Great, two seconds after logging in I got logged out again. I give up. The time I spend on fucking Facebook uploading my fucking photos is really much better spent elsewhere, like, I don't know, doing my paper? Reading the books that I borrowed from the KR library that got my car all fucked so that I can do my paper? I'm so lazy arghhh. I can't even remember what's in my paper. Ugh. And I don't want to read it because I think it sucks. I can't possibly get it into a vaguely publishable state, by the end of the Semester 1 break!
This paper I'm talking about is my Emergencies and Legal Theory term paper for which my nice prof gave me an A+ and said that I should publish it. I was like, Yeah that's cool!, went to see him before I left for Cambodia, and was told that I should beef up some of the sections. Which is all well and good, except...I don't remember what's in my paper. I haven't looked at my paper since I got back. And because 4 out of 5 of my first-choice modules for Semester 2 are papers module, I really don't want to do any more substantial work on the Emergencies paper when Semester 2 starts. And I honestly don't even know what I wrote about. The whole human rights stuff? Pulled out of my arse. How am I supposed to substantiate that? I've never taken a course on human rights, hello? Now I wish I had, but how was I supposed to know that it would come in handy at the end of the bloody semester? And yes, I was going to pick up a Human Rights textbook from the law library after visiting the Central Library but I had to go and damage the car, which got me all scared and panicky so I didn't drop by BTC in the end.
How how how? At times like these I wish I had a smart law student boyfriend who can help me read and summarise and things like that, or someone that I can coerce into doing work for me. No one comes to mind. I don't coerce my friends and I don't like imposing on them, so okay, I'm on my own. But it's fine. Because I can do this. And I will do it.
I just need to stop putting it off. ARGH!!!!
I met some random new guy at Audrey's birthday shindig (which was fun!) and I said randomly, "I'm afraid of graduation." And I am. I am deathly afraid of graduation. All of a sudden I'm not sure if I want to be a lawyer in Singapore anymore. It just doesn't feel like what I'm supposed to do, and less pompously, it doesn't feel like what I really want to do anymore. Litigation (I am never going to anything corporate-related) honestly doesn't interest me the way international problems about democracy and rule of law and stability in post-conflict states do, all the Emergencies stuff we did. But what am I supposed to do with that? I don't know. And I can't believe that I have to apply for Pupillage July 1 next year. It seems so soon, too soon, and it's potentially able to bind me for a very, very long time, the choice I make on July 1. Of course there's always the option of not staying with the firm that you do your pupillage in, but it's more than a question of switching law firms; it's a question of whether or not I even want to continue with it, to start my lawyering career. And let's face it, honestly: As high as the starting pay is, it's really all a matter of relativity, and compared to the kind of money lawyers in Hong Kong make, the money we make is like...sometimes you wonder if it's worth it. All the hours, all that stress, the paper work, the sai gang (shit work), going back on weekends, getting pissed off by your clients, wanting to kill yourself when your client dies (you know, gets the death penalty), especially the long hours. People don't burn out so damn quickly for no reason.
But it's also not solely about the money. I need meaning in what I do. I'm not sure if staying here is enough to satisfy me anymore. But I don't know at all, really, and therefore, for more reasons than one, I DO NOT want July 1 to arrive because I am scared and I don't want to decide.
And also? Like I told Chloe last night, I feel like I'm in Year 1 of law school. I feel like I'm just starting law school. The first two years feel like they don't exist, as if I've not been through them. I didn't cherish it enough, you see; I didn't cherish it at all. But then again, I might have done things differently, but what really stimulates me in law school now are the things that I have to write papers for. Emergencies and Legal Theory, Rational Social Choice and the Law...I told Mag that I just want to write papers in my remaining semesters, which is why I don't care that I'm not doing Family Law or Biomedical Law, or anything substantial for that matter. I just want to write papers. Because I enjoy writing papers even though it pains me to no end when I'm trying to write the damn paper. It beats doing an exam, and I actually feel like I'm learning something, like I'm using my brain, when I'm writing a paper. When I'm doing an exam? I just want to rip out my hair tear out my brain stab myself in the heart fall asleep die etc.
Anyway, enough about school and work. I would like to bitch about the utter ridiculousness of the packaged tour thing that we subjected ourselves to in Cambodia.
Okay, it wasn't all that bad. It could've been a lot worse. I think Australia was a lot worse but that was 7 years ago and I don't remember it too well. But what annoyed me greatly about the packaged tour thing was the food. Our first meal in Siem Reap? CHINESE FOOD.
Pray tell: Who the hell goes to bloody Cambodia to bloody eat bloody Chinese food? I was hoping that they'd bring us to the restaurants (I wasn't dumb enough to think that we could get a couple of hours off the programme for a free-and-easy lunch) and we could like sit by ourselves and order our own food - but no. Everything was ordered. We just sat there and waited for the food and no one had a clue what was going to be served. So even though the itinerary mentioned European-Khmer food and Vietnamese food (in CAMBODIA???? WTF???) and whatnot, I felt like I hadn't left Singapore at all.
The only two decent meals I had? This buffet lunch on Day Two where my mom found this amazing amok fish thing and where I took a couple of what was supposedly Cambodian pancakes, which were yummy, and some grilled banana which was a bit too sweet but was quite nice. The other decent meal...this one is a story in itself.
So on the last night they planned some gala dinner shit at the hotel, which was all well and good - except it was at eight bloody p.m. After one long day of walking and climbing mountains and lots of steep steps to see the sunset, they thought it'd be AWESOME! to set dinner at 8 p.m. Because it was a Singaporean thing, it didn't start on time. When the doors to the restaurant opened about ten minutes after 8, we were shown to the back of the restaurant where the garden was transformed into this buffet dinner thing with candlelights on every table, and the stage was nicely done up, all looking very pretty.
I thought, Wow! This is pretty cool!
That thought quickly vanished when we discovered that we couldn't eat yet. WTF, right? My tour guide told my mom that they had something special planned, that we can start eating after the introductory programme, and that we could take soft drinks first!
Seriously. I was so hungry that I wasn't hungry anymore. You know that feeling? Waiting so long to eat that your gastric juices end up filling you up, or fooling you into thinking that you're filled up? Yeah, that was it. There were a couple of DJs and some Channel 8 actor on tour with us and they started talking, etc, and then the introductory programme, a traditional Cambodian dance that we saw the night before over dinner, started.
By that time my folks were all, This is bullshit, let's go eat by ourselves.
And so we did.
I tell you, it was liberating being able to order my own bloody food, even if it was at a restaurant in a hotel catered to tourists. Dinner was decent mostly because of that; the food itself was okay and not exactly mind-blowing and I don't see what was Cambodian at all about the "Cambodian" noodles I ordered. Oh well.
The thing about the buffet? Not only did it take forever to start, there was only one row of dishes and there were over a hundred people in that packaged tour. And we (meaning my family and I) were seated at the back. And we just can't do that rush to be the first in queue thing that Singaporeans love doing. And I really didn't care about the whole show thing because I am not a team player, I don't give a damn, if it were David Anders up there it would've been a different story but it wasn't, and did I mention that I didn't care? Because I didn't care. At all.
When we were comfortably indoors away from the rest of the Singaporeans I watched with great amusement when the buffet outside started and about ten million people crowded around the buffet table. HAHAHA.
Another bad thing about the packaged tour was that we had to do this group photo thing that involved over a hundred silly-looking Singaporeans all crowding around the steps of the bridge to one of the entrances of Angkor Wat while amused ang moh tourists stared at us as they passed by in their tut-tuts and SUVs and tour buses. But at least it didn't take that long; it was about fifteen minutes, I think.
And then there was that whole 'must wait for everyone and follow the other groups' thing (the entire tour was divided into five groups because one hundred people is just a tad too many people to manage all at once). It didn't help that the Cambodian tour guide kept saying things like, If it weren't for your itinerary which I am bound to follow, we could go to this place and that place. It made me feel like I was missing out on A WHOLE LOT. And I'm sure I missed out on a whole lot. We only spent TWO DAYS in Angkor Archaeological Park and that place is massive.
I need to go back to Siem Reap. Prior to Day Three I felt like I hadn't seen Siem Reap at all; all that I did was sit in a tour bus, get off the tour bus, walk around, go back to the hotel. It didn't feel real, it didn't feel like a foreign place, it just felt...artificial. Glazed over. You need to walk on the roads and the streets of a foreign country, preferably by yourself, to truly get a sense of the place - and I didn't get a sense of Siem Reap at all.
That is, until my mom and I crossed the road to this market opposite our hotel on the third day after we got back from seeing the sunset and all that stuff. It really does make a huge difference. I felt like I was in Bangkok when I was in Bangkok, and when we got somewhere without the tour bus, I finally felt like I was in Cambodia.
Okay, maybe I'm weird, but that's just the way in it. Therefore, no more packaged tours. Just - NO MORE. EVER. AGAIN.
There was also this annoying overly-perky and too-enthusiastic tour guide and this bloody obnoxious fat dude from another sub-group that annoyed the shit out of me and this other bloody obnoxious bald dude from the same sub-group as the obnoxious fat dude who also annoyed the shit out of me but why talk about them? Suffice it to say that they give me every reason to never go on a packaged tour ever again.
I have more to say - not about Cambodia - but this entry is long enough, and it's almost time for dinner, so maybe some other time.
PS. This was surprisingly well-written.