Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pre-semester gathering

Met up with the Singaporean graduate student folks for lunch, a relatively rare event given our *busy* schedules in the labs and the fact that Singaporeans here do not really (want to) hang out together. Graduate students do not follow the normal academic calendar as that of the undergraduates, i.e, you can actually be slaving working on your research/papers during the festive season. What matter are the conference schedules, the deadlines for journal/paper submissions and of course your advisor. Everything else is secondary.

So we have a new guy joining us, having decided he had enough of corporate Singapore and the wherewithal to pay off his remaining 1.5 years bondage bond with a GLC. That came up to a hefty S$84,000. Pretty much wiped out his savings from the previous 4.5 years of employment with the company, plus some help from the father. When asked why he does not want to wait another 18 months, (in his own words): Brain rotting inside, cannot wait any longer.

Some observations:

1. We are all male. Where are the Singaporean ladies? (Friend: All married and stay in Singapore liao)

2. We are all single. Where are the other halves? (Friend: What? You think we are the PRCs or Koreans ah? Bring wives/gfs over? Which girl in the right mind would want a long distance relationship with a grad student? Graduate school does not rank very high in the Singapore social ladder you know)

3. We came from a narrow band of (junior) colleges, practically separated by at most 2-3 degrees of friendship. The circle is rather small. (Friend: That is why we do not need want to meet up frequently. Otherwise how to meet chicks expand social circle during our precious free time? Same old faces. Kua ku liao moh sian)

4. Almost everyone accelerated their undergraduate education. Non-scholars want to save money, scholars are obliged to by their sponsors.

Well, here's to 2006. A little late nonetheless, but I hope everyone has a good start to the new year.

Related: A reader's thoughts.


L'oiseau rebelle said...

You mean, where are all the ladies? Some of the engineering departments in my university have fewer women than the math department. So it isn't just the Singaporean ladies.

L'oiseau rebelle said...

On observation 4: Sometimes I wonder whether 'saving money' is the primary motivation for 'accelerating' the undergrad degree. If 'accelerating' means 'overloading classes every semester', then, fine.

But there are a number of Singaporeans I know who are obsessed with finishing the degree in 3 years, and enroll in summer school to do so. Unless you're in Berkeley, summer school normally costs about half of the regular tuition, and half of a very large number is still a relatively large number. At my college, summer school and regular term costs about the same per credit. Factor in living expenses, and I don't exactly see where the 'savings' occur.

Elia Diodati said...

I'm so glad my entire bond was only marginally greater than that.