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Now – What?

Now - What?

These days, despite knowing where I am going, I feel more lost than ever.

A thousand signs pointing a million ways – lost in the waves of the ebbing crowd – floating; endlessly into the perceived future of then-and-now.

1250hrs

Shibuya Streets

there is always a narrative behind every frame. within the captured frame, the shooter’s emotions is harmoniously in sync with the frozen moment. the photograph becomes a container for the emotions of the shooter.

or so, i’d like to believe.

a letter to the past

the motivation for writing these things usually start with a need to remind the future self about some intrinsic value that one fears might be lost. yet, what about the past? are these letters to the future meant also for the past? in that it documents and preserves a fixed moment, however short of the past?

it’s with these thoughts, a glass of wine, a bigger flask of water and some hot tea – that i begin.

hi,

it’s been awhile. almost four years ago, you thought that as the chapter on national service closed and a journey into university began, you thought life would be different.

and perhaps,  for awhile, you were right. being put into a new system, flush from the slightly improved self-esteem (from the physical training in NS), to that teaching award, who wouldn’t be. new people and experiences ambushed you at every corner. and boy, did you take advantage of every single one of them. you joined so many committees – freshmen orientation, the campus newspaper, hall production, and even took a brave stab at doing business with the outside world. all this, on top of a particularly insane quest to chase down two different schools of knowledge within communications and literature. and you did it. you finally found a girlfriend – after writing about it since your secondary school days. (and she will laugh at that, mind you, when she does find your terrible old blog)

there are some advice (dare i sound sagely?) that i want to tell you as i now stand at 24.

i want you, first and foremost, to never self-depreciate your own work till you believe that you are actually worthless. it would save you many nights of self-doubt over your own worth and value to this world. no, i am not asking you to be a snobbish asshat, but rather, appreciate yourself a little more on the things you will commit yourself to. understand that every single step into the unknown you take requires courage. courage that might seem easy to come by (being Leos, and the closet astronomy believers that we are), that others might find hard to see. this includes the double major, the various leadership/committee positions and even that stab into business. appreciate that each and everyone of these experiences will broaden your horizons, shape your understanding of the world – and most importantly, make you the individual that you will become. for better or worse, when you do reach 24 – these are the experiences that define you as an individual.

secondly, discipline yourself more. as in seriously, do it. honestly, i am rather clueless on this aspect, seeing that my life is still in shambles. ultimately, we are individuals that are motivated by strange, non-rational reasons – to apply what you will learn in a future module you are to take – perhaps as Generation Y people, being so in-tune with the virtual landscape – particularly gaming landscape – we are better motivated by gamification processes. the prospect of life as a game might be too entrenched into our psyche to extract – you and i both know that at times, we think of ourselves as player characters in that real-life simulation game, The Sims, and attribute our rational sides to the player controlled actions, and our acts of insanity to the AI-generated inputs. but trust and tap into your rational side more, difficult as it may be. and perhaps, just perhaps, you can avoid the pitfalls that i am going to make.

the third point is sort of linked to the first, but have more faith in yourself. i think amongst all the friends that you will make in the coming years, you will discover that you, honestly, have the least faith in yourself. here, i mean faith of the rationale kind. we have plenty of blind faith – of believing in something simply because we want it to be true (and this, mind you, is one of the greatest strengths we have. don’t lose it.) but yes, having more rational faith in yourself would help to tide over the innumerable breakdowns that you will be having throughout the university experience.

fourth, and perhaps most important of all is this: she is worth waiting for. i’m serious. i know that you will consider many others in between the time you enter university and the time you meet her. but trust me when i say she’s worth the wait. she embodies the things that you know you lack, and serve as a constant reminder that you are capable of greater things. you are capable of becoming a better person, damned and useless as we are. she’s silly, but it’s the kind that makes you fall deeper and deeper in love with. the wait will be painful, but it’s worth it.

i shall end my letter on this note though. there’s no point in being more specific here – you and i are the same, and even as i look onto you, hoping that you wouldn’t make the same mistakes i did – i recognise, and do know, that we are the same person. the image that i am writing this letter to existed and then, faded away into the shores of time.

still, i hope this letter reaches you.to give you hope and to give you dreams.

sincerely,
you.

2115hrs

they say that the old ways are the best.

who are ‘they’? it doesn’t really matter, does it? 

 

they are the ones that have come before, the people who have traversed this path that we are all on. and they have made it, or at least, the accounts that they leave behind would suggest that they did. what they did make, is perhaps that same journey we all are on. they faced the same fears of mortality. what they didn’t have to, is that in year 2013, is to face the consequence of the assault of stimuli. this relentless tide of feelings, emotions, documentations of an individual’s life across this tiny large planet called earth. 

and perhaps what baffles one the most – is even how as we actively consume and take part in the lives of others, we continue to enforce antiquated beliefs. labels, perceptions – all the little comforts that we are used to, we continue to perpetuate, even when information, a whole overwhelming lot of them, continue to endlessly tell us that beyond the initial barriers of mistrust – we are one and the same. the same consciousness that desires to find meaning in life, beyond the drivel of a task assigned to us. we want to find a task we assign ourselves too. 

the days and months have been the kindest and the most challenging for as far back as i can remember. i have been blessed with many things, cursed by others. going into my final year in the university has been the most challenging yet. 

life has changed with the girl. it has forced me to think anew at many topics that i had put to rest. it hasn’t been the easiest. but i am ultimately thankful for all that has happened. like every new thing, it’s always a little scary, tentative but definitely worth it. 

time is no longer that seemingly endless resource. it is instead, this rapidly decreasing, limited resource. and more importantly perhaps, is the fact that the ways one can push one’s body to use this limited resource are even more limited than the resource itself. or maybe it’s the way that my body is programmed – sitting for over three hours tends to get me on a very thin edge, and bad things usually happen to me when i am on that thin edge. 

year 4 – is a very strange year indeed. i spend a good portion of time thinking about strange things – of equipment acquisition, convergent media platforms, understanding academic bureaucracy and embarking on seemingly endless crazy projects. i honestly don’t know if my group of friends have become smaller or wider as i slowly (or rather, all too quickly) make my way into the half way point of year 4. 

my soul has never been this tired. tired of trying to do 100% for everything – even when my logical self knows i have to do so even more as the final stretch approaches. my body feels like that 42km marathon runner when he sees the last 5km. he has no delusions about glory and honour anymore – and just wants to finish the race. yet, he can’t – for he has made a foolish bet many moons ago about his finishing timing. 

and perhaps, just perhaps, i am unable to look at knowledge the same ever again. this constant stretching and flexing, of a mind trying to process so many things at once, is very overwhelming. this game, i know, will one day kill me. 

these days, it is hard to write. hard to write because i am no longer convinced that i can write. from a self-assured young man who left the army feeling that he knows what he wants – laughing at that simple two liner from that marching song 
“ORD, back to study / Got degree, so happy” – to the man i am today – a lot less sure, a lot more doubtful. genuinely scared of writing an essay, because i no longer trust written words to convey my thoughts. tired of following a system that i have lost faith in. knowledge’s test is not the single unity that i’ve grown up to believe in.

words have betrayed me. 

and i know not what else i can do now. 

 

1838hrs

its been awhile, hasn’t it. 

then again, it has always been awhile. time has never stopped moving – but in the few moments where i hear you, my writing voice, i am reminded of the possibility that somewhere out in the multitudes of realities that have been abandoned, there is a place where writers stopped time whenever they took to the pen. 

it is a small hope. 

i have never been happier (or busier) in living memory. things in life are falling into a comfortable pace. imperfections will continue to exist – but when measured against the greater scale; are but a minor issue. life tips heavily towards joy and delight. Delirium is restored to her former self – Delight. in an earlier life had always been known for her innocence; in her rebirthed self, she finds her peace from knowing that the world is embroiled incessantly in chaos and conflict. that is no excuse for sinking into delirium, Delight thinks.

delight is to appreciate the simple beauties in this life. a warm hand to hold, encouraging words, kind glances. delight is finding purpose and direction, experiencing courage, saying thanks. 

these are the things that keep us alive.

we forget them in the hours despair visits. we lose delight to delirium. numbness and intoxication; we try to chase despair away with the very things that emboldens him.  

 

in love and faith, i have found the things that guard against despair. 

in hope and courage, a temporary respite has been created for the weary traveller in me. 

 

thanks. 

2124hrs

words come to me in fragments these days. in between the niceties that i exchange with other individuals to get me through the day, the jargon my various professional selves use to hide their (seemingly) ineptitude behind – words have been harder to come by. now, the only way for them to come to me is through a fairly ancient door : running. 

many moons ago, i used to speak of the moments of clarity that come with running. it is only in these exquisite moments that words speak with me. the words are ‘same same but different’. layer upon layer of innuendos, meaning mixing and reacting against one another. and as difficult as it is to imagine, they seem to coalesce towards one singular narrative. 

as the memories of the last three years play themselves in my mind, i realize that i had on many an occasion, been irrationally prideful in the last three years. we are far from being perfect creatures, our knowledge is limited by our experiences and Time. we are flawed; it is through the shared experiences of others that we make ourselves less flawed. 

we were only young once. the experience of our youthful days are but a tiny fraction of Youth in general. our narratives are never whole and indicative, but they might be helpful to others seeking to find themselves in their own lives. our stories matter, and the way we tell them even more so. 

sometimes, i wonder if we truly realise the power of our own narratives. the same stories that inspire hope can cause fear if told differently. and these narratives, fictitious or factual, all have the same power. 

limited not only to text, the world is a narrative, 

a secret meaning in everything, waiting to be unpacked. 

2315hrs

It has become hard to write these days. Even before the first words make it across the screen, my personalities would crowd into the room. They’d be jostling for position, making a scene, trying to catch my attention, to convince me that it is this that I should express myself in. 

The scene truly terrifies me. (and even now, the journalist has crept in, deleted an offending long sentence away) I see the room in painful, heart-wrenching detail. The artist clamours in the centre of the room – with words that link to sentences that disappear into the Endless’ chasm of Art and construction of the highest order. These lines take upon a life of their own. They are gems, sparkling as it is their right to. 

then, everything sinks into chaos. because why, chaos asks, is there a need for order. order is an impediment to art. they restrict, deny and are everything which art should never be. but there is no order without chaos, no sweetness without pain. we find ourselves only to lose ourselves again. we dislike order as much as we dislike anarchy. there is no we, and perhaps only I exist. then again, it is because of the author that you exist. 

these days, i am hesitant to write down and document of things that have come to past. you actualize something, and it becomes a thing of this cursed material realm. what is non-tangible becomes an object that can be checked against, perused out of context and ultimately, manipulated by other sentient beings to mean meanings that should never have been there. 

but yet, these perils must nevertheless be faced. i can strive to make clear the meanings and intention of my stance. I can be ready to defend my stance. and we write, because this is the only way which we can capture a tiny bit of our essences. if not for immortality, then at least so that we can revisit us in the future. to laugh, to cry, to berate, to envy at our previous selves? 

I don’t know. 

these days, are filled with wonderment, thankfulness and a strange but nevertheless welcoming calmness. my crazed mind has seemed to finally found harbour in the dying days  of my third academic year in the university. i have a group of very special individuals to give thanks to, and a very unique person to thank for that. 

the numbers on the transcript have been on a steady decline for awhile now. and quite frankly, the score functions as a tracker of the number of successes and failures i have made in my life as a student. of course, like all tools of measurement, it cannot serve as an accurate reflections of what it is that i have done as an individual. over dinner, i told my parents, that given the chance to return to an earlier time, i would make every single one of  my decisions the same way – for there’s no other person that i rather be now. 

over the course of the week, i covered RP’s graduation ceremonies as one of the event photographers. I was thus placed in this unique position to listen to many GOHs’ and valedictiorian speeches. they all spoke of hope, dreams and aspiration. the GOHs approached the same concepts with a strong tinge of worldliness – jaded, perhaps by the time they spent in society, while the students spoke with an innocence that was absent in the GOHs. It is that light in their eyes – a conviction which streaked across periodically in the adults, but was constant in the students. 

 

as I take measure of my own dreams and aspirations, I find myself slowly but surely, becoming taking on that of an adult. 

and this endless travelling between the chasms of hope and desperation, shall be the curse and blessing you bear. 

…