Rome Around The World

It’s a funny thing. In just twelve hours, my Father, my brother and I are set to embark on the greatest holiday we have known since Hawaii- a trip to Europe. For me, this will be the second time to Europe, and the first on the Continent. The last time we went to Europe was eight or nine years ago, and that was to visit my aunt in Shrewsbury. Or Shawlsbury or Shulsbury. Whatever. These English names are confusing. But the main thing is, I am quite excited for this. After a year of waiting, we are finally going. Where else? Italy.

And of course, there is no greater city to visit than Rome. The ancient superpower, the pinnacle of the Roman Empire- Rome is still an extremely thriving society. Their ancient structures and architecture of old is combined with the best cuisine on the planet- and an incredulously expensive shopping experience- to give foreigners a truly unique experience. Hmm. I wonder if young Reese has ever been to Italy. She probably has, though. I’ve seen her holiday photographs of her in the great cities of London and New York, looking so charming in winter jackets or browsing shops in Times Square when she was of such a lovely tender age. I figure Rome would be an ideal city for a girl like her. Not only Rome, where luxury items are the norm, but let us not leave out the ancient centre of the Renaissance, which is Florence.

Ah. Florence. The leather capital of the world. There they have these enormous shopping malls, truly gargantuan in their size and scale- or so I’ve heard. Their branded goods are the real thing- real leather and the like. According to my Father, the last time my parents went to Florence, they left the hotel in the morning and returned in the evening with about three thousand dollars worth of goods in my Mother’s hands. Hmm. If only we all had that kind of purchasing capability. When I was instructed to perform research pertaining to this little adventure of ours, I immediately looked up shopping locations. The amount of retailers shocked me. Not only did the amount scare me, but the names I read did too. I only recognised a few, but I knew that they were incredibly upmarket and therefore, expensive. These included Salvatore Ferragamo, Ducati, Parker, Mont Blanc, Bvlgari and many others. I have seen these brands on occasion in our own Lion City. Only a prominent leather lover like my Mother would seek these out.

As for me, I only have two things on my mind. The first is a Roman Chess Set. By this I mean two things. I’ve seen these Chess sets with ancient Roman figures as the Chessmen- or it can simply be another European design- but made in Rome. That alone carries enough weight to earn my attention. The Italians are not that superb in Chess, though. The only real strong Italian Chess player I know is Ameritalian Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana, who is currently ranked sixth in the world with an ELO of 2786. World Number One Magnus Carlsen stands at 2864. The Russians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis are the world’s strongest players.

But I digress, as Risa would probably say herself. The other thing I am planning to keep an eye out for are watches. And not just any kind of watches. I am talking about those with silver faces and internal components which twinkle in the Sun and shine in the day. Think Rolex. Think Omega. Think Cartier. Hmm. Italy has all these, and I am curious to have a look. Don’t get me wrong, my thirteen-dollar pocket watch probably looks classier than any platinum luxury wristwatch. And for something which price is just slightly less expensive than a pot of TWG tea, it is worth it. Yet I would like a timepiece to decorate my wrist which isn’t made of yellow plastic stained with blue cotton.

Seriously. It looks mouldy.

Sorting Out The Study


I’ve got no definite idea of what’s been going on so far. I’ve been leaving my blog dormant since April! Just like a volcano. It’s not an extinct volcano, however, because those do not erupt anymore. Dormant ones still do. 


So here we are.


The last week and a bit has been one of the lowliest of the entire year. Why? Why? Simply put, I had to sit through a collective sixteen hours of examinations. 

That was enjoyable, in the sense that I do appreciate an occasional academic challenge. The one thing I do not enjoy, however, is preparing for them.It’s a frequent occurrence- me arriving home with a pile of papers in my book bag and not actually bothering to file them properly. Hence, after a buildup of a few weeks, this generally creates the setup for academic failure, as the key to any student’s successful revision is a neatly organised folder. Hmm. With me, that tradition died last year. In those times, I supplemented my somewhat adequately organised folders with my remarkable memory power. Some say I was gifted heavily with the ability to remember all sorts of things, both useful and odd…I can say that they were right. Some, like my father, do not approve of it entirely, as I spend most of my time logging apparently useless information like say, the first sheep cloned. (Dolly. Swedish. 1997.) See? Perfect example. Others, like my brother, frequently use it to their advantage, like verifying the spelling of words he should have learnt in 2002. This was proven to such an extent that my companions have been able to fire questions at me in an impromptu game of Trivial Pursuit. On a more embarrassing and humourous note, it has also highlighted my brother’s questionable ability to spell. I wonder how long it would take him to spell “sesquipedalian.”

“Sesquipedalian.” Latin definition means “a foot and a half long.” Dammit. There it is again.

Nowadays, my mental capacity is my main source of study. I depend heavily on it to remember information in class, and being able to call on that information like a scholar in that library that he knows so well. I can read one passage and if there was ever missing information from absent classes, I would either fill it in with logical sense or with information learned previously. That’s why things like Science and History are comparatively easy. I study the least for those subjects and they are my two strongest. That’s right, those two. I have to study for my Literature papers, even, which may sound a bit odd, as according to a friend of mine so cleverly put two years ago, “all you can do to study for English is to read.” What she said was true, as Literature in my sense deals with reading texts. A lot of texts. Passages from novels such as The Great Gatsby or Death Of A Salesman. And then there are the poems. Aha. The poems. Our teacher, Mr. Holloway, once gave us an absurdly long list of fourteen poems to study last year during the winter break. By the school’s resumption, we were ready to lynch him.

But I suppose it was all for the better. Now that we have an incredible exam on the way in April, those poems are going to be of use, and I think I of all people should understand the value of poetry, which my father would say is definitely more important than knowing how many American Presidents have been killed by assassination.

…The answer is four.

Training For The Inevitable

My mother informed me that she was due to return from Shanghai this evening. Good. I had been meaning to ask her a few things. For example, about whether or not I could join the Singapore Chess Academy. As with all things, every entrance into a guild of any sort requires a suitable test of my abilities. My test is my mother.

I had been meaning to ask my mother for another Chess set. I mentioned a few posts ago about this, no? Anyhow,  the Academy has a classical Staunton-pattern set on sale. My financial resources are at a low right now, but I will be able to purchase the set myself come this Saturday. As with all thrifty people, I hatched a plan to save myself thirty dollars. I would therefore play my mother in a game of Chess. The loser would buy it.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon playing games with Dodge as a method of training. I mastered the Scholar’s Mate. I now know how to Fianchetto my Bishops and on a rare occasion, fork pieces. In comparison, my mother has not played a Chess game in years. I think my chances are pretty high- but there is no question that I am about to play the most important Chess game of my life. Of my life, you hear?

Mother returns to our island nation in thirteen hours and thirty-eight minutes. Dodge will return home with me for a final spot of training before that. Then we shall see who is better.

Oh Deer, Be Careful What You Fish For

Of all the four “dominant” meats out there, those being beef, pork, fish and chicken, my favourite is fish. Whenever I patronise local Western food stalls, I almost always choose some form of fish. Grilled fish with chips, fried rice with fish, fish and chips, and so on. I always seem to have some form of fish in every meal. Salted fish fried rice, for instance, or tuna salad. I adore fish. But you probably knew this already.

However, I fear that my enjoyment for this delectable delicacy is about to come to an end. I just watched a documentary in school today highlighting the tremendous issue of overfishing by the fleets of the world. Various species of ocean life, such as tuna, cod, halibut, salmon, swordfish and marlin are getting overfished. This is bad, because not only are we not guaranteed a good meal, ’cause now the oceans are turning into watery deserts, devoid of life.

Now, I happen to know that fish is overwhelmingly popular in many places of the world, including and especially Asia, Europe, North America and England. England in itself is a fishy country. My English teacher explains that you could go for a stroll down to the village pub and order fish and chips. They have multiple species to choose from, those mainly being cod, haddock, salmon and halibut. Then you choose your chips and your dressing. Hmm. It all seems tasty and all that, but I wonder how much longer people will be able to enjoy a custom like this. I think it’s time the world got to know a much lesser-known and enjoyed meat in the world, something that there hopefully is an abundance of and might be able to replace the demands for fish.

This meat, of course, is venison.