Sometimes, when life throws us a couple of lemons, you start to question what are the important things in life.
I concluded my last semester in the local teachers’ college recently. That must be the most challenging time I had in my years of studying. It was more of a time constrain challenge than a content challenge. To complete the ridiculous amount of work within the stipulated time frame was almost suffocating.
All I could remember were days after days of waking up to checklists and hoping that I am good on my speed to complete milestones. Needless to say my Chinese New year holidays were totally consumed by school work.
In Singapore, education was never designed in a way that one can learn at their own speed. Apart from students with special needs, the bulk of us were either left behind, or forced to accelerate. As a result, we have a generation of “go getters” that can either be atrociously competitive, or extremely driven.
What resulted in our nation’s economic success is a huge residue of Singaporeans, whose only passion in life, are obtaining and garnering material comforts as it is arguably the only way they can get a satisfaction in life. Anybody who has been to Singapore will know of the term “Kiasu”, meaning the fear of losing.
In fact, I am housed in an extremely competitive environment. Sometimes it irks me when I am constantly being compared to others, at times peers would constantly compete with me, when my only concern is just to do my best and to enjoy the journey of my work.
If I were to leave Singapore one day, it is this very reason that would propel me. I am not saying that I am a person with small goals, what I am saying is that I am sick and tired of the fact that people here are more concerned with labels than actual satisfaction in life. John Dewey wrote that a well rounded experience is what makes humans satisfy an intrinsic need. A good quality of life, can then be measured by whether one’s experience is fully “experienced”.
So how does one experience fully when he/she is rushed into the journey?
It is without a doubt that in Singapore, our nation has learnt to rush through life all too fast. Worse off is the fact that people are labelled by their material or status tags.
Recently it dawned upon me that when the rubber hits the road, some people in my life are just too concerned with the race to bother. I realised that my comments or advice will never be good enough, simply because I am not a leader, holding on to a glamorous job or own an incredible amount of wealth. At the same time, I see other precious people coming forward to help, to support and to encourage. It is very easy to see your real friends when you are down and out.
So now that I am going to graduate, I kind of want to get rid of some baggages in my life. I want to remember the good stuff and move on. I am feeling a little sick of Singapore and some people now, but in a while I will be fine.