smash // bombshell the musical

“for a kiss they paid a thousand,
yet they paid fifty cents for my soul”

“There are some in this world who have strength on their own,
Never broken or in need of repair;
But there are some born to shine who can’t do it alone –
So protect them and take special care”

who should you take care of, and how?

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Be a lake, not a puddle

photo_of_salt_sprinkled_into_water

Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.
– Siddhārtha Gautama

I found this quote, when I was clearing my email this afternoon. I saved back in 2014, but it still rings true – timeless words indeed! I wonder if Gautama would be amused at how “salt” (or salty) has come to represent being “angry, upset or bitter” in modern times; I know I certainly am, because it has only reinforced his analogy.

If we were water… being a stagnant puddle or allowing ourselves to be constricted by the slippery walls of a highball glass would only strengthen the effect of this spoon of salt. It would diffuse throughout and slowly poison the the water, such that even though its visual clarity remained unaltered, a simple taste would tell all. If we were, instead, as wide and expansive as a lake, as dynamic and lively as a river, or as deep and well-sourced as a well – then that intense and concentrated salt would yet be overwhelmed by sheer volume, flavourless and weak though a single drop may be. The water would taste fresh as ever.

Here’s to letting big hearts, generous spirits, optimistic attitudes, and patient, learned wisdom, gently wash away the brutal, volatile, and often insidious heat of our anger, bitterness, and despair. Let us flourish!

pexels-photo-113727

Day 35: I should write more

In the past, whenever I get the urge to write but couldn’t find a proper title for my post, I’d title it “Random _”, where the blank should for the _th random post I had written, ever. But of course, I lost track of that number, and being the mildly neat-freak that I am, couldn’t bear to overlap and was too lazy to check! So I stopped writing those random posts. As my blog followership crept up (for whatever reason), I also got caught up this sneaky notion that whatever I document must be somewhat meaningful. But our commonest days are our everydays, and perhaps they deserve to be mentioned, even occasionally. A friend I was talking to today told me about another friend who write a physical diary every day, just to document the 16 hours of being awake and alive that had just passed. Perhaps not a bad idea.

IC was talking about how people apparently sell written diaries on eBay, and people bid for them, and even pay upwards of a hundred dollars for some. Apparently it’s a thing, tens of dollars for the thoughts of strangers. IC read an article from a curious journalist who read one of these diaries. Apparently, the woman who wrote that particular diary did so everyday. Her entries were straightforward and simple (“Today I woke up. I didn’t sleep too well last night. …”). I guess most would’ve been equally uninspiring, and probably banal. In the words of someone who read used diaries regularly, “Nothing stood out, no cancer or car accidents or big drama related stories. I guess our lives are all filled with worries and thoughts and desires.” (Warning: link contains some slightly disturbing content.) These diaries are a direct peek into the life of a person, complete with the unabashed mundaneness of the everyday. I say unabashed, because why should we be ashamed, even if three entries of every seven revolved around the same things? Or perhaps we should be, and this documentation, laid out in black-and-white in front of us, should spur us to switch things up. What struck me most of all though, is how very personal such a thing would be! An invisible friend by your side, tracing your every day life.

//

Time flows by, regular as a clock tick, each second discrete in its passing. Yet in their multitudes, the seconds merge and blur into a continuum. If a 15 minute entry written at the end of every day could signify the turn of a page of Life, and make time discrete again, it might be worth a shot. So I’ve decided to give a name and an identity to these little posts now – I’ll label them by the days of the year, and let their very ebb and flow, their frequency, be testament to my busyness, my determination, and weave the fabric of my life.

More things to write about:
– Getting an graduate offer from i!
– Relationships and maturity

Video

Miserere Mei

I queued for hours to watch the King’s College Cambridge choir perform at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols last year. The venue really is as beautiful as it looks, and the voices + acoustics stunning! Here’s a choral piece I particularly like :) First stumbled upon it as a hilarious April Fools’ day video where the high notes could only be hit with the help of helium! Hahaha, enjoy :)

Happy 2018!

Exactly 10 blog posts (and a new blog theme! the old one was ‘retired’) separates the almost-21 and fully-21-almost-22 me. :) I can’t remember when I last made New Year resolutions – I think the past few new year posts for me, have been a reflection more than an actual resolution-setting session, but I figured it could be good to make some! And perhaps write a little about my plans for the next years. If they fall apart, at least it’ll be here in black and white for future-me to have good laugh at, or even to spur me to get on track again! And if they do work out, why, this will be a good roadmap then.


New Year Resolutions

1. Polish my character
It’s a never-ending journey to be a better person, so why not set it as something to keep in mind, this year and in the years to come? I want to be a kinder person, more patient, more accepting, quicker to praise and slower to anger. I want to listen more and learn from others, challenge myself and reflect on my assumptions, be a wiser and respected person. I want to be resilient. Mature in my thoughts and emotions, and young in spirit and soul, and maintain my quirky sense of fun and adventure! A source of cheerfulness and inspiration to the world around me. And most precious of all, keep seeing and believing in the good of others. :)

2. Stay fit without injury
Sports makes me happy, but I think I’ve been slightly careless and clumsy when I’m excited to go go go. I shall strive to take care of myself for the long term. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

3. Work hard…
Graduate, get my BA Hons. (Cantab.) and do my loved ones proud :)

4. …and play hard
University isn’t all about the grades, it’s about getting an education. I’d like to stay in touch with my close friends, and remember to enjoy life in the UK!


What’s next?

The million-dollar question. I’m currently applying for an internship with Microsoft Research Cambridge, and also for a graduate job in i!. If all goes to plan, I hope to take the 12-week internship, work, then eventually go on to do my Masters in the US (HCI@CMU?). While I’m working and relatively settled in the UK, with a house and hopefully a car, I’d love to bring my parents over to stay for a while! On the standard tourist visa (which includes visiting family and friends), Singaporeans can remain in the UK for up to 6 months! They’ve done so much for me, I hope to give them an experience of a lifetime, something no one else could give them, and money could not buy :) I personally love my life in Cambridge – evening walks by the river, stargazing under skies which are actually dark enough, how everything is accessible via cycling, the multinational community (typical friendly liberal youths of my ilk haha), playing frisbee in the cool weather… Getting out of the city would be easy; the countryside is so near. Even if you don’t want to cycle and enjoy the quiet and watch little brown white-tailed bunnies hop under the hedges, driving along the country roads would be so relaxing. There are quaint cottages to visit, where afternoon tea is served, traditional pubs for a hearty Sunday roast, National Trust parks, English Heritage ancient castles, the breath-taking postcard-like scenery of Lake District/ Peak District/ Yorkshire Dales, the lochs and glens of Scotland, and the rugged coastline and majestic mountains of Wales.

Once I finish my Masters in the US, I might get a job there for a bit, in which case I hope to move my parents to the land of stars and stripes for a stint too. Then finally, after having lived in 2 continents and having had my youthful fill of adventure, I’ll probably move back to Singapore and settle down. What a roundabout way back home! It’s probably for the better though, because Singapore treats middle-level staff better (esp if I get an intracompany transfer from the US to SG!) than it does its fresh grads (zero worklife balance, from what I’ve heard). So perhaps it’ll be strategic to give those particular few years a miss, hehheh.

I suppose I will like Singapore in the end. It’s home, where I’ve grown up, where friends and family will be. And honestly… to lay it bare, being a majority race is a surprising pull factor for me. No more people assuming I’m from China and feeling slightly out of place with the accents and background cultures and what not. It’s safe, and well-connected. (And though skiing isn’t just a 2h drive away, it’s not unimaginable; I’d like to go skiing in Japan/Korea every year!)


Why the shift towards tech?

Tech is the next big thing (if it isn’t already). MIT Tech Review argued that tech illiteracy will probably see you jobless even before automation comes along. I reckon being tech illiterate in the future will be almost as damaging to your job prospects, as being book illiterate in the 2000s would’ve been. My friend who’s interested in computational social science remarks on how quickly the concept and application ‘big data’ has spread through the fields – psychology, geography, sociology, anthropology… It’s better to ride the wave now than hope to scramble later on!

Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System

I’m taking a most eye-opening module this year – Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System – learning everything from the UK’s criminal justice system, to various philosophies of punishment (utilitarianism/ deontology/ retributivism/ restorative justice), reasons for offending/ recidivism/ desistance, institutional biases, sentencing guidelines, discretion, politics, economics, actuaries, culture. I thought psychology was complex. Well, apply psychology to one of the most complicated populations in the world and you get thrice the convolution, twice the hopeless despair, and just as much head-spinning.

In this brief, breathless pause, having just seen my cousin’s snapchat about her loving father, I just want to say how incredibly lucky we are… how through no actions on our part, we’ve ended up in this comfortable bubble, miles away from mess, from Them. How unthinkably underprivileged They are, in comparison.

I guess this isn’t anything new, but having it thrown at me so starkly makes me struggle to reconcile this supreme disparity. How can we make the most of the life we’ve been given?

What does life-changing mean, anyway?

It’s a genuine question.

I think I’ve been bandying that word around a bit too much now, and it’s starting to almost lose it’s meaning. We could analyse it literally, perhaps – life. change. A moment when your life, the continuous flow of minutes, days, weeks, years, alters. Like a stream which, meeting an impenetrable wall, is forced to turn one way or the other. But like the river which never stills, doesn’t life change at every moment? Does a wall really exist, which can alter the course of your life so drastically? Or is the truth far less dramatic (as it often is), and do we bubble over and around rocks, shifting them, sweeping them up, changing ourselves incrementally?

Maybe the truth is just… hindsight – that solemn wisdom which can but nod sagely at a past that stretches back, from a second ago to years ago.

Whatever the case, we’re not a shapeless liquid, and something that working at i! and CCN has taught me, is that we can grasp our futures if we truly wish. New Zealand, Malawi, Japan – bringing life wherever life brings us.