Saturday, April 25, 2009

Snippets of the Past

On this occasion, I would like to highlight a past blog post of mine. Its significance and reason behind this highlight shall be made known to my gentle readers at a later stage. Thank you for your patience...

How my Hols got Worse and Better Again

It is extremely rare that I would relate a day's events in such detail for I find that the monotony of modern life has rendered a large part of the day meaningless. However, today's events has certainly shocked me out of existence and got me back again which renders it worthy of relation and discussion.

For those who are personal friends or acquaintances of mine (i.e. having some sort of online contact with me), one could already guess that today certainly is one of those days in which technology triumphs over the human. Yes, I have brilliantly busted a laptop for no conceivable reason. Such occurrences truly compels me to actually roll up my sleeves and go back to basics of self-sustainability. Well, technology has certainly become part of a lifestyle rather than a tool but its temperamental nature certainly irks me. That's the tumultuous highlight of the day.

The main highlight of the day that was most heartening would be a visit to my grandfather's house. It has certainly been ages since I've visited that gentle old man. I certainly owe a part of who I am to him since he took care of me during my primary school years. With his eloquence and intelligence, he managed to convinced the principal to allow him to visit me during school hours almost every single day. Those few fleeting years actually do form a very fond memory of him.

He certainly is an extremely knowledgeable man in all areas. The amazing thing is that his knowledge extends from the days of yore to the present ongoings in the world. That wealth of knowledge is certainly commendable and I do wished his health afforded him the strength to see me during my secondary school years which did not come to pass.

That one hour conversation, though mostly intellectual, was certainly enlightening. Not only did it helped in updating my knowledge of current affairs (which is currently lacking as most of my alert, waking hours are dedicated to the dreaded SEA history) but seeing him in his golden years certainly made me respect him for how far he has come as a man, a father and more importantly, a grandfather to me. Though he has certain reservations or mindset which does come into conflict with mine, I often find myself grinning at his conservative mindset. Perhaps my respect has rendered this conflict trivial and even a cute contrast between the past and present.

Aside from my respect, reverence and nostalgia, there is a lingering sense of poignancy to the conversation. It has become very noticable that my grandfather's memory has begun to fail him at times as he mistook my age, my secondary school and even certain facts regarding our relatives. The man who use to spend a whole day reading every single article in the newspaper has difficulty reading and is subjected to reading the headlines or watching the news to update his extensive knowledge. Life is poignant and one's physical decay is inevitable as I begin to notice my grandfather's age beginning to creep up on him year by year. In this light, thoughts of losing him inevitably crowded my mind and suddenly death really became an issue that I struggled with mentally.

Morris "Morrie" Schwartz may be right in pointing out that death ends a life and not a relationship. A relationship that I will certainly treasure and remember for life.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Experimentation: Blab at Work

Must one always think before they write? The recent happenings in my life often compels me to write in order to express myself and confide in whoever wishes to read. However, the problem often lies with the fact that the release I need through writing or the feelings that needs to be expressed is often complicated and incoherent. Therefore, for this post, I shall experiment just typing anything that compels me at the moment and not be bogged down by grammar or any rules of English. Of course, after the process is done, I shall edit it for coherence sake. So thank you for taking this journey with me.

Being in my current vocation course for a long period of ten weeks has placed me into a ruthless routine during the weekdays as I find myself being out of sorts the whole time through due to the ungodly waking hours. Yet, the real problem comes when I book out and while the rest of the world welcomes the weekend as they spend their meager pay painting the town red and just living the sights and sounds of the city, I wonder how to spend it productively. I have no reason to waste away my money at something that brings no joy not comfort to me but as I take a step back, I realise that this seemingly mindless activity provides the benefit of taking your mind off the fact that one has to book in a few days time. Therefore, in that sense, my scorn of the seeming frivolous and cheap thrills has made a fool out of me as I am plagued by the thought of booking in almost every waking hour since I have nothing to do at home.

Speaking of forgetting the blues of this routine life, I do cherish the times I have with my bunkmates. While I do confess that I do not subscribe to many of their philosophies, the mindless fun we have just being foolish certainly brings a sweet end to a terrible day. That one hour sacrifice of the much needed sleep is certainly worth it for while it does not enrich the soul in anyway, it does chase some of the blues away and make us less apprehensive about the new day as we look forward to the next night in the bunk.

Gah... lost the mood to write anymore... so there... snippets of my life for you... go figure...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Layman Sociology

It is obvious that any boy will face his NS life with a sense of irritation and trepidation due to the sudden change of environment and draconian regimentation before him. Of course, I am no exception in disliking being in the NS. I am not at ease to disclose in detail my reasons for feeling so but I would like to explore a theory that was proposed by someone that my displeasure is due to the fact that I am an only child.

Frankly speaking, I know not if that proposal was an insult of me being a "spoilt kid" or perhaps an innocent offering of his rather flawed theory. As I intend this post to be of a proper discourse, I shall give this poor fellow a benefit of a doubt and propose that having siblings does not alter one's opinion of being in NS regardless of it being a positive or a negative one.

His theory is backed up by the fact that one is often more willing to share and tolerate when one has siblings. In addition, if one has an elder brother who is excelling in NS, either the competitive spirit or adoration of his older sibling will spur one to view NS in a positive light. Such offerings also allow one to infer that an only child views NS negatively because he has been awarded freedom and exclusive love throughout his life and the sudden deprivation of it often leads to a negative perception of NS. That is, on many accounts, very prescriptive, anecdotal and flawed.

One's perception of NS should be, as much as possible, of one's true thoughts and feelings and not be tied to compulsion and duty. It should be sincere and not tainted by any other agenda. Yet, to be fair, this 'sincere perception' so to speak is influenced by one's upbringing and character. With that in mind, I can safely say that the poor chap's first offering of tolerance and sharing is nothing but anecdotal. Any instance of sibling rivalry in the courtrooms is proof enough that such a positive inculcation is utterly dependant on a person's character and upbringing.

Additionally, the second offering of competition or adoration cannot be considered to be one's sincere perception. This is due to the fact that this seemingly positive attitude is compelled by a greater force of wanting to outdo or be one's older brother and therefore taking all the regimentation, expectations and discpline in one's stride. Such a positive opinion is therefore not derived from the examination of the military system and forming an opinion of it. Hence, such an instance cannot be taken into consideration. And I will reassert that it all depends on one's character, philosophy and upbringing.

For me, I dislike NS because I am a complex mix of rationality and emotions. I disagree with some of the mechanisms of the SAF and do not feel that certain implementations truly makes one a better soldier in any sense. Furthermore, I am a firm believer that discipline is inculcated from the inside out and not by imposition. Therefore, the mechanisms of NS not only does not serve its intended purpose but it puts my life to a grinding halt; putting certain ambitions and opportunities on the backburner which may not re-surface ever again. It is thus clear that my reasons do not stem from my lack of siblings whatsoever and that theory is a smuttering of layman sociology.