Of Fresh Fruits and Familiarity

This piece is best read after first taking a glance at this.

Tembusu. What does the word mean? What does it stand for?

Tembusu is packing up your room for the final time and wondering how you managed to accumulate so much stuff. It is staring at the washing machine and thinking: Finally, the timers are accurate! It is gazing wistfully at the still ever-growing pile of laundry. It is trying to decorate your room but accepting that the messiness defines who you are. It is stocking your bookshelf with books that you’ll probably never have time to read. It is cleaning your room every week and wondering how you can lose so much hair and not go bald.

Tembusu is Level 12 corridor, Stickies, and Fresh Fruit (RIP) jios. It is passing by that guy or girl on your level that you don’t know very well and giving that little closed mouth smile (you know which one). It is learning from your earlier mistakes and not using the pantry fridge at all. It is not ordering suppers because everyone has suddenly become too healthy to have supper. It is suddenly bumping into that guy and girl that you know exactly what’s going on between them due to gossip, but as a Bro you nod hello and carry on your way. It is finally winning THG Football after 4 long years (ole ole ole).

Tembusu is no longer having the time to commit to interest groups but feeling grateful that they organise many events for you to attend. Tembusu is going for many Teas with distinguished and unique guests and realising that you might never have the opportunity to have such intimate dialogues with like-minded peers in the future. It is finishing off an article for Treehouse and feeling proud, until you realise that still nobody reads Treehouse. But it is also realising that it needs to continue running to provide the intellectual space for vital pieces like this and this to exist.

Tembusu is wondering why some of your juniors are mopey lil sh*** until you realise that you were once one of them. It is looking at a dirty toilet and ranting on your Telegram level chat for people to fix themselves. It is going for meals at the dining hall and realising you don’t even pay attention to the food anymore; it’s all just calories to you. It is waiting for the lift for eons because they broke down again (seriously, how much was the tender for this place?).

Tembusu is where a Progressive Democratic Community Band can perform to much applause instead of puzzled faces. It is where you see the zeal of people working towards causes that they truly care for, and you feel inspired by them to contribute in your own little way. It is where you will meet some of the smartest people in NUS. And it is a comfy little bubble to experiment in, which you are unlikely to find elsewhere.

Last but not least, Tembusu is… no longer a place where familiar faces are always present; but with change comes the opportunity to forge new memories. It is where you urge your bright-eyed and bushy tailed juniors to make the most of their time here; please don’t throw away your shot. It is a place where hopes, dreams, and expectations combine, yet due to unsavoury incidents and structural constraints, it may not always be a home of possibilities.

But it tries pretty damn hard to be one.


Photos by tStudios.


About the author

Isaac is a Year 4 FASS student majoring in Political Science. He wants to explore and understand the world, but is content with just surviving in university for now. He can be found browsing only the dankest memes.