Oklahoma City

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Oklahoma literally means “red people”, or Native Americans. It’s got a very small-town feel and people there are markedly friendlier and more gracious than New Yorkers. We went to the Stockyards Christmas Parade where pretty  (and handsome) horses, staid-looking cattle,  cowboys, John Deere machinery, vintage cars, local pageant queens and sheriffs – anything that symbolizes Oklahoman pride – passed by cheering locals.  Some of them would throw candy to kids. Our presence (“And guess what? We’ve got 27 Singaporean students with us today!”) was twice announced by the hosts. I hope they know Singapore is not part of China.

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Where we studied for a short three weeks. I love the campus! I would love it even more if they served better (Asian) food at lower prices.

I’m gonna be late. More photos next time!

New York City

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be back in Singapore; to be surrounded by people bursting with positive energy.

If not for some people I had to live with in the US, I’d never have appreciated the fact that my friends are all such kind, wonderful and happy people. Can’t wait to meet up with them! Being around people who emit bad vibes all the time can be so crippling and life-endangering; it’s like having ten dementors suck all my happiness away.

Anyway, it feels damn good to bask in the love of my parents, too. My father bought me hokkien mee and popiah on my first day of arrival. So sweet! And my mum’s been taking care of me since I fell sick, thanks to coughing passengers on the plane. I might miss Spiritual Countdown if my sore throat continues.

New Yorkers are largely angry and hostile people. NYC’s terribly overrated! Service staff are mostly rude, the streets are lined with trash, the subway’s old and dilapidated, and people spit on the streets. Honestly, I’ve got no praise for NYC except for its fabulous museums, parks, theater scene and public libraries. I must also give credit to helpful strangers whom we sought directions from. Other than that, NYC’s in a shambles. They need to relearn their manners and stop generating so much waste!

A little warning here: I’m gonna overload you with photos galore!

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Haha. At least they still have some 自知之明。Where will the US be without China? Virtually everything in the States is made in China, and this keeps prices low. If not, they might see more beggars on the streets. We saw quite a few in NYC, both black and white. They usually hold up cards that read “HOMELESS. OUT OF JOB. NEED HELP.” One white woman beggar vocalised her plea by chanting that out.

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I live out of my suitcase. The hostel staff are no-nonsense and unfriendly, quite like fellow New Yorkers. The Hispanic housekeeping staff are slightly better though. It’s a very utilitarian, unquaint place. Nothing like the cosy hostels we read about, where guests would all have homemade breakfast together amidst gossip and banter.

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Please lor, just tell your citizens not to buy and throw out so much to help slow climate change. Pardon my cynicism, it’s an NYC aftereffect. The museum was huge and impressive, but I got quite warm and irritated after walking around in three layers of clothes that I eventually peeled off. Suggested admission for students was $11, but I paid $3. Heh.

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The many majestic buildings around campus were very awe-inspiring. The snow rather dramatizes the effect, doesn’t it? And all the leaveless trees around. So Hogwartsy!

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Central Park is damn chio! And yes, I know the photos I take are so postcard-perfect. My trusty old Lumix nearly died!! I dropped it a few times in Oklahoma and the LCD blacked out. I was already scouting for a new camera when it sprang to life again, whew. Tame squirrels aplenty in Central Park. And I can’t believe people actually feed them! Haven’t they been taught in school that they shouldn’t feed animals in the wild simply because they can find their own food and that feeding them would disrupt food chains in the ecosystem??! Tsk tsk.

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…makes me damn proud of our MRT. Actually, the appalling conditions of many American public infrastructure (airports, especially) make me feel so proud of what we have in Singapore. Our airport really is world-class. Anyway, whatever you do, please do NOT fly United Airlines. (Never mind the cabin crew who looked like we owed them a million dollars each.) We got delayed due to a mechanical fault and missed our connecting flight to NYC, hence wasting one night’s stay there. Never mind that, too. They put us up at the Holiday Inn, only after a long wait and a very rude, unapologetic ground staff who went “I can’t compensate you unless the computer lets me, you know. I can only compensate if it’s a mechanical fault (This woman didn’t believe me, nor a fellow passenger who was queuing behind me). Do you understand what I’m saying? (like I bloody can’t understand English) If I just compensate you I’ll lose my job, I’ll get fired!” As if I cared, really. All this was said without a word of sorry. The only compensation we had for all that trauma was one night’s stay at Holiday Inn (I’d sue them if they made us sleep in the airport), a $15 meal voucher, and a $100 voucher for future United flights which I definitely won’t use even if you point a gun at my head. I’m sure you won’t get this shit with Asian airlines. Any Asian airline. They’ll apologise profusely and make sure you get clean clothes to change into. We only had disposable toothbrushes and toothpaste in sachets. Sachets! That’s adding insult to injury.

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That’s the Financial District, which was also teeming with tourists. A new foundation is being laid at the World Trade Center site. It’s been seven years or so, I wonder why the reconstruction’s so slow.

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Chinatown and Broadway. Our hostel’s only a few blocks away from the Theater District. We caught Phantom of the Opera at a 50% discount! Buy same day tickets at half price at the TKTS booth, near Times Square. It’s that big sloping red building that is impossible to miss. Daniel Radcliffe was in town to act in Equus, where he’d bare all… what a waste we didn’t catch that!

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I bought some handmade gifts from local artists at Bryant Park. They cost me quite a bit, but I’m happy to be supporting local artists instead of big, man-eating corporations.

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I can’t get enough of its public library. Spent the whole morning there walking through the free but professionally-curated exhibitions.

superpower

Two more weeks to Home

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and am blogging from my friend’s laptop. Had some activities lined up for us (Church service, visits to the museum, casino, downtown ice skating rink) but none of them interested me much. I seldom enjoy the luxury of lounging around in two-week-old PJs anyway. Watched several episodes of 珠光寶氣 too.

We visited the supersized Grapevine Discount Mall at Dallas, Texas yesterday and I spent an unassuming 30 USD after weaving in and out of  discount merchandise so well-churned that salespeople can’t be bothered to fold.

Am quite disturbed by the environmental consciousness (or lack thereof) here. The Marriott people just replaced our perfectly new and working stoves, refrigerators and TV sets with brand new ones. They’d also dump perfectly clean crockery into the perfectly-water-and-electricity-wasting dishwasher everyday. (Little wonder we paid astronomical fees for our rooms.) And the paper napkin dispenser in Grapevine made me scream. It’d dispense a mile-long napkin everytime the last one was torn off. I know Americans are big but I’m sure they do not have Yeti hands.

Oh and contrary to popular wide-eyed Singaporean belief, most retailers here do not charge for plastic bags. In fact, they give them out like they’re free. One cashier at Grapevine even offered me the clothes hanger.

Bad impressions aside, Americans I meet are generally friendly, smiley and warm. Strangers would say hi to me on campus and round the hotel. The customs clearance at Houston, Texas was surprisingly smooth and fuss-free. They say excuse me and thank you and how ya doin a lot here. They’re less in a rush than us Singaporeans. I don’t feel like an ‘alien’ here, and I feel comfortable and safe shopping alone in the mall.

I shan’t complain about the crappy food here. Still gotta stick it out for two weeks. I am going to march up to Sheena’s house and beg her mum to cook me curry chicken when I get back. Asians eat real food!

Shall upload photos when I feel like it!

 

Oklahoma City

在美国Oklahoma City的我,很想家人, 很想朋友。

想得连一路上应该留意的风景都忽略了。

这里是个民风淳朴的地方,人都很友善,跟电视、电影里认识的美国很不同。这里虽然不至于像纽约那样摩登繁华,但是也算应有尽有,科技方面也发达。只是楼房的外观比较朴实,大都是砖块筑的。

当地人说,美国大部分城市都是这样的,只有少数如纽约、洛杉矶的大都会才比较繁华。 可这不代表这里的人都是乡巴佬! 遇到一位义务载我们去买电话卡的教堂工作者, 他穿着邋遢, 白色的hoodie满是污迹,指甲也黑黑的,可是和他交谈后,发现他学识渊博。  就连接送我们上下课的司机Donnie也很有学问、很有智慧!像他们这样深藏不漏的人都很谦虚。

我非常喜欢我们的校园,因为有宽广的草原和复古的建筑。也喜欢在这里上的TV Production课,学得很多。还去了老师家庆祝圣诞,一进屋就闻到浓郁的香草味, 看到挂满吊饰的圣诞树在橙色的灯光里发光,很温馨。