Maybe

*Late Post*

We live in a world deluged with demands and expectations, a world  where we are invariably trying to satisfy these demands and expectations, a world that is so fast-paced that by the time you make ends meet, the ends get further. And as we age, our responsibility expands, the obstacles we face intensifies, and at the end of the day, our mental resilience often takes a hard beating. Gone are the days, where we were once children, whose only worries were perhaps missing the Sunday morning cartoons, or the amount of time we get to spend outdoors, or the number of stickers we achieve on our kindergarten grading book. We definitely could not comprehend today’s seemingly insurmountable obstacles then, like how this writer puts it, “When you tell them your problem, they want to fix it for you. When they know they can’t, it turns them into a mess.” It is therefore not surprising to see our stress levels rising over the years. Which also echoes a need more than ever now to take some time off, catch a breath and relax. The thing with this is that people know the importance of having a breather, but reality forbids, time forbids.

***

I have had a very tiring week and a lot has since happened. Aside from the normal aches all around my body, I was both mentally and emotionally drained as well. That will be a story for another day. My ferry home from Pulau Tekong wasn’t a pleasant one. And my longing for the company of family and friends has never felt so intense before. What kept me going would possibly be the fact that I would be reunited with my fellow brothers after a couple of hours. And frankly speaking that mere thought became my motivation throughout hell.

We hung out at a famous prata house along Jalan Kayu on a Saturday night. It was a night filled with loads of food, loads of laughter, loads of serious discussions, and loads of philosophical nothings. I would normally have sat out in most of the conversations, but that night I was zealous. It was rare for me to feel this way and I actually enjoyed it. It was then I realised that I wanted the night to be perennial; that moment to last; that atmosphere, where I am surrounded with the people who care, to stay permanent. Yet life is full of ‘but’s, and that was just but yet another transient moment, one that I cherish deeply. I do not need to scroll through popular Instagram feeds to find the perfect, ideal, happy life, because I have already found mine. What more can I ask?

IMG_20150125_062650Mandatory wefie!

We talked a lot. A simple discussion about life in the military or anything relating to it for instance easily took up the bulk of the time. Not to mention, our discussion includes others such as relationships and holiday plans. Basically, anything we could have thought of. It was enjoyable.

Our discussion reached to a point where we considered finding time for a trip overseas, just us brothers,to hang out together after the completion of our Basic Military Training. Then it hit me that perhaps we were being overly ambitious and hopeful.

Why are we even certain that we will not split apart after the coming three months? I thought the lyrics from “No One is Alone” from”Into the Woods” would be applicable here.

“Sometimes people leave you.
Halfway through the wood.”

It is unassailable that people come and go in our lives, and from experience we have been victims or guilty at this. Hence, what makes us brothers think we could have preserved our friendship throughout the three months in Tekong, when within these three months our lives will be or have already changed with the influx of people that we will be meeting or have met. The military changes the lives and personality of the people. Frankly speaking, I’m not even surprised if any of us were to drift apart. And if so, wouldn’t this perhaps already mean that our plans that night would have already gone to waste?

Honestly speaking, I am dubious about how things will work out, but nonetheless, I guess it would be advisable to simply ignore that particular train of thought.

IMG_20150125_062855

Much love to Gillian Ong for reviewing the blog before I post it.

Those Little Eyes

Loud Thoughts Voiced Out

In a world where everyone’s asking you what you’ve achieved, what you’ve done with your life, it feels so easy to lose track of what’s important. When everything around you costs money. When you wake up one day and realize your bills are sky high and your bank account’s buried under the ground, it’s normal to feel the need to lock yourself up at work. When your partner’s fighting with you, when that silly little thing they do becomes the last thing you need that day and you end up screaming your head off and storming out, it’s almost impossible to want to go back home.

But I want you to. I want you to walk around the streets, take as many deep breaths as you need and go back inside that home. Because you know what your struggles are. You know why you’re angry, why you’re upset. But there’s…

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Metamorphosis: an army insight

For Dinesh, Jed, Weijie, James Feng, Gerald and the few who have yet enlisted

Gone are the days where I led a carefree civilian life; gone are the days when decisions can be dwelled on and pondered upon; gone are the days when time was never considered a scarcity. One month into the military, embracing the life of a soldier, and a process of metamorphosis has already began as I consistently accumulate sediments of conditioning, both mentally and physically, and experience. No one has control over the transformation, and for better or for worst, I do not know. American poet, Ezra Pound, once said, “There is no reason why the same man should like the same book at eighteen and forty-eight”; how certain are we then to consider ourselves the same being as the one who had first inhabit our own bodies many years ago?

And I find it ironical that as I talk about experiences and vehemently gathering them, I have come to a realisation that I am nothing. I have no reliable skills. So what if I was from the Debates Society? I’ve yet consider myself a fully pledged debater, one who can outwit and outsmart the other party with his wealth of knowledge. So what if I’ve hosted multiple events? I’ve yet really done anything to pursue this passion of mine. So what if I was from NCC(Land) and was a 2nd SGT? I’ve never really put my soul into doing a good job then. I have been sheltered, very sheltered. It is painfully embarrassing to admit so. I believed I have mentioned this in one of my previous posts, that there are many men who are wiser and more independent. These are the men who are virtuosos in their own particular field. These are the men who society wants. These are the men I admire. Hence, I find it amusing to identify the paradox: Knowing that I know nothing.

At this point, I see a need to clarify myself that I am not ranting, because this is but a declaration of my revelation, which serves to hopefully provide an iota of clarity to those who are like me, blinded, sheltered and pampered. That said, for those who think themselves as competent individuals with unique skills and capabilities of their own, good for you but remember to remain humble.

There are many people that I encounter, in the army. Some pleasantly humorous and affable, others can be an arse to deal with. And for the sake of maintaining a compassionate and neutral front, I shall not reveal those undeserving individuals. They say by going through hardships together, only will our camaraderie be founded, developed and deepened. While I concur with the aforementioned statement, I also believe that punitive measures ought to be distributed out fairly, especially to selfish people, many whom lack the intiatives, such that they feel a sense of remorse. Nonetheless, it is imperative to bear in mind that the very act of demonstrating hostility, be it non-verbally or verbally, can be seen as a burden to you yourself. For in the military, the ethos of cooperation and teamwork holds great importance; neglecting it serves to be detrimental to the welfare of the company.

The military provides loads of experiences and exposures. Earlier on, I had the opportunity to go on a 24 hours guard duty on a Sunday (which means reporting in early on a Saturday evening, and also means a great amount of time sacrificed), and I was appointed as a sentry personnel. The day began fine: 2 hours shift, 4 hours break. But then, it began to go downhill as dusk approaches. Because firstly, being situated at a seemingly isolated location on an already empty island at night freaks me out. A lot. I am not entirely alone though, I had insects and some cats as company. Nonetheless, the timid and superstitious me still cannot bear being isolated in the dark. Second, I worry, not being able to sustain the following day because I am one who requires a lot of rest. Third, I have had a lot of thoughts going on in my head, and it seems contradictory that with the given abundance of time, I still cannot seem to let it all out. And it is at this point that as I am writing this piece, I wonder what my family would have been doing? What my brothers might have been doing? What would I have done if I am not to serve the nation. However troubling and minuscule all these questions were, I’m glad to have the liberty to have them surfaced.

There was another time, where I was sick in camp, and it pains more than anything else to see the disgruntled look on the faces of my comrades, who may be assuming a notion of potent slackery. I know I should not have felt something like this if I am not guilty but all I have to say is that I was paranoid, and such thinking was inevitable as a result.

The army still continues to enrich my life. And I wonder what the future holds for me, as I continue to transform. All I can say now is that I wish those who have yet enter, the very best in the army and be glad you are not in Taurus COY.

PS: My sincere gratitude to Amadeus for helping me type out a big chunk of this piece while I was in camp.

New Year: My One Word for 2015 and Why I Can’t Leave 2014 Behind

Such Small Hands

In Korea people don’t stay up until midnight to ring in the New Year. Instead, they get up in the middle of the night and they hike a mountain. They climb through the dark, snowy pre-dawn hours and when they reach the top they stand with their faces to the sky to greet the first sunrise of the New Year.

What a contrast to how we in the West often enter the New Year – stumbling out of bed at noon, tired and quite possibly hungover. For many, January 1st is a day of recovery. We spend New Year’s Eve celebrating the ending of something and the beginning of a new thing. We bombard the internet with reflections on the previous year. Even the less introspective among us take a moment to declare the past year, “the best” or “the hardest” or “the craziest” year of their lives.

I can…

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Why I Would Rather Try To Find The Funny Than The Meaning Of Life

Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

Sir Loin of Beef Sir Loin of Beef

Some look at life’s journey as a pitched battle, and some as a noble quest. Either way, a smart knight should be prepared for the dragons he or she is bound to encounter along the way. My weapon of choice is a feather duster.

It has only snowed once so far this weird winter.  I took advantage of the unlooked for boon of ice-free roads here in the country last week and went for a walk.  My mood was somber as I set off down the road, well bundled against the bracing cold.  I needed the lift that nature always gives me because I felt lower than I have felt in a long time.

I was thinking about my dear cousin, Moe. She’s experimenting with multiple chemo treatments, locked in mortal combat with the cancer that has spread despite her efforts. We recently learned that her…

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So You Want to Be a Storyteller?

Sam S. Mullins: a blog about anything

Really? Even if people won’t want to date you ever again for fear that you’ll one day talk about them on stage? You’re sure?

Okay. Welcome aboard.

Here’s a cheap glass of wine. Where we’re going, you’ll need it.

I’ve got to tell you – I think you’ve picked a great time to get into the story game. I mean, with the success of storytelling podcasts like The Moth, RISK!, Definitely Not the Opera, Snap Judgement and This American Life millions of people are now aware of the phenomenon of modern storytelling. Just about every city in North America now has a regular storytelling event, and there seems to be more opportunities for storytellers than ever before. For raconteurs like us, the getting has never been good-er.

But before you start speaking your heart into the crackly microphone at the local roti place’s storytelling event (at which no one is there to actually hear stories [they’re just there…

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Losing a baby – things I’ve learned about miscarriage

” Humans are remarkable things – we can still feel happy for friends while feeling sad for ourselves. “

The Happy Baby Project

1. You may not realise anything is wrong. You may not bleed, nor feel cramps. In fact, you may be blissfully unaware that there is a problem at all until a scan, when instead of a kicking happy baby, you see a lifeless thing floating asleep, or you see nothing at all.

2. A scan will forever be a hateful thing – rather than excitement at looking at the screen, you will always wish the screen to be turned away from you, expecting a “sorry, there’s no heartbeat”.

3. And while I’m at it, sonographers have the best poker faces in the world. Fact.

4. After the scan, there is a lot of waiting. Waiting for further scans, waiting for tests. Waiting to miscarry naturally or waiting for pills to make you miscarry. Then there is waiting for appointments, waiting for operations to remove tissue. Finally there is waiting for your period to…

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