Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Purim Festival

Last week was the Israeli festival of Purim, it's a bit like secret Santa and Halloween all combined into one... and so one of the Israeli students co-ordinated this holiday for all of us here in Singapore. The idea is that you're supposed to give a secret gift (typically food, or something small and nice) to a person, and then the following day, you dress up, and then reveal yourself to your recipient.

It was completely hilarious to see everybody in their costumes on Friday! I think the professors had a good laugh at all of us too! And so much creativity! Photos are up on Picasa... there were these people who rented half of a bunny suit (ie, the ears half), one girl and a guy who dressed up as brides, among others.

As for me, I had a pair of scrubs that I got from a PM implant case some time ago. I've been using them as pajamas, but thought it'd work well for my costume. So, I found some shower caps, used them as shoe-covers, and wore another one as a hair net. And no, I'm not a doctor, I'm a male nurse.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

More haircut experience...

It was time for a haircut again, and after the disasterous pre-Chinese New Year's haircut experience at the local HDB barber, I decided to try something more upscale. Our classes let out early on Friday, so some of us went to Bugis Junction, a shopping center near the city centre. It's actually quite interesting.. It used to be a real street, with traditional shophouses, but they've now covered the entire street, and knocked out the spaces between shophouses to convert it into a shopping mall. It's a nice experience, because you feel like you're walking in the city, but it's nicely air-conditioned.

This time, I went to a hair salon to get my haircut, and it was a nice experience. SG$30 for a wash and a cut (about $25).. the process though was interesting. First you get seated, and they bring you two magazines to read (Maxim and some auto magazine... neither of which I was really interested in). And with my vision, I can't see without my glasses. =) Then they do a pre-wash scalp massage, the haircut itself, and a post-cut wash. A very nice experience, BUT... they tried styling my hair in the latest 'Japanese pop-star' look. (ie, long in the front and back, but short on the sides). A little wierd... then she shaped my hair into a bit of a mohawk!

but then I noticed all the other people in the mall.. definitely was catering to a younger crowd.

In all - a more relaxing experience than the last one.. the luxurious treatment was a plus. That reminds me - I'll need to blog about how I learned that massages and facial treatments are actually acceptable for guys here...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wintery cold spell in Singapore...

It's been super-cold here in Singapore the past few days, setting a new cold record in the past 74 years.. It's so bad that people are actually buying sweaters and jackets... because the temperature has dipped down to a chilly 25C (77F), and even better, a frigid 21.8C (71 F) at night. (I particularly liked the 21.8 precision on the temperature). It's time to buy some space heaters here!

Can you believe it? It's freezing cold!

This recent article in the Straits Times (Singapore's main paper) detailed the consequences of last weeks cold-spell, to the amusement of nearly everybody else who has lived in the Northern hemisphere.

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, it's coming out of the near absolute zero super-deep freeze at 40F...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

P1-P2 Indonesia Break

Life is non-stop at INSEAD.. after finishing my last exam on Weds afternoon, I went straight to the airport to join a bunch of other classmates to travel around the SE asian region, and then returned on Sun afternoon for Monday classes.

One of my classmates, an Indonesian national, was arranging a trip to Jakarta and Jogjakarta, where we could visit some ancient ruins of Hindu and Buddhist temples, as well as get an idea of Indonesian culture. It was a fantastic 4 days. I had previously read so much about Indonesia, mainly negative things in the press, but this trip was a good awakening to what Indonesia was really like. The people were friendly and warm, but you also have to realize that it is still a developing country, and that there is a lot of poverty around you. But in the end, this trip accomplished everything I wanted... to get personal perspective of life in Indonesia, and travel to a new country, explore a new culture and society.

I've posted a set of photos on my Picasa page: http://picasaweb.google.com/kent.x.lee/JogjakartaIndonesiaTrip/ More stories to follow later...

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

P1 Exams!

Wow - I had forgotten what studying for exams are like. I don't think I've bad actually sit still for more than 3 hours in the past 6 years. And doing that twice. Ok, well, maybe for GMAT..

Things get kinda nutty when you're under stress, studying all weekend, and then doing 2 exams, then studying frantically again for another 2 exams the following day.

Nuttiness #1: I realized Feb 29 was an extra day that we had this year... a once in every 4 year treat. I used it as an extra day for studying... what would I have done without this extra day? I hope everybody else used their extra day for something more exciting

Nuttiness #2: I've been taking showers at night because of the heat, and last night, I found myself shaving after brushing my teeth. Only after shaving did I realize that it wasn't the morning, but it was actually the evening! I'd completely lost track of time, couldn't tell morning from evening. Especially when it all looks the same - get up, go to school, study, go home, sleep. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Well - one more left - statistics! Then it's off that same night to Indonesia with some classmates for our 4 day break. Hope to have some nice pics up when I return..