Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Muggers and Misconceptions

Okay before I start on today's topic, I need to clarify the last post about our appartment. In case anyone is confused, the appartment that we got, is the one which required an interview with the picky Piedmontese Landlord. I think he prefers to call himself "selective" but at least he is not completely ignorant, and he realises that Singapore is not a hotbed of terrorist activity (or whatever his concerns were) and actually let us have the appartment we wanted for a reasonable price, and we are very happy about it.

Moving onto the first topic of today - I conclude that I am currently a shameless mugger. What do I mean by this? Well, I am a mugger because I study with consistency and enthusiasm. After working for 4 years, I now appreciate study of the law in a way that I never did whilst I was in university. For those of you that knew me in either Notts or NUS, you would know that I usually didn't even have a copy of the reading list. It would therefore surprise you to know that I am now reading ahead of the lectures! This means that I usually put up my hand and get all the questions right in class, ask questions and make what I hope are reasonably intelligent comments. I don't get much flak from my coursemates, because my comments/questions are usually simple and easy to understand (bearing in mind that most of my coursemates have English only as a second language). I cannot say the same for some of the responses recieved from some of the lecturers. I suppose they can make the excuse is that their first language is not English.

So where are my coursemates from? This class is about 40 percent Italian, and the rest come from the rest of the world. And we learn so much from each other, and take away a lot of preconceptions about other places in the world. For instance, Talal is my friend from Beirut. We had a reasonably long walk to the ticket shop to try to buy tickets for the Juventus - Liverpool match tommorrow. So on the way there, he gave me a quick history lesson on Lebanon, dispelled any myths about Beirut being a war zone, and invited me and Fabien to his house this summer. It is supposed to be a wonderful summer, because Lebanon will gain what Talal calls "actual" independence as opposed to the original powerless government which allowed Palestinians to force their way into Lebanese homelands (you can tell which angle this history lesson comes from).

If you walk through the classroom during a break, and you can hear Mira, the girl from Khazakstan, Murud from Uzebekistan, and Vitaly from Ukraine all speak Russian to each other. Listen to the 3 swiss guys talking to each other. Pierre will ask a question in French, Luca will answer in English and Manuel will object in Italian. After a few drinks, everyone automatically assumes that the rest of the world understands whatever language we are carrying on in, and I have had entire conversations in French to someone answering in Italian.

Okay, I will stop here because I have to finish reading this article on La loi applicable a l'arbitrabilitiè du litige (the law applicable to the issue of arbitrability). Did I tell you that even though the course is conducted in English, the reading list is in English, French and Italian?


partyprincess said...

congrats on the apartment:)
do post a pic..

Michael Low said...

Good to hear about the apartment, congrats. Strange to hear that you are reading ahead on lectures...as I recall when we worked together, half the time we were scrambling to figure out what we could afford NOT to read, so I suppose its a luxury to be able to read ahead. I hope you are still this enthusiastic 3 months down the road...(grin).

Your class sounds really cool; sadly that's something that we don't get in Singapore (unless you consider the equivalent of the Chinese auntie talking to the Indian auntie in Malay.....) pics of apartment please!