Seconds pass. The hands of every clock twist tirelessly, their rhythmic clicking creating full circles with each passing motion. There are no changing seasons to speak of in this country: no chance of being caught in a shower of falling autumn leaves (only caterpillars dropping on your head when you walk through Botanics), no bunches of wild spring flowers to offer your new love (only the purple Lalang lookalikes along Orchard Road, and even those are not for you to pluck) and sadly, no thrill of being awaken by snow glistening on your boots (only raindrops splashing all over your slippers). Nothing very much changes in this part of the world: neither the heat nor humidity has seen itself abating since the island first came into civilization. Yet another year has passed.
Goodbye 2011, hello 2012!
2011 was a year of change for many of us. For law freshmen it was entering a new world altogether: we started the year as babies. Nothing we learnt prior to this could possibly have prepared us for the incoming months to come. First up was law camp, where we first became acquainted with each other and learnt to dance ä½ æ˜¯æˆ‘çš„èŠ±æœµ. Soon to follow was Rag — those who participated as dancers would remember waking up early in the morning for conditioning and crazyariasstretching, followed by evencrazierariasrollingonthefloor, justinsmackyouwithsticks or probably timmykillsyouwithaxes. Stunters would further recall isaacgoingonetwodownpop, or excessive tauhuey late into the night. Floaters would remember the smell of glue, paint, wood, dirt, and probably also the voice of insanity, also known as boongantellingyouwheregoeswhere.
From being carefree and restless, like a young mare rearing with energy, we suddenly found ourselves boggled with extremely long Court of Appeal judgments (Skandinaviska and Spandeck, I’m eyeing you) and textbooks that never seem to be able to get to the point.
Lord Denning became the constant source of relief and frustration with his controversial judgments (cue: Prof Margaret reciting about sheep, cows and baseball. If you can remember the case… well, 10 points to Ravenclaw, I suppose).
We learn that we are really, really poor at math, but at the same time, terrific at covering it up: after mistakenly asking for 2 large candles and a small one to celebrate a 19 year old girl’s birthday, we recover quickly with fastest fingers first: 20 — 1 = 19.
Days melded into nights as we stared relentlessly into computer screens, deciphering muggers, cases and lecture notes. The day only truly ends when you leave the study room with the Chief Justice(s) in making. Or rather, when you are so tired that no amount of Kopi siu dai can revive you.
(In reality, we’re probably conquering level 50 on Tetris Battle, reading 9gag.com or silently picturing how clothes from ASOS will fit. But this does not fit into the nature of the piece and will thus be relegated to parenthesis)
And there were also the numerous sporting events — from Basketball to Soccer — that filled up our days and destroyed the Upper Quad.
We tumble home after a day of activities, exhausted. After what seems like a second of shut-eye, the hands of a clock move along, signaling the beginning of a new school day. The cycle repeats. Finally, it is crunch time: exams. And soon enough, liberation (and also, exam results that smack your face while you are busy holidaying abroad. Thanks guys)!
With each passing day our wealth of knowledge was expanding beyond our control. We were growing wiser, but also meaner. We were becoming more witty, but also more impatient with the fickle. We thought the world would wait for us as we adapted to law school, but instead it spun on without hesitation. The hands continued to move steadily.
It is funny to think that so many things happened around the world but we can only remember a few insignificant ones. Devastation struck Japan in early March, political unrest in the Middle East caught the attention of media bodies worldwide, and a cardiac arrest took the life of one of Asia’s long-standing dictators late last month. Yet, the only news that most of us would probably have remembered would be a new exciting Court of Appeal judgment emerging on Singapore Law Watch (read: another 100 page long judgment), or the disruption along the North-South line late last month.
It is believable that in our midst of finding our footing in law school, we allowed every other thing pass us by. The most important thing to do was to buy that last Property law textbook before anyone else did. It didn’t matter if at the very same moment, a man was being beaten to death for conspiracy in the jail cells of Egypt. We also forgot about the simple beauties that surround us. The law campus itself is filled with much beauty that we often overlook in hurrying from one place to another. Simply put, we became self-absorbed and conceited.
But whatever it is, these are habits of the past. They should be left behind: this year, perhaps spend more time paying attention to things outside of your little law bubble. Eat good food. Ride a motorbike. Read the newspapers. Think about the bigger picture. Most importantly, instead of beating yourself up over something that happened in 2011, it is time to start on a clean slate. Or, as 9gag (and Hyperbole and a Half) would put it:
Happy 2012. Here’s to a better and brighter year!
Article contributed by: Jermaine Ng (Law 1)
Photography by: Jermaine Ng (Law 1) and Lim Zhi Kang (Law 2)