Saturday, October 15, 2005

return 

and so it is... almost a year in exile and i'm back doing something i never expected myself to be doing again. and that's blog. but it's been a while, and i currently am in a situation that i feel i do my feelings no justice. such is the state of disrepair my blog is in, such is the emptiness of it, and i dont expect anyone to even notice this. but i believe this is required, a right of passage, a form of resolution that i so desperately need to conclude this chapter of my life.

and so it ended. 2 years in RJC. in a flash. if i ever said that i leave RJ with no regrets, i think i'm deluding myself so badly. 2 years have left me with many regrets. i've formed friendships with so many people, some have gone strong, some have gone bad, for reasons i may know for reasons i may not be too sure abt, but i've done nothing to rectify. regrets. i've been dropped from the team and have fought all the way back to get a place in it only to flop at the highest level more than once. i've tasted the sweetness of victory without doing anything to get it, and the bitter pill of defeat when i finally got the chance to do something abt it. i've seen people ard me push to their max to obtain stellar grades, but i have done nth to pull myself out of absolutely average grades. regrets. what more can i say.

I never really adapted well to the Raffles culture and i must say that till today i'm still suffering from the lingering effects of culture shock. there are people in Raffles who are warm and welcoming, there is no doubt in my mind abt that, but there is just that individualistic vibe that surrounds the school that makes me feel so out of place. everyone has the ability to be warm and sociable and they have their cliques, but there's that impression that it's every man for himself in the end. maybe that's what gets them their great grades in the end, maybe not, i'm not in the position to judge. like what Jo said, ultimately, i dont feel terribly rafflesian despite 2 years in RJ. 2 years is far too short to change me as drastically as the change of culture btw RJ and SJI. i came to RJ because i wanted a change, and a chance to pit myself against the best singapore had to offer. i wanted challenge, i wanted to push myself. challenge was what i got, pity i didn't live up to it. the speeches during the farewell assembly reiterated points that have become all too prominent when RJ is concerned. people have impossibly high expectations of themselves. people who find one B on their result slip an absolute catastrophe when i'm struggling to get that solitary B on my slip of shame, and these people are a dime a dozen in RJ, and i cannot possibly achieve half of what they have achieved and will achieve. i've seen my dearest friends rise with prominence in this school where i've faded into nothingness.

but if you asked me if i regretted coming to RJ, i would say ultimately i wouldn't.

ironic isnt it?

life in RJ may not have been a bed of roses, but that doesnt mean there werent anything worth remembering. i made this choice, i took this challenge. in life, you make decisions and you live with its consequences. i did, and i learnt from it. RJ has made me stronger as a person and that's adequate consolation for me. i've gotten close to many people that i wouldn't have known otherwise, and i realised that there's so much more to this premier college in the bishan ang mo kio area than just books and cleverness. i take these memories with me always.

i feel that this experience has changed me though i stand at the threshold of a new journey feeling as though i havent achieved much. pretty ironic yet again, but yes, that's the way i feel. but as i once said in the not to distant paragraph ago, i live with the consequences of my choice. everyone makes mistakes, to err is, cliched as it is, human. i want to keep in contact with the people i've known here. i want to sit down "30 years from now with... teh bings and lemon teas" and chat with my frens abt the good ol days at mt sinai/bishan like Jialun so aptly put it. whether the bonds i have forged here will be strong enough to last that long, i wouldn't know, but if i could, i would makes sure they do. to my frens (those who do consider me a fren or those who dont, i know i certainly do) i wish you all all the best, and i sincerely apologise for whatever misgivings i may have committed. i know that everyone of you will do grand in the future, and i hope to see u all as eminent leaders in ur chosen fields when that time comes.

as le ann womack puts it

living might mean taking chances but they're worth taking,
loving might be a mistake but it's worth making.

i guess i took a chance, and gambled big. the returns may not be brilliant, but the hand i was dealt was certainly not bad. i got smth positive, and that's all i ask.

it'll be a while b4 i blog again.



Saturday, December 11, 2004

Internship 

If one thought 2 weeks, 14 days, 336 hours, 20160 mins or 1209600 seconds is long... i would beg to differ. Such was the speed of which my internship flew by, it was almost a blur... yesterday marked the end of a very brief journey for me, but it was not without reward. I've learnt so much from my stay there... more about myself... even in the most funny and relaxed of circumstances, to the serious talks i've had. ISEAS has allowed me to see a broad picture in the context of research, being able to interact directly, face 2 face with eminent scholars and experts on so many issues that we don't get to see the big picture on... like the middle east crisis, the taiwan issue and the ASEAN-China FTA.... I've learnt and understood more on that issue within 2 weeks than i have in the past few years (shows how much newspaper i read). Also, the stereotypical view that all researchers/academics in the world are old fogeys with thick glasses clogged up in their rooms like a carrot in the drainage pipe has been convincingly dispelled by the funky groove my mentors (and andi's mentor) possessed. Their room ala balanese resort room resembles nothing like the book-stuffed, brightly lit rooms of research... but more of a spa sanctuary somewhere in the Eastern Indonesia. The NUS students are also really refreshing... never thought scholars are all this fun (yah i know my bro and his GF are fun... but... not all are). they possess such a good mix of seriousness and fun, quote Pearlin, "I love talking about Singapore politics because there is only one perspective to talk about"... it's been really nice knowing them

But as in the traditional way of handling things, i must save the best for the last =). My fellow RJ interns that i have got the great honour of knowing.... let's do a brief honour roll... haha.... Jennifer Poh (aka Jenn Hopfire), the glamourous one of the lot.... haha yet she's soooooooo focussed... but it was really fun making fun of her.... about almost everything haha.... Vaish (aka Viva Shina), the one who's so quick to make fun of me (Kiam par face rite.... damn)... Bernasty (aka Berlin Mice)... who i must say i am really guilty for thinking she was a terrible person b4 this... it's really nice that i've got to know her personally her wacky antics and witty retorts just make seminar room 4(that's where we were housed) a more vibrant place... and Andi (aka Dean Groan).... who is just so enthu abt her research (and her mentor... hehe no offence Andi)... and is just a fountain of the funniest things you can ever hear... haha....

But as all good things, it comes to an end.... at first i really didnt seem too keen on this internship... i thought i would be wasting 2 good weeks of my holidays and fun.... but i was really wrong... and i feel like a total idiot for thinking that way...... It's been a great experience... one that i would never hesitate to go back to if i was given the choice again whether to accept it.... As the season of Christmas draws near... i think i can ask for no better gift than the gift of 4 new good friends... and a crash course in Southeast Asia(SO NOT) hahhaha..... :)...



Thursday, December 09, 2004

Internship at ISEAS 

i can't believe i never ever blogged about this internship... i think i will blog a LOT tomorrow on the whole issue. i just was thinking about the talk i attended on monday. a group of USA congressmen came and they were introduced to ISEAS and Singapore, and we just sat along and listened. There came a part that the issue was Singapore as compared to other ASEAN countries and it was saddening to see that in a way, we do consider ourselves mightily superior to other countries in the Association. More importantly, it irked me that there was somewhat of an attempt to suck up to the americans on how good they were and stuff....

It makes me wonder, are we living in a small hole? Do we see ourselves as a state that is so big? are we rather myopic as a people... well... i wonder....

shall blog more tml... just rambling....

ben



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