Who am I? What am I? Where am I? Where am I headed to? I really don't know. RNFI. Really No F**king Idea. A cynic, an idealist, a person with ideas, but NATO. Am I? I really don't know. RNFI. Really No F**king Idea.

Friday, June 10, 2005


i went for this book discussion thing. it was an activity organised under the Read! Singapore project. the book we discussed was one called Tangerine by Colin Cheong. in and upon itself, the book didn't have much depth. but as usual, i would not pass up an opportunity for a talk fest :)

whenever i get into a discussion, it is not so much that i want to push my opinions on another person, but to engage the other person in assisting me to sharpen my thoughts, to look at issues from new perspectives. and true enough, that is what happened. here are some of the thoughts arising from the book discussion:

i think one of the recurring themes that i've been thinking about lately is the inability of modern singaporeans to connect with one another on a personal, human level. i've already written about how we digitise individuals (and by extrapolation, life in general...) in my blog. and i believe that that is symptomatic of a deeper problem of our emotional isolation. we are cloistered in our own little flourescent lit pigeon holes, building walls around our hearts. if we can't even connect with each other, with our 'friends', our neighbours, our family members, how can we possibly expect to connect with something as nebulous a concept as our nation?

Aslam mentioned something about survival. that up till now, our nation has been doing a very good job of surviving. and at that moment, i realised that surviving doesn't equate to living. there are people who survive without having ever truly lived.

Liesel mentioned that the issue that Nick (the main character in the book) faced is something that is perhaps rather common amongst the younger people in Singapore: that we work so hard, fighting and struggling, but never really getting what we want. the immediate question that came to mind was whether we actually know what we want. perhaps that is the reason why we are so frustrated, that after fighting so hard, struggling so much, and after we finally achieve all our material comforts, we realise that we aren't satisfied, that perhaps that that is not really all that we want. that perhaps there is more. and this is what i mean when i say that perhaps living is not merely surviving. it's when we realise what we truly want in live and going all out for it. even if that means threatening our survival.

and at that moment, after i thought about that, i realised why my parents can be so happy pursuing merely material gains. because they aren't pursuing those material gains for themselves, but for my brother and me. they have dedicated their entire lives to making our lives better than theirs. and it is the parental love that they have for us that drives them, that has transformed an otherwise base pursuit for material gain into something noble, something sublime, turning their fight for survival into a beautiful journey of true living.

this is actually a theme that is very evident in Kenshin. Kenshin is this anime that i've been watching. i'm almost through it. the main character, Kenshin, gives up his life as an assasin, vowing to atone for his sins by using his skill to protect those around him. and it is this determination that drives him. but he still struggles with the demon within him. that is until he finds a group of friends whom he loves and whom love him. and it is this bond of friendship, of love that then spurs him to push his limits, that finally delivers him from the demons of his past. it is this love that fuels his desire to live, to never give up.

the anime actually explores a few more other themes. but i shan't go into them just yet. perhaps at a later time. in any case, i think it's a marvellous anime. it actually has some deeper meaning to it. and it is quite aesthetically pleasing (hahahaha... coming from me... most things are aesthetically pleasing...). i would recommend it. though if you watch only one anime in your entire life, it's got to be the Ghost in the Shell movie.

so... what do you live for? who do you live for?


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