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A Never Ending Vicious Cycle

9 Mar

Without going into in-depth detail of everything that could be said about this article, maybe let’s just think about some words that might pop up into your mind after you’ve read it: “rich”, “younger generation”, “wealth”, “lavish expenditure”, “materialism”, “safe”, “home”?

What comes to my mind?

Success-driven. 

Whether or not Singaporeans are materialistic is in itself a slightly skewed assumption. After all, materialism seems to exist throughout the whole world. Perhaps more so in certain countries than others, but it is still prevalent nonetheless. Yet, having said that, one cannot deny that it is very much a one-track route for Singaporeans. If not for anyone else, at least for me.

School -> University -> Job -> Marriage -> House -> Car -> Children -> Big, fat savings account -> Nice retirement home

Not to say that all these things are not sensible things to invest into. But I sometimes feel that this way of life is overly elevated. What about those who crave a simple life? In fact, many of us desire that. We just want a comfortable home to share with someone we love. To be with family, and make those we love and the people around us happy. I believe I grew up with a very sheltered mentality of Singapore. Well, the country is tiny and it’s so easy to live in a bubble. To feel happy and at ease because everyone else seems to be. I never truly understood the idea of the truly wealthy, or as the author states, the “average millionaires”.

Yet, a bubble is a bubble. It can burst anytime. Same for success. It is fleeting, isn’t it? Yet we seek it all the same. Why? Perhaps a feeling of satisfaction fueled by the desire to “be happy”?

I recently sat through a presentation in one of my classes on “conspiracy theories” in relevance to the economy and the government. Though a lot of what was shared is out of my league, I do agree that it’s almost impossible to run off and try to survive on your own. Even the example of the man who left to start a farm and live secluded, as far away as possible from the government, stayed connected via the internet.

At least if you were in somewhere like Canada or America, you could very possibly, at least, have that option. But in Singapore, where would you run? To a land that would probably be built into some 70-storey condo in the next 5 years? Singapore is so incredibly small. Though I commend the effort to do the best with what they have (ie: Gardens By the Bay), nothing beats the real deal. Not to say that I don’t think “hiking” up Bukit Timah hill or cycling around Pulau Ubin is extremely fun, but honestly… nothing, nothing beats walking to the bus stop to go to school and having mountains, just on my left, in clear view.

I guess it scares me, because I wonder where the nation of Singapore will be in 5 years. Or in 2 years for that matter. I am still rather ignorant, but from the little I know, I am uncertain about where I want to be when I graduate. Could I survive in a country that seems to exert such pressure from all sides?

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Do Somersaults If You Find Your World Turned Upside-Down

7 Jan

3 years ago, if you had come up to me and told me that I would live in Germany for half a year, travel around Europe, live in Singapore for more than just the summer holidays, have baby twin sisters, enter a relationship with a Singaporean-Malaysian (of all things. i kid! lol), go through an amazingly speedy recovery after meningitis, and end up back in Vancouver in 2013… I would have looked at you like you were crazy.

To call the past couple of years of my life smooth and predictable couldn’t be any further from the truth.

What I’ve learnt is that we might think we are in constant control of our lives, but one day, all that could flip around. Whatever we’ve tried so hard to accomplish can shatter, in just an instant.

What do we do when we find our world turned upside down?

Well…we do somersaults of course 🙂

We can take unforeseen events in our stride; we could go even further by seeing it as something beautiful, as something that will be an extrinsic part of our lives. Perhaps even something that would bring about a significant change. Everything happens for a reason.

When things don’t go as we plan it to, we often regret and wish we’d done things differently. We feel broken, confused, and cannot help but question how and if our lives can still be beautiful.

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I am reminded of a kaleidoscope. It’s name, of Greek origin, means “beautiful form to see”. Take mirrors, random beads, or broken colored glass, and construct them in a not-too-complicated fashion. Oh, the colors and patterns contained in that single tube! Don’t you think its beautiful too? 🙂

I guess that’s how I view my life. I often feel helpless and confused at situations I find myself in, especially more so because I feel like I’ve been flung into certain circumstances. But, I’ve always found an incredible amount of grace, no matter what place I might find myself in.

While I was stuck in a burger-flipping job in the summer of 2011, I’d never thought I would get a call from adidas Germany regarding a resume I had sent in at the beginning of the year (which I had in fact already forgotten about), and end up working and living in Nurnberg for half a year. When I faced the repeated rejection of a work visa/student internship visa in Singapore, I’d never thought I’d end up volunteering full-time, going for cell, and meeting a now very special person in my life. While I was in my last one half months in Singapore preparing for my departure to Japan, I’d never thought I’d fall ill and be hospitalized, feel so much love from friends and family, learn to treasure my relationships with all my loved ones so much, and end up back in Vancouver.

My life is a bunch of broken bits of glass; some here, some there. In spite of the ever-changing plans and unexpected turn of events, I have a firm assurance and belief that my life is in God’s hands.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

(Proverbs 19:21)