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Official magazine of the Biological Sciences Society
National University of Singapore
The Mudskipper, Nov 97
Room Full of Birders


When Joelle told me she'd put me in an apartment with Alvin, Clarence and Malcolm, I clutched my head in despair. "A bunch of birders", I moaned.

Early morning walks are a must, but someone has to wake up on time. Arts grad Ye Chen would dutifully come in each morning at 5am to call us. After my cold morning shower (an enthusiasm for which they did not share) I would boil up water for coffee whilst the lads staggered out of bed. Quite disappointingly, the attraction of the dawn chorus was sufficiently appetising, so I was unable to drag them out of bed by their ankles - a scene I had hopefully contemplated the first night we retired. Minutes later, a motley crowd led by Joelle would steal in to munch on our biscuits and drink our coffee as the sound of the shrieking, moaning wind outside chilled our hearts.
sleeping beauty
Sleeping Beauty
Intellectual discourse amongst science students? Quite the contrary - in the mid-morning or late nights, tired out by incessant peering at some miserable bird through binoculars, they would be bereft of conversation. Instead they would lie in various places around the apartment, gradually slipping into a deep stupor, with open jaws or towels over eyes.
Deprived of intelligent life (a foregone conclusion, you might think),
another asleep
...zzz...Koon King ...zzz..
I muttered discontentedly as I sulked in this mausoleum, until livelier souls like Ye Chen, Joeile, Mark and Yandi would appear.

All in all, they had their moments.

clarence in a turbanClarence's head in a turban after a shower, his early morning shivering, Alvin's sinual-trumpeting in the mornings, his snickering at the undergrads and pensive Malcoim's half-hearted jumping on the bed to wake Clarence. They were brought to life by sesions of KooBah! or Captain's ball, and were surprisingly tidy and were more regular about baths than some of the girls. And I must say, when I leaned over a hill slope edge to photograph a ginger flower, the three of them hung on my single ankle with red, straining faces (testimony to my weight, I think) and didn't let go. But then, I had the apartment key in my pocket...
© N Sivasothi, 2001