Community

Moving to a new country is always hard, I think the one thing that makes it the hardest is the lack of community. Without a community and companionship you are reduced to nights alone and no support system. My biggest struggle in college was this. 

Without my strong support system in Singapore with my family and Eagles, college life was surprisingly difficult. It wasn’t that I wasn’t having fun or having the time of my life but it was the little things that made me miss home. I remembered once I planned this theatre meeting and I really really wanted my friends to come and support me but they just simply wasn’t interested. It wasn’t their fault but I remember being slightly down because there was no one to support me. But sometimes I feel that others won’t go or do something for you if it doesn’t benefit them? Maybe that’s being slightly judgmental but when I try to get my friends to come to events, I have to appeal to their interests (which is natural and very common but contrasting to my community back home). And I don’t know why but I feel like I constantly have to look/ask for feedback or compliments. The next day, my friend Bevin, who is very close to my family, had an art show on her birthday to raise funds for the Philippines relief aid. And she had my whole family there and all our mutual friends supporting her. After my experience the day before, I really started thinking about this idea of community. 

A community is there for you even if they are supremely bored or don’t know anything about it (my parents watched some weird ass theatre shows that I have put on and bought tickets to concerts to people they have never even heard before). That unconditional support is so important in anyone’s life.

But another thing about a community is that it takes time to grow, it’s not those overnight plants that grow when you add a bit of water to it. It takes time to nurture a caring, responsible and sensitive community. And last night, at this inaugural event, Amethyst, for my school, I felt some sort of community spirit (Gotong Royong haha). And I feel it growing and developing. I’m glad that I’m here to be an active agent in shaping that community. I want it to be the best it can be. I miss my family and community back home but I think building this community is important.

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Transitions

I want to write today about transitions, my dad told me before I left that, between the end of something and the beginning of something, there is a transition period. This period is like a river, you are in the river with no time limit and you can either sail to the other side smoothly, or be pushed back to shore and taken by the river. It’s tough, but you need to in some ways, give up what you have ended and look to the future for a whole new experience. For me, being thrown into this new environment was a very interesting experience. At first I had trouble in this new environment, I made friends but it was hard being alone and having to find some people to hang out with all the time (my family takes up most of my time). I realised also that in some ways, I was looking to replace my old friends but it is completely impossible. Daren told me that I had to move on, my experience on SOTA was amazing and I met such amazing people and made fantastic friends but I’m in a new environment and I have to embrace that. It was hard to let something like that go, but absolutely necessary. 

In this new phase in life, I’m confronted with the question of who am I? and who do I want to be? I mean, just today, I had two choices. I could have gone out for a night of drinking and dancing or stayed in and chilled with friends and watched Lord of The Rings. I mean, it’s kinda like this game I play, Surviving High School and Cause of Death, where each choice makes you go down a different path. It’s just like that. I feel slowly my identity of myself is being challenged and pulled and manipulated. You could really be anything you want here. You could be a nerd, a party-goer, or just a cool friend to hang with. It’s a struggle to define who you are and who you want to be. I mean, there are times when I do want to be one of those who dresses up and goes clubbing, but then I also want to do super well in class or be the sporty athletic kind. It’s a confusing to make sense of it all, but I know it will be good for me. 

Family matters

Sitting in my room, I heard loud shouts coming from my neighbour. They were shouting in Hokkien, shouting vulgarities and basically screaming at each other. It was pretty ugly, the father and daughter were arguing and the wife/mother was trying to keep the peace or whatever was left of it. And this isn’t the first time I have heard a fight in the block. Below my unit, I heard two woman screaming at each other and I saw an arm and a leg coming out from over the railing. It frightening to see it, someone almost dying. Whenver, I hear the scream and shouts, I’m terrified. I sit in my house, timid and afraid because I am so helpless. I don’t know what to do to help. This whole thing depresses me and forces me to look at familial relationships these days. I’m not saying that fighting is bad or that we should stop fighting. I know that conflict is neutral and we can change fighting to be something positive for the relationship but it hit me today, that we don’t know how to fight well. We get hurt and we say anything and do anything to dish out the same hurt we feel inside. We attack where we know it will hurt because we can. We are emotionally so unhealthy and this hurts our relationship with others. And it just will perpetuate and continue and I don’t think there is anyway to really stop it unless there is a drastic epiphany that we cannot live our lives this way anymore. I just kept on thinking to myself, how can I help them? how can I do something for these families today? I really feel like I should do something. It really saddens me to see families just fall apart or get more and more toxic as the days go by. People need to see that there is a need for emotionally healthy and mature beings and a good relationship with their families 

Feeling happy

Screw it, I know my friends and family will make fun of me for this but I’m ridiculously happy. like right now. 

It’s crazy because I never thought this would happen and I didn’t think I would be here. Really and truly. It took a long while and there were turns and dips that I was not expecting but it’s all come out somewhat good. But it’s not the end or something I’ve achieved, its just the beginning of something. Something good I hope. 

Growing up

After 6 months of leaving school, I first realised that all my friends are changing. After realising that, I realised I was changing too. Maybe changing isn’t the right word, it was more like growing up. First, I saw more friends more liberal, more segregated from before where the institutionalisation of school forced everyone to interact with one another and play nice. Without the social structure of school, they could now choose not to interact with others. It was interesting to see how everyone divided. If school ended on any other time in our school lives, would the separation of friends be different?

These past few months, I’ve seen my friends grow up from the kids they once were. They are interacting with the world around them and they are challenged intellectually and emotionally and morally. Maybe I just never noticed them becoming adults. They really have grown up.

I think what was most surprising for me was that I have changed too. I’m more tolerant, more worldly, more experienced. and less judgemental of people. It’s crazy fast how half a year has gone by (I know we say that every year) but in about 1 month, I’m flying off to shanghai to start my college experience. And I am shit scared. I’ve talked about this before but now that the day is coming closer. I’m getting more and more nervous and anxious of my future. What will I be like in college? will I have friends? how will I change? What will I be like after 4 years? I have so many plans now, go to shanghai, do at least a semester in New York and London, do integrated humanities or chemistry, finish college, start working, meet somebody hopefully. The more and more I think about it, the more I realise I’m not ready. I’m not ready to step out into this world and be on my own. It’s absolutely terrifying and I get this anxious fluttering in my heart thinking about it. I have to complete my visa, my bank accounts, reading list, bills, school books, placement tests, photos for IDs. It’s all extremely stressful and terrifying. I hope it gets better.