Friday, 12 April 2013

The Place Beyond The Pines

The Place Beyond The Pines is a glacial-paced movie that you yearn to move faster, but realise that by doing so, loses the dexterity with which the film is built upon. Its the kind of movie that has to move slowly because it draws out the repercussions of a single event that haunts the characters' lives as they move on from the said incident. 

Ultimately, I feel that the film is based upon the concept of redemption even though the bleakness of the situation makes it seem as though the world out there is a dark, dangerous place without hope. Ryan Gosling's character seeks to provide for his son, with whom he has no prior knowledge of. To do so, he thought, why not rob a bank? And therein lies his misfortune of getting caught after one too many tries. After a hostage situation in a perfectly quaint suburban home, Gosling's character, Luke, knows that he's got no way out, and was shot by a police officer, played by Bradley Cooper.

Cooper's character, Avery, then suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because he also has a baby boy and he cannot shake off that feeling that he's caused someone's child to be an orphan. Add to that a series of police corruption, and America the beautiful isn't that pretty after all. The two baby boys grew up, and they turn into sullen, drug-taking boys, who's lives get intertwined. 

This is where I feel that the film jumped off the railings a little bit because the flash forward was abrupt and sudden and completely unexplained. In one scene, you have these two cute little boys, and the next, they're the brash-talking, drug-taking, troubled teenagers. But I can live with that since the actors were really good. Luke's son found out about his father through newspaper articles and clippings, and sought to take revenge on Avery. But he is a boy after all, and could not go through with the slaying, and ultimately runs away. He just wants to be closer to his father, and emulates his father's love for motorbikes. So, in a way, the movie ends in a full circle that gives you a little bit of hope after all.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Big Boys Grow Up

I started work today. It's my first experience at holding down a proper job and I was quite apprehensive at first. Many people might consider serving National Service as "work" but to me, that was just me putting in the time to carry out a life sentence and it was nothing more than that. I'm still currently on probation, and I'm only working for three hours a day, but it's something, and since I'm not doing it for the money, I'd figure with the flexible working hours, I could get used to this.

I also came to a sudden realisation that I am a floater. I float through life without so much as a blink to my surroundings, and I don't know if that's made me less empathetic of others. I've been extremely lucky to have parents who are actually still financially supporting me, when I know a lot of my friends have been cut off by their parents. I'd go ape shit if that were to happen to me, because I've been pretty sheltered my whole life despite my always daydreaming that I am an independent soul, so that's quite an irony right there and then. I want to break away from my parents, but I love their money too much, and I don't necessarily want to be in a position where I'm destitute so I guess my parents are stuck with me for as long as I have this mindset.

I've been procrastinating a lot as well regarding the solo holiday of mine so that's still at the top of my agenda. Then there's also a short getaway to KL which I'm planning with a few of the friends so that's also another headache because money doesn't just fall off from the tree, and I'm especially resistant to using my own funds so I might have to get the parents to be agreeable with this trip in order to get some sponsored cash.

Life isn't that difficult, and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one that's complicating everything with my wants and needs. I sometimes wonder, if I had a different personality, and a different set of values, would my tastes remain as expensive as it is now? Because God knows, I'm not exactly a thrift-shop kind of a person.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Neither Here Nor There

Rooney Mara was wonderful as an unhinged, distressed psychiatric patient in Side Effects I couldn't look away from the screen; not even for a single second. The pacing of the film was superb, and the score complimented the scenes wonderfully. 

From the start, perceptions would be formed on who's the 'hero' and who's the 'villain' and all that got blown out of the water as the film progresses on. Human beings are shades of grey; you could neither be all good, nor all bad, and it showed in the film. Each character was masterfully crafted that you're rooting for everyone to make it through with their life and sanity intact , but when push comes to shove, we are all more than willing to sacrifice the person next to us for our own benefits.

The whole time at the cinema, Jonathan and I were squealing because we didn't expect this drama to be so action-packed. And by that, I mean of course there were no explosives and robots. Just the engaging performances of actors that managed to capture the neurotic nuances of being someone pushed to their edge, and the choices that they make. 

I was truly very excited to watch The Host, because Saoirse Ronan is one of the most talented young actresses out there, and ever since Atonement came out all those years ago, I've always loved her. But God bless her lovely soul; The Host is a mess.

I've come to the conclusion that as an author, Stephenie Meyer is hopeless. Her stories lack depth, plot, and heck, even story-telling. When you've got such crap material to work on, sensational it might be, it's just never going to work out.

The first half of the film, I was trying to figure out what the whole plot was about, and then within the hour, I was checking my watch, because this "action-packed science-fiction'" film lacked all those adjectives that I've just written. I've never been one of those people to walk out of a theatre, but I was close to doing just that. The only thing that kept me seated to my comfortable cushion were the pretty mugs of Saoirse Ronan and Max Irons. And I think that's the only redeeming quality this film has.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Adventures To Neverland

Earlier this week, I met up with a bunch of the platoon boys, and we headed down to JB for a short trip. It was a land of half-priced food and adventures. It was my first time exploring Malaysia by bus so I did prepare myself mentally for it, but alas, it was a normal ride where nothing untoward happened. I suppose travelling with a bunch of guys probably deterred anyone from trying to mess around.

I feel that once you go to Malaysia, it takes time trying to assimilate back into Singapore's price point where everything is just so expensive. Where Nandos cost just a little bit more than our McDonalds, movie tickets costs less than even our student prices, and where eating a sumptuous seafood dinner by the sea costs no more than a few bucks. Ah, the land of cheap, good food.

We're planning another trip, but this time to KL, a place where I've tried to avoid but since it's with this bunch of people, I do not mind slogging it out a little bit. That's another adventure for another post I guess. Looking at these photos, my mouth is salivating at the thought of Subway and Baskin and Robbins and all the other good food.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Today, I woke up at half past two in the afternoon, and even that is considered late by my standards. I have no idea that I could concuss for as long as I did, but sleeping longer doesn't necessarily mean that I've more energy to expend, because clearly, I don't. I feel more lethargic than ever, and I just want to remain in bed the entire day, which I did to some extent.

I settled dinner on my own, which meant Alfredo! I've always been more of a tomato-based kind of guy but I decided to try out cream-based pasta today because, why the hell not? I was alone at home the entire day so settling a meal for one isn't that difficult. Plus, it's good practise for hostel life and beyond. 

I keep telling myself that I'm going to clear out my room ever since forever, but I've just never put those words into actions. It takes a whole lot of willpower to continue going through my stuff, and I am very sentimental with my things. It doesn't help that I need to do this very soon, lest I find a job and have no time to do any of this cleaning up. Too many magazines, too many books, and not a whole lot of place to store them. I still have my Geography and Literature notes from JC that I've yet to clear because "I might need them for a module in university" and they were all research that I've sourced on my own. So, to thrash them away would be like there was no value of them at all, which isn't true. Another day spent in bed, another day spent procrastinating.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Birthday Blush

Yesterday, a group of us friends celebrated Gary's birthday at a Turkish restaurant called Derwish at Arab Street. Gary's one of those people who abhor celebrating birthdays for himself, so we told him that we're going to meet up for dinner. And we had to have at least a symbolic celebration to mark another passing year, so that all is good and well. It was a night of good food, nice ambiance, and great company.

Today was spent catching up on my books. It's nice to be able to read novels and not worry that there's some assignments that you're not actively doing. The perks of the free and unemployed are boundless. But money is a motivation to gain relevant employment, and I can only hope to receive calls from prospective employers willing to give money so that this guy right here could use all of it for his holiday.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Causeway Divide

Every time I cross over the bridge to the other side of the Causeway, I'm always grateful that I'm from this side of the border and not the other. As much as I grumble and complain, we have come a long way and we've developed so much. I feel like the next time I feel like venting about things, I'll just cross to the other side and experience life as it is.

Some people may like that slow pace of life, with little or no development. Where you can set up make-shift stalls anywhere, and still fish from the lake at the other end of your village. I know there are some people who feel like that's an ideal lifestyle, but it's totally not for me. I like glittering facades of towering buildings and I value roads without any potholes in them. I like to be able to converse in English and walk in streets with little or no trash.

So, I actually went over to Malaysia to get some items in preparation for my aunt's wedding. I love that she's getting married at an older age after she's experienced everything in life. Solo trips around the world, being able to afford her own house, having her own car, having her own personal flourishing bank account. All without a man. That's what an independent woman is to me, not one who's rushing to get married because it's society's expectations of them.

On the other hand, my cousin got offered a job to be a stewardess for Emirates Airlines, and should she have been single, she would have actually pounced on that deal. It's good money to be the leading stewardess of a cabin crew. But because she has kids, she has to think about everything. Children really holds you back a lot of the times.

As we were searching the decoration items for the wedding, my sister briefly mentioned that she'd like for me to help out at her future, 'supposed' wedding and I told her 'no' straight to the face. While I like things to be simple and elegant and chic and exquisite and fabulous, she on the other hand likes things traditional and dare I say, kitschy. I cannot work with that and I will never work with anyone who cannot see my very good point of view.

The other good thing about the trip was that I didn't spend any money despite being given a stipend by my parents. That's the only good upside to travelling with family. Everything is paid for by the super successful aunt. And we had the most awesome seafood feast for dinner. I'm probably gonna bring my boys over there when we meet up in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Zombie With A Heartbeat

It definitely seems like I'm on a one man mission to single-handedly fill up the movie theatres because I've been to the cinema thrice this week. This is what happens when you are free, don't have a job, and not actively searching for one. I am literally part of the statistics of an economic model.

Warm Bodies is a nice teen drama that deals with impossible love at its very core. Can one person really change when they meet the right 'one'? At what lengths would you endanger yourself just to prove that this feeling you have is more than just infatuation or even lust? And how willing are you to forget a person's past, in order for you to move along in a relationship?

But of course, none of those questions were really the basis for the movie. I just thought about it as the film was churning along because as they say, once a Literature student, always a Literature student. I was trying to find meaning behind the actions and the scenes because it's the very least I could do since the movie was pretty surfacial across all factions. That's not to say it was bad.

It definitely appealed to the target audience, and it had nice tender moments but I never was able to shake off the feeling that I've seen something like this before. It can't be helped that each time I see Teresa Palmer, all I kept repeating in my head was that she was in The Sorcerer's Apprentice and I Am Number Four.

And something totally unrelated, but I found out today is Pi Day. There is actually a day that people set aside to commemorate something as insignificant as this mathematical term that was the bane of my existence. But anyhows, I thought it'd be fun to have some shepherd's pie for dinner as a nod to this kitschy 'holiday' because why the hell not.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Stoker Is Not A Vampire Movie

I thoroughly enjoyed Stoker as I'd thought I would. I was expecting a pulse-racing psychological thriller, so I was pleasantly surprised as the film took it's time to unfold the story at a pace that was neither hurried, nor was it glacial. 

Stoker, I believe, is more of an art-house film than a mainstream one although it is being marketed as the latter. Therefore, I can see a lot of people being disappointed with the pace at which the film was moving along, so that's a little bit of a letdown. I feel that such a pace helped in "seducing" the audience to go along with the ride, because there's no point in rushing to the end of the film when everything within it is just so lush and beautiful.

Even though the film didn't have the shock value most people are accustomed to, because let's face it, Texas Chainsaw Massacre this is not, there were still quite a few jaw-dropping moments which I felt brought the level of creepiness to another level. And the thing is, none of those scene were shown on camera. Most of it was done with side glances of the camera, and it was left to the imagination of the audience to think about what had just transpired. And when left to my own devices, I can pretty much think about a lot of horrid things. 

Stoker has this slight noir feel to it, and I think it adds to the timelessness of the movie. I love the neutral colour schemes throughout the movie, with lots of blues, and nothing gregarious. But when bold colours were added nearer to the end, it felt real and necessary and just showed how much power there was in such a simple act. In a way, the film reminded me a little bit of Hard Candy. 

What the film did teach me was that within each of us, there is a seed of darkness, even in the most purest of beings; children. What we do and how we react to the darkness is what is going to determine who we are and what we will become of. And sometimes, as the film heroine said, "You need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse."

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Not Dorothy's Ruby Slippers

I can honestly say that my movie tastes have skewered a bit more to the mature side these past few years. Gone are the days when I found hard-hitting dramas to be boring and avoid them like a plague at the movie theatres. However, that's not to say that I don't enjoy a popcorn movie every once in a while.

I went to catch Oz The Great And Powerful yesterday, and I was blown away. I came into it not expecting much, because the production looked so similar to that of Alice In Wonderland and I was preparing myself to be disappointed with yet another Hollywood adaptation of a classic tale.

Everyone knows the tale of Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz, so I think I prepared myself by not thinking too much about the plot, which in my opinion, was non-existent since it was outright fluff. Instead, I got my money's worth by allowing myself to be swept away by the grandeur of the sets and the animation. It was beautiful and is what dreams are made off. 

Acting wise, with the calibre of cast, was kind of disappointing. James Franco was grating in parts, and I don't know whether it was because the role demanded of it, or because he was just taking it lightly. Michelle Williams, I felt, was trying to suppress laughter the whole time, thinking about the ridiculousness of her role, and is perhaps only doing it for her daughter. Mila Kunis was gorgeous in the first half of the film, and by the second half, she turned in a caricature performance of The Wicked Witch. Rachel Weisz deserved more than a beautiful gown. 

But to be honest, I get why these serious actors are in the movie. Should they have gotten other people, perhaps more comical actors, the film would turn into a B-grade, straight to DVD kind of a movie. So, the actors themselves were the anchors to make the movie a little bit more believable.

Despite the shortcomings, I came out of the theatre feeling good, and feeling innocuous and it was nice to get in touch with the more innocent side of life once more as I reminisce about good old childhood stories.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Change happens, and as much as I tell myself that it's for the better, sometimes, there is that niggling feeling that things should stay the same. That things should stay constant, and change would only cause discomfort, and much worst, grievance.

I don't abhor change. But change takes a little time to getting used to. I know that it's necessary; for the betterment of self, for the chance to grow up and be an adult. But change also signifies the loss of something, or someone.

Ever so often, I get very comfortable at one stage of my life, and then change has to occur, and I'll be forced to uproot myself from the comfort of life that I've been living in. It may surprise many that I'm saying this, but I actually got a hang of being in the Navy, and doing things at such a glacial pace. And to know that I'm in this cocoon, that I will forever be protected, and be taken care of by superiors whom I don't always agree with, but who will somehow always have my back.

And it's scary to think that people have gotten their lives together, and I'm still waiting for that one big break that may never happen. I'm twenty and I sound so jaded. I can't wait to be twenty-five and done with university, and not have a job, and then realise that my dreams will never be achieved and then to wake up one day and realise that there is nothing worth living for and take that final leap of faith into nothingness.

I feel myself being tugged into two different directions. One is forcing me to grow up and tackle life head on, and the other,  whispering into my ear, telling me to hold on to how things are for now, because there is no more going back to this period of time once I've crossed that threshold. Because it's okay to be twenty and reckless and always depending on your parents but once you're of a certain age, you better be able to start tanking your own shit.

Somehow, I feel like tragedy forces people to grow up and take charge of their life, and for me, having nothing terrible happen to me thus far perpetuates this belief in me that I am entitled to take things slow and easy because there will always be people around that will support me. And that really scares me. What if I happen to be one of those people who never leaves home and never experiences life? That's a death sentence by itself. No need to leap into nothingness, I guess?

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Chapter Closed

Friday was my last day in base, and I stayed for a little while after collecting my transcripts, It was truly a bittersweet affair, but at the same time, I feel like a huge load has been lifted from my shoulders. No longer am I responsible for something that is so beyond my control. Everyone else seems quite bent on making speeches and proclamations and I suppose it doesn't bother me as much as before as I feel that this journey has truly been a personal one.

Even though everyone goes through pretty much the same training, each one of us has different takeaways from the experience. For me personally, the reason why I detested it so much was because I was thrust into a situation where I have no control of my own fate; where everyone is judged as a collective, and not valued as a thinking individual young adult.

But alas, I'm no longer part of the collective, and I can now heave a sigh of relief. The last few hours in base, I treated my team members to KFC and Sarpino's, because that was quite possibly the last time where I could get everyone together. We shared anecdotes and funny stories and recalled horrible training experiences. I am thankful and thoroughly blessed that I got a bunch of good people on my team. I am glad that I did not have to deal with maniacal egos and horrible personalities.

I have to say, I came into this whole thing expecting the worst, and I'm glad I did. I did not place any expectations, and I took things as they came along. I made sure I did my part, and along the way, there were pockets of moments that are truly worth remembering. Many a times, the best experiences came after dealing with major setbacks. And by setbacks, I mean the usual shit that we have to go through, like activations, and ranges.

I will remember the time when after a massive base activation, and everyone was tired as hell, and it was four in the morning, when our then platoon sergeant got us those lao ban beancurds just to get our spirits up again.

I will remember the time when we had to stay in after our range, and while waiting for the truck to arrive back in base, we went back to the bunk, cranked up the air-conditioning, and had a massive, thumping, techno party where the guys who club showed off their best dance moves in the dark complete with the light sticks. That was cool to watch.

I will remember the time when we had to clean our store items, and we ended up spraying each other with the hoses and dumping buckets full of water onto people who were actually cleaning the tentage canvas.

There were quite a few good memories and these are my takeaways from the experience. I entered expecting the worst, and came out of it with several good memories, and I don't think I can complain about that.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Magical Essence Of Friendship

I think when we leave someone behind in our lives, be it because of circumstances or milestones achieved, we expect them to carry on with their lives as we do with ours. We go about our daily routine not thinking of what the others are doing, and we hope, deep down, that everyone has it going for themselves. Very rarely do we pause to think about what's happening on in the lives of others. These others who were once our friends.

In fact, they still are our friends. But time, and perhaps distance may have eroded that friendship into nothing more than mere acquaintanceship. Saying that we remain friends sounds much more cordial than labelling ourselves as acquaintances, because the very word itself sounds tremendously complicated, as though we have to put in an effort to say it. Because friendship shouldn't have to be that hard.

We hope to catch up and to talk over coffee, but with schedules not permitting, we're left with that odd message left on our mobile phones. Instead of responding immediately, we ponder as to what we should talk about, until finally, we put it at the back of our heads, and then completely forget about that one message in our inbox.

Now, when we bump into each other, it's difficult to have an honest conversation right on the spot. We want to give off the illusion that we are doing extremely well. That we are young adults and that we are making our mark in the world. We often fluff up our own lives, so as to not be judged by the other party. We say we're extremely busy with school, or work, when in fact we're just too damn lazy to get out of the house.

When we do finally meet up again, it takes a second to get into the routine of things. It used to be so much easier back when we were in school, at our desks, and wearing starched-up school uniforms. We were equal. No one was ahead of the other. Not by a long shot. We talked about the same things, and our conversations, seemingly endless, ran the gamut from what to eat for lunch, to what to do after school, to who's having a crush on whom. There doesn't seem to be enough time to talk about everything, to the point that we still continue our conversations on the bus home even though we just parted ways ten minutes ago.

Stilted conversations fill up the room when we meet up for coffee. After the hellos and the hugs and the polite catch-ups, we're left with questions we're dying to ask but never dared, like 'Are you still with your boyfriend?' or 'Whatever happened to whomever?' We don't know the comfort zones of one another anymore, and we have to realise that that person sitting directly opposite to us is our friend, but that the person is not that friend whom we had lunch with in school all those years ago. That person is no longer the guy who has always been your lab partner during science lessons, or that the person is no longer that girl who cried on your shoulders when she broke up with her first real boyfriend. 

We fill each other with vague details of our lives, enough to give a semblance that we're fully functioning young adults, but not enough for the personal life to be pried open. No longer are secrets whispered in each others ears. No longer do we share that same journal. Everything in our lives now are personal, and it will remain that way.

We mostly talk about what happened back then; about the food fight that happened in the school cafeteria, or about that one time when that one girl was found crying in the toilet after being bullied. We talk about running in the rain because we didn't have umbrellas on us when we went out of school for lunch. We talk about the good old days, because they really were the good old days. We reminisce about our shared past because that's the only thread that's holding this friendship together now. Because without it, we might as well have been strangers.

When the conversations end, and we feel like it's an appropriate time to leave, we say our goodbyes, and as we head our separate ways, we heave a sigh of relief knowing that our meeting went well. We feel good because we caught up with one another, and because we managed to stay in contact. But on the train ride home, we begin to ponder as to whether we really learnt something new about this person. Our hearts sink because we realised then that the only real reason we stayed in contact was because we can never fully let go of our past. Because the past is filled with memories of who we once were, all full of hopes and dreams and innocence.

We look at our reflections in the glass and we sigh because we could no longer recapture the youth, and that magical essence of friendship.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Brave Soul

I think we are all obsessed with efficiency, with doing work and completing tasks at record speed that we rarely take a moment to step back, and just observe how things are. In our haste to rush off somewhere, we rarely stop in our tracks when someone comes up to us and request for a minute of our time. Be it the flier ladies, the pesky sales-persons, or even the old auntie on a wheelchair selling tissue packets. More often than not, we plug in our headphones, walk with a sulky face, and pray to God that we're not disturbed on our way to the shopping mall.

I had a very humbling experience today. Before catching Silver Linings Playbook at JCube, I had gone off to KFC to get some tidbits to munch on during the movie. My earphones were plugged in, and I wasn't paying attention to the server. I rattled off my order without even glancing up to look at the lady, and assumed, like always, that my order would be quickly typed in, and the food sealed in a plastic bag. That was always the routine, so how could today be any different?

Today was different because the lady serving me was hearing impaired. I would have known should I have glanced up from my handphone, or plugged out from my earphones. I would have known if I had given the server an ounce of respect, and not be absorbed in my own world. I did none of those things, and I felt my heart sink. Not because the lady was hearing impaired, but because the lady was gracious enough to look me in the eyes, and with sign language, pointed to a badge pinned near chest stating that she was 'hearing impaired.' She was patient as she took my orders, asked all the routine questions like upsizing your drinks or switching to cheese fries, all without losing her cool.

I am not a smiley person, and I think a part of me wanted to atone for my mistake of not being conscious of her disability, and so I started to smile. I rarely smile so that was a big step. As I waited for my order, I thought about how brave it is for her to step out of her comfort zone, and especially to work in the service industry filled with fickle customers like me. And then I started to realise; the reason I smiled was not because I was served by an independent, hearing-impaired person. I smiled because I was given great service. There is no difference between her, and the colleague next to her. They were there because they have been employed, and they have been trained adequately to handle customers. That was the moment when I knew that I shouldn't treat the disabled differently.

Yes, there may be some challenges that they face, but they will try as their might to be as independent as they can. There may be certain times when interactions would have to be tweaked to accommodate and communicate with them, but in all other circumstances, they're just like you and me. In fact, they are braver souls than I could ever be, and this is all exemplified by this one lady serving me my snackers at KFC.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Straddle Between Two Worlds

My last week of duty was a truly surreal experience for me. Finally, the time has come for me to hand over the team to my understudy, and for him to be responsible for whatever befalls upon the team. It felt good, knowing that I've managed the team well, with no major conflicts. As I sat at the Tower, looking out at the vast horizon before me, I could recall my nervousness at having to report to a new base, with a whole new system to familiarise myself with.

Perhaps the time has not yet come for me to look back upon the past year at Tuas Naval Base. I still have a month left before I leave the place for good. But as I ended my last duty, I sat upon the breakwaters and contemplated about what the past fourteen months have entailed, and what the future will hold for me. I chose my duty timing specifically so that I could look at the sunset one last time at that very spot. Someone in the team once mentioned to me that the best scenery in Singapore are all occupied by the military bases, and I could not agree more with him. They're often situated at the furthest reaches of the island, away from the prying eyes of the public.The quietness of dawn breaking over the horizon, and the eeriness settling in once dusk takes over; it gives a very calming, somewhat soothing effect over those of us who are away from home.

As I slowly cleared out parts of my locker, the younger batches of guys sat at the table in the middle of the bunk, talking amongst themselves, lamenting about "when will it be my turn?" and in hushed tones, wishing that it was them instead of me who would leave the base for good. I cannot help but chuckle inwardly, because that was me over a year ago, as I saw the first batch of seniors I know leave this place for good. I tend to ignore those conversations, because there is nothing much to be said about the topic. I can't fast-forward their time serving the nation, so the only thing I can do is to not rub it in their faces that I'm leaving.

Somehow, it is always those who have to stay who are most excited about the prospect of leaving. For me, I am filled with a sense of dread, of not knowing what my next week will be like. As much as I hated National Service, it did give me a sense of purpose. And until University starts in August, I feel like I'm a pollen, drifting in the wind. I will miss familiar faces, and late night movie marathons, and binging on the most unhealthy of food. Even now, despite still having to come to base for administrative clearance duties, I already know that I am not part of the platoon anymore. It's as though the tie has been severed, because I am no longer that comrade who has to suffer with them; to do duties with, to have gruelling physical trainings with, and to complain about everything with. It's sad, but it's the first step to regaining my life outside again. For now, I am in a limbo state, constantly being pulled back and forth, and having to straddle between two worlds

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Never Ending Cycle

On lazy hot days like today, I hate going out. So, since nobody was at home, I made myself breakfast for dinner. It's going to be the most satisfying meal I'm going to be having over the next week since I'm going to be mounting my last duty shift this week. Warm, gooey, buttery scrambled eggs on toast with turkey ham. And of course, orange juice and a bowl of mixed berries on the side. I love cooking up detailed set meals when I'm alone at home because it gives me the freedom to actually do whatever the hell I want. And to set up everything so nicely so that I can enjoy a simple, home-cooked meal is such a luxury I enjoy very much.

My mother once commented that I won't die alone if I were to be left to my own devices. I think in my previous life, I was a fifties housewife reincarnate. I enjoy cooking and cleaning and looking at home decorative magazines, perfectly detailing the house I'm going to have all by myself in the future. Lofty ceilings, white-washed walls, leather sofa carefully strewn with cashmere rug; oh what a wonderful life that would be.

I also had the longest talk with Naeem today. We talked about plans for an immediate coffee and gelato session. Another meeting far into the future to conquer the Universal Studios Singapore. And also about university life, and grades, and about faith. I love our back and forth conversations because it makes me think and rethink my life decisions. It's difficult to talk about religion to most people, so I'm grateful for having friends who are strong in their beliefs, and yet are not overzealous when it comes to your own shaking faith. I don't feel attacked like I do with some people, and bad encounters are what have made me severe ties with people whom were once acquaintances.

I've been reading up quite a bit more about the religion and the more I know, the more curious I get, and the more questions I have and it's such a never-ending cycle, And there's only so many questions and doubts a person can take until he breaks, right? But underneath it all reading scriptures and histories of men from years past have made me feel a sense of inner peace, a sense of foreboding as well, and the undeniable feeling of inconsequential-ness  in the face of greater beings.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Zeal Of Our Youth

I don't know why, but for the whole of today, I don't feel at peace with myself. Perhaps it's because I have to report back to base tomorrow? That's probably why, but the last time I felt like this was when I had to report to a new place with a new posting order. Now that I'm nearing the end of my service, there's a bittersweet feeling jumbling within me. On one hand, I am excited to leave all the bureaucracy behind, but at the same time, I've made some really good friends. These people; I practically see them more than I ever saw my family. We eat together, sleep in the same bunk, and practically get into trouble together. To come to a realisation that in less than two months, I would be leaving the place behind for good is daunting. It means that there will be new adventures that I will embark upon.

I am all excited for that, but deep down, and as much as I hate to admit it, the past two years have been a cocoon in which I felt very safe inside. There were bad times, most definitely, but there was routine, and order, and as a Virgo, that is very much appreciated. When February eventually arrives, I would feel sick to my stomach, knowing that I would close another chapter of my life for good. People may say that I would have to come back for re-service, but it won't be the same. Right now, we're all so full of youthful energy, so sure of our place in the world. We are excited for what's to come, and of what we have to offer. We have yet to be disappointed by the outside world, because in our minds, the grass is always greener on the other side. We cannot wait to leave; to leave our mark somewhere out there.

But we all know the world is a cruel place. What if when we come back, we're no longer the same person. Changes are bound to happen, most of the time for the better, but what if we lost that idealistic zeal of our youth? What if we lost our way and never managed to find our path? Then what, are we going to be drones of the society? And then we're going to have the younger generation telling us to 'live our life" and not be saddled by commitments. Ironic isn't it? Because that is exactly what we are feeling right now about our elders.

I feel this need right now to just live in the moment, and take each day as it comes. But it goes against my very nature. I am a planner, and I need to know exactly what's going to happen. But I'm afraid that in my hurry to get out of the bureaucratic system, I'm going to forget the good times. So, for the next forty-five days, I'm going to cherish the time that I have left with all these people, because after that, I am off to open another chapter of my life and to be a more fulfilled and engaging person.