Monday, October 17, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

Guys and Dolls - The Musical

An excellent play, indeed. Starring Ewan McGregor, Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge, and Jenna Russell.

We were just trying our luck when we strolled along in Leicester Square on Friday afternoon after a horrible and boring pointless half day was wasted in French Consulate Embassy to get my visa done. After visiting four ticket offices asking about the availability of the Guys and Dolls play (all the Stalls seats were fully booked up till 4th December 2005, not a surprise considering Ewan McGregor is the one starring for the play), we ended up on the fifth ticket office, and definitely didn't see it coming when the friendly ticket seller told us that there were two last Stall seats available for the show that night- starting in two more hours!

Call me impulsive, but me and Jon had been in dilemma since months ago contemplating whether we should watch the play and therefore without a second thought had accepted the excellent opportunity for having been able to watch the play that night!

Yes, am glad that we decided to watch the play that night, as it is an excellent play indeed. My favourite numbers have to be the Luck be a lady (Ewan-as charming as ever- hasn't lost his singing touch, however, he did looked slightly worn out) and Marry the man today (sang beautifully and hypnotically with the duet of Jenna Russel and Jane Krakowski). The orchestra, had also served their best throughout the play!

Hoping to catch a glimpse of the cast (ok, Ewan McGregor, in particular), we waited till about midnight at the stage doors, however, to no avail. He must be running away from another exit or something, can't really blame him. On the other hand, we managed to get the autograph of Jenna Russell, a very down to earth and friendly Sarah Brown.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Ripped off NUS card

I sure am needed some consolation here. I've made a complain earlier (trust me, it's so unlike me, actually! *wink*) about the outrageous charges the University of Brighton's Student Union has charged their skinned students for their NUS card. Apparently, we need to pay £3.00 for our NUS card, the very same card being issued for free in all London Universities (UCL, Imperial, etc) as well as Thames Valley University and even Sussex University!

"You know what, you are the second person out of 2000+ students that had made a complain about this charges. I even heard other universities that charged £10.00 to get the NUS issued", says the unamused lady that dealing with us in the student union reception, when we express our shock regarding the £3.00 NUS card. She, however, failed to mention which university(s) does that.

Five years ago, when I was just a first year undergraduate student, it was free to have an NUS card issued to UoB's students. The union started to charge us £1.00 the year after that, stating that it's for "administration" cost. Honestly, for the love of God, I don't know where that cost come from cos all they do is have the empty cardboard papers in hand and ask us to write down our own detail inside there and all they do is laminate it, while other universities have it nicely done in a proper NUS card and have their detail typed in rather than written flimsily. No wonder staff in a shop or restaurant or even gym had to have their eyes squinted when looking at my NUS card. I know they still do try to look polite, but I can't help but recognising their "uncertain" facial expression on whether my NUS card is the real one or not. Can't blame them.

About a year ago, we need to pay £2.00 -for the lamination- to get our NUS card done. I was given a firm "no" when I asked them whether I can have my card un-laminated as £2.00 for lamination is quite outrageous.

This year, things started to get even worse. It cost £3.00 to have my NUS issued. The lady in the student union reception explained grumpily -when we midly "question" her- that the £2.00 is for administration fee and the other £1.00 is for the African scholarship charity or something. I don't mind giving anything for charity, but am sure feel much better if I can do it myself on my own rather than being "forced" by paying through my NUS card.

The lady, had unfortunately taking the whole situation personally, told us rudely, "so do you want the NUS card or not?! I don't have time for argument here! it's your decision to have your NUS! We are not forcing you to get it and therefore you don't need to pay if you don't want your NUS card issued!"

"Of course I still want my NUS card issued, and that's the problem, you see.." I tried to explain to her patiently, "I don't really have any choice as NUS card is the only thing that will officially stated that I am from this university. Unfortunately, we, as students, only able to gulp our words in and accept the fact that University of Brighton charged their students £3.00 for each NUS they issued. Maybe that's why I am the only second person out of 2000+ students that raise a complain in regards of this problem because (a) they might be freshers that didn't know the current normal situation yet and (b) cos, like me, they have no choice but to get their NUS issued."

No words from her for a moment, and then..

"Well, if you want to make a complain about the whole situation, you better talk to the President of the Student Union about it!", she said grumpily.

Oh, yes, am sure going to talk to them. In fact, maybe I should even send a copy of the complain to the Vice Chancellor of UoB, Student Union Advice centre, and the SU welfare.

On the lift up to my office, I still voiced my dissapointment to one of my colleague (who actually went down with me to the Student Union reception earlier) and it's about 15 more students inside with us and glad to hear that they voiced the same thought as us as well!

"We didn't know that other Universities has had it for free! We shall go and make a complain to the Student Union Reception as well!" all of them said.

Thank you guys!
An update:

Thanks to one of my colleague, Soma, who had also done a research about the mysterious £10.00 NUS charges, she managed to find various website link below which explain the whole situation much more clearer and which also shows how University of Brighton has overcharged its own students.

London Met
University of Gloucestershire
News about the mysterious £10.00 NUS charge
LUSU online
Henley College Coventry

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Crowds are back!

After spending such an "eerie" and quiet summer in the University, it's kind of weird to see students coming back now as the autumn term has started this week. You don't even have to see a calendar to know when the new term has started. When you seem to hear additional amount of drunken singers outside your flat two to three in the morning, you know that term has started!

I wonder whether I've been shrinking this past few years, as every year I've been mistaken as a new student. This new term is no exception. Never been proud of being a petite, I was trying to walk past a huge crowd of students on the pavement leading to the university when a student representative told me firmly to "stick to my group!".

It was quite a real entertainment seeing her face gone red when my second year student joined me from the other direction and ask me whether am going to give tutorial for second year this term.

"Yes, I will, if I am allowed to break away from my group!"I said with an evil grin.

Monday, October 03, 2005