I have given myself a new exercise. I have decided to count my blessings today.
I do not usually accept without understanding. Recently I had to face a situation that required me to pull wires in different directions (stepping on toes where necessary, enthusiasing others surprisingly) searching for comprehension and it had been a rather exhausting exercise.
Along the way, the temptation to acquire change did cross my path, but the good thing about getting older is the ability to understand the virtue of waiting and seeing.
Those who knew me in my lost youth would have been surprised. Lotus had been known to possess a missionary need to change the world. Two Governments even thought to help her along, providing her with scholarships to achieve her goals. If she hadn't given in to the temptation to understand the female's age-old programmed role for procreation and domesticity, she probably would have made some headway in doing what she had earlier thought she had been made for.
But no choice in life is ever a wasted one. And lessons learnt and lost sometimes return to haunt.
I have an unfortunate tendancy when in the midst of a discussion or situation to resort to what I had spent years being trained to do : strive for Thesis, Anti-Thesis and Synthesis. I had been trained to defend views that I do not necessarily share just so as to challenge any dominant view at any given point. You have a subject, you tear it apart and drag it to both ends and then you bring them back together and attempt to make it a better and more comprehensible whole.
Very enjoyable exercise, though it doesn't always make me popular in dinner conversations where most people try not to offend anybody or will go with the flow of things just to make a few people happy. Lotus is often a pain in the ass in other words.
But her tortured husband has taken over for her tortured parents and he has reminded her that she needed to be kinder to people around her. Tsk tsk, not that she's a mean person. It's just that she's now in Europe. People look at this plump Asian girl and usually expect a nice, gentle person. And it is often doubly uncomfortable to discover the contrary. But when they get used to it, they usually buy my story that I'm really quite nice and harmless. Nice and harmless. Nice and harmless....
To help me better wait and see in the next few months, I need to be positive. I need to relax and recharge my energies for the many things that I have to deal with in my life. Life has been kind to me thus far, I have to help it to continue being nice to me.
I have been blessed :
- To be born in Singapore. Where East meets West. Summer all year round, sheltered from most known natural disasters. Multi-racial, multi-religious, secular, lawful, peaceful, forward-looking society. Many brains, great food.
- To be Chinese. To be able to speak Cantonese, Hokkien, understand Teochew, to have studied Mandarin. Such a rich heritage. I wish I had paid more attention to the language when I was at school though. And I wish that I had thought to transmit it to my children - but I have been lazy.
- With the most adorable maternal grandfather. I will figure out his signature Sweet Egg Noodle recipe one day.
- To have lived with my Malay Nanny. To understand the importance of racial harmony and be able to love these people who have treated me like their own and who have fed me the nicest, hottest food.
- To have indulgent and ambitious parents who though they didn't have much in their own lives didn't let that stop them from giving us a better one. But dad, wish you could remember that if one's lucky, just one ticket would do.
- With 2 siblings who had to share limited living space with me and who though disliking my bossiness will help me up if I should fall.
- With my maiden aunt who always gave without expecting much in return and never got to spend her CPF contributions because she had to die just as she was due for retirement. I am to understand that life is often unfair. Can knock you in/down unexpectedly. So carpe diem.
- With a couple of painful relatives who helped me hone my combative spirit and sharp tongue and provided me with a few targets to practise on really early on.
- With good schools and good teachers, special mention must be made of Mrs Wong who taught me the importance of discipline, of doing whatever I chose to do well. And for instilling in me joy in taking exams, the need to constantly challenge myself or risk rotting away. And for telling me that her good figure was due to eating more rice vermicelli and less egg and wheat flour noodles. Next, I will never forget Mrs Elspeth Smith, who made English Literature such a joy to behold and my years in Secondary School such enjoyable, educational ones. Even the lousy teachers had been a blessing for they made the good ones stand out even more. And of course I adore Mr Whitby. I am crazy, I am different and I am just great LOL.
- With the Democratic Socialist Club back in NUS. I was International Secretary and member of the CWC. But in reality really just organiser of tours to all over the world and distributor of Delifrance sandwiches :-). The discussions and debates we have had, our aim to create and sustain political awareness and fight apathy among the student population. The life-long friends I've made through the club, the fun we've had. Thank you so much.
- My years volunteering with the Ang Mo Kio Social Service Centre. Working with the elderly has taught me so much. Paying alot of taxes to me is not the best solution to helping the less fortunate. Probably more to fatten inefficient politicians and civil servants. It is best if everyone should feel the need to come out with money, time and effort to help the others and gain satisfaction from this participation.
- Monsieur Baillon. Je pense donc je suis. Ceci n'est pas une pipe. C'est grâce à vous que je suis venue en France, que ma vie a changé.
- Prof Jon Quah. The most hypocritical, sleasy and dishonest academic I've ever met, but as you can see, I'm like a Phoenix who rises from its ashes. And I hope that you can live with the knowledge that you have harmed many in your life, abused your authority.
- My friends. The real ones. Mostly in Singapore and in Paris. We may be far from each other, but never in the minds and in the hearts. You know what they say, great minds think alike, and if I may add, smart stomachs eat alike.
- The scholarships (and of course those who awarded them to me) that allowed me to learn at some of the best institutions in Singapore and in France, allowing me to make the friends I have today, be the pain in the ass that I am.
- Donal. A job when I needed it, a laugh when I needed it, company when I needed it.
- Rapsodia for what could have been the start to a beautiful career. Thank you for creating the position that I had, for giving me chances and confidence when I needed it. I have learnt so much from everybody, and working certainly did help to keep the weight down.
- My Husband. Upright, responsible, reliable, intelligent, authoritative, successful, good at racket sports, great libido, supportive and loving (list non-exhaustive, of course). We are both tough nuts to crack and we keep each other on our toes (or backs - depends on the time of the day/night). I explode easily, he's almost always calm. The Horoscope says we're badly matched but that's because it didn't know that us - and only us - we're always right.
- My children. I only understood why I had to accept the lot in my life when I had them. They are just such beautiful and wonderful kids. Always happy, a little crazy, eat really well and if ever I run out of money, I know I'd be able to sell them for a fortune.
- The chance to live in different countries, eat different food, learn new languages. Make new friends.
- The pitfalls I've had in my life thus far. I learn from every one of them, I understand more about myself and my surroundings each time, I can only become wiser and stronger and better equipped to deal with the next one.
- My Blog. Space to express myself. To whinge. To remember. To count my blessings on. To make friends. To learn.
This is a long post. But er...how come only 22 blessings ah? Is it due to me not having more, not remembering the others, not recognising blessings when I have them? But whatever it is, I am blessed to have them at all and thank you for bearing with me.