- a critical analysis of gadgets and colloquialisms a decade ago.
It's getting a little close to a decade since I joined St. John's and I reckon it is about time to do the 'old-manesque' recollection of memorable aspects of our Alma Mater. Most notably, and I doubt if it has changed that much, the campus was a homogenous melting pot, with students gaining admission from all over the country and contributing to the camaraderie. We had a Johnite culture in place, which was constantly modified by fads that appeared momentarily and disappeared after a while. I'm not going to list all, but what I will do is present a less than perfect analysis of facets of Johnite culture, including, but not limited to, words, mannerisms, gadgets, food and drink, and music. I will attempt to limit the list to four, but will aim to do this on a serial basis.
Cassette tapes Where did these go? When I passed my Five years in B-Block is a fantastic experience. Highly first year exams (how I passed Anatomy provides for an animated conversation. Another time, perhaps?), I asked my father for a cassette player. These used to cost anywhere between Rs. 2000 for a decent deck to
expensive stereos found in Oswald's, Stephen's and Ambrose's rooms. I had a different idea though, and that was to nick our expensive car stereo. Now I had to get it set up to provide for supreme acoustic ambience in my room. Two weeks and a couple of grand later, the stereo was thumping out Journey, Rage Against the Machine, and such. Six months later, it died tragically due to heat build up. I refuse to acknowledge that it's a cassette of James Blunt that led to its untimely demise.
Tiger Biscuits I was greatly saddened to hear that Tiger Biscuits™ is now a non-entity. At least the Britannia one. News reached me saying that they have been acquired by a U.S. confectionary major called Kraft Foods, signalling the death of yet another critical aspect of our mess-derived nutrition. At Rs.2/packet, it was the epitome of a frugal meal. There were many takers though, for someone later serendipitously discovered that partial immersion of a biscuit in Mess Chai® led to an overall improvement in its palatability. Notoriously enough, Elvis Peter Joseph of my class was known to secretly admire the brand and thus famously stock truckloads of the said product. For me, it did zilch. Non-dietary uses were primarily related to a convenient grip over the packet, so it doubled up as a fairly accurate projectile. No serious injuries were reported, however.
B-Block* In mythological circumstances, it is rumoured to be a place where intensive learning takes place, although to those who reside there, it is often described a little differently – as in, where one might get to stay in one of the palatial cubicles or get an opportunity to appreciate RCA latrines exactly as described in the textbooks. Exotic wildlife was available only in some rooms but certainly allowable on request. The terrace used to host parties where amber currents of beer would flow freely and men would get newscasted from excesses after a hard day at an exam, viva or even a normal day with complete lack of responsbility. Extremely effective, except in isolated instances.Five years in B-Block is a fantastic experience. Highly recommended.*A decade ago.
PLAB An academic fad of yesteryears. Used to refer to an exam that a lot of Johnites attempted successfully until my class just about finished medical school. Plab is also a term in usage that refers to a style reminiscent of the 80's, for e.g. plaid pants, thick rimmed spectacles etc. However, the only context we were interested in was the former, with swarms of Johnites doing PLAB courses, PLAB interviews and PLAB revisions. Everything used to be plab! It all turned out to be so wrong soon after, with a skewed immigration policy of the Labour Government allowing thousands to emigrate without reason. Then appeared a sudden paucity of training positions and accession to the European duty-hour regulations, preventing non-EU candidates from taking up career-grade jobs and scrapping of the HSMP scheme. The result? A few Johnites lost a lot of money whilst applying, but most of them subsequently completed U.S. licensure successfully. All's well that ends well thus.Verb: Plabbing. Conversation starter: Macha, are you plabbing? Yes. What the...Me too! Conversation non-starter: Macha, are you plabbing? Nope. I like Singapore. It's very now, it's very today.- Amal Isaiah, Batch of '00