Hmmm…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LyCC6jjcx8

This is a really interesting video talking about how time passes faster as you age. I really recommend watching Michael on his Vsauce channel in your free time because he talks about random but really interesting stuff. I learn new things every time I watch his videos which, by the way, are pretty creative, quirky and captivating. If you’re into discovery, science and technology, or simply an avid seeker of knowledge, go check out the Vsauce channels (there’s Vsauce 1,2 and 3 I think).

It’s now only week 4 in Technion (I heard that it’s week 10 back in NUS already). Surprisingly, it feels like ages since I was back home; last semester felt so very long ago, like a distant, vague memory drifting and dissipating in the abysses of my mind. Hmmm… which is weird because only 3 months have passed by, but it felt more like 6 months to me. I have traveled quite a bit in this period, so like what the video mentioned, I guess my time conundrum can be attributed to the “novelty factor” of being in new places and meeting new people, which hasn’t really worn off just yet. People have asked me if I miss home; and my response is simply a slight shrug with a nonchalant “not really”. I haven’t gotten homesick for now, but I’ve had cravings of Singapore food when think about cooking ideas. Upon hearing that recently there was a mini-drought, a haze and a mosquito outbreak back home, I can count my lucky stars that I’m away from all that at the moment. Sure, there are times when the weather here fluctuates like the stock markets, but I still prefer the weather here over the overbearing, stifling tropical humidity that I grew up in.

I’m enjoying my time here so far, having settled down comfortably in my dorm with Damien and Joshua. I really like spending time with them, because they are people whom you can joke around and say anything bullshit without being judged. Sometimes I feel that our personalities are similar, yet worlds apart at other times. It’s really good that we do a lot of things together, and spending quality bro time living under the same roof really reveals our strengths and exposes our flaws, most especially my own. Though I am usually an easy going person, I have come to understand that for harmonious relationships to blossom, one cannot keep doing things based on one’s personal gain; that at some point compromises have to be made. Personally, I find that it is often for the better to be open to new ideas and learn from others so as to improve yourself, rather than be a stubborn mule who sticks to old habits. I used to be a closet perfectionist who would chide myself for my failings in anything and everything, but nowadays I am more understanding of my own limitations and work around it rather than play the blame game with myself.

Israel is a really fascinating country for all its pros and cons, and I’ve really grown to appreciate its diversity and cultural differences. The societal dynamics is extremely complex and takes a while to comprehend fully; I’m sure even the locals here do not fully understand the country which they are living in as well. The social fabric here is so complicated that I find it amazing that it can still be stitched together (to a certain extent of course). Within the Jews and the Arab communities, they are further cleaved into so many entities, which is mind-blowing to say the least. In some sense it reminds me of multicultural Singapore, but I understand that relations are much more delicately perched due to regional tensions and existing conflicts. Though I cannot proclaim that the people live in peaceful times, because safety can never be compromised over here, I applaud the Israelis for making light of the bleak situations they fight themselves in. Israel has become the Israel that I see and live in today, after all the crazy events that have happened over the years, because of sheer willpower and determination of its people. I have also come to appreciate the past as I learn about the timeline and history of the land.

What I like about the people here is that most of them seem like the direct, no-nonsense and down-to-earth type. They are not shy about speaking out and making their feelings known, which is really, really the exact opposite of Singapore, where most people keep quiet and act blur but all of s sudden become keyboard warriors behind a computer screen. Of course, some of the Israelis may come across as being brash or abrasive in the way they speak and act, but really I think most of the locals are genuine and sincere people. I have a really positive impression maybe because of our buddies make such nice friends <3… I feel blessed and lucky to have met the friends we’ve made so far. In hindsight, it’s a good thing that I emailed to request for a buddy at the last minute because my name was left out in the email list.

I am thinking of working on maybe a short novel or something, but no concrete ideas just yet. Maybe something related to the people I’ve met here would be nice, like a life story perhaps? Then again, I may be too lazy to bring that idea to fruition haha…

Officially a Technion Student (2)

We had our orientation yesterday evening and after that we went to a nearby pub to have drinks. As with most engineering schools, the population is often male dominated, and such is the case here. On the bright side, because of the fact that I’m under the Technion International School means that I meet people from all around the world and its really interesting to be exposed to people of various backgrounds. It’s nice to talk to complete strangers and find a common topic to chat on. I feel that I have really gotten out of my comfort zone in the past month when it comes to talking to people and now I have the confidence to strike up a conversation with just about anybody. People aside, the campus has a nice gym and swimming pool but we have yet to check them out yet. The minimarts on campus aren’t very cheap either, and we have hardly stocked up on food for cooking. But we shall be making our first dinner tonight I guess, so good luck to us with that haha…

We had a smooth transition into the Technion dorms because of Miki, Mira and Lilac – our couch surfing hosts in Kiryat Motzkin who became our family away from home by welcoming us in so many different ways. They taught us about the Jewish culture, discussed with us the various topics regarding Israel and Singapore, let me do laundry at their home, prepared delicious meals for us, gave us beds and shelter, drove us around Haifa for sightseeing, gave us advice on settling into our dorms, ferried our luggage along with us and made sure we had the right necessities on our first night there… the list goes on and I can’t thank them enough really. Why would anyone do so much for strangers you may ask? Sometimes I wonder too but let’s put the cynicism aside and recognize that there are angels out there who are the bright shining stars that guide us along the way in the sea of darkness.

Our previous host has this awesome crib which I suspect is to impress girls and party all night with. The host certainly fit that profile of a partying casanova with polaroids of girls hung up on his wall. Yea, he was pretty open about bringing girls to his place too, which just reflects the extreme views in this country, from the super liberal to the ultra-orthodox. It was a really nice apartment and all but to be honest I felt rather awkward and out of place at times. Not surprisingly, his roommate owns a bar and he seemed like a more pleasant chap who was genuinely interested in talking to us. Oh yes, on this occasion we were couchsurfing in Tel Aviv, which is a really nice city to live in bar the expensive cost of living.

I really love the bicycle system whereby you rent a bike for like 17 shekels a day, and as long as you return the bikes to one of the numerous bike stations within 30 minutes, there would be no surcharge. After 10 minutes, you can rinse and repeat for the whole day, which was good for us. That was basically our primary mode of transportation other than walking and it really saved us time and money because the public transport was rather expensive. The beaches here are so beautiful with lots of surfer dudes and chicks around; the parks are full of fitness freaks and fun loving people with dogs; the nightlife is pretty awesome and crazy but I didn’t experience it. I’m not really the partying sort anyway.

Edit: just cooked our first dinner and it was pretty fun! Alright, I’ll talk more about Turkey next time round and try to post more pictures on Facebook later tonight. ❤

Officially a Technion student

At long last, I have settled down in Canada Dorms in Technion and today (Sunday) is the first day of school. The only worry right now is that I may not have enough modules to map because of course restrictions and overlapping of timetable etc. I hope to have some good news from our coordinator Ms. Orna soon, otherwise it would really be a 6 month leave of absence LOL.

What an interesting month it has been… and I haven’t had much alone time to really blog in the past week. I left Turkey on the 25th with somewhat of a heavy heart and came into Israel with a sense of intrigue about the things that I would be experiencing here. So far, I am really happy to know that the Israelis are so, so nice and helpful people who are easy to talk to as most of them know English. As far as fitting in goes, I think it won’t be much of a problem really. But the cost of living is not what I had expected. For example, the cheapest meal we could find in Tel-Aviv was about 25 shekels (close to 10 SGD) and it opened my eyes to the high costs of food in Europe. I needed some adjusting because you could have a simple meal in Turkey for 5 lira (close to 3 SGD).

My university is located atop a hilly ridge so there are slopes everywhere; the greenery is beautiful and the atmosphere seems really peaceful. (To be continued)….

Chronicles of Koh

At long last, my 10-year hiatus from blogging has to an end, and here I am. A new blog, a blank page, a fresh outlet for me to collate my thoughts and experiences in my path to self discovery and learning. Hopefully, I shall kick-start a consistent habit of reflecting weekly, while reigniting my passion for writing and rediscovering my essay writing skills, if you will, which have definitely fallen off the pace after years of stagnation (2 years in army and 2+ years of engineering studies certainly didn’t help). This blog shall be my sanctuary amidst my sometimes chaotic thoughts; it would also serve as a spiritual anchor as well as a mirror to my current mental state. I will also be journal logging my exciting experiences in Turkey and Israel with my buddies from engineering. I think we’re gonna have a blast and enjoy ourselves during these 6 months that we’ll be away. Yeap, I better not get homesick. I’ve got a feeling I will miss the food here though. *Cross fingers and pray for good food in Haifa*

~The Chronicles of Koh – a platform to rejuvenate my creative juices and for random words to flow from my rambling brain.

P.s. Oh I almost forgot. Sayonara my awesome gym buddy, I’ll miss ya loads. Don’t forget to think of me when you squat yo hahaha