Soul Searching

New photo by Nee Shen Ho / Google Photos

It’s tragic to read that people who we think as successful will take their lives. In a way, I feel it’s a reflection of our lives on social media. We post nice things in facebook and we only see other people in their happy moments. Like social media, everyone has a dark side that is hidden beneath the surface of calm. 

I am always mindful that the lives people portray are carefully arranged to show what they want people to see. We see, what they want us to see. Before social media, we have to deal with the neighbours getting larger TV, better car.. With social media, we get to compare with more than just our neighbours. 

I believe that contribution of TIME to the community is essential to happiness. Time is an equalizer, everyone has the same, rich poor, old or young. Giving time to a cause you believe in makes you happy. 

But I also believe that hope brings happiness. I have many friends migrating to other countries for a better life, presumably a happier life. I see teenagers being sent oversees, posting pictures from far away places, because their parents can afford overseas education. 

I have no choice but to seek happiness where I am.. mostly through contributions to society. People think that I am trying to change the world, but in essence, I am trying to change myself. I hate being miserable, but this self realization is a journey. 

So I’ve been telling people, except for a few cases, it does not make sense to move to Singapore (I cannot comment on other countries) so that you can make more money due to the currency exchange. You can make a lot of money but there is a limit to how much money contribute to happiness. I guess this is a case where someone who crave money, thinks that it will solve all problems, till they have money. 

Embracing my fear

New photo by Nee Shen Ho / Google Photos

We are volunteers that only show up in force during major public holidays. In every speech and article, we are hailed for sacrificing our holiday to serve the people. For me, it’s so that I can touch my inner fear. 

Most of the people who called for our service are the needy and almost always we take the graveyard shift. Almost all our calls are to low cost flats and kampung houses. We hardly meet any middle class people or drive into manicured houses. The people that we respond to, have their own stories on what got them there. Mental illness and chronic disease at a young age coupled with cramped living condition, single parents… these people are living in a world very different from mine. 

Yet these people live day by day.. year after year..  

What drives them? what keeps the moving.. If it’s hope, I really want to know what they are hoping for because I can use some in my life. 

Did I make the wrong decision?

New photo by Nee Shen Ho / Google Photos

Seems like every year, I will lose a friend to migration. I hear friends leaving for greener pastures to another country.. Australia, United States, Singapore… 

And here I am consoling myself where I am, is not too bad after all. Decent quality of life, decent career, a job I don’t hate, volunteering community, great weather, beaches (that I hardly visit), great food.. family..

But I cannot help but wonder if I’ve made a conscious decision not to seek greener pastures because I am comfortable.. not embracing the notion of going out of the comfort zone. 

Sometimes I wonder if I am missing the boat. 

The thought will linger. 

But I believe the only reason I should leave is because of the unfair government policies of prioritizing a certain race for education and government benefits. I see that in students scoring well in form 6 but not getting a course they like. Although I now have a decent living, the impression of unfairness after my own form 6 experience still burns a deep scar in my being. 

I wonder when the regret, for fighting on to stay, will set in. Maybe when my own children have to go through my own demons, I will realise where I should be focusing my effort in the past 10 years. Maybe I’ll turn bitter… but then, maybe there’s hope.