Saturday, August 27, 2016

In light of the recent incidents in my alma mater, I've been thinking a lot about life, death, and past events. 

I won't go into the details here, but for a better understanding of this topic, my good friend Shermaine wrote an informative advocacy piece on her blog. You can find it here. She raises several good points about the very pressing issues about the stresses of the education system (or in our context, the Raffles programme) and society, as well as how expectations - be it caused by ourselves or external factors - could trigger certain decisions. 

The recent tragedies have been absolutely heartbreaking to learn about, and hearing about such incidents never fail to flood me with memories and emotions from four years ago. It was a period of time where I felt the most helpless, the most lost, the most frustrated, the most worried - as a friend and as a fellow human-being, attempting to help another see the beauty in this world at a time when it was the most difficult and challenging to. I've never publicly written about this particular incident, probably because I found it to be taboo (which as Shermaine pointed out, is also exactly the problem, we don't talk about these things enough... but then again, it's honestly such a delicate issue and it may not always be wise to hold non-general conversations about these things).   

Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to be able to reflect upon that period of time with relief, as opposed to sadness and regret. But I know that not everyone is as fortunate as myself. 

Suicide isn't uncommon. In Singapore, there is actually an average of at least one suicide death a day - and that's excluding the attempts.While I can't say that I understand what goes through the minds of those who have tried to take their lives, I do think that it isn't difficult to come up with several reasons to explain why some of them do what they do.

I'm in no position to speak for others at all, but it got me thinking about life. More specifically, my own.

Personally, I feel that my life is only worth living if I understand my purpose for existing. Afterall, what's the point of living if I don't feel like I have a good-enough reason to exist in this world? What's the point of going through the motions without zest, without enthusiasm, only to die eventually? I wouldn't want that.

However, I have to qualify this. I'm in no way saying that you shouldn't continue living if you have no clear direction in life. Finding one's purpose takes time. Some find it through religion, some through an immense passion for a particular cause, some through the simple fulfillment of making the people around them happy, some through a career choice. But we weren't all born with a clear purpose. We've got to search for it, and accepting this as a fact is so important - it's holding on to this hope that you exist for a reason, that truly matters.

Can one really find something that's worth fighting for? Can one really wake up to a new day feeling absolutely excited? I choose to believe that it's possible, but it does take a whole lot of ignorance to feel this way. Sometimes, knowing too much can prove detrimental to one's emotional well-being. Think about this: if we were all ignorant about the evils of the world, ignorant about harsh realities and ignorant about our own failings, we'd probably all be senselessly and inexplicably eager for what tomorrow brings.

But that's exactly it. We could also try to make a conscious choice to hold on to the hope that good things can happen, to believe that we can actually make an impact (however small) on this world. Sure, while the odds are all stacked against us and evidence usually points otherwise, who's to say that you aren't the special one? At least, by keeping these thoughts close to our hearts to guide us in our actions, we may all just be a little happier. That's just all I hope for.

Sigh I'm sorry, I really don't know where I'm going with this. I've been staring at this piece for a couple of days... writing and re-writing and re-phrasing sentences, and finally decided that I'm just going to put this out there. We're all still trying to figure things out - so give yourself credit for that, and trust that you'd be able to make sense of everything eventually.

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