So now that I’m officially all booked up to go to Thailand (Bangkok and Koh Tao) next week for Nanyang’s recess week to check out some floating markets and to get my PADI scuba certification (yes, I do plan on just briefly mentioning this without going into more detail… for now), I figured it was time for me to buckle down and get some school work done. While I did manage to get a good amount of productivity out of the way (Google scholar for the win), I ended up spending mot of my time just being a hipster.
Now, even just admitting that I’m a hipster is something that took me quite a while to come to terms with. This eventually led me into what I call the “Hipster-Denial Ploy”. This situation consists of a person refusing to accept their position as a hipster because they don’t want to succumb to labelling. In doing so, they automatically become a hipster because of their distain for labels. It’s a sad scenario that has trapped many unfortunate souls.
This isn’t to say that that’s the only reason I had to come to this hipster-realization. I spent most of my time in Toronto toting my precious Macbook to school on my second-hand bike with only one functioning while wearing skinny jeans (because they wouldn’t snag on the gears like other pants, okay).
Now that I’m in Singapore, I realized I’ve been more than able to keep up my hipsterdom by substituting my bike with photography, ukulele playing, the wearing of thick-rimmed glasses and longboard riding.
As an alternative mode of motorless transportation, longboarding is probably one of my favourite hipster past times and Nanyang’s campus is the perfect place for it. Its full of hills of varying size and on weekends, most of campus (who are native Singaporean) goes home. This means the campus is basically free from cars (who never know what to do when they see a boarder, and usually end up swerving awkwardly to try to get out of the way, but just make avoiding them more difficult).
After receiving a bunch of quizzical looks from other students outside my hall (where I had just managed to conquer the hill leading down towards – aw yeah), I got another first-hand reminder of how bi-polar people’s opinions of longboarding seem to be. People either think you’re crazy and are going to kill yourself, or that your board is the coolest thing on the face of the planet.
A PhD student on their way out of the lab came up to me and confessed that they had always wanted to give longboarding a try. Happy to meet someone on the loving end of the attitudes-towards-longboarding spectrum, I agreed to give some lessons. My teaching must have been alright, because they got quite a bit better in that short period of time – they even made it down a section of the hill without killing themselves!
After our session, I got a couple lessons in hip-hop and moonwalking in return (which didn’t do a lot for my 2 left feet, not going to lie) and a renewed appreciation for the openness of my school (and Singapore’s) culture in general. Longboarding is such a unique activity, there’s definitely an instant connection whenever you meet another boarder – I even get excited when people recognize by board as a LONGboard, not a SKATEboard (longboards are longer and go faster, skateboards are smaller and are more for doing tricks)!