Damn, I never did realize how much I could actually miss her.
Prof walked into the office yesterday. (I work in a business facility in the basement of my alma mater’s campus.)
I heard her before I actually got to see her (because she and my co-worker boss – also an ex-student – exchanged greetings). I whirled around upon hearing that all too familiar voice, and it took me about five seconds before I actually recognized her.
Gosh, does she look different!
It’s about a year since I took her course in my final semester. She taught Asia Pacific Business, which concentrates on the latest business developments and trends in Asia – in particular, the recent boom in integrated resorts in Macau and Singapore. A really tough course, but rather interesting.
Demanding as she was, I do sense a fair amount of motherly-like love and concern from her. Especially during the 4 day, 3 night class trip to Macau when my heart condition acted up suddenly and I had to be flown back to Singapore as a precautionary measure. Troublesome as it was, she always ensured that there was someone with me. Plus, she constantly asked me how I was feeling, which was really appreciated.
I can still vividly recall having to sign a pseudo-indemnity ‘form’ upon my departure back to Singapore. (I flew back on my own eventually because I didn’t wanted to trouble the TAs or her.)
There was no actual indemnity form for such a case, so she had a hand-write one on the spot. In the middle of the streets of Macau no less, while the TAs and myself stood around and laughed at the situation.
Even after the final exams ended, she met my project group members and myself for a one-hour long chat where she asked us about our future plans, and even invited us to join her on the subsequent BSMs she was organizing.
I haven’t seen her since then … until yesterday.
She is still as open as she used to be – always available to hang out with her students and talk nineteen to the dozen. She stood around our (my co-worker boss and me) cubicles and chatted with us for almost fifteen minutes, updating us on her recent happenings and asking us about ours. Prior to her departure, she invited us for lunch one day so that we could all catch up.
It felt like last year all over again. A strange, warm and fuzzy feeling … minus the project deadlines and stress.
Strangely, I don’t recall the rest of my coursemates feeling the same way as I do about Prof. During that semester, it was complaints galore – from gender bias, students not knowing her requirements, occasionally contradicting herself, tough projects and yadda yadda.
I admit, I was one of those students who went along with the ‘not knowing her requirements’ complaint, because she does have pretty high expectations which she doesn’t really communicate fully. (Which come to think of it – is good for us. It challenges us to do the best we can since after all, we won’t be spoon-fed once we leave school to work, don’t we?)
During that semester, I remembered deeming Asia Pacific Business as one of my most ‘dangerous’ courses because my grades could swing anywhere. I can work my arse off on a project and still get less than a ‘B’. Frustrating as the grades aspect was, I cannot deny that it was one of the more interesting courses I’ve taken.
Since graduating, I kind of missed her.
Well, it’s kind of easy when you’re no longer a student – people would say. But even as a student in her course back then, my impressions of her were at least neutral.
She is a professor that is extremely passionate when she speaks, and you can tell she really knows her stuff. It helped a lot that she organized loads of industry talks, which wasn’t easy as it required loads of logistics and um, persuasion. (It takes a lot to get the CEO of some bigshot company to come down to speak to a bunch of students!)
Yet, she managed to pull it off. Unfortunately, without much credit from her students. But still.
Not to mention the logistics for the field trip – ensuring all the students got their flights, booking of hotel rooms, arranging tours and talks with the various integrated resorts in Macau. That, on top of her attempts at psyching the students up for the trip in the weeks preceding it.
Plus, I miss how she addresses her students as ‘peeps’ and ‘folks’ during class time.
Kudos to the (possibly the most misunderstood) professor.
And I look forward to the next time we get to meet. I can’t wait to hold an animated discussion about Resorts World Sentosa (which opened last month) with her.
Hello, 2010. Goodbye, 2009.
2009 was a really crappy year, possibly the worst year I’ve ever had during my 23-year lifespan and I can’t want for it to disappear fast enough. 2010 is finally upon us, and I hope it’ll treat me well.
Here’s my 2009 in a nutshell. How was yours?
(+) Travelled to Hong Kong with one of my bestest girlfriends – just the two of us in a strange land, but we didn’t get lost because yours’ truly has an inbuilt GPS in her head. Hurhur.
(+) A distant cousin returned to Singapore for Chinese New Year, and it was a fantabulous reunion with an attempted solar eclipse watching (there was a partial eclipse that day), being dragged to a movie, and a catching-up session at Starbuck’s thereafter.
(+) Auditioned for Virtuoso ‘2009 – a singing competition. Passed the audition round and advanced to the Quarter Finals.
(-) Had to make a decision whether to travel to Macau for a group project. Hem and hawed, decided to go and eventually backed out … before deciding to go again. I think the professor and teaching assistant were extremely pissed with me.
(-) Performed my song during the Virtuoso ‘2009 quarter-final, forgot my lyrics midway and subsequently went off-key. My video playback showed me screeching like an injured cat. Eventually deleted the video from my camera, never to be seen again. Had a good laugh about it, though.
(+) Secondary school reunion. Gee, almost everyone looks the same as they used to … six years ago. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?
We were childhood friends waaaay back in Kindergarten. Her parents knew my parents, and that was how I got to know her for the first time.
We even travelled to Genting Highlands together in July 1991, along with her little brother.
During one particular day of the trip, we were even decked out in similar sailor outfits with red jackets. And on the first day of the trip, we both wore dresses. Plus, I could also remember vividly a certain incident where she got locked in the hotel room by accident, and I was standing outside wailing at the adults to help her get out.
Boy, fun times!
Then, we somehow lost touch. Although we were both still aware of each other’s existence.
Only today, 26th August 2008 – did I realize … that for my past three years in SMU, she and I were in the same course, taking the same modules and even shared classes together quite a few times.
Only that she knew that it was me and I didn’t – and she didn’t bring it up because she thought I’d forgotten.
How could I? HOW COULD I? How. Could. I?
Plus, I also discovered that we were in the same Secondary School for three years without realizing it. Maybe it was because we were in different levels. But still … how can one tide through four years of Secondary education without recognizing an old friend from there?
I seem to be walking through life in a daze, aren’t I?