Life

Every Singaporean Son.

It feels just like yesterday, yet, It has been almost 2 years since I had been enlisted into the army for National Service (NS), I will be ORD (Operationally-Ready-Date), or in a better sense of the word, done with my national service in a months time.

Boots

These Boots Are Meant For Walking

Yet, a friend of mine will be starting his 2 years of national service in about a weeks time.

Last week of being civillian

Damien - Last Week of Being Civillian

It felt like just yesterday that my sergeants were teaching me how to tie the laces on my boots into a ‘daisy chain’ . How to fold the sleeves to get a ‘smart four’ uniform. How to season my beret. Yet, I realized that the skills i just mentioned pale in comparison to the amount of intrinsic knowledge that I gained from national service.

Daisy Chain

Daisy Chain

Just before entering national service, I was pretty adamant that I would not gain anything from it and that I would not enjoy national service. Closing to the end, I was wrong on both counts. The friendships that I had formed during my National Service, the knowledge that I had picked up and the things that I had been exposed to had really opened up my eyes. Yes, sometimes life in the army was shit, but when everyone else around you is going through the same shit, that is when you see whom your true buddies are. However, it is not always that bad, as you get to meet people from all walks of life, enjoy a meal, or even a bedtime chat with each other.

An important lesson I learnt in National Service, is that if you want something, be it a negative or positive outcome, you would have to set aside your fears, worries and anxieties and systematically work towards achieving that which you want. That is an easy concept to picture, or to speak of, however it is an entirely different thing when you try to put it to practice. You would have to make what you want your life. That instance where you are willing to do anything just to achieve the goal, is a beautiful moment. Sometimes the goal itself might not be as savory as the journey towards it.

Motivational Video

How Bad Do You Want to Succeed?

Another important lesson that I learnt is that if you were to approach a situation that is neutral in nature, a happening of sorts, approach it with a positive mindset, because you have not yet known what this situation entails and approaching it with a negative mindset often yields negative returns which further re-enforces that negative mindset.

‘If a prisoner felt that he could no longer endure the realities of camp life, he found a way out in his mental life– an invaluable opportunity to dwell in the spiritual domain, the one that the SS were unable to destroy. Spiritual life strengthened the prisoner, helped him adapt, and thereby improved his chances of survival.’

Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl developed logotherapy, from his experience of being a prisoner of war and therapist to his fellow captives in the concentration camps.

The following list of tenets represents basic principles of logotherapy:

  • Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  • Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.
  • We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.

I was not  a prisoner definitely, however, I was conscripted for the 2 years that I was in National Service, bound by law to serve the nation. I developed a positive mindset after a few months; wherein the shock of enlisting wore off and the routines started. I found meaning even at the lowest point(s) in my NS Life, and these lessons that I learnt, especially at the lowest points, to me are priceless, they are lessons that would stick with me for life. I was perhaps lucky that I found a possible meaning in life for myself when I was in NS and I am fully determined to achieve what I had set out for myself. There are many people whom lose track of themselves in NS and eventually, they do not know what to do with themselves after their 2 years of service, even some whom have advanced placements in universities or a job waiting for them when they ORD. Some people in NS sometimes adopted self-destructive life styles that causes a liability to their self-worth as they ORD. Perhaps I was lucky to meet the “right” people in NS. However, to an extent I believe that individuals in NS should try their best to always look at things that they experienced in retrospect and take home some of the valuable lessons that their experiences have to offer.

This post is dedicated to The Sons of Singapore, to those whom have dutifully served and those who are currently in Service.

The Impractical Mindsets of Singapore.

There are on average 950,000 private vehicles on the road; 24,000 taxicabs, this figure is still rising, 3262km of road, also an increasing figure. Of this 3262km of road, 150km are highways. The buses and trains take about 3 million people daily. In lieu of that fact, it would be a modest estimate to say that there is about 10-50% of the car population on the road at any one time in the day(inclusive of public non-housing car parks but not inclusive of taxicabs).

So…

Each car is roughly 2.5m long and between each car there is a gap of about half a meter at minimum. That makes each car 3m inclusive of gap. If we took 50% of the vehicles, that works out to about 1300km in total length, close to 50% of the total road length available, lets say that only 20% of that 50% are heading to the expressways. 206km of length, on a total of 150km of highway, hence, as you can see the jams on the highways often spill into the filter roads and adjoining arterial roads.

Which leads me to my next point, the number of accidents in Singapore is pretty high, though the number of fatal accidents, considering the population in Singapore that drive, is pretty low.

Road User Groups

2010

2011

DIFF

% DIFF

Motorcyclists & Pillion Riders

89

99

10

+11.2%

Motorcar Drivers and Passengers

14

16

2

+14.3%

Pedestrians

55

49

-6

-10.9%

Pedal Cyclists

16

15

-1

-6.3%

Others (including Bus Passengers/Drivers, Heavy and Light Goods Vehicles Drivers and Passengers, etc)

19

18

-1

-5.3%

TOTAL

193

197

+4

2.1%

Statistics from Traffic Police Singapore Website

So, as dangerous as riding is made out to be in Singapore, where the society is traditional and in possession of a mindset that riders are maniacs on two wheels, they often make it difficult for people whom ride. Most Chinese parents tell their children some Chinese proverb of some sort ‘When you drive a car, metal protects your flesh, When you ride a bike, your flesh protects the metal’. I guess they forgot to include the part where, ‘If you drive a car, your flesh is contained in a metal box that crushes on impact.’

‘Traffic Police will also implement a two-tiered theory test structure for learner riders of Class 2B motorcycles on 27 February 2012. All learner riders will be required to pass two separate theory tests – the Basic Theory Test and the Riding Theory Test before they are allowed to take the practical riding test. This allows for deeper and wider testing of the local traffic rules and motorcycle handling knowledge, which is helpful at increasing riding competency and reducing the incidence of accidents.’

Why? There is no reason why having 2 theory tests would ‘increase riding competency and reduce the incidence of accidents.’ It is a sweeping statement with no actual hard data or evidence. Theoretically it might make sense, but at the end of the day when you put it on the table, there are no statistics to prove that these “tests” are adept at making people better drivers/riders.

In fact, I believe that having more tests, practical lessons and also making the practical tests extremely difficult to pass, creates repressed and complacent drivers and riders that will go crazy on the roads. I have had many instances of friends whom have gotten into accidents within the first week of passing, and most of the time, it was their own fool-hardy actions that were to blame. In Singapore, passing the test and doing well in the test means everything, but no one really knows what to do AFTER the test is over. We are a society based on spoon-feeding information and theoretical matter. However there is no actual proper practical learning.  Yes, we may have mostly new cars and bikes, with the COE (Certificate-Of-Entitlement) system, most of our cars and bikes on the road are new. Our cars and bikes are inspected every YEAR after the third year of registration and the drivers and riders are well trained in hazard courses. Yet somehow the licensing department in Singapore has somehow missed a very important detail.

One CANNOT compensate even with the newest and most well maintained technology, against stupidity, recklessness, Rash and Hasty Decision Making.

Most road accidents are due to riders in Singapore thinking that they are batman on his batcruiser after they pass the tests and car drivers in Singapore having the mindset that bikers in Singapore are ‘expandable’. Further aggravating that matter, even between car drivers, there are the “big” car drivers whom often bully the “small” car drivers on the road. The drivers in these bigger cars often make rash and reckless overtakes and they often have tardy lane discipline. Again I am not trying to generalize or label drivers with bigger cars, but it is a worrying trend that I think the licensing people should take a look at. It is usually the younger drivers, whom drive out their parents “bigger” cc (cubic-centimeter) cars that are rash and they feel that they are well protected in the car and they adopt a mindset that “No one dares to hit me because I am driving a TANK!”.

This as one can observe is a broth for disaster, and often no one in Singapore would ever give way to another driver and everyone ends up driving like they have their panties in a bunch. From closer observation, it could be inferred that these mindsets are a spin-off of everything Singaporeans stand for, in school, at work, even with friends, people are always about “face”, and sadly, these concepts are often self-destructive at best and detrimental to the society at worst. Just to cut into that sweet spot in the lane, is it worth taking another persons life?

2cents Worth On Relationships

Since Valentines Day is coming up, here is something for you guys and gals to think about.
Imagine this situation, it is regardless of whether you are a girl or a guy.

After many years of being in the relationship the guy gets “lazy” (of course this is in the eyes of the girl)
and he comes home, sits in front of the television and watches the television, not bothering to ask the girl how was her day and not bothering with romancing her. He even has the audacity to forget certain special occasions! OH The HORROR! and in general, he has become unromantic or less romantic than when they were dating.
This is almost to a point of being Mundane and Droning.



Before I start, I would like the readers to know that I am open to your opinions or critiques as I do not think that this situation would apply to everyone. There are too many variables and factors that would lead to a situation like this, but i would like to bring up a factor that is not often raised.


Everyone has emotions, however from an early age, girls have more developed brains and tend to emote better than their male counterparts. They also tend to emote better and display a wider range of emotions, be it in the negative or positive range of emotions. Girls are also often primed, perhaps by their parents, peers, seniors and even the media to appreciate grand gestures of love. The gestures in the movies where a guy sends Nine-Hundred and Nine Flowers to a girl that obviously despises him and he wins her over, the guy who runs after the car as the girl is crying and driving off, the guy who….. You get the point. Girls may not always admit this, but they are often sub-consciously craving for that grand gesture of love from a guy. A little part of them wishes for that grand gesture. However in everyday life these gestures are difficult to come by but when something that grand is done, the gestures get posted online, by word of mouth, sometimes even reaching the conventional media.

She tells him to go away but he persists even against the odds.

This obviously spills into their relationship, and they often forget the little things that their boyfriends/husbands might do for them that is kind and loving. Perhaps maybe when the girl is being cranky (PMS?), or gets hungry in the middle of the night and the guy shows patience when dealing with her crankiness, buys or cooks her a meal in the middle of the night even when he’s tired out from a day of school or work. Often to most people, regardless of gender in general, they think “Patience? That is expected of you, what kind of c*nt are you to expect me to give you recognition or appreciation for your bloody patience?”. The girl might momentarily appreciate the warm food, but she will forget the opportunity cost, that the guy has to forgo his sleep. This is so because it will be considered, “It’s just a small sacrifice that I’ve asked from him, and it is expected that he does it because he lubb me”. She might thank him but there is this feeling the vibe, I mean guys, I do not quite know if you feel this way sometimes, that she sort of expects it from you and that thank you is like a routine like an action and re-action. 


When the next argument arrives, sometimes mere seconds after he passes her the food cause maybe he forgot that she does not like vegetables, her crankiness takes over and she immediately throws all her emotions at him, expecting the guy to show patience to her because she’s “pms-ing”. The guy might then show patience, maybe once, twice, three times, and he realizes that “Shake it once thats fine, shake it twice its okay, Shake it three times, you’re playing with yourself” I mean not that he realizes that he is playing with himself but he starts to think, “Why am I doing all this when she does not even appreciate it?”, the seed is planted. Humans need gratification or appreciation, and with this, the guy feels dejected and jaded and this leads him to eventually stop trying. 

Imagine you are a worker and your boss, does not pay you your wage
and you have to work knowing that you might never get paid.
you would quit the job.

The girl then sees this as complacence and she gets dejected and jaded with the guy. This then goes on and on until everything goes to s*it. The girl might leave for thinking that “that lazy ass should be sorry” or the guy might leave as he feels jaded and worn out from the feeling that he is not appreciated by his significant other.

The grass is not greener on the other side.

All this,started by something that, a few years down the road, the guy and girl would not even remember, and it is because of the compounded actions and re-actions, that eventually caused the situation to be blown to epic proportions.


In closing, I would like to humbly say with a pretty P-please, girls show more appreciation for your man, even if it is a small gesture that he is showing and never forget that even the small things are also important, and guys, every time you feel like giving up, remember the reason why you held on for so long.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

P.S: This is a little anecdote I found on Facebook related to my post 😉
 LESSONS IN LIFE
My husband is an Engineer by profession, I love him for his steady nature, and I love the warm feeling when I lean against his broad shoulders.
Three years of courtship and now, two years into marriage, I would have to admit, that I am getting tired of it. The reasons of me loving him before, has now transformed into the cause of all my restlessness.
I am a sentimental woman and extremely sensitive when it comes to a relationship and my feelings, I yearn for the romantic moments, like a little girl yearning for candy. My husband, is my complete opposite, his lack of sensitivity, and the inability of bringing romantic moments into our marriage has disheartened me about love.
One day, I finally decided to tell him my decision, that I wanted a divorce.
“Why?” he asked, shocked. “I am tired, there are no reasons for everything in the world!” I answered. He kept silent the whole night, seems to be in deep thought with a lighted cigarette at all times. My feeling of disappointment only increased, here was a man who can’t even express his predicament, what else can I hope from him? And finally he asked me:” What can I do to change your mind?”
Somebody said it right, it’s hard to change a person’s personality, and I guess, I have started losing faith in him. Looking deep into his eyes I slowly answered : “Here is the question, if you can answer and convince my heart, I will change my mind, Let’s say, I want a flower located on the face of a mountain cliff, and we both are sure that picking the flower will cause your death, will you do it for me?” He said :” I will give you your answer tomorrow….” My hopes just sank by listening to his response.
I woke up the next morning to find him gone, and saw a piece of paper with his scratchy handwriting, underneath a milk glass, on the dining table near the front door, that goes…. My dear, “I would not pick that flower for you, but please allow me to explain the reasons further..” This first line was already breaking my heart. I continued reading.
“When you use the computer you always mess up the Software programs, and you cry in front of the screen, I have to save my fingers so that I can help to restore the programs. You always leave the house keys behind, thus I have to save my legs to rush home to open the door for you. You love traveling but always lose your way in a new city, I have to save my eyes to show you the way. You always have the cramps whenever your “good friend” approaches every month, I have to save my palms so that I can calm the cramps in your tummy.
You like to stay indoors, and I worry that you will be infected by infantile autism. I have to save my mouth to tell you jokes and stories to cure your boredom. You always stare at the computer, and that will do nothing good for your eyes, I have to save my eyes so that when we grow old, I can help to clip your nails, and help to remove those annoying white hairs. So I can also hold your hand while strolling down the beach, as you enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful sand… and tell you the color of flowers, just like the color of the glow on your young face… Thus, my dear, unless I am sure that there is someone who loves you more than I do… I could not pick that flower yet, and die.. ”
My tears fell on the letter, and blurred the ink of his handwriting… and as I continue on reading… “Now, that you have finished reading my answer, if you are satisfied, please open the front door for I am standing outside bringing your favorite bread and fresh milk… I rush to pull open the door, and saw his anxious face, clutching tightly with his hands, the milk bottle and loaf of bread….
Now I am very sure that no one will ever love me as much as he does, and I have decided to leave the flower alone…
MORAL LESSON: That’s life, and love. When one is surrounded by love, the feeling of excitement fades away, and one tends to ignore the true love that lies in between the peace and dullness.
Love shows up in all forms, even very small and cheeky forms, it has never been a model, it could be the most dull and boring form.. . flowers, and romantic moments are only used and appear on the surface of the relationship. Under all this, the pillar of true love stands… and that’s our life… Love, not words win arguments.