Saturday, December 31, 2005

Years go by

I'm 21, and yet another year comes to a close.

It has become a tradition of sorts, for me, to look back on each year as it goes by, to reflect on how it's gone and if everything's proceeding satisfactorily. Starting with 2002, then 2003 and 2004, essentially summarising my JC and NS years respectively.

So what has 2005 been for me? It's been a year of liberation, having exited the army (and having been in the almost-done mood for quite awhile before that). It's been a year of travelling, having gone to the States and Canada for my brother's convocation, then with friends to Australia, then with family to Malaysia, and even to Spain after having started school. It's been a year of experimentation, with me helping out with Allan's company's camps and seeing just how much I can connect with the young kids, of relief teaching and giving the whole education experience a go. It's been a year of continuation, coming over to the United Kingdom to embark on my studies, attempting to re-ignite that spark in my rusty brain. It's been a year of socialising, of meeting new people and making new connections of various depths.

Last year, I'd said, "2005 is to be a meaningful year. hopefully the next new year entry i pen will be one of triumph." And it is, it really is.

That's not to say it's all been wonderful, though. I've wasted a lot of time this year (World of Warcraft sorta jumps to mind), but I'm not too guilty over that, because I have accomplished a lot more than in the previous two years anyway, and relaxation is still an important part of life. I've seen a lot less of UK (in terms of both culture and places) than I'd like to, though it's only been one term so there's a more time to make up for it. I've mixed mainly with Singaporeans thus far, and I'll really like to expand my social circle in York beyond that, but again there is time enough for that.

I've drifted further from some friends, and although I've come to accept that this is probably just part and parcel of life, it's still a sad thing, with no real mitigating factors.

To end it all, I guess I'll just post an email I got from one of my ex-officers, a certain COL Tan JC, who wrote me a pretty long email before I flew. It had quite a bit of good advice in it, maybe some a little cliched and dated (the guy's almost 40, cut him some slack!), but yeah, I guess it'll do me some good to remember what he'd said, every now and then.

wah, what a nice surprise, and so nice of you to drop by. time really flies, and I suppose when you look back, it does not seem so bad, right ? (it always seem easier/diff/ less impt/. etc when one looks back, dont you think so... ..but of course, life is not as simple) .. indeed , I hope it has been keep in touch and drop me a line once in a while while you are there.

hmmm...talking abt overseas study.. how I wish I can do it all over again...

there are a few poss, and you shd be aware. perhaps from there, you can decide better...I am not too certain abt York and the life there... but if I were to look at the normal Oxbridge lot and the Londoners (where I was); I can generally go into a few category...
1. the stick to the Singaporean category
2. the stick to the ang moh (British) category
3. the stick to the expat (can be Americans, Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc) category
4. the stick to no group category, but just enjoy yourself and do what you want by living each day/term to the fullest/laziest (whichever way you see it)...
5. the gf/bf category..

not saying which one is better or depends on what you want out of the 3 yrs..

for eg. if I had known that LSE had a very active stock mkt culture being next to the financial sector , I wld have chosen to mix with the mkt players and talk abt stock ...most of these ppl happens to be the Middle Eastern fellas.. if I had known that knowing more Asians friends can perhaps extend my network , esp in this globalised world, I wld perhaps get to know more friends from the region , so that a lasting friendship can be formed... (networking)..

how abt knowing the British way or the Americans way, etc... one can be there for 3 yrs and know little at the end of it..

some or most choose to just enjoy life....term time,,, visit Museum, cinema, walk around, play Mahjong, etc. yes, plan for travels during holidays ...holidays, travel; some work to earn more money (check legal though)...

I think you shd first take the effort to talk to someone who has been there and understand what are the kind of lifestyle ppl there are... with that udnerstanding, at least you are aware... and be conscious of what you want...

most of the time, we will go with the flow, or take the path of least resistance ...but that is not nec something that will equip us better nor stretch us ...

the only advice I wld therefore give is to urge you to constantly remind yourself (every term , or at the beginning of every month...- write it down somewhere , paste it up..well, not just this, but anything you find impt, we tend to forget the impt things) ---------- to try something new frequently... be it an experience, meeting new friends, expanding your visiting British family, visiting stock exchange, picking strawberry. etc. i think only when you constantly widen your experience and broaden your horizon, then can you gain more .... this is even more impt than your grades (well, at least pass though ), some yrs later, you will realise.

I also think that it is impt for you to read widely....yes, read a lot.... for a start, autobiographies, personal motivation, body lauguage, effective communication, etc. essentially, how you can prep yourself better to face the career world... reading from other ppl experience is very very impt... again, set yourself some tgts, like 1 book per week... if not, we will forget...

BUT perhaps the most impt of all is to enjoy the experience and freedom, and be happy at all times....(yes, one's emotions can be controlled and fired or left to its own course..) go, read abt Anthony Robbins, 7 Habits, Adam Khoo - Master Your Mind, Design Your Destiny...

keep in touch...


jm. said...

I've found that friendships that deteriorate as a result of my inability to invest time in them generally deteriorate in the end, regardless of my attempts to salvage them. What's important in a friendship would be a common desire to remain friends. What fuels this desire can vary. And, like it or not, friendship is partially about being selfless and partially about being selfish. Don't you agree?

Anyway, it was nice of the Col to drop you a note. A fair bit of what he says applies to students studying here too. Good advice for life and living.

Anonymous said...

he mentioned some very utilitarian reasons for making friends tho -if everyone made friends like that we'd have no friends, in the truest definition of that word. I'm sure you're wise enough to think about what it means to be selfless and loving (you already are), but above all love from people are so, so imperfect and unless The Big Dad gives a blow of His own love we'd be caught in our web of manipulation and self-interest (even in the subtlest, attention-seeking way)...

Hope you come to understand that there's only so much we can do, so much we can try, so much we can love -

- But if you seek He answers

cuz he loves

so what're you seeking?