A few days ago, one of the people whom I’ve been emailing since our project’s article got published on the Straits Times offered to help us get through customs smoothly, but she asked for our complete logistics list, together with personnel information and some other important letters.
Perhaps I’ve grown to be more cynical; but I had to reject her offer. The truth is: we’ve never met each other, and I have no idea where she is genuinely from, and she doesn’t reveal information about herself because she ‘has always kept a low profile in volunteer work’. A modern batwoman? Maybe.
I felt a little part of my younger self die when I made that decision though. I’ve been getting this same feeling lately. When my friends and I are out together, we don’t do the crazy silly things we used to do just one year ago anymore. We just don’t have the energy to. I don’t laugh at the things that my juniors laugh at (it could be just that my sense of humour is radically different :/). I’ve been finding it harder to let my hair down. And I just feel like lazing around more these days.
So is it true that you should really live life like money doesn’t matter? I would have agreed, if I saw this a few years back. But not anymore. Money does matter. I don’t want to sound like a prick, but I don’t believe anyone will truly enjoy sweeping the streets, changing light bulbs, carrying luggage around for other people or serving people drinks. If everyone did what they liked all the time, I don’t think we’d have a very functional world.
Sure, go ahead and spend more time on what you love to do, because that’s what you work for; but not everyone has that luxury in life. Heck, no one likes to be forced to do things. Yet, we all do some things because we have to.
And I’m one hell of a lucky guy to be enjoying life the way I’d like to now. That’s why I really want to pay it forward in any way I can. I hope this Christmas will be a fruitful one ^^
“One classmate who had witnessed the “screaming match” described how our fellow medical student had raised her voice and positioned her body as she threatened the doctor. “It was weird,” he recounted. “It was like watching her turn into him.””
The past week or so really proved to be a challenge for me. It was a stark contrast from how we started off our semester last year. I saw friends, whom I’ve known since my secondary school days, flare up and become people I never thought they would be. People do not talk to each other, and draw their own conclusions from what they see on the surface. I’m not so sure if it’s a medical school thing or just part of growing up, to be honest.
So here I am, finding myself in the same spot again - the role of the mediator. I simply do not understand why: is it hard to see that no matter how carefree anyone looks, we all still have our own share of problems? Problems that we do not talk about, nor share with the people around us, because we know we can deal with them. Yet, your closest friends might mistake that neglected friendship for hate, and arrogance.
It’s sickening, and it makes me feel horrible, because this… ‘reality’ is hitting my life much sooner than I had expected it to. I had told myself that I will not become the jaded, cynical doctors I saw my brothers morph into, bit by bit. I don’t want to be that medical student screaming back at anyone, because it was not what I set out to be - to devote my entire life to. It’s just sad when I see my friends fall into that trap, and it makes it worse that I can’t do anything to help.
I want to make a promise to myself right here, right now. I must not break. I will not become a hate machine nor a cynic. I must not.
Hopefully things will turn for the better in the next weeks…
To outsiders who simply watch rag for that one day, I guess it’d be easy to dismiss it as an event which is seemingly one-off, and rather unfruitful. ‘RAG’ stands for receive and give, and it is NUS’s way of giving back to the public for their generous donations during Flag Day.
I had never heard of Rag before I entered NUS. When it was introduced to me a year ago, the first thing that came to my mind was the annual Chingay parade. I had always thought of it as a stupid event - people would create floats and then dance around them. And at the end of the day, the float would be destroyed and boom: that was it. Groups of people would cheer and cry and thank each other, but it’d be forgotten after a while. I mean, how many people even consistently watch Chingay? So how on earth did I come to joining Rag?
I do not have an answer for myself, except that I was still fighting a crush I had on this girl at that point in time (she was joining Rag), and that I would have felt bad if one of my closer seniors told me to join, and I didn’t.
My first year’s experience in rag as a junior was very different from what I got this year. I’m not sure if it was due to the difference in perspective as a junior/senior, or because of the people who were involved. One thing is for sure though - I felt many more negative bouts of emotions last year compared to this year. There was much more scolding, crying, disappointment, frustration etc.
I brought that same atmosphere with me into 2012 when the freshies came in, and when rag started. I expected seniors to explode at us, to see my closest friends break into tears and see the float getting destroyed and remade within a few days. I had negative expectations, and I told my juniors that this-this-and-that would happen.
I joined rag again because my close group of friends joined - and we wanted to win extremely badly. Nothing more.
Yet, I saw things that were a far cry from what I had in mind. When FOC ended, I could already tell that our batch of juniors were special. They are new, and yes, they are naive. They had not been exposed to the ugly side of the faculty, and they haven’t been told that rag was something that had to break their bodies and minds over. But does that mean that things always have to go that way?
Midway through rag, it dawned on me that I was being the cynical senior that I had always hated. The comments that my brothers/seniors in medicine would always throw at me: that we were going to lose, that this is useless, that I shouldn’t do this, that I shouldn’t do that. Sarcastic remarks that we would need hours to ponder over. That Rag 2012, like 2011, will be a complete waste of time for me all over again.
It wasn’t. We did win the Gold standard. I don’t know if we truly deserved it in terms of performance standards because I’m not a dancer; but I know that we had the heart and spirit. It has never been about the end result. Indeed, it’d be a point of validation for the work that we put in - but I realised, over time, that the reason for us joining rag was never been about what we would get in the end. And as I watched our rivals’ performances, I sincerely hoped that they saw it the same way.
I wanted to join the medical community because I saw the value in enjoying the process - that ultimately, the amount of cash you earned did not matter, as long as you were enjoying yourself.
In the few minutes before we went on stage, I realised that it really didn’t matter to me if we won, or lost (to law, just to put things in perspective). It was because of Rag that this group of friends I’ve found have grown much closer than ever. And it was heartening because I could say for sure that they felt the same way, when the 10 of us gathered silently in our little circle, seconds before the performance. We didn’t say much at all, but it was a good feeling as we all smiled at one another, teary-eyed.
On stage that day, I felt genuinely happy during my dances - and that, in itself, was gold to me.
so here I am, done with P90X about a month and a half ago. it was one of the more rewarding experiences in my life, but i still constantly ask myself - have I grown stronger? I had set out to do this to myself because I wanted to toughen my body, and steel my mind at the same time.
the truth is that i do feel a lot better. It has changed me so much that I think it’ll require a fair bit of effort for me to return back to my old lifestyle.
yet, I finally came to a revelation: I realized that no one can ever be so strong so as to take all the garbage that life throws at you, and not flinch at all. No one should deserve to have to be an infallible beacon of hope that never says die.
We all need that occasional pat on the back, that long and tight hug, and that shoulder we can cry on. And it was wrong for me to expect my brother to force himself to look happy and optimistic when he really wasn’t.
Perhaps he didn’t, but I’m glad I’ve found friends whom I can pour my heart out to without feeling shame or embarrassment, because we’ve all seen each other fall and break before.
one of the more moody days for me :/