This post is my my first post of a (lunar) new year. Well, I am doing OK! I just fully ‘recovered’ from a week-long break in the chilly weather of Hanoi, from drinking as much liquor as if that week-long breakaway was the only chance for me to consume this mind-numbing but happiness-inducing liquid. However, to be very honest, that was very much needed holiday. It marked the end of the my first semester I spent in (old) Singapore as a (new) college student in a (relatively but arguably new) environment.
I have to admit that I am so inspired by one of my friends’ blog that I decided to write something. You can check out his great blog here: http://gkhuyen.wordpress.com/. We were not exactly close or very understanding of each other – the fact that puzzles me no end ever since I discovered his blog! We are pretty much the same, I mean, we ask the same questions and shared many thoughts that are not possibly, or preferably, expressed verbally. We shared this need to write to express ourselves. Hence, the more I think about it, the more baffling it feels. Anyway, in one of his blog post recently, he wrote that he was asked two questions, which he found joy in answering them. I really like these two questions. These are two great main points of a long post you are about to read:
First, what has ended or is ending?
Well, it is really hard to say definitely what has ended and what is ending. But there are a few things I can say with much confidence. My first four of many years of living and growing up away from home has ended. If there is anything that I will remember for the rest of my life, it is probably these 4 years. I know that I sound so corny when I keep repeating the phrase “I would not be where I am today if not because of those four years!”, but I really wish I could find an more elegant way to put it! All the friendships made and fostered, so many memories no matter how tear-jerking or embarrassing they were, all become indelible in my mind. I have grown up so much, to the extent that by looking at the photos of myself just 4 years ago is more that enough to make me so embarrassed, but at the same time, ironically, elated to see how far I have gone and excited about the long journey ahead.
My (almost) a gap year in Vietnam has ended. Everything passed by in a blink of an eye, from the euphoric thought of spending Tet with my family and my grandparents, the horrifying night of IB result-releasing and many sleepless nights filled with broken hope, tears and unfailing dreams afterwards, to the God-sent email notifying the awarding of ASEAN Scholarship while we, as a big family, are spending the summer getaway somewhere miles from my hometown, all passed by in a whirlwind of events. If anything, I would remember that I have spent some quality time with my parents during the 9-month break. I have learned to listen to the things that they had always wanted to tell me in person during those 4 years I spent abroad (short month-long breaks in between didn’t help since we were so often carried away by so many things, like visiting my relatives or summer getaways at pretty exotic beaches). I came to understand them much better than I ever did, and also allowed them to see for themselves who I had become as as a result of years spent aboard. There are so many father-son talks and mother-son moments that I could not remember, but one thing for sure, I know that I have grown up, not to the extent of a ‘man’ like my dad is right now, but a grown-up, who is fully capable of thinking and acting in a thoughtful and rational manner required of any man entering his twenties.
On that related note, my teenage years have ended. If I choose to take one thing to carry away from teenage years into my twenties, it would undoubtedly be my discovery of what I would continually work on and love for the rest of my life: theater. From the wonderful friendships that still last, things I learn about the meaning of theater, about the possibility of theater as an agent of changes in many developing countries and above all, the fulfilling, long-lasting sense of meaning while I still breathe and live. I am not sure whether I can be as half successful as I always want to be in the aspect of future career, but I know for sure that I will not find meaning in anything but theatrical works. As Khuyen has aptly put it (Sorry my friend’s name is Khuyen): “As we grow up, we continually piece together our experiences to create coherent stories for our lives.” Here is what I have stringed together so far: “Theater opens my eyes and heart to see what others see, to feel what the our eyes fail to see, and to act as if our hearts can see and feel. My heart tells me to become a theatrical director, for neither the glamour nor fame interests me, but the genuine love of human beings and to answer the questions of what it means to be a human in our world!”
Now to the second question: what is beginning?
The second question appears to be so much harder than the first, not only because writing a lengthy 933-word answer has put you to the limit, but also the fact that the second question brings to mind so many thoughts, specifically uncertain thoughts about future. Yes, I know maybe I was too much ahead as a result of over-thinking, but you have to admit that it would be so much more certain and reassuring to look back on things you had been through or done than looking forward through the misty clouds of future doubts. I would dare to put forth a few thoughts, though, about how I hope or think the future will unfold.
I know that my friend will agree with me on this, that the first slow half of 2013 has stagnated me a little. It allows you to lazy the whole week away, just lying in bed and that’s about it! It allowed you to slow down, to observe, to free your mind of mundane realities and most importantly, an opportunity to reflect about what and who you have become as a result of your choices in the past.
A new season of life is beginning. I am now able to do what I always wanted to do: “To find my way to pursue my dream”(concurrently with attempting to earn a double major B.A. in Projects Management & Theater Studies and from one of the top 25 universities in the world (Mom and me agreed to disagree on that!). I cannot say with certainty that I will succeed in life but by far, I think I cannot fail so badly and that IS really reassuring. To a certain extent, an ACS education and (hopefully) a B.A. from NUS will serve as a platform for me to strive for better things and if, only if I have something firm to fall back on. In the face of adversity and uncertainty, it will be too presumptuous of to say anything I have not yet possessed. But I really do hope that I will achieve what I am set out to.
A few days back, I re-did my room decoration. To me, it meant a lot since I spend a lot of time in my room and I will be there for 3 and a half year more so rather make it an inspiring room – a space for creativity. I bought a few lamps, a painting and a some bed-side table decoration. However, there is one thing I treasure the most – it is actually a print-out of my personal statement. It is actually a set of personal believes that I was, am and will be always holding firm to. So to end off this rather long blog post, let me post it here as a reminder for myself, not only in 2014 but for the rest of my life. You are welcome to read it, and feel free to take away what you think is relevant to you as a person or things that you think can make you a better person! So here it is:
“I will wake up each morning believing that the day worth living and there are many exciting things await for me ahead. I will remember that paradigms can be shifted and the way we see the problems is the problem. I promise to be proactive, whether it’s work, love or personal passion. I vow to remember my dreams, to plan ahead and prioritize in order to achieve them. I vow to help others love life , to have the patience and tenderness that life demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree and to believe that we can all be winners in life. I will remember to reflect and rejuvenate, to sharpen my saw. Finally, I am not a product of my circumstances but the product of my own decisions.”