austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

I believe you will always be a part of me

A couple people have asked just when I'm going back to Singapore. That could be taken as a sign they're a bit tired of me, but I'd prefer to suppose it's natural curiosity about someone they like. I've been using various levels of indirection but it's been a month now and there's really no point to being so evasive. The truth is: I don't know if I'll ever go back to Singapore.

My university job was as a ``Teaching Fellow'' or ``Visiting Fellow'', a non-tenure track position given out on one- or two-year contracts. That's what I'd been living on from 2003, and probably I could have carried on like that indefinitely in my old department. It was a small department, and my contract began in March, so that they'd either have to pay me to do nothing for half a term or find people to cover the half of my classes I wouldn't be there for, or else just hire me for another year. But when my original department was closed I was put in a larger one with not such a shortage of teaching talent, and my contract was realigned with the semester break, and after years of having me as a Visiting Fellow they apparently got tired of having quite so much company.

I ran a quick job hunt within Singapore, but despite a nibble from a bank hoping to expand its training departments, nobody hired me (though another university has asked my references for referals). And since I was living in faculty housing, and on an employment pass as foreign talent, losing my job meant losing my apartment and leaving the country. For the time being I'm staying with my parents, sorting through an absurd number of boxes of the books and DVDs and miscellaneties that I gathered over years in Singapore, and trying to send out applications to find steady new work.

In any case I really am doing fine. I'm annoyed to lose the hangouts and habits I'd built up over years, and I'm worried about things like my finances (I'm really, objectively, fine; I just don't like the uncertainty) and how to feign having a personality here when I can't as easily slip in Singaporean curiosa. (Singapore's Parliament has decided to allow ministers to make speeches in more than one of the four official languages in the same speech. Up to now they could only use one -- their choice -- per speech. It's only a temporary change, but could be made permanent with the right changes in standing rules.) And I do hope that I'll soon find a new, full-time, preferably tenure-track job.

Trivia: The earliest known public entertainment in Singapore was an 1831 violin recital given by a Signor Masoni. Source: The Singapore Book of Records, Ong Eng Huat, Publisher.

Currently Reading: World's Best Science Fiction: 1966, Edited by Donald A Wollheim, Terry Carr.

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