Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Autograph Albums

I just saw my two autograph albums which I let my classmates write in when I was in Form 5 and Upper 6 on a heap of books. I was glad that I bothered to start letting people write in those - though it was quite troublesome to keep track of where they went, and who has been keeping it for weeks and never returned them. Those two books made me miss my old classmates so much. Or rather, miss those times when we have been classmates.

I really enjoyed my Form 6 years. The two years where I've started to 'open up' instead being 'unusually quiet' in school, as quoted by my classmates. Actually I don't think I'm that unusually quiet myself, it's just that the people I mixed with during my Form 5 days are generally non-Chinese, and my social circle was indeed a rather small one. I mixed more with the Chinese when I was in Form 6. What else can one do when over 80% of the class were Chinese? That was when they had the impression that I was opening up socially.

It's funny to see how people used to think of you in those years, things that you thought you'd always remember but eventually forget. Everybody used to say that I was freakingly smart but quiet, until I started joining in the Ting Fang kepo gang, and of course, helped the others with their school work. I miss those days in the library when all of us used it as a sort of meeting ground besides the classroom, pore over the revision books inside. And then we as the library committee would have to clean the shelves and rearrange the books. The library was my favorite place in school. I'm not that hardworking myself, but being surrounded by books is a nice feeling. It almost makes you feel more hardworking then you actually were.

My capacity to care for my classmates during those days was so much wider than what I have now. Much deeper and wider. It made me happy to help them, and to talk to them, and to just be with them. University life has changed me so much. The stressfulness, the reminders of my mother not to waste time which still stuck firmly until today, and the competitiveness of my course had contributed to this change. I try to reach out to my friends as I did before, but it was not so genuine, and not as frequent as I would have done in those days. I guess this is what it means to know a person's true colours just by putting them into a tight spot. I failed this litmus test.

People used to try and avoid going through Form 6, but I thought it was a good learning process. To stay for two more years at home before venturing outside. To stretch yourself beyond what you think you can. To have two more years to lead the school in whatever posts you're in (being the eldest in the school). And that part of me, seen through the eyes of my classmates, have been recorded in those autograph albums, as a reminder that there is no time when it is ok to stop serving God, to stop having a big heart, to stop dreaming dreams. There's no end to a life of stress in Singapore, but even when fighting to grow intellectually, there's no use draining all resources to do that, neglecting the need to go spiritually, emotionally, and socially. Easier said then done though.

After looking back, one must look forward. I do with the hope that I can be once again the someone I used to be once upon a time, and even strive to be someone better than that in the future. There is this need to grow in those areas, and I shall draw on God's strength to do it this year :)

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