Monthly Archives: September 2016

HTP

So on my final night left in Singapore, we decided to go to Henderson Waves which was unsurprisingly crowded. So we were walking along Hort Park to get all the way to Henderson Waves to sit down among the crowd… only to be scared away by a cockroach.

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Of course complete with some perspiration… (and tied up hair as a result LOL). Singapore weather is so merciless HAHA.

We chanced upon this bamboo shoot and he decided to carve something…

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HTP is a cheesy (or in other words disgusting) combination of our names — HT and HP.

One day later (on my last day in Singapore), I ordered the new Hibiscus Tea with Pomegranate Pearls at Starbucks, which happens to have the drink code of HTP. When he saw my drink he casually commented “Awww so sweet”, thinking that I gave HTP to the barista as my name. I laughed for 15 seconds while he also laughed awkwardly and embarrassingly. Here’s to more retarded moments with you :’)

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Back in London

It’s my second day back in London. I think it’s been going well. I met two of my batch boys to pick up my new apartment keys. I treated them to breakfast at The Riding House Cafe.

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I bought new knives, a new chopping board and a new set of scissors for my new apartment. I got myself toiletries that I got used to in the previous academic year. I got stuck inside my apartment trying to get out and spent 30 minutes trying to leave the house. I headed to Dilys’ place to pick up my piano and Weixuan’s items. I cooked myself Laksa instant noodles and set off the smoke alarm unwittingly. I facetimed Sara for 3 hours, put up photos and decorated the area above my bed. I am also gleeful at the fact that I managed to Skype you for an hour while you were out, although I still do not get to see you. Afterwards I hugged your pre-sprayed hoodie smiling to sleep. Thank you for taking time out even though you are clearly busy. I miss you very much. I wonder if you smile to sleep like I do.

I also finally skyped Huimin too, having a conversation exceeding 5 hours because it really has been a while since we spoke. I finally received the 6 boxes that I packed a year’s worth of London life into, and have been busy unpacking the past 4 hours. Everything feels familiar: the same pots, plates, cups, table mat, soft toys, except having been positioned in a different setting. I cooked dinner and did not set off the smoke alarm this time. I will be meeting familiar London faces in the next few days and I simply cannot wait.

On a separate note, I really love my new place and my new room. In the natural state (i.e. no effort made to beautify the room for the purpose of the photo), it looks like this.

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I can’t wait to create new, lovely memories. I hope Weixuan arrives soon and in no time we would be hosting mutual friends regularly. Today I am happy and I have faith that I can do this for another year. 🙂

Summer Highlights

1. I met someone new.

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He is now what I’d cheesily term my boyfriend. I also find out that our love languages change over time. I also worry excessively about the 3 letters I’ve only scoffed at — LDR.

2. I got rid of my 4 wisdom teeth.

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For about 2 hours I was drooling uncontrollably (and without my knowledge) because of the massive number of jabs I had. The feeling of local anaesthesia sucks balls.

3. I probably ate about 100 golden kiwis.

4. In these months I met up with many important people —

BMT Platoonmates: Sara, Lifang, Hanjuan
4G: Edina, Jia Wen, Cathy, Yujie, Gracie, Jolyn, Szemin, Vivian
6S: Weixuan, Beatrice
NCC: Yixin, Jiawen, Jieling, Weihan, Jiajun, Kiankiat, Waiyuin, Jiale, Jiajian, Chenxi, Jones, Khehan, Bowei
6/6: Darren Lim, Caleb, Gordon, Wei Ling, Ms Chan, Kay Vin
UK: Darren, Victoria, Joey
Friends from other places: Stacey, Timothy, Ling Sheng, Dickson (soon)

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Just a few photos which have mostly already appeared on Instagram. Has anything changed from a year ago? I suppose not. Things only change if you want them to.

5. I went on board 82 (RSS RSL), although I failed to get my COC.

I have been happy. I think it is easy to take for granted sleeping and waking up with no worries — something I never got to enjoy when I was struggling to stay sane back in OCS. It is definitely much more difficult to leave this time round, knowing what to expect about who and what I will miss back home. Exactly one year ago I was filled with anticipation and excitement for the entire year ahead; this year I am somewhat begrudgingly packing my luggage for the tougher academic year.

But what has to come has to come, and everything I have embarked on stemmed from my own choices. I will definitely be okay, I will grow with my circumstances. Here’s to another academic year of independence and hopefully, even better discipline.

Public?


Sitting at some random bench overlooking what I’ll (we’ll) be seeing for the next 10 years…..

So many things could change in a matter of weeks. Months. Or even years. Perhaps the people I’ve met today will no longer recognise me as the guest you brought, instead identify me with another identity. A colleague. A friend. Or many a time, a female who only made it there to a certain position…. because she’s a female.

But at this moment I am content and I do not care. I no longer care what people think of us and how tough it will be. Or the practical difficulties of even embarking on this, with having to read directives about the professional handling of this and so on. It sounds so stupid but I actually do think it is necessary too. Or even simply the disparity between us right now purely due to experience, or the lack thereof in my case.

I might regret even saying this in the future. But I don’t get a second chance in life very much especially with my position and I’m leaping at this. Come what may.

Little joys

Yesterday I woke up at 10.30am, went to dye my hair red, went out with my Uncle and took a photo with a cute plushie.

Today I woke up at 10am to head out for my wisdom tooth extraction (all 4), teared quite a bit on the dental chair because the dentist accidentally scratched a part that wasn’t covered by anaesthesia. I went home, mulled around till 4pm for the numbness (at least 8 jabs of anaesthesia I swear) to wear off. 

After cooping myself up at home the whole morning I went to catch Pokemon with my sister at the VivoCity hotspot in a surgical mask. And managed to squeeze in some time to meet you too. We had Mr Bean and Koi while chasing Magikarps and it sounds simple and retarded but I’ll always remember today.

I dropped a lot less hair tonight and cried less today. I am definitely making progress, I am much better and I envision a day 10 years later into the future when I can be like this too – when I can set my phone to airplane mode and not get worried about being recalled. And not get all stressed up about my competency or the lack thereof.

I will miss you a lot, 10 days left.

Was it a choice?

After a week I thought I should finally open up about this. Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly, I did not obtain COC in time before I return back. For the less aware: COC refers to the Certificate of Competency, certifying one fit to perform duties in harbour. While it sounds stupid, i.e. going through trials and tribulations just to be certified to do harbour duty, it IS essential. Because more things happen in harbour than one could think — afterall, most ships, even merchant vessels, seem to spend more time in harbour than out at sea.

People could console me and blame it on a lot of attributes for me, just to see me smile a little wider. “COC is a lot about time and space”, “COC is one of the most difficult things to get”, “PV COC is more difficult”, “You had a tough one”, “I laughed when I saw your scenario because if you passed, I would say you are fkn zai”, “I think they have higher expectations for you”, “You cannot compare your COC to others”, but honestly, we all know the truth: I am clearly unprepared, way more unprepared and unaware than any COC holder on board my ship. Because there are people who get it in 2.5 months, the total time I spent on board my ship. To add on to it, there are people who get it on board my ship in 2.5 months.

I concluded that it was all my choice, my choice to be sorely lacking compared to the other COC holders on board my ship, my choice to not shamelessly fight for my own opportunities and attach to other ships for duty. My choice to pick up slowly and chase slowly, being scolded for my own mistakes instead of learning quickly from the mistakes of others. My choice to return home to family and comfort on many weekday nights instead of staying in and walking the ship over and over again, my choice to go out on several weekends and SRs (when granted the privilege) instead of attaching myself to other ships to do fire drills and learn faster.

It was all a choice, and I have no one to blame but myself. I wondered why I cried so much, throughout the night, eyes so dry that I couldn’t keep them open. People were astonished that it affected me so much. Because I knew that it was my fault and I didn’t know what to do or who to fault. People could blame it on circumstances for me, people could offer me a hug and tell me that it’ll all be okay because no one remembers in a few years time, and people would tell me that I’d be more prepared than ever when I return in a year’s time. But I cried really hard because I knew I was lacking, I knew why I was lacking, and I knew that in a month’s or a year’s time when I meet up with senior commanders and fellow scholars again, I do not have solid reasons to convince them why I am lagging and lacking. All I have with me right now are excuses; I have no defence against the fact that I failed in my position as a scholar, one who should go all out in her efforts to achieve more than others. I am responsible for my own training and I know I cannot blame it on anyone else.

On hindsight, looking at the past 3 months, do I regret? Do I regret not working hard earlier enough? Do I regret not following my training plan strictly, do I regret not finding out things that I should have found out earlier? Do I regret not choosing a better ship posting that may have put me in a better position? Do I regret not opting for an earlier VA such that I had more liberty of time and space even if my ship were not in harbour?

I don’t know, because these two years have honestly been a tiring chase for me since I got termed a ‘scholar’. The title is heavier than anyone would think — the expectations of me and my actions are constantly tagged to the idea of being a “scholar”. I should perform well in my academics and get first class easily. I should get my COC within my first VA without any problems. I should be an effective leader and gel well with the ship crew. I should be many many things, because a lot of resources are invested in me and they cannot go to naught; there is no room for opportunity cost.

Do I want to continue chasing? I don’t want to, which was why I changed my perspective towards my capabilities, or the lack thereof, so much after I got out of OCS. Enough of that shit, enough of striving to outperform everyone and enough of feeling inferior just because I fell short by a bit. But after this VA it seems like chasing is not a choice. Some people are excellent in their own right and “chasing” does not even occur to them; these are exactly the people I’m chasing after to be on the same page. I thought doing well for A Levels would be the free gangway to everything, because you undoubtedly have access to a brighter future with better grades. But in retrospect doing well in A Levels seems to be the beginning of everything. In the past I only faced up to my personal expectations; right now, I constantly strive to meet the expectations of others. What’s worse? “Scholar don’t complain”, because of course I can’t. I am indeed blessed with so much and given so many that I will never be able to contribute back to the organisation in the same right. For some people, the organisation is lucky to have them. For me, I know I am truly lucky to have the organisation.

I don’t know when the tears will ever stop from feeling inferior and inadequate as I mentioned in my previous post. I know and still believe that hard work will always breed success, but whether I really want to work so hard my whole life just to be on the same page as everyone else… I am not sure of the choices that I will make anymore.

“In my contacts with other President’s Scholars over the years, I discovered that some did as well as they expected while others did not. One observation that dawned on me was that several of these scholars as well as their circle of family, friends and community expected comparable achievements to continue by default. If a scholar did not do well, or as well as perceived, a sense of betrayal over what was deemed an entitlement to success crept in.”

LWL

Inferiority

It hits me,

Over and over and over again,

And I have no idea how I can deal with this.

Unbeknownst to most, being pressured by so many parties… This really sucks.

Perhaps I’ll get over it in a day, or a month or two, or even a year. But nothing can help what I’m feeling now.

Inadequacy, inferiority, it has hit me once, twice, it’ll keep hitting and hitting me. For the past 20 years of my life, for the rest of my life.