Monday, July 31, 2006

Life Down Under

In a blink of an eye, two weeks has passed. After touching down here on the 19th of July, it just seemed like yesterday when I was worrying about assimilation into my new life down under. Tomorrow it will be 1 August. How time flies.

Life here has been good so far but cold. I know, I know. I have been like telling everyone how cold it is here. But coming from hot and sunny Singapore, at least allow me more time to gripe about the weather here.

My friend and I was like saying we should go for a run in this weather and start singing army songs because one of the song we fondly remember is 'When the Cold wind blow'. Here the song will be most appropriate. Cold win blows whether it is raining or sunny.

Heck, this army thing doesn't seem to be able to get out of our system. Even in a land so far away from tiny Singapore, we are still recounting the memories, the sufferings and the tekkanings. It has sort of left a permanent scar on many of our memories that it is now our second nature to talk about our days in green.

Yet, life out of the green does have it's benefits. No longer tied down, absolute freedom is top priority. Just that here everything is damn expensive. Like the bus rides here are 36 dollars for twenty rides. There are no concessions here for international students.(something that I am tempted to stage a protest about) and rides here go by zones. Very much unlike the Singapore System where we pay the distance we travel.

Still, the EZ-Link habit of mine is not totally uprooted. Here in Sydney, you just push your card into the machine, wait for it to spit the card out and take a seat. When you disembark you just disembark. But for the first few times, there was still that tendency to reach to the back of my pocket and take out my wallet to tap something before I alight. Puzzled Australians, here you have my answer.

Taxi rides here are hell. Starting fee for a cab is 4.80 and it jumps like everytime you blink. For all those Singaporeans complaining about the recent taxi hike, you have got to experience the taxi rides here. Some friends of mine are saying how cheap it is to flag a cab in Singapore. Here the temptation is there but the brain always wins. When a cab passes by, the hand stays by the body and not outstretched.

The city is nowhere near what I expected. It is very typical and more convoluted than most cities I have seen. Unlilke Melbourne's orderly city, Sydney is more cram and with roads zig zagging everywhere. Except for the opera house and the bridge, the city is pretty much as dull as Singapore. And when I heard that Queen Victoria Building here in Sydney is under the ownership of Temasek Holdings, I was quite pissed off. Amazing how you still cannot run away from the tentacles of the Singapore government.

City outings are few and far between, primarily because of the exorbitant prices of transport. So I make do with mostly the Randwick and Kingsford area which is like just next to my school. There is a beach not too far away but I have not made that effort to go down yet. Perhaps this saturday when there will be a BBQ held there.

Soccer here is bliss. All the running and no sweat. Nice weather with low humidity makes perfect weather for soccer. But probably all the rust from the lack of field soccer has made my performances abysmal at best. I got a pair of boots here as well and thanks to a very kind manager, I got free socks thrown in as well and all for a grand total of 40bucks. A steal, I reckon.

Alright, on the academic side, lessons here have been thought provoking so far, though philiosophy has been a pain in an ass. But as my friend in Melbourne told me, this was what I chose so be prepared to be responsible for my decisions. I probably choose either international business or history next semester to complement my political science major. I am still torn between teaching and business ventures. Well, I shall leave it to the end of the year to decide. I hope life will get better and I cannot wait to meet the rest of you guys back in Singapore again at the end of the year.

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