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Saturday, 17 August 2019

Recalibrating life's purpose


It has been a year since I came back from the UK. A year since I got back to work, a year since I reunited with my family and friends, and a year since I snapped back into the brutal reality of life.

In the UK, I had the luxury of time to pause, pause and pause; to savour the moment, appreciate the little things in life and distill the lessons from every up and down. Coming back home was like hopping on a bullet train that was headed nowhere. Tasking after tasking, meeting after meeting, getaways after getaways. I didn't have the time to reflect on my mistakes - yes, periodic after-action-reviews are not genuine reflections (in my opinion). As soon as I dealt with an issue, something new that called for my attention popped up. I didn't have the energy to ask myself what I truly wanted - how could I, when all I was doing was to survive each day?

Most of us are working towards a destination that we have in mind. And this destination is likely to be what society has constructed for us as 'the ideal life'; be it getting a degree, getting married, owning a house or having kids. We work our butts off to arrive at this destination without ever thinking if that is what we, as individuals, truly want for ourselves. And we don't leave room for hiccups. This makes every wrong decision, every 'unproductive year', every careless mistake a 'setback' - it postpones the day that we arrive at our destination.

At the start of this year, I made a decision that set my our lives back for (possibly) years. Over time, I started to question if I made the right decision. I threw away something that we have building for many years now. We were so close to arriving at our destination. But. I. threw. it. away.

I have been trying many ways to rebuild, from undoing my mistakes to setting new personal goals, that I realise I have been constantly unsatisfied. No matter what I accomplished, no matter how far I escaped travelled, I still felt empty, thinking that maybe, just maybe, when I get my own house, when I become an expert in my field, when I right my wrongs, I will finally be happy. And in that process, as clich├ęd as it sounds, I forgot that life is not a destination but a journey. That life is a journey and we have got to learn how to savour every moment of it, be it good or bad. I was guilty of thinking that the perfect life is out there, waiting to be realised - but it is not; it doesn't exist. Even the smartest of beings could lose their intellect, even the happiest of marriages could be broken, and even the richest of men and women could lose their wealth. Nothing is permanent, and especially not our ever-increasing wants. What does this mean? We will never be contented if life is all about striving towards our destinations.

To experience life to the fullest is to embrace every success and failure, every heart-warming and heart-wrenching moment, the most lovable and unlovable person, and the best and worst versions of ourselves. And in the process, learn, try to be better and always be kind.

I don't know where life is going to take me since my path is now a blank sheet, but I've got to learn to recalibrate how I look at it.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

9 commonly mispronounced words in the SAF (part two)


See Part 1 here.
1. Opportunity 
How it is mispronounced: a-paw-chew-nee-tee
How it should be pronounced: ore-per-chew-ner-tee
Click here to listen.

2. Rhetoric 
How it is mispronounced: re-tore-rik
How it should be pronounced: reh-ter-rik
Click here to listen.

3. Ascertain
How it is mispronounced: a-certain
How it should be pronounced: air-sir-tain
Click here to listen.

4. Signature
How it is mispronounced: sig-nature
How it should be pronounced: sig-nuh-ture
Click here to listen.

5. Perimeter
How it is mispronounced: pair-ruh-meter
How it should be pronounced: per-ree-meter
Click here to listen.

6. Reconcile
How it is mispronounced: re-concile
How it should be pronounced: reh-concile
Click here to listen.

7. Project (noun)
How it is mispronounced: pro (as in professional) -ject
How it should be pronounced: pro (as in prophet) - ject
Click here to listen.
(P.s. There is a difference in pronunciation between the noun and the verb.)

8. Calendar
How it is mispronounced: ker-land-der
How it should be pronounced: care-learn-duh
Click here to listen.

9. Entourage
How it is mispronounced: and-toe-rage
How it should be pronounced: on-toe-Raj
Click here to listen.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

7 minutes.


7 minutes.

I saw him at the corner of the cafeteria with his friends, our friends. Should I go up to say hi? No, I think I'll just walk away.

He walks over and taps me on the shoulder. He asks me how I've been doing. I said I'm alright - the words "I miss you" linger on my lips. I bite my lower lip and...

6 minutes.

He said he's been doing well, making new friends and finding time to pursue his hobby. I smile, delighted to hear that life has been treating him well. And then, my heart frowns, knowing that he is moving on just fine...

5 minutes.

He tells me about his work, his dog, the new book he's been reading... he goes on and on. He has always been quite the talker - was, and still is.

4 minutes.

The familiarity scares me. The way he talks, as though he has known me for ages - he has.  The way he looks at me, as though he knows all my fears and insecurities - he does. The way he smiles at me, as though I light up his entire world - I don't, at least not anymore.

3 minutes.

He doesn't stop talking. I observe his soft, ruffled hair moving towards the direction of the wind. I take a glimpse of his defined shoulders where my head used to lie. I watch his animated gestures, with the hands I used to hold.

2 minutes.

He finally stops talking. Silence, as we look at each other with an intense longing. (Or perhaps it was just one-sided). Five, four, three, two...

1 minute.

His friends call out for him. We say our goodbyes. I don't know when the next 7 minutes will be but till then, we are strangers again.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

9 redundant words commonly used in the SAF


So, this is part 2 of my speak-good-English campaign for the SAF. ☺ (Find part 1 here.)

1. Double Confirm
Redundant word: Double
Reason: If you need to "double confirm", it means you haven't confirmed it the first time.

2. Spare Stockpile
Redundant word: Spare
Reason: Stockpile is already spare.

3. New Initiative/Innovation
Redundant word: New
Reason: An initiative/innovation is already new.

4. Short Brief
Redundant word: Short
Reason: Briefs are meant to be short.

5. General Gist
Redundant word: General
Reason: Gists are meant to be general.

6. Comprises Of
Redundant word: Of
Reason: "Comprises of" is incorrect. Use either "comprises" or "consists of".

7. Fundamentally Revolutionise
Redundant word: Fundamentally
Reason: To revolutionise is to change something fundamentally.

8. IPPT Test
Redundant word: Test
Reason: IPPT = Individual Physical Proficiency TEST

Last but not least, my all time favourite...

9. Two Times Safety Vests
Redundant word: Times
Reason: Do I need to explain?

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Not alone

Have you ever woken up feeling as though someone punched you right in the chest?

Have you ever craved for sad tunes even though what you really need is something to cheer you up?

Have you reached the point in life when you realise that your happiest days are behind you?

Have you figured out that no matter what you do, you will never be fully contented?

Have you ever tried to hold back your tears till your head starts to really, really hurt?

Have you ever had to tell yourself to breathe in and out, in and out because of an overwhelming sense of despair?

Have you ever felt like this world is one cruel place but you deserve it anyway?

Have you ever wished for just a little bit more mercy, a little bit more grace, and a little bit more kindness?

Have you ever had to convince yourself that it's worth living another day so that mum won't be heartbroken?

Have you ever felt so alone in this world?

If you have,

You are not alone.
You are not alone.
You are not alone.



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