Thursday, August 21, 2014

Close in Heart

"Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart."

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lessons from Summer School

She is herded in relentlessly together with her companions. More are muscling their way in as she gets carried along helplessly through to the centre. Her hands grab on to keep her balance, briefly exposing the white pack attached to her shoulder. In that whirlwind of a split-second, it is pulled open and invaded. Just like that, it is gone.

I’ve just returned home from summer school in Shanghai! This will explain my absence for the last few weeks 미안해 As it is well-known, China blocks many websites including Facebook and Google, which Blogger is part of. I meant to update the blog once I came back but straightaway had a paper due on Friday, so I’ve actually been back for about a week but am only able to get back to blogging now. It has been absolutely freezing these few days with the temperature staying below 5 degrees! I’ve had to lug out my huge padded jacket to just stay alive, otherwise I'd probably already be dead and trapped inside some glacier somewhere in the Eastern suburbs

Group photo at the scenic River Bund with some of our professors. S from Malaysia brought his selfie stick over and apparently it's really common and cheap there! Can anyone spot me peeking out from in there on the right? Attempting to gain some height

Summer school wasn’t too bad Actually, anything with “summer” in it sounds pretty good right about now. Because the unit was part of the cultural industry or cultural economy course, it was very different to my course of study and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to understand the classes. At least it was carried out in English by our own uni lecturers, so there wasn’t that worry of struggling to understand the language and communication part of it. It was rather tiring, with lectures and field trips back-to-back the entire day. As one can imagine, there was barely any private or rest time for us, except when we were back in our hotel rooms to catch up on sleep.

The weather in Shanghai was very warm and humid, much like Singapore’s tropical weather. It was nice to escape Melbourne’s insane wintry weather for a few weeks! I did notice the air there though was strangely thick and heavy (may be the humidity), and when coupled with heat haze and people freely smoking even in air-conditioned areas like shopping malls and taxis, it made my head very heavy and achy and I felt quite sick

I stayed on for a few days after the summer school ended, and did a bit of shopping and souvenir-hunting during the time. Can you believe the price of this skirt is less than $10 Aussie dollars? It is such a bargain! The material is pretty thick too, like a stretchable polyester nylon kind of material. The little embellishments at the bottom are pearls

Cute maroon skater skirt for a bargain price!

In other more serious news, I also found out the hard way about organised crime in Shanghai. On the last day of summer school I was with the uni mates boarding the train in the evening as we were planning to go for dinner. This was during the horrific peak hour when everyone was cramming in and you’d have skin stuck to your skin and it was just hot and suffocating and people were really forcing and pushing their way in. And during this time, I had my handbag unzipped and wallet stolen My sunglasses from inside my bag fell onto the floor at the entrance of the door so the police surmise it’s likely they went straight for the wallet and ran out of the train just before the doors closed, leaving behind my sunglasses in their haste. Apparently this is extremely common and these pickpockets are highly trained and most belong to a pickpocketing ring. The police didn’t seem too concerned and it seemed like I had become just another victim in their string of numerous cases Needless to say I was terribly distressed over the whole situation and frankly quite disturbed over how someone could come that close to me and rummage through my belongings like that. The police though did attempt to console me saying fortunately my passport wasn’t stolen as well cos it would mean I would have to be stuck in Shanghai longer. Which is very true, thank God.

Pickpocketing aside, I had a nice but tiring time in Shanghai. Warning to everyone else thinking of heading there (or anywhere else for that matter) to be extra careful with your belongings