Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Today was one of the most fruitful days since I started my leave off the military, even though I slept through the most part of it. I guess, if I had a choice, and not have to suffer the reprisals of being awake through the night, I would have taken the liberty of sleeping through it. That said, I’m glad I didn’t do so.

Lunch today was something special. My superiors hosted a farewell lunch for both of us, that is Gavin and myself. The big boss began asking us of ourselves, exchanging the usual table banter of which I gleefully partake off (even going to the extent of engaging Colin on the subservience of our civil service to government). Food was served by I must say horribly distasteful fashion tragic waitresses clad in gab one would recognize to be the uniform of our esteemed national airline. I’m certain the rest found it quite still amusing.

The object of the afternoon though, lied not in these trivial observations, but the fact this was our superiors’ recognition that now we are two individuals that have done our part and are no longer under the hand and eye of the military. I’m glad but at the same time, I am, quoting Gavin, feeling a tinch of nostalgia. I must say that I went through national service with a mixed bag of feelings. I hated it, yet I loved it. I hated the gross exploitation, but I love the camaraderie formed between people, incredible people whom I’d never have met. Gavin, Sherman, Colin, Slacker Huang, Weiyang, Alex, Wong Keng, Henry, the list just goes on. Through these two years, working with you guys through countless hours, tiresome night duties, and grossly depressing weekends, I guess there, through all that, we built a bond that I’m certain will withstand the test of time. It is a comfort to know that two years and four months were not wasted, having all of you to call friends.

The Regulars too I would miss. Mr Tan, who has been an incredibly motivating superior and one willing to expend his monthly paycheck for the sake of our culinary indulgences. I would always remember his grim lessons on Philosophy, though I guess I’m still too young to comprehend most of it. Warrant Mike too, for always bringing laughter when everything seem doom and glom. Major Lim, for being an exceptional superior, period. I never thought well of lady bosses, not that I’m a sexist, but she definitely buckled the trend.

Thus, my national service comes to an end. I guess now life just goes on from here. Another challenge lies ahead, I’m sure this experience has taught me well to rise to the occasion.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Leaving home

It has hardly struck me, but I should have realized it.

In no less than a month and a half, I shall depart from this country. I will carry with me no less than my physical possessions which marks a transition from a life of dependency (not that mum and dad are not paying my bills!), to one of independence. This is in no way a declaration. I’ve seen my fair share of individuals basking in the full glow of post-teenage exuberance, who took the very same steps I’m taking, but choosing to divorce all links that they see themselves leaving behind. I for one am excited at the daunting prospect of living a new life, but I will miss what is here, for they will and always will be an essential part of me.

However, this is no excuse for reservations. It is a new country, new people, new culture. It will, I’m certain at every step, trigger a foreign taste upon the senses, challenging every perception. I can choose to shudder in fear and lock myself in the dim enclose of a culture shock or re-evaluate and consider my perceived world. If you ask me now, I can certainly elect the latter, but I’m well too aware of myself to know that it will take a whole lot of bravado to put aspiration to realism. It is indeed going to be an experience, not just in coming to terms with my new life, but most importantly, coming to terms with myself.

So, to the week ahead, more fat lunches and indulgent dinners.