Questions

Chinese all over the world have already begun their Lunar New Year celebration, ushering in the Year of the Goat and sending away the Year of the Horse. It is a tradition for many to embrace a new sort of mentality and ideology during the New Year, throwing away the unnecessary thinkings and burdens while embracing new ones. But some trails of thoughts are not as easy to be abandoned as it seems.

I find myself pondering over these arbitrary (maybe a little bit useless) trails of thoughts lately. Here’s the main bulk.

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Wouldn’t it be great if man were to be able to fly? Soaring into the open skies with no assistance from any automations or weirdly mechanisms except for his own hands or palms. There will no longer be any accidents involving the destruction of aircrafts that leads to the massive (or dramatic) tragic loss of lives. Wouldn’t it be great if man can breathe underwater? Openly becoming a denizen of the deep, and not worry about any respiratory complications. There will be more discoveries and more mysteries answered. Wouldn’t it be great if man were to have superpowers? To possess an additional set of unique skills that further defines his individualistic personality or existence.

But man cannot be all that talented and that is for reasons we all know why, or can we? After all, what we can think of, we can do.

Rather than imploring the aforementioned above, wouldn’t it be far better if man were to do something else? Something far more beneficial and of greater relevance? Something realistic? Let’s say for instance, what if man and animals could communicate with one another? Man would be able to impart a teeny winny part of his knowledge to the interacting species, and in turn gather crucial bits of information, the ones that possibly could prevent the loss of innocent lives, from the other party.

Or perhaps, what if man could hasten the growth of vegetation? To eradicate the shortage of food. To mitigate the impacts of our relentless and self-centred gluttony for growth. To ensure sustenance.

Splendid isn’t it?

Yet, we are still missing a greater picture here. What we have just described are merely imaginary idealistic images of ourselves, through rose-tinted glasses, leading the life where we overcome our self-made induced obstacles, which would otherwise have been entirely impossible to vanquish considering the fact that we do possess a dearth of capabilities. No doubt we are in a depressing and pessimistic situation and attaining any of the aforementioned now is impossible, but there lies hope.

Is there salvation from our messed up world? The answer, a resounding yes! And there is a solution, a panacea! Not the one involving the barbaric yet rational theory (Wikipedia: the massive culling of the human race to save the Earth from further damage) as profoundly presented in the movie,”Kingsman: The Secret Service”. But, a more humane approach, one that requires surprisingly minimal effort that comes not from any governmental organisations or private agencies but rather from ourselves.

We can make a difference. We know it yet many are not doing it for the greater good. (Let’s not start a debate about the “Greater Good”, shall we?) Wouldn’t it be great if man were to be able to willingly let up his seats to those in need? Wouldn’t it be great if man were to smile more often? Wouldn’t it be great if man were to practice basic courtesy? Wouldn’t it be great if man were to help one another?  Wouldn’t it be great if man were to become less materialistic, self-centred and egoistic while at the same time become more generous, sincere and forgiving?

So, what exactly are we lacking?

Kindness.

We have been reluctant, very much so and it comes as no better time, now, to accept our inadequacy; if we want to change our pseudo-sympathetic society, we need acceptance. Because without it, we cannot proceed on in eagerness and sincerity with our actions. Kindness is an important virtue. It can change lives. Embrace it, live with it.

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Wishing all a Merry & Prosperous Lunar New Year!

 

Waiting

Backhand Blog

On Wednesday I asked the students in my class to describe what they’d been doing earlier in the day, before our afternoon session began. While they scribbled I wrote alongside them, producing a dull summary of actions and toil—until I came to waiting

There is always waiting. It begins in the still-dark morning when my dog barks at a sound I can’t hear. I wait for R. to get out of bed and take her outside so I can go back to sleep. But really so I can go back to waiting.

If you want to write, there’s no way around waiting. Over waiting the writer has no control. Oh, I’m in charge in the sense that I can follow a routine known to be helpful to the production of words. Keep to a schedule is one common suggestion. But there is mystery in writing. Who can say why…

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Fog

WANDER HOME

There’s an unpredictability to the grayness of days in our cove by this water, us in this dent on the edge of the west. As if caught in an eddy, our Bay sends swirls of dark air to engulf us and wrap our landscape in mystery. It is something circadian, yet somehow always sudden.

When I was young, we would visit my grandparents in the Oakland hills, winding up and up the steep streets to the top where on a clear day you could see San Francisco glinting like a toy in a blue pool. But most visits, we’d arrive fresh out of the hot valley where we lived, full of sun and heat and sweat, and find that an eerie world of cool clouds had swallowed everything around us. In the dead of summer, when home was shining bright, we’d find ourselves in darkness.

Now this fog is a part of…

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Am I not cut for this?

I grew up in an environment of subtle rigidity, a typical Asian upbringing where the ethos of “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is uphold by most. I cannot count the number of times I have had myself hit and whack because of my failure to comply to certain rules and regulations that supposedly justify my moral upbringing. I have had been chastised by my parents for not scoring full for a “simple” spelling or dictation test during primary school. Of course, it may seem that I lead a rather bitter life when I was younger, but I am not. And the thing is, I actually embrace this sort of Asian upbringing because I know the people who raised me love and care for me. Just like how Blogger Cindy once said, “Chinese families know how to love fiercely. They do it through immense generosity, unwavering loyalty, and a lot of food. We love differently, not better, not worse, but definitely different.” It is at this point where I think I should confess about an oath that I made to myself, one that I believe is not uncommon. Simply put, I do not wish to disappoint them.

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My guardian who looked after me for 16 years while my parents were busy working.

And yes, as much as I want to avoid committing anything that contradicts or endangers the aforementioned statement, it is unfortunate to say that reality, being harsh in nature, has slapped me on the face yet again. This irks me because I despise disclosing my problems to people, because the mere act of disclosure dictates an actual problem or a potent burden which needs to be addressed asap.

Somewhere in the midweek, I received the news that I might have been given an “Out of Training” from the Military because I took too many medical leaves, also known as “Status”. And if that is the case, which I fervently pray that it would not be so, I will have to leave my company, whom I have spent close to two gruelling but marvellous months together with, and then recourse the whole thing again. The thing with Status is that the qualified medical personnel (Military Doctors) will engage in a quick check-up followed by a swift diagnosis, which includes the number of days the patient is excused from training. Furthermore, after the excuse period ends, the patient will be given an additional number of days off to ensure a full recovery while at the same time assist him to catch up with the training. A fever can easily lead to 3-5 days of status leave, and for those who sustain leg, back or any form of physical injuries, the status leave might last as long as 2 weeks.

To be precise, I went to the Medical Centre thrice. The first was when I was four days into the camp, when I had a high fever and flu probably due to adjustment issues. The second was right after the Christmas Break, when I had a sore throat that is so severe that I lost my voice. The third was on the last week of January, when I had a minor left knee strain, which resulted from an unfortunate incapability on my part to manage the weight of load from the previous route march. The total number of status dates I received was 15 (the last being a 5-days long).

I ask myself countless times whether if I have been slacking, or deluded, or living in denial. Each time my answer differs. My inability to settle on a final answer worries me because I am diving into a pool of paranoia – Are my fellow comrades doubting my credibility? Have I underestimated my physical fitness or my body’s defensive mechanism? Are my parents going to worry, or freak out, or feel disappointed? Will I be booted out?

There is without a doubt that a whole barrage of emotions is going on within me right now. They are relentless. I am furious at my dearth of personal responsibility to take care of myself as well as the lack of competency that I have showed thus far. I am guilty for taking status, and also guilty at the mere fact that I am blaming myself for doing something that is right. I recall a sentence that blogger Sarah said, “Guilt and anger are a potent enough cocktail, but when you mix in grief and regret it’s enough to knock you sideways.” I’m pretty sure that if I were to be booted out, the remaining two emotions that results from a severe reluctance to leave as well as a reflection of what has happened will break me down. I cannot fathom how my family will react to this and I still have trouble trying to break the news. What a great big disappointment. What a dismal future.

When asked whether by the higher ups as to whether I want to leave, my reply was swift and curt. A clear “No!” I have forged bonds with my fellow comrades, who like me are determine to pass-out together at the floating platform coming April. I have seen my comrades break down and have consoled them, reassuring them that we can go through this together, and I foresee more of such to come. I have touched on my innate kindness – a supposedly extinct trait – and assisted the injured and care for the weak. I have yet and hopefully never will commit any offenses that may entitle me a confinement over the weekend. I have learnt loads and am still learning from my comrades of various race, age and religion. I want to walk through the end of the tunnel with them together, I want to march onto the platform with them together, I want to not get boot out.

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I know I am not alone because there are others who are like me, facing the similar risk. To me, this reminds me of the Hunger Games, go figure. As of now, I am dubious as to whether I can make the cut or not. I wish I can, but I have no authority. Nonetheless, I will continue aiding my fellow brothers with all my power and if the worst is to come, all hell will break lose.