You’re Not Special

If everyone is special, no one is.

I really enjoyed this commencement speech from 3:08 onwards, I don’t think anyone has put all my beliefs together into a string of words or paragraph as well as he has and I find this commencement speech perfect.

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We Don’t Know Where We’re Going

The perfect Rafflesian- it knows exactly what it wants and knows how it will get there. The perfect Rafflesian exists to succeed and success is measured by the results and grades and test scores, it is put through training and maintenance, all in the form of a four-letter word that starts with ‘e’ and ends with ‘m’, if you know what I mean. ‘If you know what I mean’, the perfect Rafflesian can only respond to this innocent figure of speech with ‘yes, yes, I know what you mean’ (because if it doesn’t, it has failed and a perfect Rafflesian can’t fail). Mistakes should be hidden and hard work is a necessity. It is the way of life, that does not deserve credit or rewards, it is expected of one. In 10 years down the road, a perfect Rafflesian settles into the workplace, a ‘stable family and a stable life’, they say. One that is not necessarily enjoyed best but of course, that is only complimentary and optional, the most important bit is the cash, it’s the prestige and the reputation. There you have it, congratulations. 

I frown upon the above misconception that is often what we appear to be working towards. We claim that we are passionate, that we know what’s important; but more often than not our actions betray these words and we spend far more time doing endless homework and studying that we assume will end on the nth day that we assume will come. The nth day is the day in our lives, where we magically find out who is important to us and what we REALLY want to do with our lives and where we want all our time and money to take us. ‘That is the day we will stop having to study so hard’, we tell ourselves. 

JC has introduced me to so many people who carry these mindsets to spend their weekdays and their weekends and their nights and mornings, sometimes afternoons, and I wanted to express my dissent. The nth day I mentioned- it exists and it is not wrong to expect it, but we have to see that this day comes with ample time of exploration, time spent on adventures, on things we think we may enjoy and on things that we may not be good at. I feel sorry that we only allow ourselves to try things that we are good at because there is really no way you can be good at something without trying anyway and avoiding them isn’t going to help us find out how good we can get. And I feel sorry that our precious time is solely allocated to finishing subject tutorials or rewatching lectures we’ve sat through. 

Already our days have 10-12 hours on average taken up by physically being in school (at least that’s my estimate from my own experience) and yet we dedicated the next 12 hours we have at home on a ratio of WORK TO FAMILY/REST/ANYTHING ELSE at approximately 1:2. That sounds good but don’t forget a large part of it is gone by sleeping, which unfortunately we don’t even get enough of. 

Tonight I feel afraid that this has become the lifestyle of our generation and it appears silly that centuries later, we will be the generation that worked hard but never really had much character, or anything besides certificates. I don’t suggest we keep this up claiming that we know where we are going because, clearly we don’t. 

 

Weekend Fun

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As the weekend approaches, there are a 101 things I wish I could be at and can’t, so I thought I’d mention them here so anyone who chances upon it and loves the same things I do or is looking for a refreshing place to be at could give it a try and experience it for me. 

1 Nameless Forms

Nameless Forms is the first exhibition of LATENT SPACES at Haw Par Villa.

LATENT SPACES, temporarily homed at Haw Par Villa till October this year, is an initiative that adopts idle spaces in Singapore and reinvents them as platforms for experimental art and social entrepreneurship.

Nameless Forms will study material culture through investigating the past of artifacts in now defunct places, bridging the gap between past and present. This is just the pioneer art project of LANTENT SPACES and expect more to take place throughout the year!

(Haw Par Villa, 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628)

More at: http://www.latentspaces.com/

2 International Pillowfight Day

On Saturday April 5th 2014, there will be massive pillow fights in cities around the world! While the focus is on fun and liberation, the following suggestions will help everyone enjoy a good time! 
+ Soft pillows only! 
+ Swing lightly, many people will be swinging at once. 
+ Do not swing at people without pillows or with cameras. 
+ Remove glasses beforehand! 
+ The event is free and appropriate for all ages. 
+ Wait until the signal to begin. 
Learn more at http://2014.pillowfightday.com/

Have a look at the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/554296828017577/?ref=notif&notif_t=plan_edited

3 Rock Out- the Baybeats Edition

Prepping you for Baybeats 2014 are 8 up-and-coming local bands who will give you a preview to Singapore’s biggest music festival of local and regional music. Happening over 3 evenings, each band will play a 30 minutes set. Admission is free so do drop by to support Singapore’s very own talent!

Look here for performance schedule: http://www.esplanade.com/whats_on/programme_info/otw_rock_out_-_the_baybeats_edition/index.jsp

Rock Out – The Baybeats Edition, Fri 4 – Sun 6 Apr, Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981.

Weekends are the time not just to catch up with homework and classes and friends and family but the time to get a day out, or even just an afternoon to be at places you want to be and do things you’ve been interested in. I always think about what a waste it would be if we all spent every weekend doing work only. 

 

OM Nationals 2014 Let’s Go!

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Today’s post is for my favourite kids from OM because it’s 4 days away from the day they’ve been working their guts out for. I talk about OM a lot because being in it for three years makes it shape most of what you become over your secondary school years and every year teaches you different things- you meet different people, you work with different problems and you realise many new things about yourself. 

Being a senior in the team, is the hardest- because you’re the senior you feel the most pressure to be responsible for what your team becomes and for what your team presents. You become the reason why things fail and the reasons why some things aren’t done up well ‘enough’. You face the expectations of the OM family, the coaches and your juniors. You decide how much your juniors learn and grow, or how much they don’t and you learn to stretch yourself like never before to do ‘everything else’ that your juniors can’t do. 

Today I returned to the family for the umpteenth time for support and company and just to see how my favourite juniors have grown from their last year in OM. And I think it’s important they know that no matter how they do, with the hard work I’ve seen, they’re champions in my heart already. In my mind, they’re already holding the national champions trophy (even if they don’t really this Saturday). 

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This is us from a year ago after our competition at nationals. Allow me to attempt to describe this feeling to you: when you’ve performed at nationals and you’re waiting for the results, there is a sense of satisfaction, tinged with a slight fear. You’re on top of the world because finally all this shit is coming to an end, or a pause but you’re afraid because you want more than anything to go on stage and receive that trophy and be told ‘Congratulations on champs, you guys deserved it!’ 

In my OM journey of three years, I’ve gotten a silver trophy twice and a gold one only once, but the proudest I have been was last year’s silver trophy. We sometimes fail to remember the amount we have grown and learned just because of the colour of the trophy. And before my juniors face judgement day, i hope they have already awarded themselves a little trophy in their heads for the

Sweat, blood, tears, pain. The brainstorming just by staring and each other and computers, making a something out of every nothing, making failures work or letting go of failed ideas, trying and retrying, thinking of alternatives, working till late while coping with homework, managing their time, painting things over and over because you can’t get the shade you want or trashing costumes though it took shit to make them just because they can be done better. 

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When I had the luxury of bringing such capable and thoughtful juniors to worlds last year, I knew they’d be able to become the leaders that they already are today. And I’d like to invite you to enjoy the following pictures of us at Nationals 2013, taking into account the amount of hardwork that went into every set piece, prop, art work, idea, costume, choreography and most of all, every performer: 

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And I hope that with the next four days you’ll work such that as you’re waiting before the start line as we were a year ago, your heart would be pumping with excitement to show everyone what you’ve been working on and ready to have the time of your life. Our batch will always be cheering on for you guys.