Of Love and Respect for an Honourable Leader

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 0.15.53

Photo credit: The Washington Post

 

A nation almost fell into a crisis on 21 August 2016.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (LHL) was giving the National Day Rally on the podium when he suddenly fell to his right; his face was visibly paler with beads of sweat on his left forehead before he had taken ill. My first thought was, “Was it a stroke?”

The camera quickly cut to the audience; however, the director probably did not anticipate the reaction of the audience to be very telling that something bad was happening to my Prime Minister. A young, Indian girl in her school uniform sat up, covered her mouth with her hand to express shock and fear.

Then the National Day Rally was suspended; for 80 long minutes. That must have been the longest dinner buffet ever served at a public service event. 

When the PM recovered, his wit and humour were still very much intact and the incident proved useful for him to illustrate the importance of succession planning.

As PM LHL continued on delivering the important speech to set the nation’s forecast and vision for the following year, my tired and jaded heart plumped up with pride.

PM Lee has proven that he is indeed, the right man for this job then, and now. I am grateful for a Prime Minister who puts the nation above self. Yes, there are issues and policies that I do not agree with; but that’s a different story.

Have you seen how other leaders are hurting their own people and land?

###

I must have been 19 or 20. I was a member of the Young People Action Party (YPAP). I dragged my bestest friend, J to ZOUK, a club that was popular in the early 2000s because PM Lee  and his cabinet will be engaging with the YPAP at the club.

I had brought along a TIME magazine where PM Lee was on the cover. I was such a groupie; choosing to sit at the outer bar area so that I could get a chance to have PM Lee autograph on the magazine cover. He did with a tinge of hesitation and awkwardness; but not without his handsome bodyguards giving me the dirty look before they surrounded him to create a barrier between PM Lee and me…as if my black pen (from a random hotel) would become a weapon.

###

I have loved my PM since then. The kind of love that is part-gratitude, part-respect.

I also recognise that he probably has other talents and interests which he had to give up to be in this position of immense stress and responsibilities. Forgive me as I continue to share my alternative perspective and unhappiness on what could have been.

My courage and expectations come from Mr LKY, Mr Goh Chok Tong and you, PM Lee, because you have made it possible for me to be confident and knowledgable.

Thank you, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long for taking care of Singapore and our needs, protecting and guiding Singapore into a better spot.

Please rest up well, Mr Lee. I hope you get some well-deserved break soon.

Of Suffering and Pain

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Shadow, North Bawlyn, Victoris

“I think I’ll start a new life, I will start over where no one knows my name.” (Boston by Augustana) 

Have you ever fought against a crushing pain and problem all your life; only to have no solution against this pain? All the good fights you have won have amounted to nothing and the defeating moments are only made much worst when the perpetrator gets away scot-free while you continue to support and provide the people who truly matters.

In C. S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain, Lewis spoke of “mental pain being less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden.”

This pain – it doesn’t go away.

This pain – it drills into me, sucks out the life and energy out of me.

This pain eats away at the core of my resilient core; leaving me empty and numb.

But I have to go on because this pain makes me even more determined to thrive better. To change what must be changed. It keeps reminding me that no matter how meaningless a pain (some people are great pains too) can be, it is pertinent to protect the family unit.

Because there is no way out but to continue charging forward, I will absorb this pain and burden; I will continue to work on protecting what matters most to me, over the material.

There is really nothing that matters more than what holds up this heart…the ties that bind.

And protect the house, I must.

 

Of Escapism and Growing pains

I could remember 11 August 2011 very well.

I climbed up six flights of stairs; with the smell of cigarettes and alcohol hanging in the air. I knocked on the blue wooden door, waiting in anticipation to start my new job after completing my studies in Melbourne, Australia.

The door did not open. I waited.

I was full of hope; believing that the Universe had heard my wishes.  I spent the last few days of the 2o11 Australian winter thinking about what and where I want to work; and as luck would have it; i did end up having what i wanted.

The door finally opened. A grouchy lady opened the door and asked if I was making a courier service. I said that I was reporting for my first day of work. She then turned around and shouted to the back of the office, “DID ANYONE HIRE A NEW PERSON?”

So it has been five, long years. 11 August 2016 was like any other day except that this phrase from Night Flight kept appearing in my mind, floating in and out as I make my way around the world:

“We do not pray for immortality, but only not to see our acts and all things stripped suddenly of all their meaning; for then the utter emptiness of everything reveals itself.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

That utter emptiness floods me; carrying me into a mode of flight and escapism.
But even that unfortunate emptiness is part of me, my belonging and my burden.

***

“When we find a purpose that is bigger than ourselves, we become more powerful in our ability to create.” – Jack Delosa

Five years is a long time. I should snap out of those growing pains. (I have, really.)

It’s time for me to find that purpose.

Today, I shall begin working for a different outcome

I am more resilient than i give myself credit for.

Looking back at all the occasions where I have to step up to do more or deal with a crisis, I counted many times where even at the end of a tunnel, I have not given up.

Resilience comes with resourcefulness, perhaps. I am always full of ideas and while not all are great ideas; some of them do provide a better alternative.

Nothing could get me down when I am on a mission.
I fight for the forgotten. I speak up against the Powers-to-be because I know I can make a difference. I am not afraid to be an outcast because I know who my friends are.

I am willing to be the sacrifice if I could speak up for the rest who can’t or are afraid to.

I will not explain myself to those who judge through their lens of bias-ness, self-righteousness. There is nothing to explain when the other party does not want to listen.

I am good at reading people. My sensitivity is often hidden because I prefer honesty to covering up the truth.

And you… You told me I need to be more proactive. And I know what goes on in your petty little mind.

My proactiveness does not come in the form of chasing down answers nor banging on the door. My proactiveness is seen and felt through my conversations and time spent with my stakeholders. My relationships with my stakeholders outlive projects and products.

My understanding of the social construct within this unique, shared sphere is deep and wide. I am proud of the answers I hold because they were learnt through a tough time of self-discovery.

So yes, I have decided that I must focus my time and energy for positive outcomes. I deserve better because I have so much to offer and give.

Thank you for showing me how it is like to be marginalised. I have never been treated this way and i know, I will never forget this feeling. It will help me be a better humanitarian; colleague, friend and manager.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect on my development gaps – I am eternally grateful to be able to learn how to better improve myself.

I wish you well.

I will always be living better and happier because i deserve it.

 

 

 

 

Happiness is truly in the Now

image

The Giving Tree

Have you read The Giving Tree?

My favourite teacher in primary school first read it to the class and I was the special one who got to turn the pages of the big book version. I remember looking at Shel Silverstein’s face from the back of the book and feeling sad after the story. I told myself, “I won’t want to be that tree! How silly to give everything to an ungrateful kid!”

I read The Giving Tree to my elder niece when she was barely 2. She loves the story. At 4 yrs old and turning 5 at the end of 2014, I suppose being with her tells me how annoying I can be to the people around me. The niece corrects her grandparents’ grammar, reminds them on the redundancy in their speech and asks for organic snacks and sweets. But I finally realise why the tree could keep on giving despite the unreciprocative Boy. Because the love for the Boy preceeds every and anything.

image

The younger niece turns 2 this April. We don’t really get along because my death stare freaks her out. She is pretty strongheaded and very short-fused.  Yesterday, I brought her to the playground. She climbed up a faux rock stairs all by herself; i never knew she had such awesome motor skills. I was focused on her bad behaviour and inability to articulate herself.  My heart swelled with pride yesterday.

We were playing hide-and-go-seek for a while. Instead of seeking out for me,  whenever I was out of her line-of-sight, she screamed for me, with a tinge of fear in her voice. I realise she will only need me for a very short period; I need to be there for her no matter how bad I think her behaviour is. And because I also love her very much. That was why,  I learnt, that the tree would still continuously give to the Boy no matter how little she had left.

image

Junior — he has an abundance of energy. Stick thin but is always looking to eat something. I don’t get to spend as much time with him as I would love to but whenever I am with him, I feel that we are so tightly bonded. He climbs onto me and sticks his hand under my blouse. Boys! His sweaty head always smells good. So much love for this little fella. His antics are neverending and the joy he brings me is boundless.

So, I have become that tree even without knowing it. But I am willing to be that tree to these three little ones.

They have taught me so much about life and myself.

They have guided me to be more forgiving and humane. More importantly,  they have defined what happiness is for me.

Happiness, to me, is time spent with them. No matter what we do, as long as we are together, we will always be happy doing even the most mundane things.
***
My little ones, may you always be healthy and well. 

May good friends and mentors surround you as you learn to navigate the world. I know the importance and difference good friends and sound mentors can make to your life choices. The world may not always be kind but you can choose to be kind to those who don’t have the privilege you have had in your lifetime.

May you always make the right decision even if it is the tougher choice.

May you always choose to love yourself above anyone; because when you love yourself first, you will never feel the need to be someone’s fiddle. Independence will be your pillar.

May you always know that I carry you in my heart and mind, always.

The Strange Dynamics Among Girls

I have very few friends. But the few friends I have are very precious and dear to me.

Each girlfriend complements a part of me. Some bring out the argumentative streak in me while some bring out the big sister (or big mama) instincts. However,  I love all of them dearly in my own different ways.

I used to have a criteria for people I want to befriend… and keep as friends.

As I grew older, I learnt about energy, law of attraction, fate and many unexplained theories of this amazing world. It seems that sometimes, perfect strangers become friends because in their past lives,  the bonds formed have yet to dissipate. Remember the movie, 21 grams?

image

Sometimes, the best friendship is the one where you can be comfortably silent and still feel like ypu've spent quality time together.

The most beautiful part of my relationships with these girls is that I am never jealous or envious of them. They are beautiful,  have successful careers and cute babies. Somehow, they have become an extension of me. When they are happy,  I feel happier.

When they feel down or are unwell, it hurts me even more because I feel helpless that I cannot make the bad go away.

We fight sometimes too. But we always make up because true friendships heal themselves and survive even the coldest war.

***

As humans, we need people to care about and to be cared for.

I am thankful that the friends I have have become sisters; sisters that I have never had in this lifetime.

::: How to deal with parasitic, obnoxious & selfish nincompoops :::

The most useless person in the world is often, also the last one to die because his parasitic mindset, reckless and selfish behaviour kills off everyone before he, being the parasite, has nothing more to leech and freeload from.

What can we do with such parasites since they won’t die before we do? The only way is to disengage and be indifferent. Curse the day he was born should it make you feel better sometimes. But do not stay angry for too long; for the anger may become poison internally and kills you off faster than the parasite will.

Avoid eye contact but if you get eye contact, stare so hard that your sight burns through that numbskull. Offer no help because the leech of a parasite will never appreciate nor return anything. I repeat, OFFER NO HELP. Not even if he is dying or begging for a drop of water. Parasites have zero conscience nor morals. Parasites such as this one breed only latches onto its hosts and morphs into a bigger parasite if he sees any form of alms coming his way.

It is true we come into this world with nothing and will leave with nothing – even so, your abundance should go to people who deserve it. People you care about. People who can make better use of these resources you worked so hard for.

Eventually though, this parasite will be ridden to a place so low that even Hell refuses him as a tenant. Should he be reincarnated, may he always be the roach that attempts to hide from the wrath of our feet. Or the flea that never finds a home.