Sunday, October 07, 2007


Thoughts came to me while looking simultaneously doing a few things - reading Gauthier for PHIL230A (Moral Theory), thinking about the sermon given by Geoff (UC's head pastor), and looking at photos on Facebook. And all of this was done after I came back through a blitzing shower of pouring rain, with a big yellow umbrella in hand.

Well, I guess it really was the photos on Facebook that got me thinking. I saw photos of 7B on Changfang's profile. My old class back in Hwa Chong. And then I realized how far I've come in my journey alone in Canada.

The day I left Singapore was the day I left Choops. A few years later, she would leave me too. My mom would leave me here to figure out how to become more independent. And then I'd start building up a group of friends here, of people I'd know.

I've been thinking about that moment when I was left alone. Here. Back home in Canada. Paradoxically foreign. I was atheist, back then. And I thought, I'd be able to fend for myself here. I know English, I still sound Canadian, and I'm probably going to be able to adapt here. I was wrong. Being alone isn't easy - thinking about Tim Christie's (PHIL230A lecturer) thought experiment of the lone survivor after a superbug can certainly get one thinking about sanity and reason. But that's an extreme digression.

Geoff mentioned how sometimes, in our walk through life, we grasp and feel but cannot sense the presence of God. It's almost as if we're out there wandering on our own. It's how I've felt for the past two years. And I still don't know where I'm going.

Suddenly, this year, I've been able to maintain a 100% record (that sounds soooo like ESPN Soccernet) going into my academics. Yet suddenly, this year, I have become more like a recluse. I have opened myself up less to my friends, and I think in part it's because I'm so afraid to expose myself. Yet, isn't that part of being friends, that we all get to know each other a bit better, slowly? I couldn't picture myself doing that.

They always say, it's always good to have a friend or a buddy to walk with you through life. And I'm glad for finding Jesus to walk with me through that journey. But Jesus isn't somebody who I can see, hear or sense physically. He's a person who exists out there, still present, but sensed with our hearts. Oh the pain, sometimes, not to know that there's another physical person out there who's in the same situation as I am with whom I can communicate - it's a lonely journey, is it not?

I don't fit completely well with Singaporeans, in part because I identify myself as being Canadian more than Singaporean, and in part because of painful memories associated with the booming little island. I don't fit completely well with people from Mainland China, in part because I don't think like them very much. Heck, I don't even fit very well with Canadians born here - because I'm not that completely Canadian to start with. I'm a hodgepodge of cultures blended into one. 中西并筹. East Meets West, in my very own unique degree.

That ain't fun, I guess, because people here can be pretty homogeneous. By homogeneous, I mean clumpy homogeneous. That is to say, people gather into cliques in which I don't completely fit in very well. I hang out with a lot of grad students, but I'm not one of them. I can hang out with undergrads well, but ultimately, I don't think like them. I hang out with my friends from China, but I don't speak as well as they do, and we have some ideological differences at times. I hang out with my Chinese Canadian friends, but they're very Westernized. And Canadians themselves -- I dunno.

I call this place home because I'm born here, and because I can identify some parts of my life with this place. But it can be tough being so uniquely myself here. Especially when I have such a strong personality that doesn't endear itself to any particular group of people. Not that I wanna be popular - I rather enjoy some degree of seclusion. But the amount I'm getting now, having to walk through this journey of my life alone for two years - it's getting really dreary.

When will I find that friend, that buddy, who knows how I'm feeling?

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