anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

Yes, I can speak English, thank you very much!

I just had a phone interview with Cambridge's language centre; it was part of my English language assessment. The purpose of the phone call was solely to examine my speaking skills and the interviewer made it clear that I wasn't assessed on content. I took that as a carte blanche to be really informal and to say whatever came to my mind, such that sometimes, I didn't even answer the question.

Case in point: the interviewer asked me why I chose to study law. I replied, with no filters whatsoever, speaking off the top of my head, "Actually, I've never wanted to do law."

At least she laughed at that.

I went on to explain that I found myself in law school when I obtained 3As and A1 for GP for the A Levels; that I tried to switch to English in my first year but unfortunately didn't get into Cambridge; but that, in the end, I was glad to have discovered human rights because I would've been quite unhappy otherwise. I could have (should have?) waxed lyrical a little about how law is ultimately a noble profession and how ideas of justice and fairness that the law embodies fit with my own ideals and how, despite being quite cynical about many things, I still believe that the law is about justice, fairness, equality, and that there is a necessary connection between law and morality...but alas, that would've taken me ages to articulate and I would've lost the plot halfway through my spiel, so I'm quite glad I kept it informal and light-hearted.

She also asked why I chose to do my PhD in the UK. I gave another non-answer by saying that what I actually wanted was to do my PhD in Cambridge because it is my dream school. I added something about being attracted to its historical tradition, and pre-empted a possible 'why not Oxford?' question by saying that a couple of my professors from Singapore did their doctorate degree in Cambridge too. The interviewer seemed to accept it; she said, 'That's as good a reason as any.' (Or something along those lines.)

I would be really surprised if my interview and online language assessment didn't make the cut. If that were the case, I would definitely be sending out an angry letter or two.

Still, as much as I understand that Cambridge is only doing what the Tory government made them do, nonetheless, I find it insulting that I have to fulfill a language condition. I can't begin to understand why Singapore isn't on the UK government's list of countries whose nationals are exempt from providing evidence of competence in English. Sure, we have Singlish, and the average Singaporean doesn't have goodd English; but I think the fact that I applied to do a PhD in law, have a law degree, have a Masters degree with distinction from the LSE, am a qualified lawyer in Singapore AND in England & Wales (will be official on 15 July!), kind of shows that I have pretty good English. In fact, it's common knowledge that a Singaporean who has been educated overseas, especially in the social sciences and humanities, has a better command of English than a European with a similar background!

Oh well, at least they allowed me to take the internal assessment, which is free; otherwise, I would've had to cough up $320 for the IELTS and to spend a precious Saturday doing the bloody assessment.


I am so unproductive at work that it is embarrassing. I keep getting distracted by rubbish on the Internet, especially when I am trying to read a really dry resolution passed by some maritime committee or other. It also doesn't help that Emily, my colleague, is a massive distraction too! I spent about an hour in total today sitting with her and another colleague in the downstairs office just talking rubbish and not doing any work.

I just took on an additional project - write a chapter on human rights in Singapore - which is due at the end of August. My CIL contract ends in August, which means that I have to get this Rohingya article out by then. I don't even know what the hell I'm going to write about and what angle I will examine the issue from, so...bonne chance à moi!


American Mark wanted to play tennis on Sunday, but all the accessible public courts are already booked. I am trying to get him to go to that Meetup in Yew Tee - the same Meetup where we met a few weeks ago. He waffled a bit about it, and hasn't replied to my email in which I attempted to convince him to go, but I hope he goes. If he doesn't go, I'd rather just play singles somewhere else. It's not like you run that much when playing doubles, and I still suck at the net anyway.

I have three Marks in my phone now (four if you include one of my LSE classmate's boyfriend). I have to think for a couple of seconds which one messaged me when I see the name pop up on my locked screen. It is...weird.


I woke up on Sunday with a sore throat, and got an MC from the doctor yesterday. I went to work today and had a short swim when I got home.

Now my throat is no longer sore but my passages feel really congested. It is too hot in Singapore. I felt kind of ill already on Saturday afternoon when I was playing tennis with my neighbour. (I did, however, hit the ball really well that day.)

That said, whenever I complain about the heat, all I have to do is to think of how badly I will be freezing in Cambridge later this year to shut me up.
Tags: american mark, cambridge, cil, law, playing tennis, work

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