The U.Va. community is getting behind the Men’s Basketball Team in a big way. Here’s some Instagram fan mail for the team from all corners of the University. Be sure to cheer them on this Friday night as they enter the Sweet Sixteen in Madison Square Garden using #NCAAHoos. Let’s Go ‘Hoos!
Editor’s Note: Lauren Jones, a third-year student majoring in English and Economics, is on Semester at Sea this spring and has agreed to blog about her experience. Catch up with her previous entries here.
It’s midterm season at Semester at Sea, and just as the travel is intensified (12 countries in four months), so are exams. While I can’t really complain about midterms because hey, I’m on a boat, I do think the nature of schoolwork is much different from home universities. You’ll spend six days in a port, and then have a test covering half the material in your textbook the next morning – which means you’d better learn to strap down and focus.
In the middle of the weeklong gap between Vietnam and Burma come exams, papers, and projects galore. But in great SAS fashion, we also had a two-day reprieve in the middle of the week, at the island nation of Singapore.
I had my first field lab here, where my English literature class, “Visionaries and Exiles,” caught a day tour about the history of Singapore and its founder, Stamford Raffles. Raffles was both a visionary and an exile, in that he chose to build a port in Singapore for the East India Company, among other viable options, and said he believed the tiny, tribal island would become “a great commercial emporium.” He also acted as a great humanitarian towards its people. He learned the Mandalay language, established native-language hospitals and schools in the area, and he was an anti-slavery proponent. Unfortunately, Raffles was also an exile from home – he lost his family to illness while living in Singapore, along with most of his money, and he faced many legal charges regarding Singapore (which he established without authority) when he returned home. Raffles played a unique role in history, and my class enjoyed comparing his real-life example to our studies in visionary/exile fiction protagonists like Robinson Crusoe and Odysseus.
Today, Singapore is a modern, multicultural and globalized country that has progressed beyond anything Raffles envisioned. Because of its location in the straight between Japan, China and India, it’s considered an “Asian Tiger” of trade and has been a bustling crossroads for both commerce and culture since its establishment. Its population is comprised of four main ethnic groups – Chinese, Mandalay, Indian, and “Eurasian” – and a quarter of all people living in the country are foreign-born.
Aside from being a center of wealth (1 in 6 Singaporeans are millionaires), this tiny country has a reputation as a foodie heaven, from $3 “hawker” street food to meals that cost more than my U.Va textbooks. A true melting pot of the east, the city’s range of international food, including its Chinatown and Little India districts, adds to the country’s multiculturalism environment that already blends together so well.
After visiting the homogenous Japan, China and Vietnam, it was refreshing to see a country where diversity is so prevalent and accepted. And it was fun visit a place where everyone is fluent in English – a huge stress reliever for the brain-drained student traveler.
On a final note, one of my favorite things about Singapore is that its government spends over 20 percent of its budget on education – and has been doing so for decades. Today, Singapore has developed a vast, competitive university system, and students are flocking to get in, with about 30 percent of the National University of Singapore’s students coming from abroad. Maybe the U.S. should take notes?
There’s snow in the forecast for the usually temperate Charlottesville. Again. To get to the bottom of what’s going on, we asked Jason Samenow (Col ’98), the weather editor at the Washington Post, for an explanation. Here’s what he said:
Q: More snow? This is a joke, right?
A: It’s for real, but we’re thinking just a slushy inch or so, mainly on grassy areas. Cville has it easy compared to eastern Mass, where they’re expecting 6”+ and 50 mph winds.
Q: This must have been a busy winter to be weather editor at the Washington Post. How did your experience at U.Va. prepare you for your current job?
A: I had a terrific experience working as production editor at the Cavalier Daily. Learning to work effectively in a fast-pace environment and under deadline pressure has definitely served me well in a professional newsroom.
Q: Do you have a favorite weather event from your time at U.Va.?
A: Hurricane Fran came through in ’96 with wind gusts to 50-60 mph, knocking out power around Grounds. It was the one and only day off from classes during my four years.
Q: Do the cold snaps and late-season snows have anything to do with the basketball team’s performance this winter?
A: This is a team of destiny. It delivers no matter the weather.
Q: Can you promise us that this will be the last snow before Spring?
A: Very good chance. The weather pattern flips later this week with mild conditions to close March.
True fact: It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood when the Teeny Tiny Zoo is on Grounds. The University Programs Council transformed the McIntire Amphitheatre into a petting…
Editor’s Note: Lauren Jones, a third-year student majoring in English and Economics, is on Semester at Sea this spring and has agreed to blog about her experience. Catch…