Friday, January 11, 2008

do you realise...

how much you have progressed through the years? Have you become a better son, daughter, girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, sister, colleague or good friend since the day you promised to?

i can't help feeling that my life has slowed down since graduating from poly. Or rather, i have not achieved much since then.

when i was in primary school, my aim was to become a bus driver.

when i was in secondary school, my aim appeared to remain the same, however i was hoping for more.

in polytechnic, i hoped to be a scholar, then fast track to a career in teaching or computing after army. Back then, there wasn't any tactics such as borrowing of codes nor sharing of work. In a 'quest' to do well in studies, i spent frequent nights in the school lab trying to outpace my peers. Of fond memories was the time in year 2. To conquer java, nights were spent in the cold lab trying to build a strong foundation. The process was tough yet extremely satisfactory, because the foundation still serves me very well.

then, i always thought i was slower in grasping concepts than others, so the compensation for that was time. Everything was done, with a great deal of time. My ex (and my junior) would always tell me i've spent too much time in school. Looking back, it's true.

i had great inspirations, but every man has to serve (national service). Over the years, the training has somewhat mellowed, yet everyone still find the initial 3-5 months tough. I wasn't physically trained beforehand, so i was in tekong for a good 5 months (2 month PTP and 3 month BMT). Furthermore, the past regulation mandated passing-out only with a pass in IPPT. Anyway, got through that, and spent the remaining 2 years in my unit (and Commander's Office).

life was slow in army. Really slow. I require continuous work to keep my mind awake. Consider these

- in PTP, the daily programme was physical training. Every darn day in the sun, working out every part of the body from head to toe. I liked running the most, hated SOC the most. In slack times, we slept. Sleep was abundant because SAF wanted soldiers to sleep for at least 7 hours. So, i grew to like sleeping.

- in BMT, the pace was obviously faster. Lesser sleep because of IFC and ranges. But it was a love-hate affair, because i loved camping in the basha tent with only the stars above, yet hated being knocked down by our commanders while walking and carrying 5-10kg of stuff.

- in SI, sleeping was a staple diet. During lectures, i fell asleep. During lunch breaks, the whole platoon crashed in the 2 bunks. During nights off, i happily went home and out, yet the feeling was rather aimless. At last, during lights off, we crashed soundly. SI to me and platoon mates was heaven. Because there's always cool wind from the nearby KJE.

- in 3 sig, sleeping was again a staple diet, but only after the unit induction period. When there wasn't any major exercise/preparation, my friends played games. Since i'm a non gamer, i took naps in the nice aircon platoon office. Tried to read some books, but after a while i preferred to nap. After the 3 meals, it was rest. Life was passed in this way, day after day. It got a lot of exciting when i had a chance to serve my Commander. But it was tiring - i wanted to stay out, got the wish, but had to spend 1-2 hours shuttling from Woodlands to Boon Lay, then a bus to Jurong Camp. The nights home were rather bland. Eat, sleep.

as you can see, the army life has affected some of us (me inclusive) silently. The slow pace has completely absorbed into me.

then i started working while waiting for admission. It was better than army, but the pace needed some getting used to. So far, so good.

the greatest disappointment is perhaps on studies. The report card i attained so far isn't something to rave home about. I've expected to do better, yet i felt handicapped - my personal efficiency is no longer comparable to pre-army times, sometimes i felt too tired after working, that i don't want to open my books. The worst culprit of all is procrastination. If you know me well, you would know this is a (huge) problem. Given a task X, i will either

- a) do it immediately, then forget about it.
- b) not do it immediately, but remember it (kiv), yet not do it. By the time i did it, something would have happened already.

this wasn't myself years ago. I would execute (a), and very seldom (b). Now, it's the other way round.

2 years after 2006, i'm putting more focus onto this problem of mine. It's my resolution to improve on myself. There's an impetus to rid myself of the sleeping problem. I recalled Kelvin telling me during one of the project meetings:

is it really so important to sleep?

needless to say, i was dumbfounded for a while.


many things also happened since poly, that changed some of my life values. I entered hospital twice, to visit my eldest niece and father who got into an industrial accident. I threw a rock at my own relationship. My state of studies got affected too. These has seemingly told myself to slow down my pace, and take a look at surroundings.

is it worth the time and effort to slog and work, then realise you've lost out something that are more important? Why must we take things for granted, then cry over spilt milk?

looking at someone who is somewhat on this track, i have many words to say, but the choice is not with the beholder. While you might feel justified in doing things your way now, you must come to realise that not everybody sings the same tune (as you). The lack of communication and mutual understanding has worsened the issue and affect people's impression of you. All these negative consequences will make an impact sooner or later. I (and we) can only do so much, because you're a person with an stubborn thinking.

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