Mar 31, 2014

school, week 11

Six assignments in the past ten days: five essays and one insane oral presentation (15 minutes long, no looking at your script) on an analysis of Shackles (an annoying book on the first read, but awesome once you analyse it).

How long has it been? Orientation began in early July 2013. I can't believe a whole academic year is coming to an end - I waited so long for this wonderful college to begin, and now it's already slipping through my fingers. Every day I hold regrets: regrets at just not being able to focus in class and gaining nothing out of it; regrets at not finishing my readings; regrets about procrastinating. Regrets about not knowing particular people better - this happens almost every day, because I pass by so many wonderful people in this school and there are just so many of them I wish I could hang out and chat with. I should make more of an effort to do that, mm.

And yet there are people I feel like I've known forever: people like Dylan, Kevin and Ami whom I feel so comfortable with, whom I treat like family; people like Sau and Xi Min, just so free in our chats. I've known the Round 0 EYW people for almost two full years - 23 whole months - and school itself only started 10 months ago. More than twice the duration. We hung out regularly for more than a whole year before school started. I'm so thankful to have worked at the Admissions Office so early on, to have been so close to the school and its people right from the beginning.

I see faces in the lift and kitchen and I feel so much warmth for the people here, so much a sense of family, of comfort. You wave to your schoolmates as they pass by you; you ask them how their summer plans are going along, whether they managed to finish that essay last night. In lectures, you don't need to look at who's asking a question to know who it is; you can tell by their voice. At night, you can tell who's in whose room by the slippers they left outside.

(The entire student body fits into a fraction of a courtyard.)
I'm honestly a little apprehensive about the new batch, about sharing my school with a whole new cohort. Suddenly we won't know everybody anymore. Suddenly you'll see an unfamiliar face wearing the name of your home across their chest, and you'll be confused.

I hope, more than anything, that the spirit of love, enthusiasm and encouragement will only continue. This school has taught me to be much more loving, and I want to embody and convey that spirit. Crescent was a school of unity, and ACJC was of fiery passion; this is a college of hugs, support and gifts at your door,  of all-out surprises, of phrases like "you're such a beautiful person" and "you're so talented" used so often it's become cliché (but never worthless, never worthless).

Mar 27, 2014

some dignity now

(I was about to write this post when I came across a link to an article that made me tear up, because it is a perfect encapsulation of the things I need for myself. I will be printing it out and putting it up somewhere. It's somewhat related, and an excellent article, so I'll put it up here: The Day My Best Friends Got Attached)

I see tremendous beauty in a lot of people.

You are a brilliant person, no doubt; you are excellent in a lot of ways, a success story, a cruising car. But I wouldn't say you're beautiful.

I make the conscious decision to love you nevertheless, because I have been told that my capacity to love is part of who I am, and I shouldn't let other people determine how I love. I make the conscious decision to buy you things and knock on your door and shower attention, and I hope you see my beauty in that.

I have this dignity now. This love is no longer out of a pathetic, sorry weakness. I smother my pain. This love is out of my own strength. You probably don't notice the change but I know. The days of being bitter, of hating myself and where I am, are over; I know I am beautiful because of my capacity to love, and I will love you even if I feel you are not so.

one of those times

i down tea like medicine: sleep is a sickness and exhaustion is a hindrance

my eyes gloss over words that do not make their way to my brain and it is painful

i do not see the point in trying to comprehend stats and coding and getting someone to explain every step to me if i forget it all the next day

my schedule is packed, my essays are rushed, my B- grades are a self-fulfilling prophecy, i have no money, i run around

i am back to doing my pre-class readings right before the class itself, and i don't like that

and when the readings are rushed the joy of taking it in and savouring the knowledge is lost

when what should be enjoyed becomes an obligation, when you do things not because you want to but because of the social pressure

when friendship becomes a pressure, a scheduled to-do

when i must make the courageous, conscious decision to love because it is not easy to expect non-reciprocation, and because time and money are scarce as gold

when bad grades bring me to tears (i never thought that would happen; i never expected to care this much about my grades); when i have to learn things the hard way

when i have to fall and scrape my knee before i realise i shouldn't run, it's okay; when i have to shatter a glass or spill tea all over the place before i remember to be less stupid about things

when i finally rejoice at being able to sleep at 1am before i realise there's a quiz the next day

when i realise i've signed up for 7 weeks of sanskrit/tamil/telugu and 3 weeks of arabic when i thought i'd be reading hieroglyphs, and i do, not, understand

when things are back-to-back and i continue to make them so

when i must make a deliberate effort to breathe

(not even burnt out yet, i still have the energy and motivation to go on. just, so much. i cannot catch up. an essay last friday, an essay last sunday, my oral presentation on tuesday, an essay yesterday, an essay on sunday)

(an analogy: when we were staying in Machhapuchhre Base Camp, up in the clouds, at 3190m the night before going up to Annapurna Base Camp because it'd be too cold up there for us, and we had to wear all our layers because the temperature was in negative degrees and there was no indoor heating. I had five layers on including a down jacket, and then my sleeping bag and thick-and-heavy-as-heck blanket. In the middle of the night I woke up with a start because I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was being suffocated with my own clothing. I ripped off my layers and I still had to make a conscious effort to push air into my lungs. The air was so thin. And I was so afraid to fall back to sleep because how would I breathe then?)


Mar 23, 2014

lost cross :(

I’m still extremely bummed about having lost my cross in January at the indoor skydiving place. Sigh. It was so stupid of me to leave it in a pocket in my bag on the floor. I should have kept it in a locker. I still feel really sad about it, and my neck feels empty. I miss being able to hold it. To remember that God is right here with me, and that I wear His identity. It was a present to me from Sarah years ago, my childhood friend and Sunday School mate. And now it’s lost. Arghhhhhghhhghghgghggh. And I tried looking for others but Perlini’s Silver (where my cross was from) isn’t around anymore, and a similar plain one at Tiffany & Co. is $150. Help :((( Suggestions anyone?

Mar 19, 2014

Sometimes you remember what you were meant to do

A few people have emailed me before to say that they found comfort in my writing because they resonated with the emotions I expressed. Some have become my friends. Some were really sweet, and one said I had inspired her to join ACJC too (that particular girl didn't email me, but she told a friend. On my birthday, she also said that I had inspired her "in every way one could imagine" - I don't know, it just meant so much to me.)

It's the one thing I aim to do with my life. I believe no hurt goes to waste, because it adds to your depth, and you can create beauty with it, too. And with all that I experience I want to find people who feel similarly, and similarly alone. I want to make people feel like I understand what they're going through, that I've reached into their own hearts and put it out on the screen. I want them to realise that the emotions that make us feel so helplessly misunderstood and alone are, in fact, emotions that are not entirely unique, and that make us beautiful. I want to make my words beautiful so that these people can see how beautiful our hurt can be. Sometimes just knowing that someone else truly understands does a great deal. (And I, too, want to know that I'm not alone.)

Sometimes I feel sad about not having experienced certain things because I can't write about them like I know them. If I tried, it would feel dishonest and pretentious, and perhaps some might even feel that I'm mocking their very private hurts. I want my writing to be raw and honest so that people don't feel like they're being cheated. When I say I understand, I want to really mean it. And sometimes I feel like if I had experienced things like eating disorders and self-harm and suicidal thoughts and a lot of other things, I might be more able to do what I aim to do. But it's okay, God is faithful and He has made me the way I am, and for all that I have experienced internally, I will make the best of it.

of letters and strings

oh words, shall i find myself in you? will you let me find my strength in your beauty again? i remember when just seeing the words arranged prettily made the burdens fly away. words, will you envelop me again? the tides never stay high; when the sand bares its jagged edges, will you comfort? will you make up for the tide, words? can i hold your hand, words? can i find an eternal comfort in you, words?

it is so much easier to attempt to fill the hole with something right in front of your eyes, something inanimate that you can hold in your hands, that will never love you back, so that it will never have to, eh? But no, because God; I have been running to all these things, and God, I am so fickle.

survival of the strongest

Yes, his love is always good as you say, my friend,
but only for those strong enough to bear it,
who will not cry their eyes out or think anything of it 
when he leaves.

Kapilar / Kuruntokai 38 (translated by A.K. Ramanujan)

Mar 17, 2014

Gratitude Journal

So I didn't hop on to the #100happydays bandwagon, but this year I decided to keep a daily gratitude journal. I've tried it before, but I'm making an effort to be more sincere and detailed with it now.

Okay, this is a bad page to use in a photo 'cos it's crumpled and I got the dates on the journal messed up, but whatever. The rest of the pages' entries are a little more personal and I'd rather not put them up here. It actually started when I was wondering what to do with this NUS planner. But it's turned out really well - I've been taking this seriously and penning down things that genuinely mean a lot to me. Most of the entries are pretty personal, which is why I think this is a better idea than posting #100happydays pictures on Facebook. Some things you're grateful for can't be captured on camera; many of these are reflections, and many are too close to my heart to publish to the world. If it were a photo project, I'd probably be much less sincere with it, and the entries wouldn't be as heartwarming to myself. It's a great way to reflect on the day - today I sat down and took the book off the hook and went "okay, what am I grateful for today?" Nothing particularly awesome happened today, and I'm feeling quite unwell, but there were the little things that matter, that I smile when I think about.

I think today I'm glad to be able to sit here in my lovely room and think about which blessings to count.

Mar 15, 2014

Best Friday

firstly because The Wallets performed The Chandler's Wife, an incredibly fun Irish song, in light of St. Patrick's Day!

OMG SO FUN. My thumb was swollen after the performance, but it was so worth it. This Friday lunchtime performance was actually because Master Chun (along with other people from Yale) was joining us for lunch, so Charlotte Janel Carissa and I also sang a Korean song for him, as a follow-up to our crazy Wondergirls stint in Yale.

And because it was Kevin's birthday! A few of us took him out on Thursday night to a Japanese dinner at Clarke Quay, and had him drive us there and back, which was all an elaborate plan to make sure he wouldn't check his phone while we posted on the school's Facebook page to get everyone to go up to the common lounge to surprise him. So at midnight we arrived back in school and when we got out of the lift I tapped into the common lounge and Kevin was like "wait what?" and a whole bunch of people were there to sing him happy birthday, yay!

And then I told him that as a birthday gift, almost half the Yale-NUS student body and more had come together to do a video expressing our love for him, but love wasn't easy to get, so he had to work for it by singing for us at the lunchtime performance. He was to sing Everything by Michael Bublé, but he didn't know that it was because we were singing the song to him in the video in return too :) Here's the birthday video and his performance!

Putting the birthday video together was incredibly fun too, allocating people lines and watching them go crazy with it. (I must say I think I was quite good at matching the lines to the specific people.) And going to his house with Ximin to film his family and all. Hehe fun projects.

K on to my Philosophy essay

Mar 6, 2014

Ash Wednesday

Knees bent, head down. A cross of ash brands my forehead, a reminder: dust you are, and to dust you will return.

He reads out the Ten Commandments, words for all humanity that morph into my own most secret sins. Idolators and all those that worship God's creatures, God shall judge; I see every day I prioritise my friends above my time with Him, the days I put everything above Him; the nights I spend daydreaming about the concerns of day, drifting off to sleep without a hint of Him in my mind.

Amen, Lord, have mercy upon us.

For you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart...

As we make like snakes and weave through the queue back to our seats, you immediately kneel to pray. A man wants to pass through; he hovers around until you notice and sit back in your seat to let him pass by, and you wait a little longer. A woman squeezes through. As soon as she gets past you you are back on your knees, determined. I am taken aback by a surge of joy, joy at your love, joy at at your persistence and urgency. Wow God, look at that. You're looking too, aren't You.

Wow, God, thank You, thank You, thank You. Look at how I can't help but smile now, with this sudden bloom of thankfulness and joy, a gleeful child. Rejoicing, celebrating here, even under the ashes. 

A time to mourn, to contemplate sin and death. Even so, because and so long as You are here, there is always reason to rejoice; I will rejoice in light of You.

Mar 4, 2014

We accept the love we think we deserve

Useless metal is thrown at your feet. It laughs at you because it's only an illusion - lust that feels like love; iron that looks like silver if you delude yourself enough. But you pick it up and turn it over in your hands. it happened again today. he said he wants it. that must mean something. maybe he only wants it, but, well, maybe he wants me. maybe it's not a bad idea. it's a rare chance, after all.

At first, when you show it to me, worthless iron pretending to be silver, I say "don't accept it; it will only ruin you." I assume you know that you are gold, and the iron will only cheapen you. What I don't realise is that you don't understand what I'm saying, because you think you are iron, too. 

I don't think true silver exists, you say. I say of course it does. I list people we know who are in love, and who love with so much purity and wholeness. But you don't believe it will happen to you. True love is for other people, you say; true pure love is so precious and rare, and you are not pretty or attractive enough for it. I slowly begin to realise the real problem. You see yourself the same way I see myself: worthless.

I think I am ugly, and socially awkward, and too boring and annoying for people to want to be with. I think I am talentless and extremely, extremely weak, a pathetic dog that people adopt because they pity me (or because they're too nice to turn me away). But yesterday, I found the courage to reject these thoughts about myself. Baoyun told me that she knew I had the potential to be so much more, but it never shows because I keep desperately clinging on to one small thing and letting it determine all of me, making myself so little. And because she could look at my hopeless state and say I know you can be so much more, I decided to force myself to believe it. And so I told him. I said "I believe I am more, so stop it with the sighing, because it makes me feel like I am useless, and I am not."

Remember Emma Watson's character in Perks? "We accept the love we think we deserve." Is it possible for a beautiful person to think she isn't beautiful, and accept lousy things because that's all she thinks she's worth? My dear, I wish you knew the things I see in you. You have such a precious heart, so pure and loyal, with incredible capacity to love. You are so encouraging, so selfless, so full of beautiful qualities that are so rare these days. When I think about you I am literally reminded of precious jewels; I am not exaggerating. You have so much pressure on all sides telling you to give it up, give up your values they are useless, but you still believe they must be worth something; do you know how precious that is? You think so little of yourself, but when you are happy and confident, it shows, and you become so much more beautiful on the outside, too.

There are people we think of as good-looking and attractive, but upon closer scrutiny, you realise that you only think so because of their personality. They don't have a pretty face, but their cheerful smiles and huge personalities make them pretty. Our confidence and personality really do make up half our exterior image. Look at her. I think she's pretty, but when I think about it closely, if she didn't have that beautiful confident personality, she wouldn't be pretty at all. Look at him. He's downright ugly, but his personality makes him so charming. 

Remember the time I kept comparing myself to someone else, and felt inferior in every way? You said "That just doesn't make sense. You can't compare yourself to her. You are completely different people." And I ignored your words, but then a few days later you started doing it, too. You looked at someone and you felt like you were less than her. And I was like, "are you crazy? How can you see yourself as less than her? You are so beautiful, and your heart is dripping with loveliness. How could you even do that?" To me, it was so obvious that you were being ridiculous. And then I realised: you probably thought my comparisons were ridiculous, too.

Oh, by the way. A certain very pretty person told me that, once upon a time, she thought she was ugly. When I heard that I was like "-________- that's not possible lol lame", and tossed that aside. But then, if someone so beautiful could think she was ugly, doesn't that prove how blind we are to ourselves? If you, my dear, think you are worth so little, might it be that there is beauty in me that I am not seeing, too?

And so I am still trying to see myself through your eyes. I do that by reminding myself of how I see you: it's so bloody obvious that you are such a beautiful person, and it doesn't make sense that you don't see any of it. And then I remind myself that that's what you think about me, too. And then I tell myself that I am beautiful just like you are. I don't see it, but to you it's so obvious, just like how your beauty is so obvious to me, and so my beauty must be as true as yours is.

I also know from past experience that if I believe I am ugly, I will become ugly, and if I believe I am beautiful, others will see it, too. All I need to be beautiful is to believe it. 

I wish you could see how freaking beautiful you are, dear. But since you can't see it, I want you to remember the way you think about me - how you keep trying to convince me that I am a beautiful person - and tell yourself that that is exactly how I see you, too. The beauty in me that is so obvious to you, is just like your own beauty. I wish you could see it. I wish you could. Because then you would realise that you are worth so much more than what you let yourself believe in. You are precious gold, and scraps of iron are not even worth your attention.

Mar 2, 2014

what love does to people

Why has love made you so bad, my friend?
Why has love taught you to hate? Why did the most beautiful thing in the world make you such a dark person? 
Why has it made you believe that the world is a terrible place? Why, when love is good, love is pure, and it might hurt but it shows you the strength of the human hope? 
Why crush that hope?

I am pushed but not fallen; I am sick but not terminal. My expectations raise my heart sky-high and it has hit the hard ground sore but even so there is beauty in the air that cushions, in the wind that whistles; and even so I continue to hope for a hand to finally catch it where it matters one day. I believe hope is not a delusion, and that there is a lot of beauty in the world, if only we are willing to accept that the hurt of love has charred our flesh a little, made us each a little hardened and bitter. And I hope that you will eventually find the courage in yourself to adopt a little less hopeless a worldview.

I recently came to a philosophy that concluded in necessary selfishness, too. Nothing you do has an outcome equivalent to the amount of effort you put in, so if your sole purpose of practicing for a concert or baking a cake or taking up a shitty job is to make someone else happy, it isn't worth it. Or if you're simply studying for the grade and hating the process, it isn't worth it. You have to enjoy the process in the same amount that you give, because if not your effort is a waste, and life is too short for wasted effort. But I'm not sure if this philosophy is a good one, because there are things that are worth doing even if you don't enjoy it, like travelling long distances to visit a sick friend or buying food for those who need it, and even if the outcome doesn't equal the effort it's something worth doing, right? So I'm trying to refine that, trying to be okay with giving to a seeming void again.

A hardened veteran is blinded to a lot of things. And we aren't hardened veterans. We have our gunshot wounds but we are merely the average civilian; bite it, hold it in, and hold on to the knowledge that home is always in your heart. I have made myself scared to feel, but didn't we make a pact to let go of the apprehensions, accept the pain as part of beauty, and dare? Don't you see, we are both in barren lands, but there are oases for which you dare not hope, and for which I am sick of yearning. And we both try to heal each other because we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. And while you strive to make me better, I hope that through me or otherwise, you will slowly find the courage to let go of your view that the world is inherently a black zero that will only disappoint you. It isn't, it isn't, beauty is everywhere and pain adds depth and colour too. I think, if anything, love should open your eyes to all the beauty and hope in every inch of earth, not cover it all in bleakness.

That is it. Beauty is everywhere.


the first instance of greed

"The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had someone pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried to his fellow men: 'Do not listen to this impostor. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!'"

Rosseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Part 2

Mar 1, 2014

School Pride

There it comes again with its occasional tide of gratitude: I feel so tremendously fortunate to have been a part of such fantastic schools, fantastic not because of their reputation but because of their culture. I know lots of schools that focus simply on blind memorising and drilling. I have friends who've always been in schools where they were bullied, felt out of place, or didn't feel like they could learn. I know of secondary schools where teachers refused to give extra lessons, where the quality of teachers was also incredibly low; where teachers didn't believe in their students; where girls offered finger f**ks and sold condoms; environments where self-harm was a thing, and lots of places where your relationship count mattered...

I feel so grateful for Jurong West Primary, Crescent Girls', ACJC and Yale-NUS, where both the teachers and the students always strove (and strive) to create a loving, nurturing environment, where my character and leadership development was shaped and refined; and, most of all, for the spirit of love that permeated each of those schools.

In JWPS, I was the only girl in my class who spoke English at home, and so my Chinese grade was the worst in the class. Our class would sit together at recess, and I remember once when I was walking up to the line of tables I saw my classmates speaking to one another in Chinese, but once I was there with them they automatically switched to English, even though they weren't speaking to me. At the age of eleven, such consideration.

And the teachers - Mdm Beena, who really treated us like young adults and went out of her way to talk about taboo things that were actually useful - things concerning pre-marital sex and relationships. Mdm Phua, whose house we still continue to visit during CNY, almost a decade on. Mrs May Foo, the one who called me her "little angel" because I helped her with marking during recess time. She recognised me at Starbucks too, 6 years later.

Crescent years, the years of puberty and hormones and all the girl drama. Despite what you can't help, I will always remember the days of lying on the ground with our shoes out and our skirts all over the place and our shorts exposed and just not caring. And crazy girls hiding in the toilet to scream their fangirl love over some TA guy as he walked by. I went back to Crescent to visit a couple years back, and as I sat on the seesaw two girls passed by, one crying and the other with her arm round her. And it reminded me of the days after my breakup in Sec 4, how Annie and Mingxuan skipped recess on separate occasions just to counsel me; I wasn't even particularly sad on those days, and I wasn't even close to them, but they just decided to show some care. Just so much love and selflessness and openness, and I can never repay it. In Crescent there was a reassurance in all the turbulence: my heart sings when you sing and cries when you cry. In Crescent, the teenage rebellious spirit translates into such unity and love, displayed in the crazy national day song-singing and the way we scream for our school.

The teachers in Crescent, too, were so focused, nurturing and dedicated. Through Mr Lee (hehehe), Ms Ho Liyi and Mrs Rupa in particular, I learnt that when a teacher is passionate about a subject, it rubs off on you, too. Mrs Rupa was the one who helped me discover a passion for writing. The first essay I wrote after my first breakup was the first time I realised that you could inject your true emotions into writing, that magical touch. She noticed my attempt to write from my heart, and praised it so publicly: not only did she make me read it out to the class, she also said that when she was reading it to one of the triple-science classes, she was "holding back tears". I really don't think it's that good at all, but that was my first attempt at creative writing, and I will remember her words forever.

And hohoho ACJC

Too many lovely pictures to choose from - from the fantastic Telunas resort retreat to the days we went absolutely insane in the Council room laughing at anything and everything, to our vuvuzela wars, to the amazing Orientation madness. What I love about the 35th Students' Council is our ability to find fun even in the most stressful of times. Cleaning out the mud pit after an exhausting day of Orientation? Throw our president in! I remember once during June Camp, in the midst of all the stress, a few of us sat on the couches and just broke into uncontrollable laughter for the longest time, just out of nowhere.

Thank you, ACJC, for really nurturing and developing me, and for adding on to what Crescent taught me about school pride. I came to ACJC with the goal of being super-involved in everything, and taking the initiative to make friends. OG Rep, Class Rep, Council and then the Exco, five CCAs - I succeeded in my goal, and the school let me. The school embraced my enthusiasm, despite my lack of prior experience, and I learnt along the way. I made all these stupid mistakes in Council, but Mr Fong was always patient and nurturing, never scolding me, never harping on the past but asking "So what can we do about it now?". I started with "nothing to offer but a heart so full and these empty hands", and ACJC injected my empty vessel with gushes and gushes of colour.


Being in charge of producing the school's first planner was one of the things I was most grateful for. It involved me sitting at the computer the entire holiday, but when I saw juniors holding the book, or when I saw ACJC stickers on the desks, I felt so proud. And now when I go back to ACJC and look at the painted bleachers, I think about that last-minute, hastily-submitted proposal by Annabelle and me, and I feel so proud, so glad. Oh and sports updates - sports updates :3 So my juniors say I "bounced" on stage a lot (probably because I was tiptoeing at the podium), and they couldn't really see my face anyway, but the weekly "GOOOOOD MORNING ACJC!!!!" was fantastic to be able to do, given my crazy enthusiasm. The year after, my PR Head junior told me that when Sports Updates resumed, people came early just to make sure they would catch it. People didn't want to be late on Sports Updates days. It made me so glad to be able to contribute to the AC spirit.
(No pictures of CCA Updates because it's basically just a podium and maybe a forehead)

ORIENTATION 2011 (credits: Lianne's Orientation 2011 albums) 

So yes, ACJC was pretty much the best two years of my life...until Yale-NUS came along. I won't elaborate on this because I keep talking about Yale-NUS's awesomeness already, but I must say that I wouldn't trade my Yale and Greece trips for the world. There's just something about travelling to the other side of the world with 155 classmates with such talent and such personality and such love, and while the Yale trip was all about the community spirit, I learnt so incredibly much in Greece. Being taken to all these majestic ruins, learning about the stories of these buildings, recognising the stark, in-your-face dichotomy between the past and present, and what they still hold on to.

Also, I don't realise it often, but Yale-NUS has shaped my thought so profoundly. Philosophy class, in particular, has opened my mind to so much, and I start questioning things in different ways, looking at things in such new light. Right now, I have kind of concluded that there's nothing we can be absolutely certain about; all we can do is live in our culture and our time, and accept it as that. But that makes you see things very differently, and when people ask questions about God and goodness and whatever, I feel very fortunate to be able to think about these things and come to resolutions, or reconciliations at least. And it's so important to think about these things; to think about why we are who we are, and why we stick to certain beliefs, or why we choose to do certain things. Questioning the things we hold on to, so that when we come back to them, we come back on much sturdier ground.

Anyway, I feel so fortunate to be able to say that a particular school was the best time of my life, until the next one came along. Not a lot of people have had the opportunity to be in such nurturing schools, places where both the students and teachers genuinely love you and want to build you up.

Happy Founder's Day! A few of us at Yale-NUS kicked it off by screaming the ACS Anthem out the window at at midnight, and we'll be Wearing Our ACS on Monday. But more than my AC pride, I carry with me the immense pride and love for all the schools I've been fortunate enough to be a part of. Thank you for making me the person I am today.