靠左走·靠右走

今早上班时将一只蜗牛🐌从行人道上迁移到了草丛里。

在那交通灯附近,有条分叉路,靠左走便走向工地,靠右走则走向大楼。搭着同一趟地铁的西装笔挺与硬帽工靴就此分道扬镳。每每经过,总是感慨重重。

在那么一条路上,爸爸一生靠左走,而我因为有他得以选择靠右走。

爱你哦❤️ 老爸!

后序:工地与大楼的对比固然重要,本人更希望将焦点放在”选择“上。

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What should we never forget?

# whatshouldweneverforget The Birthday Collective

I never forgot the day my mum told me I was given a place in Zhonghua Primary School. It was a treasured opportunity, since we weren’t from this land.

I remember too the gift that Zhonghua gave us Primary 1 students for good academic performance: Three books of our choice from a classroom full of books. Equally unforgettable was that day in 1998 when I discovered that MOE scholarships and bursaries were awarded to citizens only.

I never forgot my dad’s response, saying he would be my “government” and disburse those on behalf of MOE, or that day in Primary 3 when I was walking home from school and my Chinese teacher shouted across the road that I must remember to “drink and ponder (over) the source”.(“伟良!要记得饮水思源啊!”)

I remember trying really hard to convince my cousins that I was Malaysian, not Singaporean, when I went back to Batu Pahat during the school holidays.

I never forgot the first time I stopped singing the national anthem and saying the pledge – sometime in Primary 5 – just to see if it made me less Singaporean, more Malaysian. (Previously, I tried really hard to sing and say them well, both because I liked how they sounded and wanted to see if it made me any more Singaporean.)

I remember that interview I had with some teachers in Chinese High, when I told them that, while I was certain I would contribute to Chinese High, I wasn’t sure if I felt the same towards Singapore. I never forgot, too, how nurturing they were when they nodded understandingly and encouraged me to continue figuring that out.

I never forgot the day I pledged the oath of allegiance, the night we received our rifles or the day I recited the SAF Officers’ Creed. I remember mulling over them, wondering if I truly meant what I said, and if I will come to be completely sure. I also remember reading the Accelerated Citizenship offer (which we second-generation PRs received upon enlistment) again and again, and finally on my ORD tucked it safely into my drawer, where it remains till today – a keepsake, a memory, and an artefact of deep personal significance.

I remember feeling out of place sometime after the 2011 General Elections. I never forgot, however, the friends (and strangers in their own ways) who assured me I was as local as could be to them.* And there were so many of them.

If before Singapore found me wanting, from then on she signalled she no longer did. If before Singapore for whatever sociopolitical reasons found it difficult to express her acceptance of me, from that point on she’s never stopped trying.**

(Of course, I exaggerate for effect. 😛 Also, I opened my eyes and heart wider than before to see it happening.)

I attribute this deepening sense of solidarity, community, purpose and rootedness to something I knew but haven’t always remembered: That Singapore is more than her citizenship policies. That she is my Chinese teacher (all my teachers, in fact), my friends from school, my neighbours in Clementi, the affable staff at NTUC Fairprice, the strangers I rub against in the MRT trains (both local and migrant, however blurred the line is), my newfound colleagues (who unquestioningly included me as one of their own), the cleaning auntie who till this day is still trying hard to fix the sewage smell in our toilets at work, and much more.

While I would never forget the sometimes disorienting experiences growing up, I ought also to remember the many, many times this country has, through her people, included me as one of her own and invited me to take, to share, to care and to contribute in whichever ways I could.

Perhaps that is the Singapore that we should never forget.

This is as coherent as it gets for now, but I hope this little stub inspires you to think about, “What should we never forget?” in the context of Singapore. If you feel so moved to, do write a response of your own, be it in your personal diaries or public blogs, with the hashtag # whatshouldweneverforget and tag me back 😊

Beyond that, do keep a look out for this year’s #TheBirthdayBook! Edited by Malminderjit Singh and Sheila Pakir, the book has a collection of 52 thought-provoking essays on Singapore, responding to the prompt above, “What should we never forget?”

I’m helping with the initiative and we’ll be holding a launch event on Sept 9. Will be posting more details in the weeks ahead on how you might get your hands on these books 😀

==> Click #whatshouldweneverforget or The Birthday Collective for more info! *\o/*

Update:

For those interested, the Book is out! 🙂 https://www.ethosbooks.com.sg/collections/others/products/the-birthday-book-2017-what-should-we-never-forget

Here are two sample pieces:
http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/inspirational-tales-societys-margins
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/switching-between-languages-to-say-it-best

Enjoy!

*Though honestly, so what if I wasn’t deemed “local”? We can discuss this someday…

**Though we could also talk about the types of migrants that are “desired” and those that aren’t. But hey, we already know it’s messy, so let’s not leave out the nuances.

每天都是一種練習

今晚听着陈绮贞的歌
让一首接一首牵着思绪想起了一切的一切

选择这张照片时也刚好听到了
《每天都是一種練習》(繁体,因为。)
要多少年,得到的才不比失去的多?
要多少夜,无眠的不再是阿公阿嬷?
多少泪,孩子们才懂得争气,夫妻又懂得珍惜?

“每天都是一種練習 用今天換走過去
每天都是新的練習 用明天換走失去的“

每天确实都是一种练习
可我不换走过去,也不打算用明天换走失去的
昨日再不完美,它仍是以自己的方式将自己完美地展现于世。而今日、明日也将效其绚丽地登场。

每天确实都是一种练习
但练习的意义又为何?

葬送的不应是过去而应是自大与狂妄。
练习的除了爱与忠坚还有什么?

刚好下一首,李宗盛 ·《山丘》

📷: BCBA photographers~


苏打绿《无眠》

陈奕迅《多少》

Becoming Better Bible Readers

From a young adults retreat organised by my church in May 2017.

Why is there a need to read the Bible well?

#1 There is a right way to read the Bible.

2 Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,3 a worker bwho has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

#2 When we read the Bible rightly, we gain life and immortality.

2 Tim 1:10 and which now has ybeen manifested through zthe appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,awho abolished death and bbrought life and cimmortality to light through the gospel, Continue reading “Becoming Better Bible Readers”

The Stories Behind the Histories We Tell

#SingaporePlatformForEastWestDialogue

How sensitive are we to the contexts in which we use ideas and words?

Recently began attending a series of discussions organised by Para Limes on “East-West” issues. This one (held on 14 June 2017) was with Vernie Oliveiro, Senior Assistant Director (Policy Strategy) with the Strategy Management Unit of the Ministry of National Development, who’s trained in history and has a strong interest in the Singaporean identity.

Continue reading “The Stories Behind the Histories We Tell”

Multi-lingualism & Social Identities

#SingaporePlatformForEastWestDialogue

“What role can Singapore play in enriching the dialogue between East and West?” – Dr. Helena Gao

Recently began attending a series of discussions organised by Para Limes on “East-West” issues, the first of which was chaired by Dr. Helena Gao, linguistics researcher and director of NTU’s Bilingual Development Lab, and held on 11 May 2017.

Continue reading “Multi-lingualism & Social Identities”

Vultures of Culture

The commodification of culture doesn’t always kill culture; one could point to many examples of culture thriving for its own intrinsic value while also producing (yes, in the language of production) transactional value.

Some then say, “Be careful! Lest you kill the golden goose,” thinking they’re stewarding this culture in question. Yet, perhaps it is the very conceptualisation of this “golden goose” that drags culture into “being”, instead of its continuous “becoming”, and that bestows culture with form – a discrete manifestation. 

Vultures gather, bearing gifts, unaware they’re exacerbating the dying. At times, perhaps when fortunate, this goose bleeds slowly on and passes peacefully into oblivion. But, mostly (I say this for effect and with a tinge of truth), it limps on hollow, without a soul.

Perhaps we only truly own something when we give it away. Perhaps, too, what we didn’t struggle for, we can merely seek to behold, never to own nor to hold.

《拓荒者·摆渡人》(300317)

“由此岸踏入河川,从彼岸走向城镇。由此岸……,从彼岸……”
少年涉水时,反复地嘀咕着。

少年后来才知道,走向城镇的他经过了天上来的河水的洗礼,已非踏入河川的他。

走过河时,少年一度不断回头眺望。渡口、渔家、绿林、山脉,而后,不过河上丝丝的雨,稠稠的雾。

大头大头,下雨不愁;你有雨伞,我有大头!
大头里的影像处理器非常on cue地重现儿时母亲逗趣的小歌谣。
Continue reading “《拓荒者·摆渡人》(300317)”