ambiguity

December 24, 2010

2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 5:28 am

I’m usually not too bad with openings. Sometimes i start off with an anecdote, sometimes a quote, sometimes a silly joke. I’m also pretty decent with year-end posts. After all, it’s about penning down the memorable incidents of that particular year. Every year is more or less the same thing. I say that it’s been an amazing year. I emphasise that I really mean it this time. I tell you that I’ve managed to meet a few of my goals. Learnt some stuff. Had a brilliant year and can’t wait for the next one. The same old bullshit. This year though, I’m not so sure.

I began the year with enthusiasm, the sort 17 year old boys exude when they know it’ll get them laid. 2009 had been good to me. I was fresh off the springboard, submerged in the waters of Singapore’s corporate lap pool. My writing was finally taking off, and the bank account couldn’t be healthier if it were taking vitamins. A year of change, I told myself. Not the sort your youth minister drones on and on about. No. Genuine change. A trip to Melbourne in April seemed to confirm those sentiments. Yet ironically, it also proved to be the start of an incredible fall from grace.

A struggle against authority ultimately ended in a shattered rice bowl. Impulsive as it was, any regret I felt dissipated the minute I stepped out those glass doors. I haven’t looked back since. The next few months I spent as an educator and a pupil. I taught what I knew about algebra and the sciences, and in return, my students provided me with affirmation. Affirmation that i would never have children, and even if I did, I would not raise them here. I learnt that this country could never produce anything other than robots, renegades and retards. Nobody wants robots, but they’re the only ones who don’t bleed.

After a grueling six months of witnessing the future of Singapore misspell “chlorophyll”, I ventured into what could only be the wave pool of Singapore’s workforce; the creative industry. The waters are choppy and tons of people try to get in, but the lifeguard makes sure they wait their turn. Those who do get in have a blast, but collapse from exhaustion the minute they step out for a piss. My writing took the backseat while work strapped itself in and hit the gas. When the lights finally turned red, I hopped off, only to discover that December had arrived. The mirror reveals that I’ve come a long way, but it also tells me that objects are closer than they appear.

It’s the wee hours of Christmas eve and it is dawning on me that I’ve driven myself round the block and back to where I started off. I’m still parked in that same space I was a year ago, except this time I’m wiser, more bruised, more battered and less mobile. This year, I’ve seen desperation; the struggle of homeless citizens against the very system they elected to protect them. I’ve seen sorrow; the cry of despair from families who’ve lost loved ones either through capital punishment or suicide. I’ve seen cruelty; the devious assault on innocent civilians by those who wield weapons. At the same time, I’ve seen passion; how belief and determination bought a young Malaysian boy an extra year of his life. I’ve seen bravery; how one man’s push for change might just see him losing his presidential status in two years. I’ve seen progress; how two parties with such differing views toss aside their differences in order to serve their country.

2010’s almost over and I’m weary, more so than I’ve ever been.

December 1, 2010

The Bigger Picture

Filed under: Uncategorized — theinkhorn @ 1:23 pm

It’s 6.30 pm and the sky’s pissing down on us. I’m waddling through tiny puddles, looking out for pockets of space around the crowded bus stop. My shoes and socks are soaking, the legs of my jeans are a darker colour than the rest of its body, and lecture begins in half an hour. I look out at the road and am instantly mesmerised by the amount of water being sloshed about by oncoming vehicles. My fascination with water extends way back to when i was a child, and a very avid swimmer. Finally, the bus pulls up. After more than a decade of taking public transport in this country, I know very well the habits of Singaporeans when it comes to boarding and alighting. I step back and allow the pushers to shove their way in. At the other end, people pour out of the bus. It’s emptying fast, but not fast enough. Because it takes at least a second or two to tap your card, the delay causes a slight bottle neck, and the first wave of pushers get drenched. I turn to my friend and hold her back. No point rushing in, I tell her. There’s plenty of room. Wait til they’re done shoving, then when the steps clear up we can slip in quickly without getting wet.

The second wave, right behind them, begin opening up their umbrellas in an attempt to shelter themselves. What this means for the poor people around them is they have less space, and more water falling on their heads (since the umbrella directs whatever raindrops fall on it to the sides). As I watch the desperados trying in vain to keep themselves dry, it hits me. All this time I’ve spoken so much about my disdain for this country and my fellow citizens, but I’ve never really been able to articulate what it is that I dislike about them. I call it stupidity, but I don’t elaborate. I call it selfishness, but I don’t explain.

If all of us at the bus stop could’ve just gone in two by two, with a one to two second delay between pairs, all of us would’ve been able to board that bus dry. It would’ve saved time, and certainly made the evening a lot more pleasant. Which brings me to my point. Singaporeans don’t see the bigger picture. All we see is our destination, and how to get ourselves there. We don’t take into consideration that many others are making their way there too, and if we just work together, we could get there quicker. We don’t realise that while an open umbrella means we stay dry, it also means someone else gets wetter, and the process gets stalled. The unfortunate thing is most of us don’t see it, and we don’t know where we get it from.

I think that society mirrors it’s leaders. Our leaders have not been the most generous people. They’ve very often sought to look after themselves before anything. It is as if we don’t matter. And that is exactly the idea we’ve adopted. That nothing and no one else matters. There is no talk of teamwork. There is no mention of a group dynamic. We just don’t care that much about anything or anyone except ourselves.

I manage to get on the bus dry, save for a few specks on water on my backpack and hat. The first and second wave of pushers are seated, and drenched to the bone. It’s a sad world, when common sense is usurped by self-centredness and apathy. Is there any hope for us at all?

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