2 Hours of Graduation, 8 Days of Fun / Part 1 – The Fine City


The Commencement Ceremony

After 2.5 years of part time study in NUS, I have finally got the right to retrieve my master degree and participated in the graduation ceremony. The ceremony, or “commencement”, is one thing, but it was the time where people who are close to me came to Singapore to celebrate with me. And this serious business turned into an exciting plan when I found out that the room rate for a hotel in Sentosa Island is not much different than the ones in city. And so I booked the hotel at Sentosa for 4 days of fun, and only 2 hours of commencement (wait, you said 8 days? well, keep reading…).

My parents, brother, and our girlfriends arrived at Singapore on Sunday afternoon after a 1.5 hours of flight from Jakarta. Carrying big bags with us including myself, we took a maxi cab straight to the hotel to check in. We stayed at Siloso Beach Resort, just next to the Wave House Sentosa. It’s would be a perfect place (it’s a stone throw away to the beach), if only there are no tankers resting at the sea, practically covering most part of the horizon. The rest of the day was spent walking around the beach, followed by shopping at the Chinatown area. In the evening, we went to my landlord’s house, who was very kind to invite us for a home-cooked dinner at her house. Few hours later, we left her house with the hope to catch the 9 PM Crane Dance attraction. Unfortunately, the machine was down for maintenance on that day, leaving us only to watch the Lake of Dreams at 9.20 PM. It was okay.

The next day, four of us went to the Universal Studios Singapore, while my parents preferred to go shopping as they have been there before and a second visit is not that interesting anymore. I didn’t expect to be that crowded inside the theme park on Monday. But it was. Except for the Spielberg’s effect showcase, Shrek 4D and Water World, it took about and hour to wait in the queue (and less than 10 minutes in the ride itself). The most exciting attraction was, as before, the Mummy’s roller coaster. At the end of the day, we didn’t ride the infamous Battlestar Galactica, cowardly backing off when we saw that the estimated waiting time is at least 1.5 hour. In the evening, we headed to nearby Vivo City mall to buy some souvenirs, as well as to have dinner at the Food Republic on the top floor. I always like to dine here for its oldies-themed interior design. We then met my parents who were there since afternoon and went back to the hotel to finish the day.

Trip to Universal Studios Singapore

The third day was the commencement day. Since it was held in the afternoon, I spent the lazy morning swimming at the hotel’s swimming pool. There was a man made waterfall beside the swimming pool, giving a natural feeling, although a bit awkward. After a late breakfast, we walked at the beach, again lazily enjoying the scenery and the breeze before we had to go for the commencement. About 12 noon, we went to NUS to have dinner at a cafe in Mochtar Riady building. This is a new building owned by the Business School (while they gave their older COM2 building to School of Computing). Then, shortly before 2 PM we took internal shuttle buses to go to the venue at University Cultural Center.

The commencement itself was good and well managed. But perhaps it was too formal to me. It’s more difficult to wear the gown, compared to what I wore in my undergraduate commencement. The seats were arranged in a somewhat random manner, hence I didn’t know the guys who sat next to me. While this is quite normal given the large number of students, it just gave me an idea of a facebook app that retrieves the friend connections from facebook (with student’s consent, of course) and tries to group students with their friends as close as possible. Anyway.., the current seating arrangement turned out to be not so random for some people. The guy who sat on my left turned out to be a good friend of the guy on my right, hence they spent most of the time chatting with each other with me in the middle. After sometime I politely asked one of them to switch place with me, to allow them chat easier and give a relieve for me for not being a man-in-the-middle. The best part of the commencement was, of course when it ended and I had the chance to meet and greet each other and took pictures with fellow graduates I knew. It was such an exciting experience, realizing what we have been through together and finally got the fruit of our labor.

The night was again spent by lazily enjoying the beach, as this was the last night in Singapore. At the next day, most of us went back to Jakarta, but me and my girlfriend took a separate flight to Bandung. Yes, I indeed took the flight to Indonesia! I actually decided to take more leave and spent the whole week for vacation instead of just watching them gone and spend the rest of the week at the office cube. And then the next 4 days of adventure begins! (to be continued…)

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