Feature

Hallroom BFFs

Your hall roomie can make or break your hall life. Find a good one and you’ll have plenty of shared experiences and a friend for life. Chrystal Chan and Derek Rodriguez chat with three hall BFFs and find out what makes them tick and what ticks them off

Besties who bicker and banter

PHOTOS: LI HAOLUN
Andrew Lu, Year 4, Mechanical Engineering
Bala Subramaniam, Year 3, Mechanical Engineering

If NTU were Hogwarts, Andrew and Bala would be Fred and George Weasley. They seem to be completely in sync, finishing each other’s sentences and simultaneously breaking into the song Say something when asked to “say something” to test the microphone.

What was your first impression of him?

A: The first time I met Bala, he was late for football camp. He climbed the locked gates in the middle of the night and got chided by our coach.

B: Andrew was a hefty defender who wasn’t too good at defending. He has improved in that aspect, but off the field, he’s still the same – jovial, outgoing and oh-so-smooth with the ladies. He was loud and boisterous when hanging out with his “ah beng” friends, but an absolute angel around his girlfriends.

And what do you think of him now?

A: We’ve been through a lot together, be it overseas trips, breakups, wins and defeats in our sports. I confide in him and seek encouragement from him. He also brings me back down to earth when I get too cocky.

B: He's my brother from another mother. He’s been there for me through all the rough times, and he knows exactly what to say to cheer me up. He puts up with my nonsense and I know he's got my back.

What did you find out about him only after becoming roommates?

B: Andrew loves playing computer games. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to voices saying things like: “Your top tower is under attack!” He also has a strange waking up ritual. It's like watching a scene from National Geographic Channel. He scratches his body like an ape, snorts like a boar and rises from his bed like a hippopotamus emerging from a mud pool.

A: Bala loves wearing my shoes. I think he likes being in my shoes. And if he doesn’t shave, he looks like a caveman.

B: Well, if he doesn’t style his hair, he looks like La Bi Xiao Xin.

What do you fight over?

A: We’ve had disagreements over who is supposed to clean the fridge. When we first got it, we made a deal where I’d pay for it and he would clean it. One day, I came back to the room and Bala had left a note, which said: “Andrew, please clean the fridge.” The note is still there today.

B: I don’t know why Andrew likes to leave the fridge door open. I can’t count the number of times I’ve come back to find the floor wet from the melted ice.

What’s one nice thing he’s done for you?

B: A few years back, I had knee surgery and had to be on crutches for a while. Andrew came to my house to pick me up and take me back to our hall.

A: Last year, when I broke my finger, Bala drove me to the hospital and waited with me until the doctors fixed it. In the meantime, he was flirting with the nurses and making jokes about eating 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken after my consultation.

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