commented that ‘你的脚瘦了很多!’ and I was quite surprised as I hadn’t been running lately, and she asked me if  I had been doing a lot of walking then. More like rushing.

Everyone was surprised when I burst in more than an hour late. One of the aunties said ‘young girl not here, very quiet’. But the other young girl – this Malay girl who’s majoring in Computing and going to be a fourth year in NUS like me – was there! But she doesn’t turn up often, so.

Anyway I confirmed that  I am indeed the youngest in class as the Malay girl was born in 1986! :D

Free at last!

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