To say that she wrote really well would be a massive understatement. I am in awe of her naturally articulate, seemingly effortless writing style. It certainly reflected a voracious appetite for books; she read so much that I don't even know half of the writers that she mentioned in the entries that I've read. I am rather ashamed of myself, but more importantly, coming across such things - a patently clear evidence of raw, natural writing talent snuffed out by terminal illness - always makes me wonder what I'm doing with my life, as if this question doesn't repeat itself enough on a daily basis.
I suppose it is human nature (though I will admit that I arrogantly wished that I were above it) to be faced with great internal opposition when it comes to making tough and potentially hurtful decisions. At one point, my hubris was so heightened that I honestly thought that I’d mastered the skill of rational thought and decision-making, which excludes and even abhors making decisions based on feelings and emotions. As a lawyer, I was trained to examine the facts and then apply the relevant rule to those facts to determine the proper outcome of a problem. As an LLM student, I was taught the basics of rational, logical thought: to unfold an argument in a logically-connected sequence, such that Proposition B follows from Proposition A.
If only I could rationalise my way out of being human.
We just concluded a three-day experts’ meeting at work (yes, it started at 9am on Sunday) and I was acutely aware of my lack of expertise (to put it mildly) in the investment treaty law area. If the PhD doesn’t happen this year, I don’t know what I would do. I spent the first couple of years of my professional life dabbling in things that I wasn’t interested in; I think I have spent enough time keeping an open mind and trying shit out. But anyway, I will cross this bridge when I get to it. After all, the ‘future’ for me consists merely of a few months at this point.
The whole group had dinner at Chop Suey at Dempsey last night. The food was surprisingly good, as was the conversation. I spent the whole night talking to an assistant professor from NUS, a very young academic, whose profile made me green with envy when I first looked up her CV. She has two LLMs, one from NYU and from Pantheon-Sorbonne (hence, she speaks fluent French), and a PhD from Cambridge. I was intimidated by the prospect of meeting her but she turned out to be really, really nice and down-to-earth.
She’s also really chatty and brilliant at filling silences. The conversation flowed quite naturally after a while though and I spent half the time laughing, so it was really good. What struck me, though, is how refreshingly normal she is, which is a far cry from how I pictured her. It was a nice reminder that a person can be intellectual and immensely intelligent, and still be really silly and frivolous at the same time. That was really fun.
The downside is, we sat outdoors, close to the bushes and near a tree. Even though I deliberately chose a seat that was furthest from the tree, at least two huge ants fell onto me anyway. Worse still, I am currently nursing two vicious insect bites that’d ballooned into these massive bumps over the course of today. One of them is on my left foot and it is so swollen that it hurts me to walk. If it’s not better tomorrow, I’m going to wear flip-flops to work. This would be really uncomfortable for me actually because I hate wearing flip-flops; the only time I wear slippers is when I go down to the pool (I had to wear my indoor-slippers in Langkawi once because I was sick of all the sand jamming up the zipper on my sandals, which gave me great difficulty in zipping up my shoes). I really don’t even know if the flip-flops will be more comfortable on the swelling, though obviously, I certainly hope so. In any case, if my boss asks about it, I will just say that it’s his fault for choosing to sit outside! (He’s Canadian, i.e. not Singaporean – that should explain it!)
I’m really tired. Off to bed now.