Yesterday, a old but distant friend posted an old class photo taken during our primary school days. I think it was when we were primary 6. It featured everyone in our class including our form teacher whom we all loved and it brought back wonderful memories. For many years now I have been trying to reconnect my primary school classmates. It took a while to reconnect even some of them, and to reconnect every single one of them seems an impossible task. For many of them whom I have yet to reconnect, I have already forgotten their names. Where did they study after primary school? Where are they working now? Are they married? Do they have kids? Are they rich? Are they still living in Singapore? How is life treating them?

The picture was posted on instagram as part of #throwback Thursday. A flurry of conversations immediately began from that photo. The conversations started mostly from friends whom I have successfully reconnected years ago, and they were reminiscing about the good old days. Some of my friends even tagged others who were in the photo that I totally lost touch till today! The most incredible thing is that through that photo alone, it suddenly became a nexus for all of us (those who use instagram) to reconnect. And through that conversation, I started to gleam additional information about some of them. 

I now know that one of them had lots of tattoos on his forearms. They look really good. In terms of looks, he didn’t really change much and I can still largely recognise him despite his longish hair. But for him to spot several tattoos, it came as a surprise coming from him. A female classmate is about to get married at the end of the year. One, is a professional musician who, I think is involved in several local bands. Another classmate, passed away in a traffic accident 2 to 3 years back. That was shocking, because he was never in my collective memory until someone mentioned his name. It felt as if, he existed, yet did not, and then he isn’t, anymore, permanently. One, whom I doubt is in the picture is now a millionaire, judging from the jet-set lifestyle he now lives (in which he had no qualms about, sharing through his Facebook feeds, having worked (I think) as a wealth manager in an insurance company. I am happy for him. He is that sort of person who will succeed in life. I remember him as a very driven person back then, not academically, but in the pursuit of life successes in accumulating personal wealth, I knew he could go far in life with his laser-intense focus. Another classmate did very well academically, having graduated from NUS with a degree in psychology. She got married and now has an adorable child. It’s a stark contrast now compared to what I imagined her to be back then. For me to imagine her to be a mother and a wife, took a while to get used to. Another girl, I remembered her infectious laughter with white teeth showing prominently. She got married recently to a handsome young man. Both met while they were in NUS. Another boy whom I was a pretty close friend for a short while back then is now pursuing a degree (in sports science if I’m not mistaken) in NTU, and is now a gym freak. Like me, he was such a small boy with glasses, very nerdy with a timid demeanour  And boy has he been completed transformed!  There was a female classmate who is a Thai citizen, has now gone back to live in Bangkok, Thailand. But for some reason, I never thought of her to abandon and forget her childhood roots in Singapore. And I was surprised that she was having a good time (through the messages she posted on instagram about that photo) remembering those days while she was studying in Singapore. I guess our time in primary school was memorable for her, one that she will never forget. 

As for the rest, phantoms whose names have been forgotten. Any interactions I’ve had with them back then, are now just mere mirages set upon a distant memory in the furthest reaches of my mind. I may never get to reconnect them ever again. I may never know their life story, ever. Oh they are out there somewhere, but you know that any chance of a random encounter is incredibly rare. Given how we lead our own lives, we may never cross each other’s paths. But life can be funny sometimes. You never know that the person sitting next to you on your next train ride could be your long lost classmate. Your future colleague, could be one too. Your future friend of a friend could just be that classmate standing behind you in that picture on instagram. Your future lover, could a relative to a classmate long forgotten. So radically transformed, their resemblance barely recognisable. Any hint of their childhood life, stripped and forgotten…


Officially ORD

I collected my pink IC on Friday. I have officially ORDed. Although the exact date falls on a Sunday (14 July), I got the chance to do the necessary paperwork to declare the end of my National Service, a total of two years. The collection of my pink IC signified that I am no longer an NSF, but an NSman. It has been more than 5 years in the making, after having to disrupt my NS to continue my studies and going back to service to serve my remaining 41 or so days.

The past five weeks have been one of the most memorable moments of my life. The experience I have gained is tremendous. The friends I have made, priceless. Just when you thought there is nothing much left to learn in NS, it was a whole new ballgame when I was thrust into becoming a Section Commander for a bunch of recruits fresh out from Tekong. The recruits are now my one and only group of recruits under my wing, and they have become part of something special to me. My other fellow section commanders, I am now part of a brotherhood, forging friendships so strong that I never believed it to be possible within just five weeks.

Now, just barely a day after saying goodbye to them, I sorely missed them. If I had to serve a longer period after completing my studies and going back to NS, I would definitely would have stayed on and continue working with them. I feel honoured to have known them, as I have learn a lot from them that you can never get from books, or from school. They have allowed me to pause and reflect on life , made me understand what it is like to be a better person. To rise up to the challenge, to push yourself against the boundaries of your comfort zone, with help along the way. These are the things I experienced daily while I was there.

I hope to see all of them some time in the future, wherever it may be. These group of guys are truly special and one that I will never forget in my life.

Cherish those moments

There are moments in life where everything feels so perfect. Everything falls into place. The feeling of sheer happiness and bliss that you wish it will never end. The feeling where you feel cherished and loved by the people around you. I felt that a couple of days ago. It was one of my best moments I had with someone. When you know that for that short moment, that person acknowledged you for you who are, accept you for what you are and you feel like you can put your absolute trust in that person. All your sadness and sorrow just disappears when you are together. You feel like you have known this person for a long time, yet it felt just like yesterday that you finally get to know that person well enough to be called a friend. It was a wonderful feeling. My only regret is perhaps not knowing that person earlier.

That one person…

Have you ever, at some point in your life met and known someone, but you wish you never have known him or her in the first place? It is not about hating that person, but rather, life could have been so much simpler if that would have been the case. Probably it stems from the fact that knowing that person brings out all your insecurities from within, and you end up hating yourself.

Change… its so hard to deal with.

Its been a long time since i updated my blog, and there were so many things i wanna share with you, but i just couldnt find the time nor the computer to do it. My computer decided to go on strike last week, ending up spending the entire weekend AGAIN, to fix it. Apparently the cause of the problem was the hard disk. It started failing and looked like a fatal software error, when it was actually hardware that was giving the problem.

That aside, here i am blogging again. Alot of changes around me i had to deal with lately. That partially explains the lack of entries, and above all, the lack of inspiration to write. Nonetheless, im still keeping this blog alive. While the time when i was on hiatus, i just dunno where to start.

Life’s been tough lately. I barely had enough for myself, much less spending less each time for my family. August went by so fast and here comes september. It is a good and a bad thing. The good thing, is that my birthday is around the corner and things has settled quite a bit since last month. Fasting month is here, dissappointingly, since i cant really enjoy all the delicious mooncakes that comes by once every year. I got a small taste of the Bengawan Solo’s snow skin, durian flavored mooncake. Costed 3 bucks for a small sized mooncake. But it tasted delicious. A friend of mine introduced to me this crunchy and sweet swedish cookies that he bought from Ikea’s cafe. I like is so much that i actually went all the way down to Ikea to buy myself a box of those cookies. 

I made a fair share of damage to my wallet last month too. Bought quite a lot of blu ray stuff like the upcoming Transformers movie and Afro Samurai. I bought a new blue messenger bag from Gap last week. Its really cool and simple bag that costed 70 bucks. A little pricey but the material is sturdy and good. 

You know, i think i know why im feeling down and moody. All the retail therapy (buying stuff) and food therapy are all an effort to lift up my spirits. Dont get me wrong they do lift up my spirits, but like drugs, they wear off after a while. 

One of the aspects of being an NSF is the fact that you have to bear with change. Not just with the environment around you but with the people whom you meet. I think while you are in NS, its kinda cruel to face the fact that you meet so many people, in all walks of life, made some really good friends and then in a blink of an eye, they are gone. Im not talking about them being dead, but rather the leave you, or you leave them. From BMT, i made really good friends. 3 months was all it took, to never see them again. Onto my transport supervisor course and then to my current unit, seeing my friends ORDing sooner than me. I make really good friends, treating them like brothers, and before you know it, they are gone. Day by day while they are there beside you, everyday and now they left a gaping hole in your heart.

Now im not really crying my eyes out for them just because they leave, but rather, its the sort of a bittersweet ending that you feel whenever you leave them, or they leave you. Yesterday, a good friend of mine that i made while in my unit ORD. It was sad to see him leave, especially being new there, he helped me alot back then. This morning when i woke up,  he crafted this beautiful and lengthy sms, thanking me for helping him and getting through difficult times together. I knew him only 3 months, but it felt like years. I was so touched to have made an effort in crafting that sms. It must have taken quite a while to type that out on the phone. I really appreciate the effort and the thought that comes with it. 

There’s no doubt that ill see more of my friends that i recently made ording sooner than me. They are really great people and i hope i can get in touch with them soon, somewhere down the road. If there is one thing that i can take back with me when i finish serving my NS, is being proud of knowing who my true friends were no matter how brief the encounter might be.