So my Dancing Doll is also officially a graduate now. Of course, she had to make a fashion statement even amongst her very stylish Singaporean batchmates!
Whereas they were all dressed very primly in dark coloured skirts or pants and light coloured shirts, madam decided she wanted a hot pink skirt with a satiny and thoroughly girly, ruffled cream blouse, matching accessories and very high heeled shoes. It was hidden under her robe most of the time, except for when she struck a pose and she stuck her leg out!
I must say although the surroundings were very plush, extremely grand (justifying the amount we paid to attend?) the proceedings themselves were pretty basic. I think our local presentation ceremonies are much better in comparison. The Indian owner of the institution spoke first and the gist of his speech was that money was the most important thing in the world and we should amass more. He kept stressing that money is everything and we can’t exist without loads of it.
I would say that is debatable, but considering the fees his institute charges, I think he’s doing quite well in that aspect! His diction, delivery and subject matter really needed to be worked on. Some people were nodding off in the midst of the monotonous drone. The next speaker was another academic, who was equally boring but slightly more humane since he mentioned compassion towards others and helping those in need etc.
After more speeches came the awards, and then photos and refreshments. Very subdued and unemotional, quite unlike our country! D.D. had warned us that we were on display because some of the parents were going to be introduced to us so their darling daughters could visit our wild, primitive country! So we showed them as best we could that we were quite civilised. I think we convinced them. Beautiful Dreamer drifted around, armed with a glass, and all D.D.’s friends and lecturers remarked that they looked alike.
Our next stop was at the studio to take family photos with The Graduate. Since B.D. graduated from the same university, she could also wear her robe for the photos. Her dress did not meet the requirements of “collar and cuffs with robe,” so she was lent a huge white shirt to wear over her dress. The cuffs covered her hands so I had to fold them up. So then we were asked to posture and gesture and smile until our faces hurt. B.D. was on the verge of collapse now, since she had just arrived in time for the ceremony after her exams in Sri Lanka. She quite forgot she was wearing the voluminous shirt, and drifted out of the studio in it to the amusement of everyone there! Our laughter faded away to incredulous looks at the exorbitant cost of these photos. It was double the amount we paid for B.D.’s graduation photos two years ago! I think we would have posed informally much better.
For the celebratory dinner, since we couldn’t get a reservation at our favourite Japanese restaurant there, our friends recommended a Turkish one. Aaah! That sounded quite exotic! D.D. immediately dressed to suit the place, in an outfit where she closely resembled a belly dancer. She performed all the appropriate moves and looked quite authentic. I told her maybe if she entered the place dancing, the other patrons would think she was part of the entertainment and the owner would be so grateful that we would be given a meal on the house. She snorted at my suggestion, I can’t see why.
The traditional drink was Raki but the girls said it tasted like Japanese sake or Greek ouzo. It is made of fermented grain, grapes, plums and flavoured with aniseed. Since everyone looked dubious, I dropped the idea. Even Turkish coffee was too thick and bitter, they said. Spoilsports! The girls kept laughing at me because everywhere we ate I kept saying my version was much tastier. That is barring the Italian place we went to, which was quite delicious. Anyway, my baba ghanoush and hummus is jolly well tastier! It was the same with the Singapore Chillie Crab and the Pepper Crab, I felt the seasoning somehow not quite right.
Then D.D. very neatly transferred all the money I had into her purse and descended on the shops. Well, she did my shopping too and she has very good taste. I think she has graduated in that field too and deserves a certificate as well!
— Honky Tonk Woman