In the beginning
2305 (late post due 140116)
Hey there. It’s a shame that I actually succumbed to my laziness and not post anything at all until now. Nothing pertaining to my new year resolution or even my recent highlights is posted and this is bad. I am a sentimental person and I have a proclivity for retaining things in the past that are thought to be able to invoke nostalgia in me. Still, my laziness has overwhelmingly overcome such tendency. So, tonight I shall try to share as much as possible in a summarised and succinct manner. For now, let’s start with reflecting.
Reflection on 2015:
This is always a crucial ritual for me every year as I look back into the year and evaluate what has changed and what has not in an attempt to better myself as a person. Indeed, 2015 is a year of tremendous growth in my character, way of thinking and priorities. Whilst I am still a rather lame person to many and even myself, maturity has its fair share in the empowerment. I have no doubt encountered countless setbacks and success is limited in 2015.
Everything seemed to go downhill starting March when I had my overseas evaluation exercise. The three weeks there were torturous as I became the center of attention of a battalion of soldiers due to my thoughtless remark that offended them online on the day of departure here. I was bombarded with harassment of many kinds and it wasn’t easy putting up a brave front in front of everyone and not retaliate to worsen the matter. Fancy how everything was not bad enough, someone actually had to steal S$300 from me overnight while everyone was asleep. Till now, this incident still left a scar on me, a stigma that cannot be forgotten in decades. Does it still affect me? Certainly yes. I have actually mentally prepared myself to reap the fruits of my insensitive act in the future as I interacted with more people in various communities – university may be a good indicator of the lingering disdain.
Admittedly, I have not been coping well in NS since enlistment not until the last part as I always found myself in conflicts with people. The remaining months ensuing the overseas exercise were filled with many social tribulations. I felt suffocated in camp and it’s really difficult to adapt to the environment that’s with corrupted with incessant disdain and nitpicking. There was a obvious sense of disconnection as I did not participate in the training everyone went. I thought I needed time to recuperate from the consecutive traumas I had experienced since the trip. Go ahead and think that I am weak. At that point of time, I thought I just had to take that path which bear a cost to it.
Nonetheless, I am really glad how things took a turn months before my ORD when greater understanding and chemistry was forged though more time spent together with some comrades. While saikang was always piling up against us, we were united to go against it albeit futilely. I learned to take insults more lightly and even laughed along. Funny how I have so many trademarks in army, ranging from magazine, screw, ‘surreptitious’ and to field bag – each thing has a story of its own that affected the platoon, and hence such a strong impression that still does not stop now. While I might still be affected by certain insensitive gestures and remarks, it’s a virtue to let go and move on although I may take longer time. It’s heartening to know I have also gained the respect of some of my buddies and really forged great bonds. Quoting what I have mentioned in year one, ‘in NS, you will meet all kinds of people, the kind and unkind ones, and also you will meet yourself’. True enough, I have witnessed my strengths and flaws. Notwithstanding the numerous trials and turmoils that burgeoned great suffering, I am proud to have overcome them and still survive till now as a conqueror who is equipped with experience that will bring me through my future storms. 19th December 2015 – my ORD day and also a moment that signifies my readiness to embrace life with greater grit and confidence.
If there is a graph to depict my fitness level throughout my two years in life, it would most probably look like a stock market chart – extensively varying and down-sloping in the later frames. I am ashamed to say that my fitness hasn’t been in top notch towards the end. It is widely agreed that NS will make one fitter. Apparently, such a trend doesn’t occur on me. In fact, NS make me fatter instead. Blame it on my discipline and diet, then blame it on the culture of my residing environment that lacks high level of physical training. I can already see a belly happily growing out of me and it makes me uncomfortable. Towards the end of the NS journey, I started to go on long breaks with my MC, leaves and offs. It was then that I became really really sick as I coughed for three weeks straight for unexplained reasons. I recovered for a brief period of time before the relapse happened. Just last week, I was down with flu and headache for one whole week. Let’s make this a wake up call and I should really start minding my diet and also get my ass up to work out more often.
The greatest loss
Less than 20 days since my return to Singapore, in the midst of my shooting training, I received a tragic news of my beloved grandmother’s demise in a road accident. I was loss for words at the break of the news, trying to resist tearing. By the time I booked out from camp in the early afternoon, it was all too late to even see her for the last time. I haven’t mentioned this adversity at all until now. I just do not wish to think about it at all. To be frank, perhaps she’s trying to free me from the stress that was accumulating in me in army. Her passing liberated me from the physical hardship there for months as I withdrew myself from the months of shooting selection. On 16th April 2015, I have many things. My opportunity to represent SAF for the international shooting competition although I was shortlisted, my morale, my camaraderie and most importantly, my dear grandma who had been taking care of me since day one – someone who really has an important place in my heart. Her departure indubitably carved an deep vacuum in me.
When I was young, she was my sole mediator and savior as my dad chased me around the house to cane me. Although she wasn’t educated and could only speak Hokkien, the language barrier didn’t hinder me from feeling her concern and care to me. Writing this with a heavy heart, I really wish the reckless accident didn’t happen. Seeing the eyewitness footage of the very instance of her getting knocked and then flown for a good distance from the van really saddened me a lot. Whenever I cross the road, it inevitably reminded me of this and it burns a little each time. Sometimes it crossed my mind if she did it on purpose to set her families free as she thought she was burdening us financially and emotionally with her crippling health. In 2013, she was diagnosed with end-stage lung cancer which led to her deteriorating health but this news was not made known to her so she won’t be demoralised. She never knew about it. It always hurt my heart to see her suffering. I always pray to God that she will be healed and be set free from the pain she’s undergoing. Barely fulfilled. She resisted the gospel every time although she became more receptive to my sharing over time. It’s despondent that she wasn’t saved in the end.
Typing these really ached me. I guess time cannot rewind and I can only accept such a cruel reality. I will never forget how she did not receive my souvenir from my overseas trip as she won’t appreciate the useless display gift and claimed that my biggest souvenir for her was my safety return. I still keep the angmoh she gave me for my trip and little did I know it is the last tangible gift from her. I doubt I will ever use it unless it’s for emergency purposes. I reminisce my childhood with her and how we exchanged kisses on our foreheads before I left for school in primary school. We still did that when I was in army albeit rarely. Sorry that I was not filial at times as I focused more on other commitments than you. I shall admit that reality is harsh and I have got to move on with every lesson learnt in this trying episode – to cherish my loved ones even more and not take every moment spent for granted. Thank you for seeing me through these twenty years. You will be missed. Rest in peace.
I strongly believe that in NS, you will either be drawn nearer to God or be drifted away from Him. In my first year, I thought the Walk was strong until many setbacks started to happen that caused me to doubt and question Him. While I still take my faith seriously, I stopped prioritising church that much and would turn to other things to make me escape from my problems. While I still start and end my days in prayer, there was a ringing emptiness in me that seems to urge me to wake up my idea. I thought I was already immune to the feeling of guilt and I started taking advantage of my wrecked morale compass. I want to be the Light for Him to the people around me yet it always backfires. Till today, I still struggle with my relationship with Him and really pray for breakthroughs. Reading the blog posts during schooling really makes me want to restore my faith. I trust that 2016 will be a overflowing year of thanksgiving.
The greatest setback since ORD so far would be the rejection of my teaching internship in December. I still think about it at times and wonder how different things would be if not for the disapproval. My financial health is heading for a downward spiral and I am actually living in a deficit now. I regret spending my entire NS allowance and not save a slice of it for my future needs. It’s too late now. Now that I am finally working since Monday, I finally got a bitter taste of my mistake of splurging. I used to spend money like water down the sink but now I am thirsty and almost dehydrated. Work so far has been really tedious for me as I have to wake up as early as 6AM every weekday and thereafter, I am preoccupied with endless tasks that are intermittently reeked with disappointment and disdain due to my persistent clumsiness and carelessness. Just yesterday, I broke a blender’s cover when I am only three days into the job. Thank God my bosses didn’t scold me and I think I do not need to compensate. It’s really really tiring to commit so many mistakes and realise you will many many room for improvement.
In conclusion, 2015 has been a really difficult year for me but it is not without any fruit of labor. Without undergoing extreme conditions, a moderate carbon will never metamorphosise into a precious diamond. I am starting to feel like a diamond.
will upload photos next time when I am less sleepy and lazy.