Over two decades at NUS, I have shifted from the department’s “Zoo Museum” (S1) to Ecolab (S2; 1990) and once within the lab, later to a visiting researcher’s room (S3; 1999) to the Raffles Museum (S6) and back to the department to an office on the second level (S2; 2007) to the S1A carpark (?2008) and now to the fourth level of S2.
My office map location updated on Google Maps
Later last year, some planners threw their dice and our irradiated, smokened space behind the glass door in the S1A carpark was scheduled to become a seminar room. The time to move thankfully changed from mid-semester to semester-end. The last act in that show is marking, calculation, entry, verification, re-verificaiton, submission and approval of module marks and grades. It would be easy for inertia set in after that exercise, but a stimulus was provided in the form of terminating the aircon supply.
Since pleas about suffocation were met with ‘he said’, ‘she said’, everyone started packing. I deferred to deal with ICCS, the IMD MIA trail, honours student exit interviews and new research student interviews amongst other things. In the meantime, I mentally configured my stuff into boxes.
The squeeze into a smaller space meant abandoning some decade-old material – a metal, 4-drawer cabinet, a HP1200 printer and a Macintosh G4 dual 1Ghz with its four hard disks containing my Master Archive of digital images. I double-layered my books into available shelves so my online list of books needs better location details if I am to find anything again. Anyway that book list needs updating.
This time, my declutter quantity was limited to a single trash bag. PDFs take most of the credit for cutting down on paper accumulation. I leave most academic book-buying to the NUS Science Library and have been steadfast about refusing goody bags, commemorative material and the like.
Office moves are usually dreaded, grimy, sneeze-inducing moves to often less rewarding locations. The sliver lining is the reward of a fresh, clean start. And the inevitable examination at some point of the exercise, of the bundle of notes and letters from friends accumulated over the years.
And the good news? From my current location, I can see a bit of the ridge and the sky through a gap in the window.