My Social Weekend,and other stories

I went to sleep, woke up with a start and then realized my Fitbit Versa’s battery was dying. So while it charges, here’s a blog post!

The first week of the semester started midweek. We had a four-day weekend, followed by a three-day week, followed by a three-day weekend. Despite all this, I am pretty tired. The four-day weekend was heaven. I got a lot of work done in my monograph, the article I’m submitting tomorrow, my novel, wrote a bunch of poems, read storybooks, cooked, and even started drawing for a new watercolour painting.

The first week of the semester mostly consisted of academic writing/research, and coordinating course slots/timetables for what is going to be my hugest intake for creative writing this semester. Not due to any popularity or knowledge of who your humble writer is, but because students are (1) required to take this course for the TESL programme (2) trying to fulfill their liberal studies credit hours. But hey, it’s great that the TESL ppl made my course compulsory, I’m grateful for it.

I also had to do various errands and shopping stuff this week. Things that run out (like meds, toiletries etc) tend to run out in batches. Soon I really need to buy new shoes (I hate shoe-shopping with a vengeance). Then came yesterday, my social day. So social I spent most of today recuperating from it. Being me, that’s angstily recuperating.

I went for a feminist reading group w/ awesome new friend and was introduced to her old friend whom I thought was quite delightful. It was a mixed bag, the reading group. I met the moderator whom another new friend and this new friend wanted me to meet. I liked her well enough. I was at first skeptical about the selected chapter from Mohanty but then warmed up to it and wanted an in-depth discussion about it. It wasn’t helped by the fact that most people either had not read the chapter, or had not understood the chapter. It kind of disintegrated into a kind of academic-bashing which really pissed me off. I was quite vocal and punchy. Partially because I was feeling a bit protective of the moderator — I am such a mama bear and I dunno why these younger academics make me feel protective. I don’t think they’d appreciate my protectiveness at any rate, they’re grown-ups and look after themselves.

So after that we (new friend and newer friend) went to Tiffin Food Court. I’d wanted to check out the food and had asked a couple of new friends if they were interested. They were. So new friend was not so happy with the wristband system and was quite vocally unhappy about it. I probably should have rescued her but I was ranging around absorbing all the things — must remember not to be in lala land when hanging out with people, I guess. I kind of like the idea of the food court but mostly I was driving myself dizzy trying to figure out what I should eat without going waaay above my calorie maintenance level. I mean I have cheat days but they’re very mindful cheat days. I was okay with the wristband system but was quite flustered about the BOOST app because I tried and tried to get the TAC and it wouldn’t work for me. The nice girls at the booth helped me figure it out and then I was ready to go. I guess like most events by this company there’s always a gimmick or thing and this one is the wristband as payment system. I sometimes wonder what came first, music festivals and food coupon systems or Burning Man. But I dig the alternate culture vibe at these festivals and I’m used to it. I probably should have explained it to friend but I think she’s giving it another go. I said I wanted to check out the food again, and apologised for not explaining stuff to her beforehand but she was all “Aiyah, small matterlah”. And that was that. 🙂

Speaking for me, I’m happy to see the foodcourt up and running after what happened last year when they had to shut down due to red tape (been there so many times within the academic context I couldn’t help a huge twinge of empathy) — I was also mildly bummed because I wanted to check it out last year. But last year I didn’t have people to go with me, and this year I do. That’s cool because it also means I can share food and won’t eat so much. I want to go again because there are some other popup stalls with food I wouldn’t be able to eat on ordinary days — places I’m too shy to go on my own. This time around, I really loved the iraqi falafel served up by Picha project. But the real hit for me was the truffle yakiniku by Tanuki Raw which gets two thumbs up from me. Also, that banana yogurt cake hit the spot (the coffee stuff looked real good but I am decaf girl and they don’t do decaf). My only real complaint is that I wish they hadn’t mass-plated up some of the food in advance because it meant the food was cold and I’m quite particular about that.

Other things I enjoyed: The general ambiance, and the music was spot on, though there may have been a wry laugh or two from yours truly. I also enjoyed the conversation muchly. It is nice to be around people who exist on the same level of silly as me, and with whom I can talk norty stuff. Very refreshing. I’m surrounded by people who take themselves too seriously at work and I always worry I’m going to be out of step or something, I never know when people are going to be offended. There were a couple of those offendable sorts at the reading group — youngsters who snapped at me so much my heartrate went up to 150! Gosh! Not going again, sorry. Even though I was assured that I was quite mannerly and mindful in my rebuttals, I don’t think I can say the same about a couple of those punters (who hadn’t read the set texts, mind).

ANYWAY, it’s nice just to be silly and laugh. Can’t remember the last time I laughed so much at a social gathering. Maybe during my PhD student days when I was also unusually social — when I finally found people to hang out with. It took me 6 months in Australia. It took me what, 7 years in Malaysia? That’s right. This month, it’s been 7 years since my return from Australia. And I’m only now having a semblance of a social life again. The year my father died. Life’s really odd like that and I wonder what Daddy would make of it. I’d like to think this pleases him. He was always so worried I was such a loner upon my return. It kept him up at night worrying about me.

I still sometimes reach out to the phone to call him out of force of habit.


This week, I am teaching a full week, and then there are a couple of events I haven’t decided if I am attending or not. I did say I might go for the SF talk, we’ll see. See my fatigue levels first. Also taking mother out for dinner on Friday night. Then Saturday I am crashing. Initially was going to go for a talk with friends  but since Sunday is our fairytale salon, have excused myself because I need an introversion crash day. Otherwise I’ll be a bear with a sore paw and no good to anyone. Also, I am still made of glass. I sometimes feel like a Victorian cliche with my delicate nerves, sigh. But if I weren’t so sensitive I wouldn’t be the poet/author that I am, I guess. For what it’s worth. Also why you won’t see me fooling around with guys even if I ever got thin enough for that to be an option. I sometimes think back in wonder — that there was a time in my early thirties that I finally dated. I was a different person in Australia. Or maybe I was just so stressed with my PhD I decided that dating would be an excellent method of procrastination.

Now, the thought of it freaks me out. I guess I’m just a nice and timid auntie now. Nevermind that ladies older than me seem to be having such happening love lives. Oh well.

Later when I wake up, I submit this psychogeography x postcolonial Gothic article. This is the one I worked on during my birthday weekend, my ridiculously expensive birthday writing retreat that should have been used for my novel. Anyway, rereading it has revealed I repeated myself too much and it reads like I wrote it drunk even though  I am straight edge. So, now no more mystery as to why it was rejected. It’s a sleeker and more lucid paper now and I have achieved emotional closure. Hoping to submit it in time. Then work on monograph. Next month, I submit the M&T article that got a peer review in 2015. A punishing peer review. Also need to submit the revised monograph proposal and the two sample chapters the very nice editor bro requested. Don’t want to let myself OR the editor bro down. So, must make it good.

Hey, I’m still learning to be an effective academic writer, here.

Right. I think my Versa should be charged enough now.

Back to sleep.

Listening to: Blood Red— The Colorist Orchestra, Emilliana Torrini