Exactly one week to my Driving Traffic Police Test, this evening is air-conditioned, one spent on board Bus 106. Travelling down these roads I can memorise by heart and taking a route on which I have shared memories with so many, this 45-minute bus ride is always conducive for writing. (How certain I am, by the way, that this is a ride I will miss dearly along with the Singapore public transport system once in Sydney). In light of the friends close to heart whom I’ve gotten the chance to catch up with recently, this piece is in celebration of the cross junction we are at in our lives – where we leave “Holiday Road” for the journey ahead along “University Drive”. If there were a traffic light at this cross junction, it would probably be faulty for it signals a perpetual amber.
How strange it is that time should pass us by like water through our fingers – with no way of gripping onto moments that have passed, only granted with the feeling it gave us as proof that it had come and gone. “Where did all the time ago?” is the new frequently-asked question and it feels like yesterday that we had embraced the new normal of liberation. I can vividly remember how most of us had bid farewell to the episode we call “’A’ Levels” as if it happened just a while ago.
At this point, even with our University places secured, some privileged with scholarships or sponsorships and with a break we had been dreaming of since our time in Junior College, the uncertainty has only reduced but not disappeared. As if driving in a vehicle that has left an expressway (that was the comfort of school), towards new crossroads that have emerged, new road signs, traffic lights (few faulty ones) and bumps in the road. One of the most heart-wrenching moments in my first few driving lessons were what I’d like to call The Amber Light moments. You’re slowing down nearing a traffic light, prepared to stop if necessary. A more experienced driver (clearly, judging from the speed and his frustration towards your amateur ‘L-plate’) comes close behind you, as if ready to send death threats should you stop at the junction to even think. Then, The Amber Light. There is no clarity from the structures put in place – no green to say a definite ‘yes’ or a red that says ‘no’. Just Amber. It is entirely up to your “driving judgment” as my Chinese driving instructor calls it.
The resources invested and the opportunities available, your driving decisions the only uncertain factor to determine the outcomes. This pressure is familiar to us, seems like it’s going to take a little more than a little bit of reframing to get us past this cross junction with confidence. I learn from adult mentors I have been incredibly blessed to have found that the road ahead carries endless adventure and our fear will be as big an obstacle as we allow it to be. My dad always says, that sometimes, “you just have to press hard on that accelerator and drive on”.
Counting down the weeks before most of my peers enter the new chapter we call “University”, may this be reminder to us to stay true to the values of resilience and verve that we had lived and breathed in school. Never settle for less.