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Singapore Pastime

Sizing up people is an intrinsic part of Singapore life. Even at birth, mothers talk about how much their babies weighed, or how much hair they had. It is only the beginning. It won't be long until the silent competition swings into full force. Suzanne could read since she was a foetus, Chris here could tango before he could even turn over in the cradle, Roger pushes the pram with me sitting it in, Georgia knew the final answer to "Who wants to be a millionaire". We've all heard those, with varying levels of exaggeration (mine being the ultimate).
And it goes on into childhood, teenhood and adulthood. Which school you got into. How many As you scored on your 'O' Levels. I'd rather go to <a href="http://tp.edu.sg/">Temasek Polytechnic</a> because their design school is more well-known. It causes us so much pain, it does.
I've never been one to have a winning hand at these competitions. Enrolled in a relatively prestigious Primary school, I was the only student who opted not to continue my Secondary school education there. Instead I managed to get into my Secondary school of last choice. Failed to go to Junior College because I did poorly for my 'O' Levels. Failed to live my dream of studying and then teaching English Literature because I obtained my one and only C for Literature at my 'O' Levels. My life plan shattered, I went to <a href="http://nyp.edu.sg/">Nanyang Polytechnic</a> (which I still mispell as Nanayang) and studied International Business.
Like a lottery ticket junkie I keep hanging on the hope that maybe one day I'll make the big time. Maybe God has His reasons. He does. Right?During my three years at <a href="http://www.arizona.edu/">Arizona</a> I had my short reprieve from this competition, or at least losing it. I tutored my peers in mathematics, wrote essays that prodded the fabric of academic endeavour and played respectable (in the <a href="http://williamhung.net/">William Hung</a> sort of way) basketball at the recreation center.
But Singapore doesn't let you go. Coming home and staying jobless was not something I had expected. All my contemporaries found jobs within two months of searching. All except me. I'd yet play the part of loser.
Just tonight I had someone exclaim in amazement when I said Faith watched more television than I did. "But you're the one without a job!". Or that I always seemed to wear the same clothes. It's all said in jest, which I love, but served to highlight the fact that I was the only jobless one at the table. It hurts most when Faith worries about our bills and I am unable to help her.
I've been keeping very busy with freelance projects. But somehow the work / pay ratio is seriously skewed for me. My last project saw me redoing someone else's work and having to share the very small paycheck. I put an inordinate amount of time into my projects, even troubleshooting problems the client is not aware of. I do it because it is how I work, not because it is how I'm paid. I know I need to be more realistic, but I had hoped some ideals would survive. I don't know if they will.
So here I stand in the same clothes I've worn since infancy. Poor as a church-mouse and worthless as old rags. Like a person who wants to re-enter a dream, I often wonder if going back to Arizona would put an end to the comparing. But I know that it is human nature regardless of geographical location.
Many tears have been shed and much tossing and turning in bed over my plight. Like the many Bible characters who groaned in travail, I feel the exhaustive stretch of time spent in pain, often covered only over a few sentences in the Bible.
Like Gandalf said, "even the wisest cannot know all ends" (or something to that effect). I do not know how long this will last, but in my heart of hearts I know what I want it to accomplish.
That I might decrease, and that He might increase.

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