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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

Category Archives: scribblings

Where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns.

Welcome indeed to my Cabaret. Don’t you love farce? The wigs, feather bows and scarfs. The showers of applause while I make my entry. But there’ll come a time when no one is there to watch.

And I can picture it..for one last time, once again – all attention shall be turned to me. And the stone would read: Here lies an artist, no less. And one would say, “how fucked up. What a pity!”.

This space has been left idle for months – a state of perfection by Nietzsche’s standard. Of course,  my life on the other hand is a far cry from such coveted perfection – but certainly not a sorry one at that. For those of you who asked – it’s been a long 8 months since moving to Singapore and I still find it hard to describe how I feel about working in the city-state.

But there’s no reason to complain.

No, I don’t have problems with food in Singapore – in fact, some can be surprisingly tasty – my favorite being Bak Kut Teh at Yangoon Road – which I personally prefer to the ones I find back home. Of course, there’s the whole re-adjustment to getting in earlier for work. And then there’s the all-important question of whether  ‘Am I attending any church’ – No. Why? Cause I’m contemplating embracing Islam?

Quite a bit of travel for work. Been to the Scandinavian region twice so far. The cold climate is probably the reason Finns develop the love for sauna – and they really like it hot (nothing lower than 80 deg C ). Here’s a real treat after a hard day’s work:  a couple of beer with your boss and colleagues, then head to the sauna for a ‘male bonding’ session in full Finnish style – bare nudity. A very humbling experience indeed – for the boss that is! Trust me, they take offence if you refuse the invitation. And after sauna, more beer.

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I work for a Finnish State-Owned Oil & Gas Company – under its Renewable Fuels Division. Workload is bearable, but I relish the opportunity I get to meet with environmental and social NGO’s, as well as government bodies who are stakeholders in our business. I learnt that doing things right is not sufficient – you have to communicate them, and communicate right you must. As I strive to deliver results I’m constantly challenged to engage constructively in our approach while keeping a balance between the sustainable progress vs poverty alleviation debate. Business ethics are constantly tested.  Like religious fanatics, NGO’s would sometimes turn to emotions rather than facts.

Holidays – I enjoyed Rome. Loud Italians, busy piazzas, quiet chapels, gelato, espresso, cheese, authentic home-made pasta, and of course – good wine. I’m no lover of paintings, but the visit to Sistine Chapel was most breathtaking, though a little too commercial now after Dan Brown’s mischievous expose. Felt good that I have finally taken the ‘lofty’ quest where ‘angels’ guided me to the path of illuminati ‘cross the city. Apart from Rome, I’ve also managed trips to Brussels, Estonia, HK and Paris.

So there you have it, a quick and brief update from me. Otherwise, I’ll be:

1. Looking forward to moving into my own place

2. Travelling to Indonesia for plantation visits

3. Snow skiing in Korea – if they get snow already in November

4.Hearing from Joel as he’s starting his Year 1 in SMI – it’s been 7 years already??!!!

5. Heading home for my brother’s wedding in February – which means my mum’s turning the heat on me to be next

A story like mine should never be told.That’s because my jooshi might be reading this. But if she really is, then yeah, she should know that I am pissed. I’m an over-paid delivery boy, who’s insulted and depressed. What else can you expect if you have a difficult onna jooshi. Some say it’s my destiny. I’d say I give no shit to onna jooshis like her who make life miserable for me. I would tolerate, reason then walk out.

When I was about 5, I’d spend most afternoons lying on the floor and imagine I was dead. My idea of death was – nothingness. It was simple. Being 5, the memory of being in total nothingness was, perhaps, naturally easier to connect with. With nothing much worthy to be termed as life experience, I would try very hard to recall as far back as I could, to my initial contact with my existence. Awareness of my being, some would call it. I had to settle with the fact that I could never remember the sensation felt from my mother’s first touch and what it was like to behold the form of human for the first time. I could, however, remember vaguely waking up one night not sensing my mother by my side and being terrified by flashes of camera lights. I ‘knew’ at that moment, that there was a time when I did not exist, and I concluded, when one dies, one returns to the same state of nothingness. I was afraid.

My first major revolt – I was 7. I protested to the fact that I had to go to school. The idea that an entire population is made to sit in a room and do the same thing at the same time was an abomination to me. That kind of institutional confinement was an intimidation. I had to ask permission when I wanted to pee. It was scandalous to have to hand over what was naturally engineered as the excretory system of the body to the personified unilateral prerogative called teacher. If I had to pee I just had to pee! Occasionally, the rights to my bodily function need were denied. Understandably so. It was a price to pay for my curiosity. On my way back from the loo, I would often wander through the corridors of the training chambers called classrooms and wonder at how people would willingly give up their rights to throw stones, play marbles and run as freely as they want.

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I returned to class one day and was told that I had to draw a chicken. I couldn’t. And I cried. I was afraid. Afraid because everybody else could do it. But I couldn’t. 

Like everyone else, I had my first dance and it was sweet. She was hot. But it didn’t work out for me. She ended up angry with me. I didn’t understand why relationship was so complicated. I was afraid that people would not love me. In fact, I grew up finding it rare to see people really loving each other, selflessly. Later on, I decided that I should just let someone love me. I found out that I am afraid to be loved. That I am not able to love in return. And she too ended up angry with me.

I have so much to give. But people are generally selfish. I am particularly sensitive to these tendencies of late. They want to change others. They want to own and consume others. Yet, they sound so weak and needy. They have their ways of making others feel guilty and weak. And the world sets up the stage for it. It suffocates me. I am afraid of people. People who are over dependant on others. 

I ask my friend the other day. Does relationship mean anything to him. There are some relational connections which one can’t change. I don’t choose to be connected to some people in my life. People who make choices. We worked out how we interact which each other. We started from love, respect, honor and ended up in anger, disappointment and resentment. Now, I think I am indifferent. But what is the right thing to do? But what can be so wrong? 

I was taught that everyone is special. If so, then who is ordinary? If no one is ordinary, then how can anyone be special? I settle with this: everyone is different. I am happier. 

I am still afraid of the idea of nothingness. Perhaps I don’t fear death as much. I can remember what I did and where I have been. But of course, there’s no way to know if it has been nothingness all the same.