December 31st, 2017

Charah coffee

(no subject)

These entries have definitely not been forthcoming. This preamble is uninteresting, so I'll skip the rest of it and get to the point.

I went on a couple of dates this week - using the word loosely, that is. One of them was horrible; the other was decent but didn't quite live up to expectations. I shall explain each one in turn.

Tuesday - Polish Singapore permanent resident

The exact moment I wanted to leave the bloody date was when we were talking about LGBT rights in Singapore, or the lack thereof, and he said the following: 'I don't have anything against LGBTs. I mean, some of the people that work in my company are gay. But I find them so aggressive in asserting their rights, like they would publicly display affection. I might not want my kids to see that!'

I'm sorry, but Premise 2 - that 'LGBTs' are aggressive in asserting their rights by their displays of public affection - does not follow from Premise 1 - that he had nothing againt 'LGBTs'. If one truly had nothing against gay people, then one would not be bothered when a gay couple publicly displays affection. That one would have a problem with it clearly suggests some latent discomfort at best, prejudice at worst, against gay people. After I said that I've been told many times that my communitarian theory sounds suspiciously liberal, he said some shit about how he's not a liberal and there's nothing liberal about minority rights. He was clearly not a liberal, but I was astounded as to how blind he was to his latent conservatism. Don't pretend to be okay with gay people if you're actually not; or stop lying to yourself about being okay with them and just own your backward thinking. Of course, a conservative would object and say that they can't be open about disliking gay people because they would draw the ire of liberals like me (or rather, right-thinking people like myself). And to that I have two things to say - first, if you're going to hold rubbish views about others, then fuck yeah you deserve to be shamed for it; and second, I would take a self-aware bigot who owns his bigotry over a wolf in sheep's clothing conservative type who either deludes himself into thinking he's open-minded, or pretends to be so, anytime, anyday. Don't be politically correct for the sake of it. If you're not confident of defending your views against attacks, then maybe you shouldn't hold such shitty views in the first place.

So that was the first thing that pissed me off - and it wasn't even the most annoying. It all just went downhill from there. I literally cannot remember ever wanting to leave in the middle of a date, even when I was talking to someone really boring with whom I had no connection whatsoever (e.g. random English guy I met at Hot Numbers in Cambridge last year - good on paper because Oxford, but fuck, the conversation was dull and he kept talking about himself). But this Polish dude was seriously a champion in that regard. After this gay people comment, he started going off about how some feminists are aggressive too, like his mother or whatever. And you know it's bad when someone prefaces such a criticism with something along the lines of 'I don't have anything against the feminist cause, but...' But what, shithead? But you're not a fucking woman living in a man's world, so shut the fuck up about aggressive feminists, whose existence is caused by men like you. And how do I know that he was closet chauvinist? I was telling him about John attending a wedding in Poland with Kasia (John's girlfriend) and John telling me about how much vodka they drank. What did Dipshit say? 'Yeah even the women drink a lot.' EVEN THE WOMEN DRINK A LOT. Are you bloody shitting me? Is there something in our DNA that forbids us from drinking as much as a man? Is there something wrong with a woman drinking a lot? Or is it more the case that it's bad to drink a lot, PERIOD, regardless of gender?

It says a lot about how bloody polite and non-confrontational I am that I didn't tell him off at all. But I haven't even got to the worst bit yet. The worst part - absolutely worst part - was when he started bitching about how we Singaporeans complain about our government without knowing how good we have it. His reasons for thinking Singapore is paradise? Low taxes and safe streets. THAT WAS IT. Sure, safe streets are great, but does he know the cost that we pay for the safety of our streets? Does he know anything about the individuals that we have sacrificed to put in place a climate of tough law enforcement? If you don't know jack shit, shut the fuck up. And when I disputed his claim that you couldn't feel as safe in other places, especially Europe, he tried to mansplain to me that there are dangerous parts of London. Oh, no fucking shit, there are? Like the places that I very smartly avoided while living there because they were dangerous? Why even challenge my own experience - that I felt absolutely safe when I was living in central London and pretty much had never felt threatened abroad safe for when I went to Rome for holiday?

But even better: low taxes. In fact, that seemed to be his main reason for loving Singapore. He kept going off about how little taxes he pays as compared to the 40% he paid in Europe, which got him 'nothing' because he was too high brow to use public health care (like, is it entirely the fault of the system that you don't want to use the services that you pay for?). Does he know the downsides to these low taxes? Does he know how little benefits the government gives out to the poor?

I'm definitely not a blind government hater, and I realise and acknowledge, fully, that the government has done a lot of good for this country. But I really fucking hate it when some newcomer to the country, who has only been here a measly five years, who reaps all the benefits of our wealth and sees none of the downsides, sings the praises of a government that is far from perfect - AND has the gall to imply that Singaporeans don't know what we're complaining about when we complain about the government. Yeah, sure, a lot of people are idiots and complain for the sake of it; but not everyone is like that. Not everyone is content with how things are, not everyone is complacent, some of us actually want to see our country progress and become a better place for everyone, not just the ones in the majority. When I mentioned the lack of free speech, he said that it was fine as long as you didn't get thrown into jail for having opinions and are allowed to hold them privately and not speak out. What the flying fuck?! Does he know nothing of democratic participation, the ten million theories about democracy that stress the importance of speech? And this guy wants to acquire citizenship. PLEASE FUCKING DON'T. Singapore doesn't need another self-interested prick who votes for the incumbent every election out of concern for their bank account. We have enough of those types of Singaporeans already.

When I was trying to explain in very measured tones how, yes, I knew that the government is competent and blah, but it still has its imperfections, he actually said, 'I'll challenge you - name me a government that does a better job than Singapore's.' (I think he even said that Singapore's government is the best or some sycophantic shit.) But what would be the point of that? There is no perfect government in the world that gets everything right. Every government would be better at one aspect of governance than some other aspect. What does it even mean to say that Singapore's government is the 'best'? This is just such an empty accolade that it is utter nonsense.

To round it all off, he looked better in photos, he was shorter than me (granted, I was in heels, but still), AND he kept talking over me. Oh my god. I can't believe I talked to this clown for two hours. Why the hell am I so nice? I maintained a pleasant facade throughout but left feeling like I'd just lost two hours of my life that I could never get back. I'm also immediately put off when a guy says 'fuck' within five minutes of meeting. Come on, could we at least save that for when we know each other better? Ugh, so gross.

Needless to say, there was no contact after that. Thank god.

Friday - Singaporean dude

I'd been texting this dude for about 3 weeks or something.

Meeting him didn't really live up to expectations. He was nice enough and more or less interesting, but he kept talking about himself and I got a bit bored at one point. But I was actually quite offended when I said that I ran a 10K and he said, 'Why did you even bother?' This was after he'd told me that he ran a few marathons, and I said that I wanted to run a half.

I mean, I totally understand setting proper goals and doing things that matter, but I didn't think a 10K qualified as something that didn't matter, considering I'm not even a runner. I would've understood the reaction if I'd ran a 5K (THAT would really be a 'why bother' since I run that distance on my casual, shit-ate-too-much-must-lose-weight runs)...but that wasn't the case.

As usual, though, my hatred for confrontation and unfailing politeness ruled me and I just brushed it aside.

Meh. Sam has been the most interesting and fun so far, but he's resolutely not my type (too Matt-esque in many ways) and I'm not really in touch with him anymore. And then there's the guy in Cardiff who's definitely coming to Cambridge to meet me. He told me last night that he's actually 40 and not 35 or whatever it was on his profile and...I don't know. I'm a bit tired now so my mind isn't working too well, but yeah, I'm afraid that he's a bit too keen. But he has the most in common with me out of the men that I've talked to, so I'm willing to see how it goes.
Charah coffee

2017 in Review

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
- Visited Krabi
- Saw glow-in-the-dark planktons
- Did a puff on a cigarette; it was every bit as disgusting as I'd imagined it to be
- Did something...bad, I suppose, in Singapore. I can't say what it is because I promised not to tell, but I can say that it's nothing sexual
- Visited the US! Specifically, New York!
- Attended a white tie event/May Ball in Cambridge, all by myself
- Did a puff on a cigar; I ran into Ardie at the May Ball and he was smoking a cigar (so classy), so I tried it. It was more pleasant than a cigarette for sure
- Dated someone who knew more about literature than me
- Joined a semi-competitive tennis league, and emerging the top scoring female by the end of the summer league (too bad no prizes are handed out)
- Ran a race for fun and doing better than I'd thought I would
- Baked stuff
- Hiked up a mountain; this was at the Lake District. We started at 11.30am and only got to the pub for dinner at 7pm. I was knackered beyond belief. We were also so lucky that when we reached the almost-top, there was fog all around us.
- Became the editor-in-chief of an academic journal (or became editor-in-chief simpliciter)
- Used the word 'simpliciter'

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any last year. For 2018, I resolve to have a serviceable draft of my bloody PhD by the end of 2018.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousins.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
The US finally (New Haven, Boston, New York!), Hong Kong, Thailand (Krabi), France (Nice), Switzerland (Basel, Bern and Zurich), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), the United Kingdom (Edinburgh, the Lake District, Oxford).

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
A proper relationship with a properly compatible person who can be properly emotionally available and committed.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Probably the Magdalene May Ball because it was amazing, and the first time I saw New York (Manhattan, to be precise).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I have honestly achieved absolutely nothing this year. Well, I suppose finishing the 10K with a better time than I'd set for myself was an achievement, but it's really quite neither here nor there.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Getting dumped by some random person, a.k.a. Matt, and not having the self-assurance to leave what was obviously a shitty situation.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably my Aeropress coffee maker and the manual coffee grinder. It's saved me a lot of money as I'm making my own coffee now, and it's turning me into a proper coffee snob. I grind the beans manually every single time I make a cup of coffee - how much more pretentious can one get? But the coffee tastes so good (assuming I get the grind to the right balance between coarse and fine, and get the water temperature more or less right; otherwise, it tastes like water).

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
John and Raffie for keeping me sane in Cambridge, and for looking out for me viz. skeevy and unworthy guys (Raffie especially; I love how judgemental he is as it keeps my standards in check!). My parents, as always, for being supportive and awesome. <<< Pretty much the same answer this year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Matt, and to a lesser extent, Gareth. Oh and Bruno too, at the start of the year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Fucking school fees.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to the US, for sure.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
I can't think of anything.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
a. More or less the same. Nothing has really changed in all areas of my life.
b. Probably the same.
c. Poorer by logical necessity: still no income, still spending money; QED.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
'Write' has been my answer to this question every year. I'm glad to say that, this year, that will no longer be my answer, as I've written more in the past few months than the last few years combined. But given how little I've actually written, that says more of the dire extent to which I was not writing over the last few years than anything else.

So to answer the question: I wish I'd stood up for myself and what I deserve more against shitty, indifferent, useless men (Matt and Gareth), and got out of shitty situations before getting my ass dumped.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Given Matt way too many chances than he'd deserved (or even wanted, probably). Definitely should have called it quits with Gareth when he apparently forgot our date.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Last day in Krabi; got up at 7am for breakfast, wrote a bit while facing the sea, packed my stuff, went for lunch, got to the airport too early and sat around reading Midnight's Children, slept on the plane, got back to Singapore at 6.30pm, had dinner at a Penang restaurant, got home at 9pm. Then I watched Iron Fist and slept.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Hell to the fucking no, thankfully.

22. What was your favorite TV programme?
Daredevil! Oh my god, season 1 was the best. It was so Batman Begins-esque. The Good Place is amazing too: Kristen Bell and nerdy philosophical jokes can never do any wrong. I also really liked Luke Cage. It started off slow, but I love the political overtones and the focus on Black America. The soundtrack, too, is fantastic.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Ahahahaha. I don't hate him but I definitely do not like Matt anymore. Actually, I think I'm pretty much indifferent.

24. What was the best book you read?
Virginia Woolf's The Waves, Philip Roth's The Human Stain, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I can't think of anything, sadly.

26. What did you want and get?
To go to Yale/the US.

27. What did you want and not get?
A published paper. Fuck.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Honestly, nothing comes to mind.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was in Bern with my parents. Went to the Rose Garden and the Paul Klee museum. I was 31.

30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
For sure: finally seeing New York. Oh my, I really want to go back. And doing my solo open-sea-swimming trip in Nice; that was absolutely amazing.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
I'm always classy innit.

Seriously, I love buying classy-looking things at a discount, such as the yellow Warehouse dress I wore today that I bought for 12 pounds.

32. What kept you sane?
My friends, without a doubt.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Not into this anymore.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Gay rights issues.

35. Who did you miss?
My family and friends, especially Barry when he left Cambridge. I still miss him.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Ivan! It's always nice to have another friend that I can be personal and intellectual with, all at once.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
NEVER lower your standards. NEVER give an unworthy man the time of day. ALWAYS trust your instincts and get the fuck out when the shit starts to stink (which actually, by definition, if it's shit, don't even go there; just don't). ALWAYS put your pride above everything else when it comes to men. No one who makes you feel small and inadequate will ever be worth it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.