Friday, 26 September 2014

On Faith.

"And if they all, kneeling with poised palms,
millions, billions of them, ended together with their illusion?
I shall never agree. I will give them the crown.
The human mind is splendid; lips powerful,
and the summons so great it must open Paradise.”
Czeslaw Milosz

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Things no one told me about working.

I've started working as a photographer's assistant for about 2 months now, and it has been vaguely similar to my internship days, with a few exceptions.

1. It's exactly like school.
Everyone goes to work in the morning, goes out for lunch at noon, leaves work in the evening. It all feels vaguely similar to recess time in school where the canteens are packed for that hour or so but once everyone returns back to work the canteens are all empty again.

2. Lunch is expensive, depending on where you eat.
A plate of chicken rice costs $2.50 at the hawker centre, but costs $6.50 at the food court at ION. And no it's not some super delicious traditional home-made Hainanese secret recipe chicken rice. It's just average chicken rice that's not worth $6.50. Heng I'm not working in town all the time ah. And don't even try the $9.50 char siew rice.

3. Everyone drinks coffee or tea. Everyday.
Variations include kopi, teh, kopi c, teh c, kopi o, teh o, and so on.

4. CPF
Looking at my monthly CPF contributions, I can understand why some Singaporeans are upset about CPF. Haha but I'm not that bothered by it since I earn enough to get by.

5. Everyone talks about the weather.
I guess it's as common a topic as you can get. Such a hot morning, or such a hot day, or such heavy rain. Although Singapore is really only hot or cold so you can't really have interesting variations on the topic. Lately there is haze which is like our version of a yearly season. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Haze season.

6. I can never find the time to exercise anymore.
No more time to go swimming. Gah. Punggol Safra please open quickly so I can use your swimming pool.

7. There's nothing much to look forward to anymore.
This is depressing but the only thing you now look forward to are public holidays (or days which you applied leave). There's no more long school holidays, no more end of exams or changing of teachers/schools. Aside from maybe changing jobs or promotions, you're actually going to be working until you retire. And the retirement in Singapore is 62 - 65.

Soooo I guess it's hello to working for the next 43 years for me. :(

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Fulfilling Prophecy.

There was a young traveler who visited an ancient village on the outskirts of the city. As he was passing by the derelict, nearly forgotten houses, a door flung open and an old man leaped out at him.

"Hey! I am a prophet. Would you like me to receive a fulfilling prophecy?" The old man was almost shouting at the traveler.

"Er okay. But what does it entail?" The traveler said warily, thinking of tourist traps and kidnappings.

"Nothing nothing! You just need to stay at my house for dinner! Free!"

So the traveler decided to take a risk. After all, he was travelling, and you could not get a more authentic local meal than this.

The old man led the way into his home, showed the traveler to his seat, and immediately left for the kitchen. Soon enough, the old man came out with slices of freshly baked, warm bread and soft creamy butter.

"Eat! Eat! The prophecy will be fulfilled later!"

The young traveler had fleeting thoughts of food poisoning, but one whiff of the bread and all premonitions of danger were forgotten.

The old man disappeared back into his kitchen, and came out almost immediately with steaming bowls of clam chowder. Followed by a crisp salad, and fish, and chicken, and rice. The food was excellent, and seemed never to end. The young traveler was quickly full, but continued to eat out of politeness.

Finally, the old man reappeared from the kitchen empty handed. The table was laden with bowls upon bowls of half eaten food.

"Alright. That's it for the food. Now for the fulfilling prophecy!" The old man announced in a sudden deep, booming voice.

"Okay sure, what is it?"

"Would you say that, you are feeling full?" The old man asked hesitantly.

"Yes I would" The young man chuckled, feeling that full was a bit of an understatement.

"Well then, since you are feeling full, therefore you are full-feeling! Hence! The full-feeling prophecy!"

Sorry to everybody who wasted their time reading this.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What I learned in the Army.

In two years of National Service, I have:
  • Learned how to strip, assemble, fire an assault rifle. And don't forget clean. I definitely spent more time cleaning the stupid rifle than firing it.
  • Also earned how to strip, assemble, fire a light machine gun, a grenade launcher, a rocket launcher.
  • Thrown a hand grenade, once.
  • Learned to wear a gas mask and experienced tear gas.
  • Experienced a turn-out at 1am for fun and games.
  • Walked for many many kilometres. About 600km accumulated in the two years.
  • Walked through graveyards at 3am. Graveyard with an s because we went from the Jewish/Hindu to the Christian to the Chinese to the Muslim graveyards. Multi-racial and multi-religious indeed.
  • Killed, skinned and ate a quail.
  • Learned to start a fire, and build a shelter, survive without food for 3 days.
  • Learned to read a compass and a map.
  • Bashed through the same stupid jungle on 3 separate occasions.
  • Rode in a Chinook, and got the seat closest to the door.
  • Swam through a muddy looking swimming pool with all our gear.
  • Learned to drive a jeep, through rivers and hills. Actually fell asleep when driving once but that's what happens when the speed limit is a paltry 50km/h.
  • Learned to ride a bike, through rivers and hills. Fell down many times on the stupid bike and was horrid at balancing but I still passed on my first attempt.
  • Learned how to strip, assemble, fire a general purpose machine gun. But I never got to fire it for real. :(
  • Threw many thunderflashes. Lit up a trip-flare which looks amazing at night.
  • Turned-out my men at 1am for some fun and games.
  • Learned how to call for artillery fire.
  • Learned how to apply bandages for a variety of wounds and fractures. And CPR too.
  • Administered intravenous fluids on others, twice. Was poked about 10 times though, life is not fair.
  • Tried flower arrangement once by collecting some wild flowers and putting them into my hand.

    Even came with a tiny snail.
  • Got bitten by sandflies. I never want to be bitten by sandflies again.
    Worst itch ever.
  • And I guess I made many close friends. Friends that make me sad to leave the army. But they are leaving too, which is the only consolation.
Looking back at the 2 years, I’ve certainly changed. But I can’t really define how I’ve changed. It’s impossible to define really. You can’t help but gain a new perspective on cleanliness after being soaked through with mud and rain and sweat time and time again. You define urgency differently after crawling on the ground with bullets flying above your head (they were a very safe distance overhead hah not so scary). You define discipline differently after being made to stand still for an hour as punishment. And you change that definition again when you have to demand that the guys in your charge do the same.
It’s been a long two years, do I regret it? No. Would I do it again? Yes. But I didn't feel this way when I was serving NS, only now when it's over haha.

Purana usnani - Singapore

Today I learned what insect makes this sound at all the nature reserves and army training areas in Singapore.