24 Years Later I re-visited Oxford / Day 1 of 2019 UK Holiday

I studied O-level and A-level in the UK. After graduating from Oxford University in 1995 I have moved to Singapore and started working. It is hard to pinpoint why for more than two decades I have not made a return to the UK. Partly because I have lived there for six years. Whenever I have a chance to travel, my wife and I would pick somewhere new. Deep inside, I have this notion that memories – fond or not – are like whiskey. It takes time to age. Perspective changes as I encounter new experience in life. I don’t need to remember every bit of it. Only those that survive the test of time are worth the reminiscence.

Click here to view the photo album with captions. The pictures are shot with Nikon Z6 35mm Z lens and SB900 flash unit.

Wadham College was our first stop. I collected my Alumni Card at the Porter’s Lodge on a Sunday. There are parts of Wadham that stay the same. And there are new structures are built within the campus. My wife Cynthia asked what the differences between the colleges are. A short answer would be that in my time, group lectures are held at the department whereby one-to-one or small group tutorials are held at the college conducted by the resident fellows. Hence, some colleges are more famous than others when certain subjects are concerned.

In reality though, most prospective students including myself back then just picked the college we like the most during field visits to apply for.

Board Street and the town center, by and large, look very much the same as before. Backwell’s Bookstore is still there, still full of books. In the era whereby bookstores are closing down one after another here in Singapore (thanks to eBook format and perhaps Netflix), it is quite amazing to see people still prefer physical books in the UK. Selected books are being featured with a short review posted at the shelf below them. Some are printed and others are handwritten.

Boots got bigger but Virgin megastore has gone (I guess while physical books survive in the UK, CDs don’t). There is a huge mall called Westgate at the far end of Oxford and it is very un-Oxford-like. Nevertheless, it is a very nice mall with a shop that sells … Rolex. A rather posh mall shall I say?

The very friendly porter at Wadham College mentioned that in our next visit, we could stay in one of the rooms and relive the student life for a hundred pound a night. We could do that. Or we could stay in an Airbnb as we did that comes with a full family of peacocks (no kidding).

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