“The mistakes I’ve made are dead to me. But I can’t take back the things I never did.”

“Every day. Without hope, without despair.”

I am really tired from all the running around this week. However, I got to meet more new friends (CY, Eug, Christa, Sean etc), old friends, and I went for (serious) dragon boating yesterday! It’s in brackets because I am a beginner who started on the same day as their competition training and everyone on both boats were both 1. Good looking and 2. Intense. Now I have muscle aches everywhere and a blister on my butt, even though the guy in front of me offered me his seat pad. I do like team sports, plus the guys are seriously cute (which is a huge plus, my motivation for modules in school used to be proportional to number of eye candies in class), but with my schedule right now I don’t think I can join at this point. Maybe after the competition 😊

I wanted to do a short-recap of my week, and then start on all the thoughts floating around in my head. The first being that I really like all the people at work, they are so nice and friendly and young! It’s a change from SB where everyone was rushing to finish things, or kept to their own departments. And it’s a change from the civil service internship where the age range was in the early thirties. Here, everyone is pretty much mostly mid to late twenties at the most, and only the partner is in her early thirties. Work-wise, I have to start on some frameworks when I get back from sermon later because I got called away to do other projects and couldn’t complete my original one. I have a backlog of what my friends sent me/recommended me to read/watch/listen to, and I hope to clear it slowly over the next few months. Hamilton the musical seems really popular!

For training, we had presentation skills training. The thing about training is that we have to use it right after training, or else we will lose what we have learned. While I have had a lot of training, practically only 5% was used. All my other time was spent doing work that isn’t related. Maybe a bit of excel skills, but that is about it. I am looking forward to Monday morning updates though, it will be my first meeting in the partners room. There’s a limit on space in the CBD, so everyone doesn’t have a fixed desk and even the partners’ room is super small.

With regards to people, had lunch and dinners with different people this week. I really like sincere and humble people. There is human aliveness and dignity even when screw-ups happen, as long as one is willing to show true feelings and not hide everything. I think after being in church for so long I am learning to re-evaluate what I see as beauty in other people. I have always liked sincere people but still looks played a part, but now I am learning to see past that and concentrate on a person’s personality and beliefs. Mostly on how kind they are 😊 I don’t actively support Pink Dot because it is against the teachings of my church, but I guess in the past I was still considering a bisexual sexual orientation, or just a female relationship, but now I suppose I am no longer that attracted to females. Or their bodies, to be more specific. Maybe I was just looking at what I don’t have.

I really like the interaction between colleagues too. I think I am the only one who came from straight-up “elite” schools, and I have spoken to a lot of friends who have fond memories of their neighbourhood secondary school or junior college. While they might not be nationally ranked in terms of grades, they made friends there too- the elements of social support and humanity are still valuable. There was a guy making his oral presentation about how people in his JC didn’t study and were basically headed for nothing, and I really admired his endurance to complete his studies and then end up in a Big 4. People in mixed environments actually have better social skills, unlike me, I can’t even code switch my English.

But I do wish there wasn’t this element of wasted human potential. In HC, you just need to get a certain set of grades and be left alone to do all your other hobbies. In other JCs where the focus is really on grades, it feels as if you have no extra time to get your life in order and find your passion or pursue things like faith because so much of the emphasis is on memorising things. Perhaps the irony would be that being in better schools actually gives you a more well-rounded education, simply because we take less time to absorb what needs to be absorbed. And regurgitated. And then we have all the free time to focus on arts or sports, plus most of us didn’t need to worry about things like finances or whether or not we could make it to university. There is the flip side to it, which is that we spend most of our time in a gold fish tank. And fail to make friends with normal, regular, human beings, with their quirks and struggles in life.

Fraternizing with bosses wise, I really like all my bosses at work! They are hardworking, super helpful, straightforward. Each one has his/her own quirks and since my only desire for the first few months is to get to know their style of working and giving instructions, I think I have managed to do so by helping out with projects and through each revision or quick catch up, establish what is the preferred way to work.

Hobbies wise, I think I lost all my endurance for running and swimming after the nasty bout of flu for a week. The good thing is that no one else in the office is sniffling because I am no longer sneezing and infecting everyone. I re-read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on the train this week- love it. I love his writing style, I love the way the story is structured, and I love Oskar. Sensitive, intelligent and caring boy who is bullied because he doesn’t fit in like the other kids. And I love the way he tries to remember his dad. I really didn’t have time to do art related things, but hopefully I will learn to manage my time better next week.

I felt suddenly shy. I was not used to shy. I was used to shame. Shyness is when you turn your head away from something you want. Shame is when you turn your head away from something you do not want.
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Good things this week: being told that I’m people oriented and friendly! Which is really good, because I got so tired from all the people that mid-week I asked a friend to go off with me alone to eat at Chinatown. He was kind, and didn’t tell me how far it was for us to walk, and basically it was damn hot. Plus we bumped into his team mates on the way and I hope no one thinks it’s weird for me to eat with just one another person ): I am not tired of people, I am tired from people. And then another colleague- he sent me a link to a dog cone to help with my hermit-ing in the office. I replied, “did you just call me a dog?” “no, it is the concept!” I can’t take him seriously already haha. I think naturally I want to be alone, and stretching myself every day, including weekends, might not be a very good idea. Getting fat from all the cai fan LOLOL.

Off to sermon now. I am finally not late! I used to uber everywhere but with my sad fresh graduate salary I can’t afford anything more than cai fan that costs, on average, $6 a day. The irony is that while my take-home pay went up three times, my disposable income went down because I have a hell lot of bills of pay by myself now. I told my mom my plans to start contributing to the family because while my dad paid for my tuition fees, theoretically they don’t need to and therefore it’s a loan- she then asked me how much I was going to save if I have to pay them back and pay for insurance etc. My answer was in the very, very low three digits, sigh. Might as well not save anything, it’s really a negligible sum given my bills. TCM can cost ~400 a month -.-

Byeee. Looking forward to carrying toddlers, hopefully Eliel is in a good mood today. The teacher had to mimic a fruit grinding machine using two stacked containers and a plastic yellow banana in the middle to stop his crying LOL cause his mom wanted to go for sermon but Eliel doesn’t like being left behind.

I love this quote. I was reading ELIC on the train, and I started tearing up. The indian lady standing next to me turned away and faced the other door instead.

But Oskar, intelligent people write to me all the time. In your fifth letter you asked, “What if I never stop inventing?” That question has stuck with me.

I wish I were a poet. I’ve never confessed that to anyone, and I am confessing it to you, because you’ve given me reason to feel that I can trust you. I’ve spent my life observing the universe, mostly in my mind’s eye. It’s been a tremendously rewarding life, a wonderful life. I’ve been able to explore the origins of time and space with some of the great living thinkers. But I wish I were a poet.

Albert Einstein, a hero of mine, once wrote, “Our situation is the following. We are standing in front of a closed boxed which we cannot open.”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the vast majority of the universe is composed of dark matter. The fragile balance depends on things we’ll never be able to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Life itself depends on them. What’s real? What isn’t real? Maybe those aren’t the right questions to be asking. What does life depend on?

I wish I had made things for life to depend on.

-Jonathan Safran Foer, a letter from Stephen Hawking to Oskar Schell, ELIC.