Musings / Singapore / Updates

sheepishly

So it has been a while HI GUYS – though to be honest, it’s difficult to tell how much of those people who’s read the first few entries on this LJ are still here! Of course, the blame falls to me for my failure in updating regularly, but the past few weeks have been more hectic than I have been used to in a while, though that’s no excuse.

IN ANY CASE in terms of updates:

1) Grace is sleeping peacefully on my sofa next to me; I’m on a mattress and, if I’m to be honest, waiting, though with a muted, almost ambivalent hope. Earlier today, she reminded me that ZANN TAY (I have forgotten if she has an LJ IDTS) actually lives in my condo, and so a few hours ago, we went to screw with her head: Grace smsed to ask for her door number, and we even came up with a backstory about Rollason and class lists and the Raffles Diploma!! but Zann didn’t even bother questioning Grace. She smsed her address, and so we went outside her door and I called Zann, faked a deep voice and told her I have Grace hostage – open the door if you want to see her. Apparently that freaked her out and she spent a long time staring at the door before opening it \o/ Then we talked – she had a ridiculous amount of energy for an Invalid at 11.30 pm at night, operating on four hours of sleep a day, but it was incredibly amusing, and her pixie haircut is very pretty.

2) I calculated my home service hours today and I have finished 20 hours, which is an admirable quarter, I think, for having only been back a week, and taking into account the myriad meetings, lunches and dinners I’ve had with different people. All in all, I have around 63 more hours planned, so if all else goes well, I’ll be good to go mid-July, and even if a few things here and there fall through, Salvation Army will be a good reliable backup. I’ve contacted The Salvation Army (been testing electrical appliances for them to put in their Family Store; fairly interesting), Singapore Art Museum (two nights of ushering at M18 and R21 events, amusingly), The Necessary Stage (had a fascinating talk today with their director, Alvin Tan, and will be assisting with a small play on child abuse for its six rehearsals), Social Creatives (this social media company that’s bringing art into the heartlands, apparently; will be painting murals and engaging passers-by), People Like Us (a LGBT organization planning IndigNation, a pride festival in August this year) and this ground-up planting initiative called Balik Kampung on July 9.

Despite the burden of the 80 hours, it’s created a fantastic and much appreciated impetus for me to engage more with local organizations, I guess, because otherwise I would most definitely not have gone through emailing (and subsequently being rejected by) organizations, meeting up and talking to people from those organizations, and actually turning up and talking to other people involved in the programs, and meeting new people (particularly for a concrete reason and in a defined context, for me) is always exciting. Particularly because the typical volunteer opportunities in schools are flag days, tutoring kids and volunteering at old folks’ home, this has extended the meaning of community service for me too – more and more, choices and options are revealing themselves to me and I am starting to grasp their plenitude! Pressure -> creativity, eh. If I didn’t have to do those 80 hours, I’d never have made the effort to find all these things.

3) My attitude towards Singapore has changed, mostly in very intangible but firmly perceptible ways, though I can’t quite articulate them as yet. If anything, I am grateful for the sojourn abroad to have refreshed my perception of my country, even if the result is that I’m now unsure of my ownership of it. The return home, the feelings it’s inspired, my encounters with people outside of what I’d call the privileged, Raffles circle, the (as always) illuminating talk I had with Jalleh and another, today, with Alvin Tan, the bus ride reflections – I have a nagging suspicion that I’m entering another crossroads in my life, where I’ll have to choose between Singapore and the world, and while I suppose, in a way I’ve already made it, the choices that I will make soon will either take me far, far away or curve me back.

Then I realize that this is all very deterministic, and that paths are never linear (even though they tend to be, through sheer carelessness and inattention), and in everything, I have been determined to resist choosing as long as I can, to reconcile two supposed mutually exclusive outcomes, to square the circle through will alone. But the responsibilities are pressing closer :l

Jalleh says I need to find my passion, besides, and I quote, “things Austrian in origin”. Yes, I am still as susceptible to his insights and exhortations as ever, though he still thinks I should have stayed and – I disagree, even as I understand his reasons (I think).

4) It’s just been a week and what I’m calling the Singaporean exhaustion is already setting in. My eyes are terribly fatigued. For some reason, I’ve managed to arrange three different service activities on Sat, practically back to back. I’ve been eating splendidly, however – as always, too splendidly.

5) It’s been really nice meeting people the past few days.

6) I’m terribly sleepy now so I think I’ll retire. Tomorrow I will Make Dramatic Progress on my EE, aided by copious amounts of coffee and Grace, and hopefully also catch up on sleep.

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