Feb 27, 2014

On Another's Sorrow

Can I see another's woe
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear -

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast...
And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?

He doth give His joy to all;
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O, He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy,
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

William Blake, Songs of Innocence (Adapted)

The Little Black Boy

My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white;
White as an angel is the English child: 
But I am black as if bereav'd of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree 
And sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And pointing to the east began to say. 

Look on the rising sun: there God does live 
And gives his light, and gives his heat away. 
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning joy in the noonday.

And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love, 
And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear 
The cloud will vanish we shall hear his voice. 
Saying: come out from the grove my love & care,
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.

Thus did my mother say and kissed me, 
And thus I say to little English boy. 
When I from black and he from white cloud free,
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy: 

Ill shade him from the heat till he can bear, 
To lean in joy upon our fathers knee. 
And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,

And be like him and he will then love me.

William Blake, Songs of Innocence

Feb 26, 2014


Came across a tumblr featuring Singaporean girls for "pure masturbating pleasure". And they're mostly just average pictures of average girls at average places. Wearing average things, like things you wear when you're going out on an average day, or even just normal school attire. Some bikinis, but few are suggestive. Sorry but most of them aren't even pretty. Some are smiling, some are making funny faces. I'm like, wts bro, your standards are unbelievably low, I feel so sorry for you. I'm honestly just like what, do you freaking think of wanking when you're walking down orchard road? or when you're running a freaking marathon??? what??? Nothing is safe online. Nothing. I thought ugly girls were safe, but no. Wts.

toradora musings | parallels

I was always relying on Ryuuji. On his kindness. But those times have passed. Minorin will definitely fall for Ryuuji, and Ryuuji truly likes Minorin. In other words, they both like each other. Then I won’t be able to stay by Ryuuji’s side anymore. I won’t be able to walk by his side. The one beside Ryuuji  won’t be me. I don't...want that.

It's so sad, you say, and I say Taiga's dilemmas are so much like mine. You lie there silent for a long while, curled up, your head against my hip as the cheerful Christmas song plays, until I reach out to hit 'Next'.

Taiga doesn't have to deal with this in the end, but I must find a way to resolve these issues within myself. I have no idea how to, and while Taiga is strong on her own anyhow, I think my struggles point to a larger problem that will be extremely destructive for myself in the future.

I guess for now it's good enough to know that someone bothered enough to depict it in anime. That it's possibly relatable enough, common enough, or at least something the producers think people can sympathise with. It's nice knowing you're not alone in little ways like these (and also in the lovely one who comes knocking on my door, who reminds me that a few steps away lies the same whirlwind contained within another soul).

There are times when you look at a person's problem and think "I've been there before, and I know it hurts so immensely when you're in the middle of it all, but I know it will be okay, things will work themselves out with a bit of time, it will be okay." I wish someone could tell me this too, but I don't think things will just fall into place like that. I don't know how to deal with it, and when I'm older things might snowball and I might become terrible.

Things have been lovely the past few days, and I'm very grateful to you for it. I'm very grateful for the months of unspoken misunderstandings laid out on the table, for your maturity in dealing with all of it with me, for how there is again a reassurance and a comfort. But the root of the problem, the hole within myself, can never be resolved by anyone else.

This is something only I can fix, and I have no idea how. I guess all I can do is try whatever advice I've been given. I was told by you that it is possibly because of my low self-esteem, how I always put myself down. You say that maybe if I am more confident about my abilities and find that I can do things myself, it will lead to a sort of self-sufficiency, where I don't need other people to fill the holes in my soul for me. But my abilities don't have to do with my emotional dependence of people, I argue, but what do I know? It's worth a shot.

Feb 23, 2014


Just once, we say. Give it a try. You won’t know what it’s like until you do it. Life is about digging deeper into that wealth of human experience.

You are afraid, tentative. You keep an eye on the way of escape just in case. Step out -

mm feel the freedom. feel it sing to you. liberation happiness

The next time it is easier, and the third time you don’t give it a thought, and before you know it you can’t wait to get back behind closed doors

Feb 22, 2014

ghosts gabrielle aplin

I'm sick and tired of hanging out my window
I've learnt from past experience rain can't make flowers grow
And friends don't stick around
They go which way the wind blows
You're never safe and sound 'til all the doors are closed

When you're awake and your own shadows turn into ghosts

Soon it will all fall apart and their roads will have no way
And you'll be the one laughing as their fences fade away
And instead of being left there, feeling all alone
Break down the house you made of matchsticks and set fire to their throne

Home becomes what you're scared of the most

Home becomes what you're scared of the most
When shadows turn into ghosts
It's what you're scared of the most

I'm pulling pictures off the wall watching smiles as they fall

Feb 21, 2014

a decade ago it was handwritten notes

on foolscap paper that we'd crush into a ball and throw from the back to the front of the class when the teacher wasn't looking. all our classmates knew, and she knew we were doing it too, and she knew splitting us up wasn't working, but she closed an eye anyway since we were the top scorers in her class.

big voice goes on like rapid gunfire. there are only so many words per minute one can take. drown it out. in the sterile atmosphere i look over. "i am done with this it's killing me"

jokes and sarcasm and whining

and then you say "hey by the way": a beckoning, a knock on the windowpane: i see that while you're physically in this classroom, you've climbed out of it in your mind, and you're inviting me to join you outside

and i open that window

and a torrent of words rush in, words that wrap around me and hold my hands. we are moths to flame; we singe our wings but it’s okay because maybe, maybe we were made to fly, made to know more than darkness somehow.

but i hate it, i hate these cigarette burns, and i want to gouge my heart out. there and then in the sterile white light i am holding back tears. "i think love is a very scary and painful thing," i blurt out: right there in the classroom the people fade away. you take my gift, you hold it, and you exchange that shred of my heart with a bit of yours, too. right there in the rapid gunfire we dig into the deepest of ourselves and slowly lay out the pieces. we are in another world: our embrace forms a bubble around us. we are back in a little room alone, on the floor, all bare, all broken.

for dylan and kevin

[ i will follow you into the dark: lyrics]

forgive the voice (and the horrid intro) - i would redo it a million times if the voice was what mattered. it's not about the singing it's about the words, the message i would like to give you. here is a song that means a lot to me, that i treat very preciously, and that i don't give away easily. this is to the two of you.


i let my feet dangle. the wind plays at my feet, nudges at my calves. see, it comes to me, cheerful, unreserved. if i could open my windows wider i would embrace it in full. my happy companion.

i have cried too much in your presence, in anyone's presence; the tears mean nothing now, worthless in their abundance. but the pain, the pain is still real, fresh, valuable.


you are beautiful in every inch of honesty, in how you are willing to bare the deeper sides of yourself. you are beautiful because you are not afraid to admit your insecurities. and not many people are bold enough to do that. we like to talk about the things we're good at, or what makes us happy. but our fears, our fears eat away at us, and we don't want to associate ourselves with the words publicly because we don't want people to go "well, what makes you hope you're any better?" or "yeah, i guess you are such and such." i think i have an ugly face. and i don't talk about it much because i don't want people to go "you say that because you want people to say you aren't". or "what do you expect? you expect more of your face?". but you, you are brave. you are brave and your worries are just so weird because in my opinion you have absolutely no reason to feel that insecurity at all, and yet it seems so real to you.

at a birthday party recently, when i arrived, my tall and really skinny friend apparently whispered to my other friend "walao why's she so skinny, i don't want to eat anymore". just under an hour later when we were taking photos i said without thinking "dammit why do i look so ugly". there, there; we write our insecurities on little pills and we drop them here and there without realising. it shows. it shows.

you are beautiful because you are so open and honest about these things, and yet you are reflexive. you reflect on these thoughts and you know the beautiful reconciliations, and you articulate them so elegantly, too. i think writing is beautiful. turning your innermost thoughts, insecurities and reflections into written expression is beautiful. and your broken and tender heart, your heart so hidden in God, that cries out with these fears; as you spill those pills of insecurity you leave a trail of beauty, too.


Feb 20, 2014

the nature of sympathy

"Nature, in giving men tears, bears witness that she gave the human race the softest hearts...
Reason is what engenders egocentrism, and reflection strengthens is. Reason is what turns man in upon himself. Reason is what separates him from all that troubles him and afflicts him. Philosophy is what isolates him and what moves him to say in secret, at the sight of a suffering man, "Perish if you will; I am safe and sound."

Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (Part 1)

on love's imbalance

"it happens, in general too; sometimes we need people more than they need us. Sometimes we give just because we want to be able to 'be important' to someone, but then not being adequately appreciated stings. Not that it's bad or dumb to give, but asymmetry is a fact of humanity."
(Pei Yun)

i still maintain my theory of love being largely unreciprocated, and more like a chain of giving - while we all have the capacity to love and give, it is just so rare, so rare for two people to love each other intensely in the same degree. (romantic or otherwise.) and i used to be so frustrated about this. about how i relentlessly gave, and gave, and seemed hardly ever to receive; while he gave and gave to another, and felt likewise. so ironic. so ironic that we don't see the love we have in front of us, while we give ourselves away to another vessel instead. i still do get frustrated over this, although less so now, because i am on my way to feeling less, giving and being less, and being more self-sufficient instead.

but i am trying to see it in a different light. we don't do things for people because we expect it to be returned; hard as it may be, we shouldn't love people while expecting to receive it in the same amount from them. love is freely given, without strings attached. giving is my own choice. when i give, that's my problem, and not your responsibility.

Kevin said this to me way back last May - he does his best for himself, and doesn't expect anything of anyone, because they will probably disappoint you. You do what needs to be done in a project, and don't expect them to put in as much effort as you did. You give someone something that will help them, and don't expect them to make good use of it.
I remember saying that it was a ridiculous way of thinking - he was trying to defy the basic principles of give and take. It might be practical, but it's counter-intuitive, and you can't expect to go on like this and be totally fine with it. There is no sense of mutual trust in this, and trust is a huge part of our lives.

I'm starting to see it in myself now though - to be okay with giving and not receiving, to be okay with pouring myself out to people without expecting the same; love is a choice, and I am happy to love, but it isn't right to impose a responsibility on other people because of your decisions.

souls embark

words in whispered mumblings because we cannot afford to give our secrets away to the walls. in the space between us the air is thin, our ears are heightened to catch every syllable, every crack. close but our eyes are distant; further apart but our gazes meet. not like the old days anymore - the small words are blanketed with reassurance: in the mess things are okay. things are okay. in the most casual and comfortable of hugs and muffled words we know it is okay to rely.

Feb 19, 2014

i will follow you into the dark

knocks and you're in before i can respond: the usual ball of bouncy cheerful light that you are. and you're just talking as you remove your socks, your shoes. "what happened?" "nothing"

"nothing needs to happen"

a snap. curl up, shaking; all i can do is hold you. i love you and i cannot bear your pain for you but i would cut my own flesh if it would stop your bleeding. my heart aches with your sickness anyhow. i whisper it's okay to feel this way. it's okay to cry.

"nobody knows"

as i curl up over you on the floor i muse at how just a couple of years ago it was always me: i was always the hopeless dreadful case, the bag of tears, the one who never lifted her head when she walked; the one who was afraid of reflective surfaces, afraid of what she wouldn't see. the one who always yearned, the one who couldn't deal with the daggers.

not anymore. i have decided that love is too hard, too painful, and now i run away from the fire. but it has become my turn to be the seasoned, sympathetic heart, the arm that holds.

school, school is okay. the workload is tough, and the tests tell us we are not ready, but there is a structure, a guaranteed method; a way to navigate ourselves. read, think, ask questions. no one taught us how to handle this.

we are all veterans yet babies; we fall and fall but it is never enough.

you sit up, and we are quiet. we are okay, now, for now. a long stretch of quiet.

"gotta go." two seconds and you've picked up your stuff and are halfway through the door. you look out to make sure no one's there, and then you are gone, the bounce back in your steps, the alertness back in your eyes.

nobody knows

it is amazing, these masks so many of us put on and take off so instantly. like a hairband. a split second and our hair is down, long flowy tresses that tremble in the wind and change their sheen at every angle. off-guard, we are alive, colours violently splashed across the sky, a tumbling castle in its glorious devastation, an avalanche. silence. then a split second and we are prim and neat, fresh, spotless.

i can't do that much. when i'm a mess, it shows. my guard is too often down. and you must remember that i will sit by you and blend with your rainbow mess when you let your guard down, too.

nobody knows

a pool of sweat and tears remains on my floor.

Feb 18, 2014

The truth of our mess

- here's a poem Wan Ping posted. It made me think. It's true that our emotions are usually just bundles of mess - sparks and gushes. How do you tell others about these sparks and gushes? You convert it into words maybe, or music, or dance. You try and organise this fuzzy intense ball into braids and weaves, smooth lines that people can comprehend. But we will never fully satisfy the rages of emotion. How do you satisfactorily convey the way your heart is breaking? 

Perhaps you punch something and let it shatter, show them what the mess inside looks like. Maybe the only way to do it is to scream, or to cry; incoherent, messy pleas, because words can't do justice to your grief.

Fingers ceaselessly run over keys,
mindlessly so.
When rhythm is enduring,
stable and stabile,
Who is to say,
what is music and what is noise,
what is sound and what is sane.
If emotions separate
the good and the bad,
the mindless from the charged,
the sound from the mess,
and the finest from the mass.
What is emotions if not expressed,
if but in a state of mess,
bewildered so much so the player
can't play.
For all thoughts expressed
are but masks
passing through veils of men and prudence,
consciousness and language,
that confuses but tells no truth
about the confusion.
For the intangible to be tangible,
from the personal to the external,
music is lost,
and in its place
are notes—
arranged, organized
in accordance with judgement
that says nothing about emotions.

All we see are
Fingers, ceaselessly running over keys.

(Chua Wan Ping)

My grandmother

I'm not close to my grandmother. My family has dinner with her every Sunday, but she's usually talking to my parents in Cantonese. My grandmother is fiercely independent and strong - she's 84, and recently fell in the bathroom and dislocated her shoulder, and the doctor simply popped it back with no problem. She's also fiercely opinionated. For a long while after my granddad died, she warned me never to become a Christian, because my granddad died shortly after converting. (I, personally, am so grateful that God waited for him to turn to His love before finally releasing him of his immense physical suffering.) And later on she was like, well at least don't get baptised, because that way you can still conform to the religion of your future husband, and there won't be family disputes like that of my aunt.


So I'm not close to my grandmother, but she loves sharing about her past, which is why I was inspired to start that website for people to share their grandparents' war stories. I know she dotes on my brother and me, and she's very proud of us when we do well in school, and she keeps on telling us to listen to our parents and treat them well when we're older. She calls home when Mark or I am about to go overseas, and when we've just come back.

Recently she's been giving me a lot of food - pineapple tarts, honey pears and more. When she heard that I was getting a lot of mosquito bites in school, she very enthusiastically gave me some leaves of a plant she had grown. I think she thinks my hostel doesn't feed me, which isn't true, but is very useful hehe. This good ol' honey chrysanthemum tea has also been sweetened with a grandmother's care, and the crackers are actually really good!!! Buttery and crispy and apparently only 60 cents a pack! Sometimes grandmothers know best.

I'm not close to my grandmother, but I feel like she genuinely really cares for me. She keeps telling me to study hard and get a good job, and now I feel like when I'm here in my room studying or slacking off, I have a responsibility to her, too. To give her something to proudly boast about, and to make her feel like all the food she's giving me, the care she's showing me, is worth it.

love > strife

And after all that,

Today's meeting was really good, and I think we needed it. We needed to remember why we were here, and the beauty of our diversity. We needed to remember that we are so much more than the superficial labels that mark each of us. We needed to remember the spirit of love we have, and that here, we all want that atmosphere of trust, openness and vulnerability. We needed to remember what beautiful hearts are in this place.

I love this place and its people. I love how we will fight and pray for this school, and I love how all we want is to love one another boundlessly. 

Feb 15, 2014

cannot write or feel

Here's another thought: I can't seem to be able to do creative writing anymore, and it's really frightening. I think I can only write in a special, beautiful sort of pain. I'm often unable to conjure up that emotion myself, and when I can't, my writing comes out looking too forced and fake. I think the writings I like more are the ones I wrote in a twenty-minute spill (e.g. 'gentlemen'; 'do i really make you that happy?') instead of those I really spent time trying to conjure. when i'm trying, it shows in a bad way. My attraction to creative writing didn't come consciously; i simply felt my blog was an effective outlet for my all-too-powerful emotions. I only learnt to inject emotions into writing in '09, after my first breakup. Right now things are going great and I'm largely a happy person, and I also haven't written any satisfactory creative piece since...before college started.

This is sad. I know I love to write, and I am very unpolished and untrained but I would love to hone the skill; but I just can't, can't write somehow. Writing was the one thing I knew I wanted to do when I was thinking about university applications. If I don't pursue writing at all in the future, and leave it to be nothing more than a teenage hobby, would the 18-year-old me hate myself? It's the only comfort I have, my only refuge, the only skill I would dare to identify myself with. What is left now?

Maybe this post carries a little hint to why things are like that now. In all the pain that had nowhere to run, I became afraid to feel. I remember the days where I'd come home, my heart in a mess, and I'd just sit in front of the computer for half an hour and my fingers would fly and poetic prose would spill forth and then when I hit 'Publish' and saw my emotions on the screen, everything was okay again, and I'd be able to get back to my work. It was like childbirth. The pain would come, but it only intends for you to push it out and release a beautiful story into the world; once that piece has been created the pain goes away because its purpose has been fulfilled.
But those days stopped - the pain got too intense. And then later on, when things were good, I was afraid to feel pain once I knew a life apart from it. I actually ran from emotions, hated them, scolded myself for them, lifted them all back to God. Never to love like I loved again. Never to let the heart wrench and kill myself.

Even now, I am still afraid of the negative feelings. They don't translate into any sort of inspiration for writing anymore - or maybe it's just that I don't hurt as much as I used to now; I haven't hit the level of pain required to turn the shoka into shloka (grief into poetry HAHAHA sanskrit & the ramayana bitchez). Yup, I have recently determined to be self-sufficient, and to be responsible for my own joy, and I am in a very good place in my life right now. I'm happy. I'm not crumbling with pain like I used to. Is that a bad thing? I don't entertain sadness for long enough to make use of it anymore. I immediately scold myself, make myself feel better, don't think about the things that trouble me. Is that a bad thing?

Have I lost the capacity for creative writing? Maybe I'll have to wait for the next time I drown to tell.

random musings

I really enjoy reading about my friends' thoughts on their blogs. It's such a different side from the one you see in real life, the side of laughter and casual chats and jamming sessions. In writing you see a side that is reflexive. You see the side of them that things about bigger issues (whether bigger in society, or bigger within). I like the eloquence and thoughtfulness of it. It's a different type of voice.

I really like looking at people's handwriting for some reason. It's like, you see them talk and that's a voice of theirs. And when they write on paper, the way they write their name and the way their words look, it tells you about themselves in a different way. It's a part of them, too. It's like using a different sensory organ to learn about a person.

(musings on writing moved to separate post because i'm deciding to elaborate on it a bit further so it isn't casual and random anymore)

Feb 13, 2014

keep in mind

What authority do I have to lead a Christian group?

As much authority as I will let God have.

Feb 7, 2014

By the way, a second pitch

(Since that Yale-NUS post has been getting quite a substantial amount of page views, and apparently it's circulating among the Dean of Students' office - yay, getting into the deans' / rectors' good books LOL thank you Adri so sweet of you!!! - I figured I might as well.)

Last week or so, I created this site where anyone and everyone can share wartime stories that they've heard from their grandparents, or anyone else who's been through it. I've only published 3 posts so far, but there are many more to come, including Laureen's grandparents' amazing love story - a Jewish woman and her German husband refusing to let the war tear them apart - and Dennis's grandfather's adventures in Vietnam. Like Don Quixote, but, like, real action. Pirates and all that jazz.

If your grandparents have been through the war, ask them about it! Share them with us on the website, too. The generation is disappearing quickly, along with its wealth of stories, and we will (hopefully) never experience what they have - these incredible stories will disappear if we don't collect them now. I just hope to collect these precious anecdotes while we still can.

Oh, and please don't worry that your little contribution might be too 'boring' or 'average' for the site - whether it's a short reply from your grandparents ("No, I don't hate them. I didn't really lose anything close to me. I lost my entire family when my house burnt down after the war." - Dylan's grandfather) or just a little observation your grandparents made about the way a soldier walked down the street, I want to hear it! No memory is too small or too plain.

Do spread the word, too! Again:

Feb 6, 2014

Taking learning into our own hands bitchez

When the prof dismisses us but we still stay on to learn, even when he's left the class.
When Philosophy conversations spill into the dining halls, the corridors, the 4am chats, the Shiok Shack.
I love how knowledge fascinates us like this, and how we don't toss the discussions aside once the class ends. I haven't witnessed this often in Singapore.

Yale-NUS is no place to be full of yourself

(Related post: Applying to Yale-NUS? A disclaimer)

Started your own board game company? Done research-level science? Read Descartes and Hume and Nietzsche out of personal interest when you were fourteen?

Oh, you have. So?

Firstly, at Yale-NUS, you realise that

(a) whatever you're excellent at, other people have accomplished too, and with more success, with greater intensity, in greater proportions, whatever. Started an NGO? Brilliant! Check out the beautiful Sanjana who lives on my floor, whose NGO, targeted at boosting self-confidence and interest in reading among children in India, is being backed up by Teach for India and other national organisations in the country, and is getting a whole lot of funding to develop a new and more efficient system of running it. Love to sketch? Zhiwen makes magic on friggin' Starbucks napkins. Fantastic piano player? You. Have. Not. Met. Jevon. You start to realise that no matter how fantastic you are at something, you always have so much to learn from others.

Extremely intelligent? Philosophy genius, coded an iPhone app? Dean's list, valedictorian, international awards? Well... welcome to Yale-NUS. Here you realise that intelligence comes in a billion forms. On one hand, you have my Malaysian neighbour, yes-that-top-O-level-scorer-Peiyun, who read Goblet of Fire in kindergarten. On the other hand, you have Jared, who knows enough about American politics to blow the minds off already-very-informed Americans with his insight and analysis. (He's also a Republican - and with the incredible wealth of information he has, his stance gives us all so much to think about, damn.) And then you have Ami, who, despite all his nonsense, draws connections between ideas so profoundly and insightfully. The more time I spend with the people here, the more I am ashamed of the grades I got because I'm only good at "doing well in big exams" - the level of insight and intelligence these people have made me realise that this counts for nothing, I am nothing, I know nothing, and I always need to listen before and as I speak.

(Zhiwen's napkin magic on the left, and Natalie's beautiful painting on canvas on the right!)

(b) At Yale-NUS, you don't need to blow your own trumpet - with the spirit of love, encouragement and celebration of individuality, others will blow it for you. You realise that the beautiful thing about this place is that everyone is so encouraging and supportive. A lot of people are good at things, but no one competes against the others. We know what we're capable of, and we work towards being better than where we are now, while also celebrating the talents of others.

(c) Most importantly, your talents are useless in the eyes of others unless you use it to contribute to the community. You're great at something - so what? Everyone else has a billion things on their plate - how do you channel this talent? Sanjana doesn't go "yeah, I've got a national-scale NGO going for me, suck it bitchez". She goes "I have an idea that's too large to handle alone, and you guys are fantastic planners and idea-executers, and if you'd like to come on board with me, I need your help to make this work for the children in India who need it."

We've got some fantastic cooks, and what do they do with their talent? The Shiok Shack was started completely by us, and is being run completely by us. They don't make profits from it; they just want to bless the student community with late-night food made with love. That aside, people still make a lot of granola / barley / Penang laksa, and offer it to everyone out of the simple desire to share what they love with others.

Great at Science? Dylan held little "remedial lessons" for everyone in the first couple of weeks of school, because so many of us were struggling. Got a talent in music arrangement? Jevon and Carissa offer up their arrangements to be sung at school events (e.g. check out Jevon's arrangement of Somewhere Only We Know, which we performed for DPM Tharman, and his Halloween mashup). Great at basketball / debates / dance / creative writing? Share your passion with others; be excited when a first-timer wants to try it out and even go for competitions; encourage, encourage, encourage. The amount of grace and support people show here when someone wants to try something new is just incredible - it's something I'm still trying to warm up to, and something I'm learning from. Love music? Organise a friggin' music festival! (Happening Sunday, 16 Feb - come on over!)

What competition? What accomplishment? If you're great at something, teach it! Share it! Use it to benefit others! There's no need to boast; they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care, and they'll boast on your behalf. We accumulate our talents and abilities only to share it with the community. This is the spirit of this place, the Yale-NUS student culture, and why I love it so much.