Monday, May 05, 2008

Through the Looking Glass...

An earlier draft had been about something I read online, regarding some issue about how Singaporeans' livelihoods had grown dependent on foreigners. Perhaps what we had been pushing for is coming back to haunt us. I is no economics guru, nor philosophy shifu, not even a political nutcracker (Whatever that means), but it seems that an economy and environment overly reliant on manpower and heavily indulging in pragmatism requires constant adjustments and shifts in perspectives, such that any state of equilibrium is never prolonged. How many times have we been caught a step or two behind - A means you missed out on A+, 99 is 1 short of excellence, not par excellence, a degree no longer enough when you finally attain one, a discipline that has lost its relevance and cutting edge/advantage the moment you'd mastered it, savings (CPF and all) dried up when you reach "retirement age", realising that "retirement age" is a misnomer, a term that only a fortunate (and possibly rich) fraction of the population can claim for themselves - the list is ever productive. Just as the previous generation had rushed in to displace and transform the British colony into Malaya/Malaysia then independence, now the new wave is in the midst of displacing the older generation of thoughts and perspectives. Of course, no one owes us a living, our lives, our livelihoods. The blame game, when played, is certain to be never-ending. But then, not every factor or condition can be isolated on its own and given a diagnosis and prognosis - The cleaning auntie has seen wages dropping because tenders are awarded to the contractors who submitted the lowest bid, she has no choice but to continue working because its a job with a low-entry barrier. Send her to skills-upgrading courses, yes. But she has to give up after the first class because she needs to go around the neighbourhood collecting drink cans and cardboard boxes after her daytime cleaning job, as well as cook for the family. The course requires her to sit for written tests and evaluations - when she is illiterate. She finally managed to pass one of the courses, and finds that her new employer had won the tender again, using an even lower bid, which means a new reduction in wages. And she has to pay for the course she had gone through. And she faced stiff competition from the overseas contingent who are younger, faster and don't mind the low(er) wages. Cycles of slight variations are taking place; the bullets that have to be bitten keep getting larger in calibre...

I better go practise washing latrines, wash basins and toilet bowls, or perfect the arts of sweeping and moping the floor, or come up with a method to wash crockeries fast and efficient - or maybe I'm too late already???


A second birthday celebration in as many weeks.

Perhaps an over-dosage of not-slow food is killing my taste buds - even Sarpino's and KFC no longer have the slightest lure.

Post-celebration, I'm reminded of Honours year.

Wasn't close to everyone, but at least gotten to know everyone (I is one of the initiators for the contact list).

We hanged around together often in Hons Rm - lunch takeaways, Scrabble, Magic, group discussions, gossip, essays/ISMs/HTs deadlines (LAPD reminded me of singing the night away while churning out the our HT/ISM - when will that EVER happen again?!)...

In fact, we didn't really study together alot. Or rather, few are as crazy as me to be drawing the room key every evening and holding on to it over the weekends. But the few moments that we do get together for serious work and studying, I think we had been productive. At least for those who cared enough to drop by often. We might not have been the brightest, but we had been THAT TIGHT.

We met up before heading to our examination venues, we headed back to the room after the exams, grumbling/bitching/discussing (whichever way you look at it) about the exam questions and our answers, the support we provided for one another, the joys of it all. Heck, we even had a mass karaoke session after the very last ELang paper (Multilingualism) - even those who had finished a day or two earlier came down.

And I'm reminded of all these tonight. And I'm glad I'd gone through that part of my life with these people; probably nothing else that I would exchange for those memories.

It's not purely nostalgia, it's probably regret - that one hadn't done more.

Signing off.................. The Illusion and Delusion of a Constant, the Constant...............

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