49 beautiful and tiresome years.

an orphan then,

a scholar you came to be.

a doting husband you grew,

an amazing Father you are to me.

it’s all the same,

through time and time again,

i’d say the same to you again.

dad you’re my inspiration,

the one who lets me live my aspirations.

no excuses you tell me,

to shout and brace hard til I am my own inspiration.

I wish you love,

I wish you health,

I wish I’ll make you prouder in the years ahead.

giving advices to my little sister

Just to be clear, by little sister, I mean a sister that is 2 years younger than me. She was feeling the pressures of university life and felt like the world was against her.

Now if you must know, I absolutely hate giving advices that I don’t practice. As the saying goes, practice what you preach. So since I usually always feel like I cant stand by my words, I tend to just say “whatever it is I am here for you”, rather than suggesting solutions or sparking thoughts.

However, my sister’s rant to me was one of a kind. And it was extremely relatable. I won’t go too much into her personal problems, but it basically revolves around trying to find her place in the school and feeling like she belongs.

I too, used to struggle with finding my identity in such a big ocean. I was used to being a big fish in a small pond, that is, until I got into university. You’d think you’re already near the top but you realise there’s just about 30000 people on par with you and that makes me feel lost and dispensable. For a whole freshman year I joined whatever was deemed ideal or what would get me more friends. I figured, the more friends, the more I’ll find groups to belong to. The more activities in school I have, the more beautiful my resume would look like. Needless to say, I came out of freshman, loaded with paper achievements, but not happy as I was told I would feel. For a while I was dark and was sad about it. Helpless and alone in the crowd of friends I thought would be friends of virtue for life.

One day, I woke up and just like that, I decided to change my life. Why did I have to rely on my university to fluff up my resume? Why do I need to be in many school activities to show skills and leadership talents? Why am I depending on my university for a bright future? Why am I living life revolving around my university?

Friends? Why do I need so many? I have quite a few solid friends who never left, and a few new ones who always have my back despite the different courses.

School activities? Why do I need so many? Why do I need to fight for leadership roles that seem attractive? Why do I need to belong to a group in school? Based on my career plans, none of the school activities are in line with that, so why not branch out and source for groups that I actually want to be a part of.

Basically, I had a broadened mindset and quit the losers attitude. I listened to my sister’s rants and from there, I slowly started to give her insights, based on my experience and how I made it, how I am slowly making it. This reminded me of the time I gave a pep talk to my student. Eventually, she realised the world around her is her oyster so she started to ease up and find real solutions to her problems.

Based on this experience, I’d like to bring up that we tend to give empty advices and “model answers” very casually without really considering the possible consequences of our words. Words are powerful, yes. But they’re even more powerful from someone you hold dear to, or you look up to. So when our friends or loved ones seek advice, be careful what you say, because it could change their life one day.

Side note: As I was talking to her about how she can change her life and gave her options, I noticed how I’ve changed. It’s almost akin to the effect of writing a blog and learning from the recollection. With this, I’m really glad to be able to say that I have grown, and I am still growing. I hope all of you are too 🙂

excuses exist only when you want them to

Today in the car, my family was talking about how we should work about the increasing bills and getting some stuff done and we realised that we were shutting down an idea with many excuses.

After a while, I thought about what I said more and concluded that actually, there were solutions to the excuses I presented. So I shared them to my parents and my mom said:

If you really want something to happen, you will not have excuses. If you don’t want something, you’ll think of any excuses just to go against it.

This made me reflect on many things in my life.

Take for instance, I really want to be a medical practitioner and this life I have now, though exhausting and extremely busy, is something I am willing to go through for the years to come just to achieve my dream. On the other hand, in the past I used to quit my piano and ballet classes because I “had to focus more on studies”. Let’s be real, I just really got lazy going for those classes and my interests in them were fading quickly.

my family is top priority

When are you ever too busy for family?

Year 2 semester 2 just started and it’s been a hell ride I tell you. I swear I toned down the social activities, actually to like a good 40 percent! I’ve even given up rugby and some toxic friends so that means my skin has a serious deficiency of vitamin D. I sleep like 2 to 4 in the morning after getting too tired of studying and wake up like 11/12 to eat brunch and study again.

Ok but the point of this entry isn’t to rant about the woes of university life. I want to point out an achievement I had today. Just moments ago actually. So a little bit of background, I was down with extreme sloth vibes with Netflix on my iPad in the studio, along with my dad and Sister doing computer work, thus leaving my mother alone in the main house.

Suddenly, for like a moment while I waited for the next episode to autoload, I thought of how my mom was alone and probably lonely. May seem pathetically small, but it took a lot of effort to put the show down and go over. I went over, grabbed her fully charged phone, placed it underneath her pillow and kissed her on the forehead. She woke up and hugged me and offered me to sleep with her. I denied but I said I’ll stay by her side while she sleeps.

This may not mean a lot of some of you but this moment is quite significant to me. It could be my Father or my Sister and I’d feel the same. Family isn’t perfect but they are fated to be in your life permanently, so that’s probably God saying I need them. Maybe I don’t need them all the time but most times. When I feel alone and defeated, when I’m happy and playful, when I’m sad and disappointed, they’re there. Maybe they don’t know everything about my life, but the, being physically there or spiritually there keeps me sane and loved. Maybe the love they show is tough love through the insults and scoldings, maybe the love they show is gentle and tender love through the hugs and wake up calls, but I’ll take it all anyway.

I have friends with “bad” families as they have claimed but what about the people who have no parents they know at all? Okay, maybe I’m dwelling in uncharted territory going into thoughts this deep, too deep to understand it in everyone’s perspective. It’s just that I have friends with abusive, criminal parents who they still love unconditionally and serve them.

I thought about all of them and realized that it’s really just based on the nature of the child. The parent could be the most doting and gentle parents but if the child, with specific genes and circumstances, does not recognize their parents to be as such, then the child would label the family “bad” anyway.

So with that, I’ve decided to leave it as that because I can’t change the person but, I can just love them as my friends regardless. Maybe one day, they’ll recognize all types of love and accept them.

Going back to my family, oh I really love my family. Even if we are a mess some days. We’ve grown together and grown well. So people tell me my dreams will just suck all the quality time away. But I’ll make it work. My family deserves my time. It’s the most priceless thing in the world.

i’ve gone to 26 countries (constantly updated)

I keep a huge world map and paste red ribbons on the spots I’ve gone to. I’ve always had this feeling I never wanted to settle in one space forever and retire quietly. I’ve always wanted to travel the world until I pass on. There’s a certain beauty in traveling often. I realize when I travel, I tend to appreciate the unique things in my own country, Singapore, and at the same time, realize how sheltered I am as a Singaporean. I’ve seen different classes of poverty and wealth, tasted different cuisines and placed myself in different living environments. The world is so beautifully made, even with its flaws, that it aches me to just stay in one place and not witness its beauty. :’) The list is steadily growing but ultimately I would love to see the aurora borealis one day, be it in Norway or Iceland or Alaska. List of countries I’ve been to in chronological order (Will be constantly updated):

  1. Philippines
  2. Singapore
  3. Malaysia
  4. Thailand
  5. United States of America
  6. Canada
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Indonesia
  9. Australia
  10. Hawaii (USA still but some say it’s debatable)
  11. Vietnam
  12. Qatar
  13. Italy
  14. Vatican City
  15. Austria
  16. Liechtenstein
  17. Switzerland
  18. Germany
  19. Netherlands
  20. Belgium
  21. Luxembourg
  22. France
  23. UK
  24. South Korea
  25. Spain
  26. Portugal

These countries I’ve had the chance to grace with God’s permission and my parents’ generosity 🙂 Praise the Lord hehe