You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2011.
First, a note to those who have been expecting something on my blog about last saturday’s happy occasion, I have thrown the post into one year later. Check back on 27 August 2012 lolol.
But I’m glad that the debate season has ended for the time being. It has been two months since I started, and it was just week after week of non-stop preparation for one competition and then another, for two entire months. It was fulfilling of course, but still tiring. (On a side note, I spent four days last week at THAT area. One of them on the very next day to meet some friends -_-)
More pertinently, these two months set me back in terms of my greater personal priorities. Time and mental energy that was much needed was instead channeled to a very taxing avenue. At times, the ambitious attempt to juggle both priorities ended up with piece-meal progress on both ends. This isn’t the same as trying to study three different subjects (say US history, biology and math). That’s just retention. That’s easy. When it comes to a creative process, it’s a lot harder to think about multiple things at a time.
So I’m finally freed up for the month to focus on the greater task. The long four day weekend was well-timed, and what do I do with my new found free time? I waste my three whole days of free time. Sunday Monday Tuesday just disappeared like that, not to mention Saturday night. I’m quite sure I was only supposed to take one day of rest. Today in particular, a public holiday which makes it uncomfortable to take public transport, was meant to be spent productively — but I decided to take the afternoon off to ponn life and sleep. The problem with these little punctuations is that they are like the short five minutes after you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock — you just want to hit it again, climb back into bed and extend it.
But not all was wasted. I managed to read 180 pages of some rare classic (from Borders, heh) and I’ve about 400 more pages to go. I managed to dig up knowledge from a year ago to write an essay on Contract. And most importantly, the free time and contemplation has set me looking for God and the Truth again. Admittedly, so much has been happening over the past few months that my mind simply ended up else where.
In periods of intensity, it is important to have these little punctuations of idleness. I have about one month to work on my first priority – I hope to finish before September ends. Then I’ll try to settle the other three (or four) within the month of October. I look forward to my next punctuation.
Who knows? Maybe I won’t be hitting the snooze button anymore, maybe I’ll be hitting what needs to be done once I publish this post.
I think not blogging/writing is an unhealthy sign of being mentally bogged down — as though I occupy myself with so many other things that I have no time to reflect, or the energy to do so. SINCE I foresee that will be the case for the next two nights, lets just go through a simple list of things i’ve done today.
1. Attempted to wake up at 5 to send emails that I was too tired/moody to send the night before. Ended up waking up at 0630 — as expected life doesn’t work that way.
2. Was stuck in a freaking vivid realistic good dream, spent about half an hour trying to rip myself back to reality, which involved the shitty situation of having to travel to work. When that is the reality awaiting you, dreams are more fun.
3. Ran and swam. Nothing new.
4. Changed from one set of sweaty clothes to one set of previously sweaty clothes to one set of old but clean clothes. Horrid I know, but it was mainly because I forgot to bring this and that. Brought nothing new.
5. Tried to protect one of my guys from getting punished for not turning up for the run. Failed to do so in time.
6. Met someone who is now quite old, and the last I saw her was when she was j1…which makes me mentally project/forecast how girls I know now might end up in a number of years (especially those that studied overseas). The outcome is: O_O woah.
7. Discovered that there are people in Singapore who do not know that newater does not only come in bottles, but has actually pumped through our pipes already. Epic look of shock lol. What a beulah person — but even beulah probably knows that…i think.
8. Found a sexeducation pamphlet with gross photographs (which I immediately averted my glance and shut the book). Attempted to very immaturely flash those photographs at the Queen – who is like a primary school class monitress figure through and through, which adds to the fun. Was beaten to my own game by this woman trying to flash the same pamphlet at me (of which I screamed and looked away).
9. Put up an unglam struggle against more than six guys trying to hold onto both my arms (What is this? a bad Hong Kong movie?!). They only succeeded in holding onto one mostly. I blame being shack from swimming today. I survived lol (and they shall all be smite with Limited Participation next year -_-) Random trivial – if they washed their hands, they might smell chlorine.
10. Ended the day with a cheap ribeye steak…on a wednesday night
11. (Because it is too conventional to end at the tenth point) Had a short chat about religion in the time it took to finish a raisin scone.
Life is good, or at least less moody than yesterday. But i still haven’t had the time to do what I actually need to do.
Having sat through three hours of a single debate on identity, one cannot help but to think about existential questions. The alternative would otherwise have been suicide, or death from sleep deprivation. Previously I asked myself about why do I do what I do, mainly because people kept bugging me that week. I never got down to answering that but let’s just jump to more fundamental questions, like who am I? where do I belong? what is my identity?
It’s a question asked by the Bat, a beast with wings. A question asked by British-born Indians, like Hanif Kureishi who wrote Buddha in Suburbia. A question asked by the Queen’s Chinese, like the protagonist Dennis Chiang in Walter Woon’s Advocate’s Devil trilogy, who spent much time in England and can’t speak Chinese when back in Singapore.
Identity boils down to common values (among a long jumble of many other things) but what happens when you have conflicting values? Like people who thread the balance between holding on to a Christian faith, and yet maintain the need to remain as a rational critical thinker. Or the people who are pro-government yet anti at the same time. Or the people who simply cannot tell if they are more of a striver, or more of a skiver — whether they are more intense than they are idle. Does one need to feel the identity to possess the identity? If I hate my identity/organisation, does that undermine by identity in any way?
Questions only lead on to more perplexing questions. I do believe one thing though — that identity isn’t given to you on a piece of paper or by other people, it is found, formed and forged by the individual. (and when you realise that the answers don’t really matter, fuck it.)
Related post: http://findmuck.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/what-it-means-to-be-acsian/
Had to chase after my dog and carry him back after a long day of work. The children at the playground, who were busy patting it and swooning over how cute it was, must have thought that the soldier was taking away the dog to lock him in the pound — a place which Disney movies and other cartoons have demonised, despite their healthy societal role in removing strays. I hope no one took a picture of me in uniform carrying a dog away and put it on stomp.
There are two kinds of people you could run into: the kind you want to run into, and the kind you don’t. I’m kidding. Actually its true, but its not my point. Let’s make it more specific: There are two kinds of friends you could run into: the kind that you are close to, and the kind that you aren’t.
To characterise the two groups: For the former, you are in contact with and would meet with outside anyway. For the latter, you are not in any contact, you wouldn’t meet outside, but you have some common history. I used to firmly believe in only holding a close circle of friends, and that would be enough — anyone else is quite insignificant. I still maintain that the close circle is still the most important, but increasingly, I’m starting to think that the circle of greater breadth and less depth is quite important too — and in fact, enjoyable to run into.
To set things in context with some real life examples: Within this week, I have run into three not-so-close friends, acquaintance may be more appropriate at times. The first was a senior from school about to start school, where we discussed Christian issues, reflected upon the past few years and some of our mutual friends. The second was a batchmate I ran into in school, who I never actually talked to. Its probably obvious what we could have been talking about. The third was some loner I met in one of my earlier camp – we couldnt quite remember each other’s names, but the conversation was pleasant.
On the premise that: If not for the random running into each other, there would otherwise be no real reason to meet and catch up. I could think of four multi-layered points as to why this is a good thing and I shall do this with the power of alliteration, just because I can:
1. Commonalities and conversations: This point is about the present. If you know the person enough to remember, and you had fruitful conversations in the past, you probably have certain commonalities in character, if not experience. Catching up provides good conversation material at times, and a good conversation is never to be turned down. Furthermore, the fact that the person is outside of your close circle generally means that an alternative perspective could be offered. (last point is an assertion, and not always true)
2. Contemplation and consideration: This point is about the past. Seeing a person you didnt expect to from the past is a reminder of your common experiences in the past, good or bad. If they were good, good. If they were bad, good that its over. Either way, there’s this sense of nostalgia. The random running-into becomes a trigger for reminiscence about the past. There is potentially a moral lesson from such reflection. (last point is an assertion, and not always true)
3. Convenience and connections: This is the practical point and about the future. Connections are inevitably important. But for a person who finds making ‘friends for connection-sake’ unpalatable and nauseating To The Max, the only way is to patch connections that were already made. On another level, this is also far more convenient, as half the job has been done already. Furthermore, someone outside your close circle will generally have a slightly different life path. (last point is an assertion, and not always true)
4. Coincidence, chance and convergence: This is a spin-off point about the future, a bit like a “what’s best for tomorrow” — we never really know what may come of a coincidence. A coincidence could get people thinking. It is potentially a disrupter of the status quo and the rewriter of plans. For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost and all for the want of a nail. But to cut to the chase, the point about convergence is that: there are too many random factors in life, you never know who may end up in the close circle. It isn’t always true — but this point isn’t about always holding true, it is about the chance of occurrence.
Yeah, but first time conversation with people you have never met before has always and will always be a pain. That one, I have a bias against.
“hoho do you mind if so-and-so tagged along on saturday night?”
me: “uhh what do you think?“
“okay I will tell him that you hate him!!”
me: “I didn’t even reply…“
“I already told him you hate him.”
Sometimes I don’t know if people have an answer in mind already when they come to ask me something. But this is a bit extreme.
What drives me? Why do I even do what I do?
These are questions I have been asked several times by various people this week (to the point that its almost creepy). And it is about time I asked myself the same. I don’t quite have an answer for now, but I can say what the answer is not. I have a rough feel as to what does NOT drive me — not money, not pride, probably not kindness.
Everyone ought to reflect on these things once in a while. I myself obviously haven’t been having the time to do so. I should too.
…the other question: food isn’t the only thing i care about right?
A long weekend is generally a good thing — I mean, how can it not be? Less time at work, more time at home to rest and do what I want. But there are several downsides:
1. Lack of exercise. If I only had two and a half days at work last week, and one of them was a rainy day, I only had two days of exercise. It is not enough. why the hell would I spend precious time at home exercising. I need to find a sustainable solution around this in the long run though. The feeling is not good.
2. The contrast effect: The longer the weekend, the more accustomed you are to the weekend life style, which leads to a spiked Monday blue
3. The flipside of cognitive consolidation: when you have time to reflect and think, you start to realise how pointless your weekdays are. There are so many things you’d rather do with your life. No wonder governments dislike idle people, they think too much.
4. Worst of all, The Countdown Mood. It is the most dangerous of effects, and so far this Countdown Mood only arrives after a long long break from work — which was easily overcome the last time, by being pushed straight away into the most busy of periods.
5. because of my dual phones, I end up leaving my non-camera phone lying around unattended and switched on for the entire long weekend. It is only before I planned to sleep (right now) that I discover that the battery is near flat. Time to charge it and kill some time while topping up what I can.
On the bright side, I’m just going back for one day tomorrow, then a public holiday, and then a three day week to the weekend. It is tempting to call in sick for tomorrow, but that is reserved as a last resort.
Despite turning in quite early last night and sleeping till late, I still feel shackout. In an almost biblical fashion, it is almost as though the Seventh day is the day I really need a rest. That’s probably the longest I can tank on a low sleep drive. Or maybe it was that three bottles of beer I had almost a week ago — one cannot help but to wonder whether that did more harm or more good in sustaining me: I was awake through the night and still fresh the next morning. Maybe the negative after-effects all come very slowly and cumulatively. I would have expected a long night of rest to let me wake up fresh and jump out of the house — all I got was a bunch of dreams that deceptively mocked my reality.
There are actually still many things waiting for me to be done, both for myself and for others. But for today, I just need to take a good break and look after myself before I fall sick. Not to worry, I am nowhere close to suffering mental burnout yet. The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak — the flesh just happens to be a neurological organ that physically affects the mind, and the petrol for the mind to function. I’ll get back to doing some overdue casual reading and not-so-casual writing soon. Soon after, I have another week to last, probably another after that, and maybe another after that again.
I would go for a swim now, but its never a good idea to go during peak hour on weekends. Its full of everyone, and noisy little children especially. These children add extra to congestion, because they bring along a parent, and usually both parents. Its the same reason movie producers bother making childrens movies.
I just need to climb back into my comfortable bed and nua there. What’s the point of having a comfortable bed if you’re never conscious enough to enjoy it?
For the slight glimpse of hope, it is sometimes worth the time and effort. At the end of the day, you cannot help but to rationalise your decision and think back to that time where you stared at a long time at your phone before pushing the button that changed things.
But whatever, i’m not even making sense now. I had a nice coherent speech out somewhere in my head on my way home, but it disappeared once I sank back into the comfort of my lair.
What I really need now is a good proper night of sleep. I have been surviving on too little sleep for each night of this entire week, and the accumulated sleep debt spilled over to today — leaving me extremely slow, lethargic and wanting to drop down any moment. I need sleep.
Scrolling a bit further down, I realise theres this WTF random out of the blue post from a year ago that appeared out of nowhere (like hell it matters anymore.) I’d be a lot more “OMG LOL WTF” if I had the energy to.