service-learning, bubbles and Adventure

“service, combined with learning, adds value to each and transforms both.”
Honnet & Poulsen, 1989, p.1

i’m really glad for the 2 hours i get every monday morning (despite the 2 hour sleep compromise)– to reflect about things bigger than myself. 2 (or was it 3?) weeks ago, we had a combined ISLE lecture about Cambodia and Laos, by a teacher whom i respect quite a lot! i like her style of lecturing– how she seamlessly integrates her travel experiences with the presentation to make the whole thing seem so real, so in touch with us.

i’ll post what they said her later– but what i wanted to bring across, was the conversation i had with Nanshan after that.

Me: do you think people here actually think about these things much? (fate, luck, ways of living, stress, children picking up rubbish before school played through my head)
N: hmm maybe not quite…
Me: do you think that’s good, then? is there a purpose is us thinking about things like these? about poverty in cambodia, about our opportunities, about global warming, about life and love and compassion and respect?

…when they aren’t actually related to us at all? so yes, people do say that poverty somewhere there will cause instability, that global warming will ruin our generation. but the world has been chugging along just fine even with these things abound, and we’ll probably be equally (if not, more) well-off ignoring the existence of things we can’t cure.

can you imagine the number of people living their entire lives in singapore? life begins as a kid too young to understand much, then its kindergarten, then a primary school (pocket money provided if you can’t afford it, milk to drink if you’re underweight), PSLE, secondary school (what stream are you in?)… here paths diverge, but for the majority of people, maybe JC/poly/ITE then time to workkkk. and with work comes responsibilities to contend with (providing for your parents), and suddenly its 9am-5pm 9-5 9-5 everyday. maybe somewhere along the line a partner comes along, then there’s kids, family, the occasional holiday to “break away from the hectic singaporean life” (though sadly singaporeans do spend a lot of holiday time comparing their country and singapore (?!?!))… well, the list goes on.

all the while they stay in singapore– our surprisingly, marvelously, artificially perfect city. lights, water, clean environment. nothing too dangerous, but…

nothing exciting as well. no mountains to climb, no nature to touch, no wonders to appreciate.

if i had a greatest fear, it’d be this, i guess. going through the motions of life– with a little bit of ups and downs, but nothing dramatic. i don’t know if it’s an inherent love for adventure but sometimes i just wanna break free. break out of this bubble. i wanna see the world. and i’m looking forward to ISLE Cambodia :) Rainwater’s the toughest group i heard! we all stay in a big house in the middle of the village, shop for our own groceries and cook our own food, draw water from the well… teach kids, stomp on cement to build a water-collecting jug. :) let’s go!

i once read this quote:

life is like a heartbeat– its the ups and downs that prove you’re alive.



One thought on “service-learning, bubbles and Adventure

  1. Writing because I feel sian doing my English compre :/

    I wouldn’t proclaim to have an “inherent love for adventure”, but I’ve done a bit of thinking and found myself averse to repetitive, boring routine in the future (as you characterized so well – ugh!) This aversion extends to my (ideal) career choice as well. I abhor a 9-to-5 job, keying in numbers in front of a computer screen, taking cow-excrement from the same clients and, say, counting their money at the end of each fiscal year. Doing the same thing, day after day – no way! I’m gravitating towards a Physics / Astrophysics research career because I want to avoid the mundane, to constantly discover new ideas, fresh theories or unheard-of planets orbiting obscure stars in the cosmos above.

    (Spot the pun!)

    I want to get out of here as well – cannot imagine myself stuck on a little red dot for the rest of my life.

    You should speak to Dr. Dave Lommen someday – he’s leading the life you want to lead, travelling from country to country, embarking on an adventure in Astronomy research, always uncovering the unknown. Spoke to him about my career once, and I still have to regarding postgrad options.

    See you in Pripyat!

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