Friday, July 27, 2007

So the detritus of my life in the past year sits in the doorway of my empty apartment, squished, crammed, and stuffed into two big black suitcases. Two large overweight, overwrought monoliths bearing the bits and pieces of me, the memories scarcely contained, threatening to spew forth the minutiae of my life at the slightest provocation.

Cristo Redentor and the favelas of Rio De Janeiro overlook, with telling eyes and a knowing smile, my silent wardens of the year past. A cursory glance across the room reveals pockets of this and that, bits and pieces, kniks and knacks, a half used notebook, a ticket stub, a boarding pass. Pieces of me I have no space to accommodate but no heart to throw away. It's a peculiar vertiginous sensation, looking around this now empty room with too few windows and too many dust bunnies. John F Kennedy looks back, spewing his tired wisdom exhorting us to question authority and push for change and yet here I am full circle, in an empty room and too many bags.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

This is all your fault Ms. Yap!

That on my penultimate weekend in Chicago, I am sitting in my apartment eating chinese takeout while maniacally watching Ugly Betty.

That said, it's really a pretty good series. A bit heavy handed at times (oh who am I kidding, this is camp that Cher would be hard pressed to top) but it is very brave in terms of some of the rather complex issues the show's chosen to tackle.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Growing up

Reading past entries of old blogs and reliving old memories, old pictures, old sights has induced a serious sense of vertigo.

Friends, can you believe that it's been three years since we ourselves were rolled in barrels and covered in flour and made to wear ridiculous costumes? I sure can't.

So I was asking cx what year 4 was going to bring when it struck me that this is the cusp, the true edge, the precipice beyond which we become true adults, responsible for our own keep. Are you ready for that?

I mean I'm unspeakably excited for actually start working but being a real grown up, now that's a whole different ball game. For starters, does anyone know how to file taxes?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Public Service Announcement! for all your furnishing needs!


Monday, July 09, 2007

The gift that doesn't stop giving.

As you guys know, one of the main reasons why my year abroad has been so phenomenal is the Jessup Competition. I haven't written about it much in detail in part because I haven't had the chance to organise my thoughts, photos documenting the arduous, enriching and altogether one of a kind experience are in cameras of friends flung across the continent and a deep seated apprehension that words simply won't do it justice. (Plus I'm a procrastinator in the greatest degree but you guys already knew that).

Recent events however, have reignited my ambition and so here I am, attempting to give you guys a semblance of what Jessup 06/07 was like. (Fear not, said recent event will be made clear in the course of this entry. :) )

First though, the Brady Bunch:

These are the people who I have come to know and love as some of the most warm spirited, dedicated, hardworking and loyal people around. As the army has shown me, adversity, a shared experience, a common goal and long hours in confined areas tend generally to bond a group of people like no other, subject to the caveat and very real possibility that you don't end up killing each other first of course, and this has been no exception to that rule. For a period of close to 6 months, we spent at least 4 intensive hours twice to three times a week and in the months closer to the competition, 12 to 14 hours, 7 days a week in each other's company, picking brains, editing sentences, poking holes, arguing incessantly, coming close to fighting all in pursuit of a single goal.

We truly were a special team. The synergy and cohesion was palpable everytime we were together. At the risk of utmost corniness, we were honestly different pieces that made up a functioning, performing whole. Luke was the brain, brilliant beyond words, he always found a weak spot in my arguments. Marguerite was an administrator extraodinaire, keeping us on our toes making sure we had some place to moot and some professor to moot against. She was also the mother figure, bringing in cinnamon rolls, muffins and sweet treats which I suspect were more than a little responsible for my vastly expanding waistline. Rachel was the passionate firesparker, always ready on the get go, always pushing us on, always keeping the buzz in the room when the nights dragged on and when taking a break meant catching a cat nap in the student lounger at 5 am only to have to return in an hour. Ashley was full of ideas, innovative, creative and always armed with an unexpected comeback, she was responsible for more than a number of arguments that no one else at either the regional or international level put forth.

You see friends, what I really can't replicate here is the sense of pride and accomplishment I get every time I think back on the hours we spent arguing with each other, mercilessly editing sentences over and over again and the resulting end product. What makes the experience all the more priceless and honestly unbelievable is that we were a self made team. While we had fantastic coaches, they will be the first to admit that our memorials, our arguments, our awards are one hundred percent ours, honed from seemingly interminable brainstorming sessions and research sprees. We developed our case theory from scratch and because we were all involved in the research process, any of the five of us could have argued any position on any point. That, I am proudest of. Friends, I do not say it lightly when I say that this has been the experience of my life. Being involved from its infancy to the very end where till this date, we are still receiving pleasant surprises has been nothing short of an exhilirating and enriching journey and most importantly, an honour.

So, what brought forth this spiel you ask. Before that, some background information. The Jessup competition has 3 memorial prizes. The Evans award, given to the best memorial in the international rounds, the Dillard award, given to the best memorial amongst the best memorials in each region around the world (because a team can win best memorial but not advance out of the regionals) and the Baxter, which is the best of the top 10 Evans and Dillard memorials.

This evening, I received an email telling me that our team's respondent memorial was the recipient of the Baxter award, essentially making it the best single memorial in the world. I cannot say how happy and proud I am. This accomplishment, more than the 4th place ranking I got represents the fruit of our combined effort and that is probably the best vindication one could ever ask for.

This has honestly made me question if I want to take ILP next semester. After all, by any measure, this success is phenomenal and I wonder if I can or want to replicate or surpass it. At the end of the day however, I know in my heart of hearts that I will, but not because I want the fame or the glory but because of the opportunity to challenge myself, because I cherish the chance to take apart a complex factual and legal problem and find the best solution and most importantly because this will probably be the last chance for me, for us to work together, as law students tackling a problem free from the realities of billing hours, political correctness and advancing up the career ladder and concentrate on the law, the policy and the strength of the argument.

The experience of a lifetime:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

If nothing else, I daresay that I am probably better than anyone else at ironing now.

The joys of domesticity.

Start with the collar, next the yoke, then the sleeves followed by the back, and last, the front panels.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

So this firms makes an appearance in court and I had to bite my lip to stop from sniggering:

"Plaintiffs are represented by Payne and Fears."

Talk about intimidation

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A thousand words.

Where the river meets the lake:

Riverside property:

Skyline from the lake:

Bits and pieces:

You see, the thing that I love about this city is that there is always an element of community and civic-mindedness. The pictures of the white tents of a farmer's market is in the courtyard of the Daley Civic Center which houses the courts. Where the kids are playing in the fountain is 1 block away from the main business district. I love how the severity of the business district is mitigated and grounded by the sound of children playing and farmers hawking their wares. It isn't uncommon to see high flying lawyers sitting by the park eating out of a take out box, something I'd pay good money to see in Singapore. It's almost as if once one leaves an office building, work is left behind too and live moves on anyways.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Second City

So it's been a quiet few months and I am terribly sorry for those who have been waiting with bated breath. It isn't that I've forgotten everyone at home (heaven forbid!) but it's just that it's been such a wonderfully exhilarating and unbelievable few months that collecting memories and detailing history just seems so tedious and banal compared to actually living in the present and anticipating the future.

Before anything else though, just a note to anon hater: It's terribly flattering that you've been coming back to my blog these past few months to check on how I've been doing. You might just be my one most loyal reader! Mayhaps a prize is in order!

When we last spoke, I had just returned from Spring break. Since then, I have ended 10 glorious month in St Louis, moved west to Los Angeles for 3 weeks and am now in the midst of a 2 month stint in the Windy City, the Second City, this fairest of cities, Chicago.

Truth of the matter is, I am dreadfully homesick but I believe that certain opportunities cross one's path seldom enough that when they do turning away would be nothing short of folly.

It does help of course that Chicago has quite literally taken my breath away. I've written about this city before but visiting the city is nothing like living in it and everyday makes me fall in love with it a little bit more. My morning commute takes me down lake shore drive which is bordered on the west by a tributary from Lake Michigan and on the east by Lake Michigan itself. A gleaming blue-green expanse of shining water stretching mile after glorious mile to the horizon as far as the eye can see. It's hard to believe that it's a lake when the other shore is not visible and countless pristine white sails dot its sparkling surface. I am always seized by a sense of peace, even if for a moment, when I stare out the window and to the distance imagining the distant shore. The moment passes however and an urge of wanderlust arises, sometimes almost irresistable, to sail far beyond the horizon into lands unknown. These are romanticised daydreamings of course, the far shore is Michigan and in the north, Lake Huron. Prosaic realities of course make for far less engaging writing material so allow the indulgence.

In any event, more shall be forthcoming soon enough. Pictures too!