Celebrate 2013


Turn the music up and drop the beat low, sway to the music or let the groove take control. As I checked out of the Esplanade countdown early, I recalled the countdown at Clarke Quay I was at last year and the only constant about every New Year Countdown is the celebration. Because as the clock strikes midnight and as we hug each other wishing one another a ‘Happy New Year’ we celebrate the year that has just past and bravely welcome the next.

It is very much a time for reflection: I think about the kind of learning experiences I’ve been put through this year from OM to studies to work to volunteering, from the letting go of people and things and places to the embracing of new people and things and places. It really is a cycle that continues whether we celebrate the ‘New Year’ or not, but this celebration helps us catch our breaths. I think this is a good time to be thinking of everything that has gone by us in a flash for the past 365.25 days, and smile.

Because while there would definitely have been horrible experiences, embarrassing moments, stressful periods; while there must have been tears, blood, sweat and despair, the important part is that today you’re stronger than you were and the past, can stay in the past as we make our grand entrance into 2014.

Wishing you a brilliant 2014 full of adventure, things that you love and people that love you! As you continue counting down, keep that left foot in the air- just so you start the new year on the right foot. 


FindCourage101 Resolution

I can’t keep count of the amount i’ve had the privilege to learn, see, hear and experience this year but tonight I’m thinking about why this year worked. I was once part of the “Let’s Make Resolutions that Don’t Work” community, just making it the same way over and over again though it just doesn’t work out year after year, because you forget, because it’s too generic, because it’s unquantifiable, because of excuses.
Lesson 1: If you do things the same way, you get the same result. I suppose that only makes sense because how do you expect to get something different if you keep trying to approach it the same way? So 2013’s resolution worked because I did it differently from the other years, instead of asking myself “How am I going to be a better person this year?” I asked, “What am I going to do this year?” I came up with a list of 12 things (some created along the way): these were things I never had the courage to pursue because of excuses. Lousy excuses.


In January, my class embarked on a Sponsor a Child project with me and it was something I set down to do from a long time ago but never had the courage to do because I thought it was a silly idea that would receive no support. But this January, the support from my class brought me a long way to keeping the ‘FindCourage101 Resolution’ going.
Then I don’t remember many but along the way in April I found the courage to cut my hair short, which used to be impossible because people’s voices were sometimes louder than my own. And I learned to listen to myself more, and that tiny voice was saying “Even if it’ll turn out looking horrible, I want to see it for myself” Here below is me, with short hair, at worlds wearing ridiculous spon pants with my skinny jeans underneath because it was terribly cold and that made me comfortable. All the other voices were saying “Shermaine, you look ridiculous!” (or sometimes the it was “You look homeless!”) but there goes, at least I was comfortable.


And I learned to cope with ever changing relationships and people, I found the courage to face that reality so this year I talked less about people, whined less about relationships. Well I still do once in a while, but it’s definitely less. And I’ve learned to give more love to those who love me back. This year I thanked people more, I gave them more credit, and that takes courage because devoting yourself in a relationship you trust means making yourself more vulnerable. But I did, I think after all, this year, I loved more.


And let’s talk about the things I never thought I could do! From managing costumes in the team to becoming a senior in the DnT, any OMer from my Division 2 days would know it’s something that sounded beyond impossible. In Division 2 my team’s almost-mantra was ‘never leave Shermaine in the DnT’ and later I was the well known saikang warrior. But now DnT is my favourite place and doing costumes was the best decision I’ve made.


So I guess the pleasant surprises I’ve gotten this year from discovering my newfound love for the people I’ve crossed paths with and the things I’ve challenged myself to do has taught me to look at obstacles in a very different light- you know, maybe they’re just there to show you something and you wouldn’t know if you don’t give it a shot.


Running 10km marathons has also shown me the magic of exercise, the kind of discipline and determination it teaches you and the satisfaction you get from nothing else but running a personal best for example. Running 5 10km marathons this year was a byproduct of challenging myself to run them as part of my “FindCourage101” Resolution.


And finally thanks to my new approach to the whole resolution yadayada, I have learned to explore more; learned to praise more than criticise, to believe more than doubt, find courage more than excuses.


Excuse Me But



There is a difference between reasons and excuses, and the biggest problem about mixing the two is that when I use an excuse for a reason I bring myself into my own little bubble of delusion where I convince myself that doing something is OK. I’m not saying excuses are a no-no all the time, I’m just saying we shouldn’t bring ourselves into our little bubble too often or we may even forget how different it is to be in that bubble and out. 

So here’s 5 most common invalid excuses I’ve used in 2013 that I continue to stand against and try to use less of: 

1 I can do it tomorrow. 

(But I could have done it today too, and this excuse is bad when I use it everyday. It is important for me to remind myself that there is a never-ending number of tomorrows I can procrastinate things to, but the more I use this excuse, the easier it becomes to just blame tomorrow for never coming and then not getting anything done at all) 

2 Someone else will do it.

(But this silly idea of an imaginary someone who’s going to do it isn’t a good reason to not do something because then we will all be waiting for each other and wouldn’t that be productive?)

3 I’m not good enough to try.

(But there’s no requirement to be a try-er and if there’s anyone at a loss for not trying, it’s myself.)

4 No one else is doing it.

(But the number of people doing it have little to do with whether something should be done or not and if I want to, if I believe in it, I should do it for myself and no one else.)

5 I will fail.

(But even if you fail, at least you tried and you learn something new with every experience) 

More here: https://frizzyhairedmusings.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/being-a-slacker-does-not-count-as-doing-your-own-thing-daniel-hilarion-lim/



Tonight was spent at a Christmas party with a bunch that I’ve spent a good amount of time making memories filled with laughter, pain, tears, sweat, blood and more learning than anything else. At this point, I bask in our comfort from just spending time doing nonsense together and I am thankful to have them. 

I realise that I am subconsciously unwelcoming towards the idea of change, I like things constant and I assume things are constant. I enjoy having constant relationships, I like to imagine that my relationships last. I prefer to believe that people and friendships remain the same. But all that isn’t true, because more than anything, we are constantly changing.

I have slowly come to accept the reality of things and people changing, in split seconds or in sneaky gradual periods of time. It takes time to realise, a while for all the change to finally sink in- I think back and realise, ‘Wow, we didn’t use to be like this’.

Sometimes we shun what appears to have evolved- not just people and relationships, sometimes we feel uncomfortable with ourselves. But there is nothing wrong with things changing, and there’s nothing wrong with not accepting that change at first, and sometimes even reacting to it with anger or frustration. Because it takes time to realise that even with all that change, it is only with genuine care and love can we understand this new, seemingly changed person or relationship again, understand it, and then embrace it again wholeheartedly. 

I guess sometimes we momentarily forget that this changed person or thing or self, was something that once did beautiful things with us. And as we all continue to change in the way we laugh or the things we enjoy doing, the slang we’ve adopted or the new perspective we see things, I’ll use the happy memories that I’ve once shared with all these people to find the courage to embrace what has appeared to have changed and understand it all over again. 


This One’s For Ash

This One's For Ash

This is Ashlynna.

I don’t have enough words to describe the kind of support and motivation she’s been to me for me to have come this far, but I’ll try.

We met through some student leader buddy system thing when I was in Year One and I can only vaguely remember it because I barely remember things so far back, it gets fuzzy after a while especially when I make little record of them. And from the first times I stood alongside her doing daily duties to the spontaneous meetings we managed occasionally afterwards, she never fails to embrace me with more love, encouragement and courage than anyone else.

It is, to me, a privilege like no other to have her company each time because every memory we share together fills me with a kind of drive that speaks to me whenever I feel exhausted or in some kind of despair- it says, ‘You can.’

Other times, it says, ‘This is possible.’ So thanks buddy, for the kind of inspiration and support you have been to me and the company you constantly give me even when you’re not physically with me (considering I’m entering JC as you leave); but I just wanted to say that your energy is beyond magical and I am so thankful for it.

For the Last Time

We can all begin our annual countdown to the new year-

Strangely we do it at some point every year, we celebrate the change in a single digit, or sometimes two in the four-digit year count we write down under ‘Date:’. More than that I think we are celebrating the growth and movement, the fact that we are moving on and it seems thanks to Mr. Calendarman (probably a Mayan who created the calendar years we follow today), 364.25 days have become a milestone to celebrate.

This is the time for resolutions, for many lasts that we bid farewell to, and then a series of firsts that we welcome with open arms.

In some ways it scares me, the speed at which time passes because really when you try to recall the same time this year, sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. It is frightening to know that we have no control over the passing of time and it seems the only consolation is our power over what we do in that time. So to all the lasts that we’re doing, the LAST Friday of 2013, the LAST weekend of 2013 and the LAST time you write those 4 numbers altogether to keep track of when it is; I challenge myself to remember this feeling. Remember it well.

And hopefully as I move on towards 2014, I embrace the new beginnings and firsts with the very same way I treasure these upcoming lasts.

Naughty or Nice

Naughty or Nice

I found out recently the story of Santa Claus: apparently Santa Claus is one of the pre-modern representations of the gift-giver from church history and folklore, notably St Nicholas and Sinterklaas, merged with the English character Father Christmas.

Isn’t it fascinating how the way figures and customes involved in our celebration of seasons as such actually come from very simple ideas from the past that persevered through evolutions of festivities?

So this year, have you been Naughty or Nice?

This gift-giver has also become a useful tool for parents to remind their children to ‘be good’ throughout the year. As we grow older we often forget the simple principle of being nice instead of naughty. Does it become less important? Today it seems we all necessarily feel we deserve the presents and gifts already whether or not we have been ‘naughty or nice’.

Anyway enough with the preaching, I actually just wanted to say MERRY CHRISTMAS and whether or not you’ve been ‘naughty or nice’ you deserve the presents for just getting through this year and I believe, striving to make decisions that don’t hurt people (including yourself). And if maybe, you’ve been a little more naughty than nice, then start to think before actually doing things and maybe that’ll make you deserve your presents a little more.