One Foot in front of the other…

“We are 18, going on 19, maybe it’s time to think…”

A lovely day spent at Universal Studios Singapore. USS may be over-rated but joy isn’t. Memories aren’t. I haven’t laughed this much for a very very long time, and today was the first time in ages that I thought to myself- “I won’t be crying again for a while now.”
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Part of the reason why we laughed so much: the dude who shares my name in reverse, Andrew, who is also called Tong Xin, showed just how opposite we are today. After every ride:

“THAT’S IT? We queued 1 hour for this? Deeeeeeear Diary, today was the BEST day EVER. I queued 1 HOUR for a ride that lasted 2 seconds😒😒😒… ”

Thanks for making us laugh so hard on every ride, Andrew😂 Jem and I literally were laughing all the way throughout the Transformers and Mummy ride. And yes, I could totally hear you screaming out the countdown of turns on the Cylon:)

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Being happy for our new couple is also one of the things that made all of us smile to ourselves today. We wish you all the best, kiddos💕 Good luck in China, Girl, and with getting into Med Course, boy:)

It’s amazing how a friendship can bloom in 1 day. This girl was whacking Tong Xin’s shoulder after just 1 ride of his nonsense, despite just having met him 30minutes ago😂 And by the end of the day, she was burning Jeremy non stop. Best one of all?

Jeremy: Eh *Points in a random direction.
We all turn to look.
Jem: YEs! I made 4 people turn around😄 Ok la jkjk this time I point at something useful la-
Michelle: Oh so you’re not gonna point at yourself? 😌

#Swag is spelt with an M for Michelle👍Hope we meet again:)

Last but not least, Jem. Today was a lot of retarded fun (You and Reuben jumping up boxes in slow mo, Andrew’s nonsense, playing cards while queueing for rides, 2 truths 1 lie…) But what really sparked the inspiration for this post was the conversation we had while walking to Sentosa. About our career paths and scholarships, and about our futures. You are in such a brilliant place right now. Religion, studies, relationships with the people around you, all on point. You have a great balance going and Thank you for sharing your joy with us, always. Thanks for making me realize that I am shortchanging myself and that I am too young to settle for what is safe. I have never settled for anything I am not ok with. And you’re right- what other people say about what job I’m suited for, should and will never be as important as what I feel like I want to spend my life doing. I may love teaching, but I don’t really want to go into that until I’m like thirty. While I’m in my 20s, I’ll do everything I’ve always wanted to- Since I’m prepared to be a single dog lady anyway💪🐕🐶🐩 Thanks, Bro, for always pushing me to be a better version of myself and always offering support and having my back. Just know that I will always have yours too:)
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Today made me realize that we are young. We are stupid, retarded kids living out our youth, and wasting it, maybe. But let’s just be a little more selfish and hold on tight to the NeverLand in our hearts first. We are 18, going on 19. Maybe it is time for us to think. But let’s not forget we do have time. And let’s promise to always choose to spend some of that time together. #TGC97s

To be or not to be (Faithful)

If God and I have any relationship, our Facebook Status would be “It’s Complicated.”😩

I hesitated quite a few times about this post because of how sensitive the topic is. Up till recently, I wasn’t sure if I believed in God. As in the Christian God. My wonder began when I first joined my Secondary School Friend, Jeremy on a mission trip. Which I didn’t really know was a mission trip, per say. It’s amazing, really, how Fate works. 1 instagram post of him volunteering with kids, 1 comment of mine and the next thing you know I was on my way to Batam, with a group of people I didn’t know at all, and just met a week prior. Mind you, before this, Jem and I weren’t even good friends. I don’t know if you can even say we were friends. More like acquaintances, because on a scale of 1 to 10, the amount of social interaction we had together was like a 2. And now he’s one of the closest guy friends I have in my life.

I didn’t think that it was bigger than just joining a nice potential friend from school on a volunteer trip. And to be frank, it’s because it was Jem- someone I felt I could trust, without knowing him completely. But I emerged from that trip with a greater respect, understanding and interest in Christianity. Their efforts to spread the gospel and evangelize the children in Batam was really beautiful to see, and very touching for me. That didn’t make me a believer. It still doesn’t. And this is the part I felt was debatable up till last night- if I don’t believe in acknowledging the only God, but I believe in everything else, does that make me a believer?

“No.”  A friend who brought me to Church said. “It’s the foundation of everything we believe in. So you simply don’t believe.”

I once told my friend that I’m a believer in all, but I worship none. Everyone says I can’t do that. But in a sense – I go to the temple, and I pray. I go to Church, and I pray. If I ever walk into a mosque, I’ll pray too. With the same sincerity and belief, I do that each and every time. If believing wasn’t about following a set of instructions, or taking a strong side on the Liar, Lunatic or Legend debate. If believing was not more than acknowledging the presence of a single God but just believing, in the most raw sense of the word ‘Believe’, well then, I am a believer. Otherwise, I’m not. Simple as that.

I once said that having a religion doesn’t suit me. And before anyone from any religion starts talking to me about how their God loves everyone and accepts them as who they are – it’s not anything to do with each religion that would make me feel this way. I built myself from scratch in the years where I was 15 to 18, on the basis that I would care for people I feel connections to, and not be afraid to step out and speak up about things that are unjust or unfair. Having a religion, any religion, is an indirect acknowledgement that someone out there is wasting their time pursuing a belief that doesn’t exist. And I know there shouldn’t be a clash here, between caring for people, and having my own religion. Jem balances that perfectly well. Most people balance that quite well. I’m the issue, really. To not be able to understand people as I do now- that’s important to me. And difficult. It would tip my scales, and I don’t think I can manage being as understanding as I am now.

It’s funny though, I’ve always hated the word ‘Neutral’. A friend once taught me that being neutral, never taking a side? “What’s the point in your existence then? What voice do you have to be heard?” But the entire basis of my thought process is based on neutrality and practicality of allowing myself to be an enemy of no one. As well as to prevent myself from making mistakes. It’s in everything I do- the friendzone, the job choices… Truth is, I’ve never been afraid to stand up and be brutally honest, speak my mind. The only difference being as I grew older, I became more aware of the consequences of my honesty and more prepared to deal with them. But that’s because whatever I was standing up for, I always was adamant, at least in that point in time that it was the right thing to do, at least for me. When it comes to religion though, I literally have no clue.

In the past few weeks I’ve gone to 3 different Churches. True Grace, Faith Community Baptist, Faith Methodist. The dynamics there are very different. I attend Chinese service at True Grace and it’s very traditional. FCBC service is like attending a concert for Christians. I didn’t attend service for Faith Methodist, but I have to say that their more subtle approach is what really made me feel comfortable going for their movie screening. It was really a different approach they took, and True Grace being a very traditional Church, it was a bit of a culture shock for me, attending FCBC service. Faith Methodist was like a bridge between the two. Thanks so much for the invites, Ming En and Karen💕

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When it comes to the question of whether or not I do pray, I do. When I was a child, holding joss sticks and making wishes to 大伯公 was a simple enough concept to fathom. I always wished for the exact same things. Health for my family. To do well in my studies. For business to be good for Daddy, and for Mummy to get a promotion. That was kind of the format my Mum gave me. And right now, it is with the same amount of sincerity that I pray at temples and at home, when my parents ask me to. I pray when there are prayer requests in the True Grace Whatsapp group, but I do feel like it’s never out of goodness of my heart. I prayed for a tribe mate, because I know what it’s like to worry and be so afraid of losing a parent. When my Dad had a stroke, it was out of nowhere and I was volunteering in Johor. So I prayed for her, because I know how she feels. I prayed for my cellmate because he is genuinely a good person, and he deserves better. And because I honestly thought I would be in his position right now. There’s always an element of selfishness in my prayers, but ironically, I never pray for myself. When I pray for them, momentarily I block everything out. It’s difficult to explain, but in that moment, when I try to speak to God, He is the only God I am addressing. And I know not many people will believe or understand when I say this – that lasts for maybe the entire prayer. And when I open my eyes again I’m never truly sure whether I believe in God, or whether I believe in the comfort God is offering the people ard me.

For someone who is sensitive to words and languages, I don’t feel as emotionally connected to religious teachings as I should be. I listen to worship songs, and sermons, and often I do tear up. But I’ve never felt it’s plainly because of what they mean to me. It’s more of the grateful feelings I have towards the presence of God, and I cry because I think of all the people who feel safe, and in awe of the prrsence of their God. And maybe in the moment, I feel that too.

To have any religion, I need to say that this is the right religion. And at least as of now, I can’t do that. The furthest I will go is “This is the right religion for me.” But just the fact that that’s the furthest I can go means I’m not a true believer. Despite all the things I don’t believe, I do believe everyone’s God has a path for us. And if I continue being true to myself, I’ll find mine. 🙂

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Giving Birth to a Dead Baby

“That sounds… morbid.”

That’s what one of my Cell Brothers said when I told him that’s how I feel about waiting for my A Level results. It wasn’t meant to sound so insensitively dramatic. It’s just that none of my exams went smoothly as planned. Tears were spent in the exam hall and outside on the floor leaning on the row of lockers. I got a doctor’s letter for the first time in my life. Thanks again, to Ming En and Pei Yi who took precious studying time off to bring me to the clinic after Econs Paper 2. God bless you girls and I genuinely hope you do well:)

In the past 3 months leading up to tomorrow, I kept myself really busy. Five weeks working in a studentcare, Lit Night, Interviews and Food reviews, baking, cooking, talking to other people about their problems, and for a while it felt really nice. I felt so much more useful than I was in JC. I miss SR a lot- an unhealthy lot, one might say. But while it’s always going to feel like home, we don’t always feel functional at home, do we?

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An emotional rollercoaster. The constant thought in the back of my head that I’m running away. The ever-present fear of having to retake exams. The fear of not being able to retake it in SR. The fear of not being able to provide for myself in an overseas or private college. A plague of nightmares. Many mornings of waking up to Pixie barking and my first reflex being to grab my calculator and key in best and worst scenario rank points. Again. And again.

And again.

Yet there’s no relief at all in the fact that all this waiting is going to end. I’m not a positive person, God knows that, everyone knows that. It takes a long time to change yourself so I’ll work at that, but it won’t happen tonight. It won’t happen tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow.

This entire day, my heart has felt heavy. Like it’s being weighed down. And I know it’s just all in my head again, but I just feel nothing but senseless angst. Completely senseless- I don’t feel like raging, or cursing, or yelling. I don’t even feel like falling back against my habit of burning people. I just feel angsty. And I’m not angry often. It feels unfamiliar, and I keep on trying to un-wrinkle the way my eyebrows have been for the entire day, and are knitted together right now, but my non-existent brows are as stubborn as I am. My face feels stiff. And I suspect that for the whole day, I actually had the resting Bitch Face my Mum says my sister has, and that I don’t.

Apparently though, according to my seniors, this is normal for Pre-A-Level-Results trauma. The angst and insomnia, they’re all your body’s efforts to tell you that tomorrow is important. And it’s not wrong- we spent two years fighting this battle. We spent two years wearing the first uniforms we chose to put on. Two years creating beautiful memories, and it seems like everything could be ruined by this simple outcome of ‘PASS’ or ‘FAIL’.

Only the truth is, it won’t be ruined. It’s just a matter of whether or not we get the Cherry on top. I’ll just have to get around to the idea that beautiful memories won’t be marred by a shitty end to the movie. The people who have been through my JC journey with me- they are real. My memories- our memories are real. And they are permanent. They form my road to the As.

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Thank you to everyone around me for the support. Classmates and friends for standing by me when I was at my worst, sacrificing precious time to be by my side, and for always, always being honest with me. Thanks to my CCA and school Mates for the luck and well wishes. Juniors, thanks so much for making me laugh and being such briliant distractions the past month- you kids are adorable. Thanks so much, to my seniors who look out for me, and never fail to take care of me even after you’ve graduated. and also my cellmates and Cell mentor, who are always there for me despite me not being a Christian, and not going to Church regularly. Thank you all so much for being part of my A Levels journey, and for still being in my life after the end. I love you:)

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It’s nearly midnight. I am stoning.