random thoughts from an incoherent giRaffe
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female driving…

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5g9IEP18KwUHQ7xHZn6lm_IwfH3DA?docId=N0214071327922834548A

Ok, so why do I bother reposting this article? Honestly, I cannot care less if women can drive better or if men can drive better. What I care about is if the drivers sharing the roads with me are safe and good drivers. Who cares if they are males or females, after all I’m not like looking for a mate on the roads.

I reposted this article because I want to talk about this woman-man thing. For those of you who know me, and for the rest of you reading this now, I’m a feminist through and through. And to clarify things a little, feminism is not about woman first, woman great, woman must be the top of everything.

Feminism, as defined by Merriam Webster and yours truly, is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. So to me, feminism also means defending men’s rights as well, if in certain areas, they are being disadvantaged. But of course, being the extremely patriarchic society we had always been historically unless you are from some tribes in the amazon or some secluded mountainous areas or some other rare societies which practices matriarchy, females have always been the more disadvantaged gender. Which is why feminism has developed to become something of a female thing in the minds of many. But I must reiterate, this is not so. This is purely about equality.

Aside from the rare cases of people who are born with both sexual organs or maybe none (I’m not very sure, are there people who are born neither male nor female? I’ve read about those born with both male and female sexual organs, but never without yet.), roughly fifty percent of the world can be classified as male and fifty as female according to their reproductive organs. Of course, not all of them might identify with the sexual organs they are born with, but that is another thing altogether. And within this fifty percent of the people, I’m sure there can be found much more variance than between these two fifty percent. The point I’m trying to make is, if one insists on categorising people into groups according to the sexual organs they are born with, they are missing out on a lot of other aspects of this person.

I’ve had some people tell me, you drive very confidently. (Note, they are perceptive enough to compliment only that I drive confidently, not that I drive well or safely because sometimes I could be quite a reckless driver. Heh.) Well, of course I feel awesome after hearing that. But some of them will have to add in, “Most females are not confident driving, you know”. That takes out all the good feelings that came when they paid me the compliment. Can’t you just take my driving skills and compliment me based solely on that, without having to qualify my skills with your stereotyped ideas of females being a certain way? I’m sure many drivers, male and female alike share certain traits with me, traits which have absolutely nothing to do with their reproductive organs. For myself, I love driving. I love being behind the wheel, feeling the power of speed. And I have loved cars and driving for as long as I can remember. Since I was a child, my toys of choice were cars, vehicles, I rather play driving games than with other things. Heck, my childhood ambition was to be a firetruck driver. Not a fireman mind you, but just the driver of the firetruck because it is so awesome cool and can go faster than any other vehicles and they all have to give way to you. And because I love driving, I thus had more practice and therefore feel more confident at it. And practice doesn’t involve only the driving after I got my car, I started practising ever since I had my first driving toy! So naturally, driving comes easily to me. And I’m sure any other male or female who loves driving can share similar tales. Nothing to do with our reproductive organs.

Equality is a concept that plays a very important role in my ethical outlook. Of course, I understand that in this world, nothing can be absolutely equal. Heck there is nothing that is absolute for that matter. But in this grossly unequal world, can’t we all do what we can to set the balance right ever so little?

I’m always extremely irked when people have to refer to one’s gender in evaluating others. Aside from talking about whether that person can be a mother or a father biologically, or about their reproductive organs, or about the sexual relationships they might have; after all you cannot become a mother or a lesbian if you have male reproductive organs and so on (Or perhaps you can, if you have male reproductive organs but you do not identify with them and you want to have sexual relations with a female as a female, but ok, I’m getting out of the point), I do not think that one’s gender should be the thing affecting how others view oneself.

Of course everyone is different and in every attribute, we all lie on a continuum. But judge that person according to their individual characteristics instead of putting them into a box and labeling them male or female. I hate it when my friends will tell me, I have this FEMALE boss who is so picky and petty and whatever, emphasising on the word FEMALE. Or worse still, some will tell me, I’ve got this new boss who is female, I’m doomed, implying females will be terrible bosses, even before they got to know the new boss and find out what sort of a person she is. There may be lousy female bosses, but the lousy comes with who they are, not what gender they are. How unfair it is for good bosses if they happen to be female.

I know of a man who crochets as a hobby. He is not “sissy” in any way and he crochets simply because he enjoys making things out from pictures he has in his mind. I know of a female who is a very maternal mother and at the same time rides a humongous harley davidson and teaches martial arts. The reproductive organs they are born with doesn’t limit them to certain hobbies or certain professions - they chose to do what they are doing because they happen to be good at it and they love what they are doing. And in the same vein, any other person’s reproductive organs shouldn’t be limiting them to what they like and can do either.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions. Both these mental heuristics are very clearly, extremely unfair for the disadvantaged group. To have a belief that one is good, and hence acting on the self-fulfilling prophecy and really becoming good is of course, great. But to have the misfortune of belonging to the group which is being stereotyped as lousier, poorer, more negative also means that individuals of this group tend to believe it and become this way as well, regardless of how good or bad this person actually is. Isn’t this something we who call ourselves progressive and advanced and enlightened should strive to eliminate? This unfairness and giving people labels before finding out who they really are?

As our world gets more and more advanced and physical hurdles can be more and more easily solved with technology, the differences between gender grows less and less. After all, who needs brute strength nowadays? Sadly though, plenty of our mindset do not change with the times.

Females, by depending simply on their brains instead of competing via physical strength, can be as good as males. Note I do not imply that females are BETTER than males. I believe both to be equal. There are just as many intelligent males as there are females, the gender shouldn’t play a part.

However, because of the deeply ingrained beliefs, many females are disadvantaged because they believe themselves to be not as good. And many people believe females to be not as good too, and thus give them a much harder time to prove themselves.

Whether you are male or female, think about it. Do you want the world to be so unfair? We are definitely not born all equal, but let this show through our real attributes, our real characters, our real abilities. Do not let the fact that one has a certain type of reproductive organs affect how you perceive who that person really is. Come on, do a little to make a world a better place and make feminism your way of life from today!

A lengthy post…

This may come a little late, but the more I pondered upon it, the more I felt I had to get what I wanted to say out of my system.

This post was penned by one who was born and  bred in the upper echelons of life. Like many from a privileged background, they have no opportunities of seeing how the other group - the under-privileged group - of society lived. Actually, they are not to be  blamed. Unless they are someone who, like the author, had a chance to live outside her cocoon for a while, or they are really people who take the huge amount of effort, outside their daily lives, to live and breathe and feel the lives of  the other group of people, most are unable to comprehend how the lives of the under-privileged group are.

Think about it. If you don’t have something, warm food, warm clothing, you can imagine how it is like to have. It will probably even, be what is constantly in your thoughts. After all, we are wired in such a way as to want comfort, ease and pleasure.

However, if on the other hand, you have  something. A full stomach, a roof over your head. Unless you force yourself to, you will not, out of no reason, keep thinking about  being hungry or sleeping on the streets at night. And even when you do think about it, it will take effort to maintain this thinking because we are simply not wired to keep thinking and feeling unpleasant things.

I would believe this extends to other aspects as well. A well-paid surgeon, isn’t likely to spend a lot of her waking moments thinking about  how a coffee-shop helper toils each day and the worries of paying for her rental one-room flat and buying that rice for the Chinese New Year. In all likelihood, the surgeon will be wondering how long she has to queue for her bak kua at the famous stall this year for the Chinese New Year and how it might make her late for her reunion dinner at some posh hotel later in the evening. I have to reiterate, this isn’t any uncaringness on the part of the well-paid surgeon. In her life, she is probably a kind and caring soul as well, going into her line of  work because she wanted to alleviate pain from the sick. But like every other being, her brain is simply not wired to dwell on unpleasant things. And furthermore, she might not even be aware of the unpleasant things. How much does the coffeeshop helper earn each month? How does it feel like living in a one-room flat and having to worry about paying the rent? how does it feel like to worry that the boss of the coffeeshop might give her the sack any day because she is getting old and frail and cannot work as well as a younger “foreign talent”. How is it to get up everyday praying you won’t fall sick because missing a day’s work gives the boss even more reason to terminate you.

This is not simply about being compassionate. It is about having the experience of living in the shoes of others.

And the way I see it, this is where the problem lies nowadays. We can complain endlessly about how lives are getting more and more difficult and the leaders of our land can reassure us they are looking into it and they are finding the best solutions for us, but getting nowhere in the end. Not because the leaders make empty promises. No, I still believe, whether competent or not, the leaders of our land are still relatively conscientious people. They do, to the best of their abilities, try to do the best they can. But how far their abilities go is another matter.

A part of the problem lies in the fact that there is a widening income (and status) gap forming in our society. Decades ago, we could boast that we have one of the highest income-mobility in the world. Not so now. We are getting to be like many other societies where if you were born to a lower income group, chances are likely you will stay there for life. And so would your next generation, and the next, and the next.

The rich can afford a lot of tuition and other academic help for their children. And these children have nothing to worry about except go for this class and that. And if in the end they are still unable to get good grades, well forget local universities. There are plenty of overseas universities to choose from. And they do not have to worry about the tuition costs at all.

The poor on the other hand, might find it difficult even to make ends meet. But many will still scrimp and save to let their children who may not be doing too well academically to go for some tuition, in the hopes that they might, just might, do well enough to become a little less poor. Even those children who are academically bright, might have to work during the school holidays or even term-time, because everyone needs to have a computer nowadays, everyone carries a handphone. And overseas exchange trips costs a whole lot too. And if they do well enough, even with the government’s tuition grants, the cost of a local university education is at least 20-30 thousand. The very very bright might get scholarships and bursaries, the rest, it means to be slapped with a 30k debt the moment they graduate.

Yes, they can use their parents’ CPF monies. But if their parents have spent the money on paying for their flat, they won’t have much left. (I’m talking about normal everyday people who have a monthly pay of 1-2 thousand, not obscenely paid people.) Or even if they have, what if they have a few children they need to see through university? AND even if this particular child uses his/her parents’ CPF, they will have to pay it back the moment they graduate. And interests start accumulating the day they graduate. And if this child is the first child to use his/her parents’ CPF for university education, and uses up the money in it, he/she might also have to think about helping out when his/her younger siblings enter the university. Even before this poor youngster has stepped out into the society to work, he/she is already being sucked dry.

How many people are aware about this fact? Perhaps all the policy-makers are aware, but only at a hazy, I-know-such-a-think-exists level. They have never felt it deeply in their bones. But all of us, children of families of the middle to lower income group, live this awareness. My family was not very very poor; we had roof over our heads, we never had to go hungry although posh meals are out of the question, but paying my loans and debts and helping out with my family’s finances is something that is never far from my thoughts all throughout my school days. And even now. Although with a higher income than I had during my school days, this worry is diminishing a little.

What about people who are trying hard to make ends meet? The tired truck driver who drives 12-hour shifts because he wants to earn a little more, and because if he didn’t, the boss might just decide to get a foreign worker in his place because they can be paid less and they can work for longer hours since they do no have to think about going home for dinner with their families. Is it because this truck driver is lazy and that is why he makes so little? Those in the higher-levels of society who have never lived such lives might believe that our society is still based on meritocracy. That if you work hard enough you will definitely earn more. That if you work really really hard, you can become one of the rich too.

Well, sad to say, this is really not the reality for the tired truck driver. With all the overtime pay and no vacations or time offs, he might make enough to 1) pay for his HDB loan, 2) buy the basic necessities for his family, 3) give money to his aging parents. Beyond this is just pure dreaming. So you say it’s because he didn’t have a good enough education? He had to work his way through school, and that left no time to focus on his studies. And now, it is impossible to go back to school to get a higher qualification. Aside from the fact that making enough money for the above 3 points is hard enough not to mention having to set aside some for school fees, if this truck driver took time off from work for studies, this employer might just get someone else in his place. A cheaper worker.

So where is meritocracy? Meritocracy happens only for the upper echelons of society. That is where it is.

Now you might think it is the unfeelingness of the employer of the truck driver that made things so difficult for the poor truck driver. So this employer has to give higher pay to the driver, grant him time off from work for furthering his education, time off for his family. Now what happens to this employer? Is anyone going to give him enough subsidies for this? If not, who is going to help him if his company goes into the red? Yes, there is subsidies from the government to these people and companies who encourage their employees to upgrade themselves. But is it really enough to cover the costs?

And what are these courses about? Basic English, computer skills, how much will these help a truck driver if he wishes to work as something else? Yes, he can slowly work his way up to the ITE in some engineering courses perhaps, and even part-time diploma courses further on. So how long will this all take? 5 years? 10 years? How is he going to ensure his family survives for this 10 years?

I’m not saying there is absolutely no way for someone to climb up into a better life if they really want to. I’m just saying, its really very very tough to do so.

For the information of those in the upper class of society, many of the middle to low income group earns about 1 to 2 thousand per month. There are in fact many who earns even less. But we shall just take the upper limit and work our sums around there.

Let’s say a person earns 2000SGD.
He has to contribute 20% of it to CPF.
He gets $1800 each month.
He has aging parents to look after and his parents are unable to work. He gives them $500 for their monthly expenses. ($500 is barely enough to make ends meet for two people and it really isn’t a very fair way for people to come to the end of their useful and productive lives only to have to live frugally and worry about health and finances all the way until they expire.)
So this guy has $1300 left.
His meals at work everyday and his transport makes up $300 more.
(Think a bit about it. This meagre amount means no taxis at all and nothing more than mixed vegetables rice with a cup of coffee for lunch.)
That makes $1000 left. 

He has a wife who earns the same amount as he does and who also gives the same amount to her family and uses the same amount on her daily expenses.
So the combined amount they have for the household is $2000.

They have just gotten a HDB flat, which cost them $200k. They paid the 10% down payment with their CPF which means they have nothing much left inside. The 90% left, they took a 20-year loan. Which means they have to pay perhaps $1200 per month to service the loan. (I’m not very sure about the exact figures but I think my rough estimate is close. Correct me if I’m wrong.)
So $1200 means they have $800 left for their monthly household expenses.

Utility bills take up $100, phone, internet bills another $120, $580 left.

They have to take their breakfast and dinner at home, which means perhaps 2-3 hundred for food. $300 left.
$300 left means no going out socializing with friends mind you, because going out means extra costs too. 

Now that is on the basis they do not have a child.
What happens when a child comes along? If a parent stops working to take care of the child, it means $2000 off their income. If both parents continue working, who is going to take care of the child. What if the parents on both sides of the family are too old and frail to take care of the child? How much does a childcare centre cost? How much does milk formula cost? How much extra costs if the child goes into primary school? If the child is going to have tuition? What happens if there are 2 or even 3 children?

What if one of the parents fall ill and has to be hospitalized? Hospital bills, even subsidized hospital bills can wind up to be quite substantial. What if an accident happens and either spouse cannot work for a while or has to be hospitalized? How much will it cost? Where can they get the money from?

And remember, I took $2000 as the couple’s monthly pay. Don’t forget there are plenty who earns much less. And perhaps not both will earn the same amount. There may also be some, for one reason or another, has a spouse who is unable to work. Not unwilling, but unable. These people will definitely be much worse off than the couple in my example above.

What about people who do not want to, or can not, for some reason or other, get married? I’m not just talking about the LGBT community; there are plenty of straight people out there who can not or do not want to settle down too. These people will find it almost impossible to have their own place if they do not earn obscenely high pay. I do not think that carrying on living with parents is very healthy for the society, but that I will have to explain in another post.

And what about people who are separated and have to raise their children on their own, and who just earns a normal amount of pay like most of us? It is definitely going to be a huge financial burden, not to say support for this group of people in our society is really way too little.

Somewhat long-winded, but you get the idea of things.

Or does it mean if you cannot earn enough, then you are not suited to raise a child? Or to have the privilege of living in your own place? Or to enjoy a lot of things people in the upper echelons of society never even think twice about? Well, it probably looks so in our society here.

People in the upper echelons of society, take a look. Things are very different down here.

So now, back to my premise.
The main problem we have now, is that those who are supposed to be the leaders of our nation, most if not all, come from this upper echelon of society. Like what I’ve said before, it’s not because they are cold-hearted or in-compassionate, they just have never been in the shoes of most of us.

It is about opening of the the eyes and minds and hearts. Yes, it may be crazy, but perhaps everyone has to experience living as a normal everyday person on the streets before they can make decisions as a leader. No, it doesn’t just mean perhaps having a go at spending only $2000 for a month or two and then byebye, back to my ivory tower. It means really feeling the worries and burdens of having to make ends meet, with the prospect that it might be for life. That will definitely open up a totally new perspective.

Of course, it’s easy writing about it, but you can never really have it be this way in real life. Unless you take socialism to the extreme. But it will end up a different case if we were in a socialistic society since our problems arose from being in a capitalistic society. But I’m sure socialism is not what we want either.

So is there a solution? I’m really not sure. The only way out for us now is to re-channel our efforts at leveling the playing field, so to speak. To provide equal opportunities for the rich and the poor. And the easiest place to start would perhaps be in the schools. A free education, education that does not promote elitism, that does not overly emphasize competition but cooperation. If children need computers for their daily homework, provide free ones for every single child. Even though almost every child has access to a computer nowadays, many people have no idea how much it took for the family of a poor child to scrimp and save and come up with enough to buy one.

While it is encouraging that there is so much overseas exchanges taking place in schools nowadays, perhaps sponsoring for such trips might be a priority as well. If a child is from a rich family, they can go to every trip there is. But a child from a poor family might pass on every chance of an exchange not because they do not want to go, but because they know that it is impossible for their family to squeeze out the extra, be it even just a few hundred, for the trip.

Yes, all these takes money, a lot of it. But isn’t investing in this much more valuable than investing in anywhere else? After all, this is going to change the whole of our society. With the cut in ministers’ salaries, the huge amount they get from foreign workers’ levies, from fines and ERPs and what nots, I’m sure they can cover the costs to make sure the playing field is leveled a little more for the next generation, if not for this.

And for the rest of us, I think it’s time we opened our eyes more, open our minds and hearts. Our country is small, that cannot be helped. And a lot of problems thus arise because of our small size, including lack of choices and variety and opportunities (I might elaborate on this in another post if I feel not so lazy). But the least we can do is to step out of our comfort zone and look at how much differences there are in the world. And it does not mean any way of living or thinking is better than another, just different, and each way may be best suited to cope with certain needs of a certain society or problem.

Look at the variety of possible ways of living and thinking. And some solutions to seemingly insolvable problems might stare at you straight in the face if you can open your mind enough to it.

First day of the rest of the year.

The past year have seen endings, and new beginnings. I could choose to look back and be sad, but I can also choose to remember I dared to let go and I dared to step out.

Remembering that life is ever changing. Perhaps something which we hold dear is no longer the same, but I want to remember to have the courage to put it down if it happens, and look at the future with anticipation. That is better than living in stagnation, no matter how terrible it is going to hurt at the moment. I want to remember that.

To have the courage to feel every emotion. That means I’m alive! And not fear and shut out a part of my feelings.

I hope for an exciting year and may I have the courage and the zest to experience every single moment, be it good or bad.

of lice…

Lousy. That’s how I feel right now.

Anyway, is lousy derived from louse?
As in the singular of lice?
Because if it is, why does lousy mean lousy?
Because I think lice are not lousy at all;
They are tiny, they move fast, they evade all attempts to catch them, they reproduce like mad, they drive anyone with lice in them crazy.

So, lousy isn’t really lousy is it? 

obsession

Been obsessed with this recently.
So beautiful!
I love the Marius in the 10th anniversary, and I love the Gavroche in the 25th.
Lea Salonga rocks and I can’t decide which Valjean I like better.
Now these videos are on loop over and over and over and over…. 

I wasn’t from a well-to-do family. All through my growing up years, I was constantly reminded that we couldn’t afford this, we better make do without that, we do not need to spend such money, it is hard to come by. It was a way of life, that after coming out to work for many years, I’ve left far behind. I cannot imagine myself now scrimping and saving like I did years before, or perhaps, I do not want to imagine myself that.

But don’t get me wrong. This is not to begrudge my poverty-stricken childhood. In actual fact, I didn’t think myself or my family under-privileged then. Because my friends, my neighbors, everyone around me were just like me. None of my friends went for any ballet lessons, enrichment classes, and I’ve never ever had tuition my entire school life. (For the information of non-Singaporean readers out there, tuition is part and parcel of a child’s school “curriculum” now because marks is everything and parents will do anything to make sure their child gets the best marks, even if it means nearly killing the child.)

Actually, I was slightly more privileged than some other friends because I got to learn the piano. (And partly it was because of a lucky coincidence that the community centre near my house offered lessons at $25 per month, for many many years; I learnt there until I completed my grade 6. Can you believe it, less than $6 per lesson!)

By the time I was in Secondary 4, my weekly allowance was $10. WOW! That $10 included all my transport costs, and whatever lunch I might need to buy if I had to stay back in school for the afternoon. But amazingly, I managed, and could even afford new music books and even some cassette tapes once in a while. (I’m not that old to be in the pure cassette tape era - there were CDs! but cassette tapes were selling much cheaper than CDs so I bought cassette tapes, and I still have my collection of cassette tapes now.)

Oh, but of course I supplemented my income by working in the school holidays. Going overseas for a holiday with the family? Neither me nor my friends ever heard about such a thing except in the TV serials. Extra school activities in the school holidays? Somehow there didn’t seem to be as much activities then as there are now. We could work full-time in the school holidays. And what jobs didn’t my friends and I do? We took whatever work we could find, whoever would employ us. It was a joy when we turned 15 because then we could be more “rightfully” employed. I think there still is a law which prevents people from employing kids younger than 15 if I’m not wrong. We could only distribute flyers on the streets or in letter boxes or work in macdonalds before we were 15. But after that, the range of jobs widened.

Fast forward to my junior college days, I started giving tuition. Yes, tuition was becoming more and more important. An extra $200 per month made me feel wonderfully rich! But by then, I paid for my own piano lessons. And I had already finished grade 8 (and was no longer learning in the community centre) which means my piano fees were a whooping $180 per month. Ok, $20 left for my “other expenses”. But my friends and I continued to work in the school holidays and I believed I was able to afford certain luxuries once in a while, although of course there were no iPhones or iPads or high tech stuff to tempt me then.

After A-levels, we had half a year before going into university. What else would we do but FIND WORK! And this was the first real longer-term full-time work we did and let me tell you, I did feel wonderfully rich then! I could finally afford erhu lessons, and even buy a violin of my own, albeit a cheap one.

And in between the semesters during our university days, what else did we do but, WORK! Overseas exchange, going on holidays with friends, that was all a dream. But I guess it will matter much more now than last time because everyone seems to be doing it now. Then, going overseas was something rare. But now I think not going is the rare thing.

I remember we had one occasion during our secondary school days when there was an overseas trip. I went home and asked for permission to go. Of course I was blasted about that for a very very very very long time. “What a waste of money, you think money grows on trees? You won’t get your O-levels going there. I bet you all are going there just to have fun….and so on and so on.” I never ever bothered to ask again if I might go on any overseas trip because I couldn’t afford anyway.

And after I graduated from university, guess what my friends and I did? Go on a graduation trip? Yes, in my dreams. My friends and I went to look for temporary work. So that we could earn some money before we each find our respective long-term employment.

Now as I look around, besides the few friends who have been with me through my growing-up years, I don’t think anyone has those same experiences we had. Many friends I know who are in the same age group as I am, never had to work during their school holidays. I think it is also safe to bet that no one can imagine living on a $10 weekly allowance which includes transport, meals and buying school stuff.

I look at all my students, their parents send them for lessons and it’s not just erhu lessons. They have all sorts of other enrichment classes and activities, and each school holiday, they go overseas for a getaway.

Schools, even as young as primary schools, have overseas trips and huge groups of students get to go and see and experience another country, another culture, other people. What a wealth of experiences these young people are going to accumulate!

My students, as young as 7 or 8 get to have iPhones, their own computer, iPads, gameboys, xboxes, what have you, while I got my first computer at the ripe old age of 19, thank you very much. Just recently I overheard my 14 year-old student talk about html coding which I was learning about only at the ripe old age of 20, after plugging in to the internet for a year since I got my computer at 19.

My primary school students are talking about what apps they can download in their iPhones while yours truly got her first iPhone at the ripe old age of….heheh…I shall not reveal.

I’m wondering, if it is really a different era I grew up in, or was it a different strata of society I grew up in. Somehow, I found the people around me, all my friends, were in similar circumstances as me. But now, besides those few very good friends I still keep in touch with, other friends whom I get to know after my growing-up years, do seem to have a very different life when they were growing up. And needless to say, my students from the younger generation are a in a way different league.

Probably, no, most likely, I grew up amongst the less-privileged, and it seemed just normal because people around me are in just the same circumstances as me. As my life changed, I gradually moved away from the society I grew up in, not because of anything else but simply because our lives do not cross. I work, and the people I meet are my colleagues who do the same things as me, and off work, I meet up with the few good friends I have who are also living a very different life from when we were all growing up. I get to see students who are mostly from the more fortunate walks of life because after all, their families can afford to send them for costly music lessons.

But this does not make the group of less-privileged people disappear. They are still there - there is a group of people who are still trying hard to make ends meet. There is perhaps a little girl out there who has to work through her school holidays to afford things that she wants. There are probably many young people out there who wishes to learn a musical instrument but they know their family can never spare the money to send them for lessons.

And these are the group of people I want to remember I want to work for. I want to teach in the Chinese Orchestras in schools because that might be the only chance these young people get to learn an instrument. I want to give these young people a chance to learn and appreciate and enjoy music and not for schools to simply want results. To squeeze the students to make them get as many gold as possible but in the end to walk away from it only remembering a bitter aftertaste of learning music.

striking a chord

This beautiful musical never fails to make a giRaffe cry.
And crying isn’t always a bad thing. 

to never stop writing…

It may not be much, but I do not want to stop writing.

Writing makes me think, and hence clear my mind of the clutter. The world may be moving fast without time for a breath, but I do not want to be led by the pace of the world. I want to lead my own pace. The pace of life that will enable me to feel every moment, deeply. The pace that may hurt painfully, but also live fully. I do not want a half life, a life just rolling along.

I want to remember to live every single day, meaningfully.

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