An Open Letter To My Ex

To my ex-partner,

 

When I first met you in the summer of 2015, it was meant to be a casual encounter and nothing more. I was never the committing type. I was in the prime of my life, looking for companionship rather than relationships. It all changed when we saw each other every consecutive day ever since our first date. It was truly beautiful. Maybe it was just us, but we truly believed that our first date belonged in the movies. What followed was a whirlwind romance that took the form of a committed relationship with a lot of planning for our future together. I was genuinely shocked that I even let myself jump head in.

But before we did do what was unimaginable to me at that time, we talked through some ground rules. I told you I was very independent and do not do well with clingy. I told you that I am very sure of the person I was and would not change for anyone, not even for you. You agreed at that time, but you confessed later on in the relationship that you hoped that I would change. You were convinced that I just hadn’t experienced being in a relationship and I would change as the relationship matured. And you were right—I did change. I devoted my entire life to you, as you did yours. The dynamics in our relationship drastically changed for the worse after. You have told me multiple times how you missed the confident me. I’ve told you many times how happy I was that you had gained so much self-confidence compared to the first time I met you. Perhaps this was the start of the end, which did eventually come in the winter of 2017.

When I found out that you hooked up with a stranger you met in the club three days (10th Feb) after we broke up, it broke me. When I found out that it was not just some meaningless hook up, but someone you were sort of seeing, it completely ruined me. How could you? How were you able to touch someone else and not think about what we had? Did our relationship mean so little? I was shattered and I acted out the only way I knew how: unbridled rage. I burned everything that reminded me of you; I deleted all the photos I had of us; I had to rid you out of my existence. I had to feed the flames of my burning soul. I harbored so much hatred and anger for days. That was the only way I knew how to cope with my overwhelming emotions. I have never felt so betrayed and small in my life.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have taken it out on you. Technically, we were broken up. You were free to do whatever you needed to do. Deep down, I knew it made perfect sense. I have always known that you don’t do too well with being alone; it was a part of your personality that I had long accepted. It was a textbook case. You did the same with your previous ex, you found solace in other people. I mean we did get into a serious relationship merely three weeks after your heartbreak. If this was your coping mechanism, I had known it all along. Why did I get so mad?

Perhaps you did still love me and this was the only way you knew how to move on. Perhaps you did not mean to devalue the beautiful thing we created. Perhaps I wasn’t really angry with you; I was taking out my self-loathing on you. I am angry that I had lost a huge part of me. Over the course of our relationship, I sacrificed parts of me and became a shell of the person I was. You knew this. All my friends knew this. I knew this, but couldn’t do anything about it. I was trapped. I couldn’t love myself any longer and the only thing that held me together was the fact that you could still love me. My self-esteem was dependent on you. When you slept with someone else so soon after the break up, it made me feel small because any semblance of my esteem was gone. How did this happen to me? How could I have let this happen to myself? All the outrage, it was meant to be directed at me and not you.

So, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have reacted so badly; I shouldn’t have projected on you. Recognizing this is perhaps the most important step I have taken thus far, because I now know what I have to do to be at peace with myself. Being hung up over what I consider to be a betrayal is not helping me any more than you. You deserve to move on and find your happiness, and so do I. The way forward for me is to find myself again. I know this sounds cliché, but by finding myself I really mean loving myself again. I need to rebuild my self-esteem. I need to go back to the point in my life when I was content just by being me. I need to go back to the time when I loved myself enough to never feel dependent on anyone else but me. And I truly am looking forward to meeting me again.

I wish you luck in your future relationships. I’m not here to tell you how I think you should act or move on; I don’t have a degree in psych. But if and when we do meet again, I hope you will be meeting the old me—the confident man you met in the summer of 2015.

 

With love,

Jeff

Postcards from Sri Lanka

I will be heading to Sri Lanka for three weeks this mid-december.

Since the start of the school semester, I have joined the Maalu Maalu Lanka 2014 team (comprising of 20 NUS undergrads). We will be going to the eastern province of Sri Lanka, Batticaloa, an area still recovering from the wrath of the Civil War and Tsunami. Our team will be going to 5 different village schools to help the 15 year olds with their English, IT and Financial Literacy proficiency as well as furnishing them with library amenities. English will be one of the subjects that they will be sitting for during their ‘O’ Level examinations (determinant for further education and employment prospect). Unfortunately the kids from these villages are only proficient in the Tamil language. Hence, many of them under perform in English, and their education halts as a result.

MML FR PosterI am excited to embark on this service learning journey. However, we are still lacking a substantial amount of funds to effectively carry out the project despite fundraising efforts in and outside of school. So I am appealing to you for support. You can support us by a means of small contribution to our indiegogo campaign:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/maalu-maalu-lanka/x/9126373
or simply by sharing and spreading the word around.

As a token of appreciation for your contribution, you will be entitled to our very own MML Postcard from Sri Lanka. We will be getting the students to write notes of thanks on the postcard and mailing them out to your address from Sri Lanka. It might not be much, but even the smallest contribution can go a long way in helping the underprivileged.

Do ‘like’ us on Facebook for updates on the project if you do consider to support us. Thank you!

Now I shall return to my self-designated hell as I prepare for my Finals which start in a few days time. Blog updates shall reconvene after my final paper on the 4th December. It has been 3 years since I sat for any formal examinations. May the odds be in my favour! :O

My ‘Arts Education’ is ruining me

“You can just tell when someone is from the Arts faculty,” a science student commented.

“What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know. errrrr. I guess you guys are just very opinionated and think very differently?”


Context

Contemporary Singapore society, albeit gradual shifts in perspective, still value a Science/Math education over the Arts– entrenched by State emphasis on the sciences early on its in education reform. This could perhaps account for the number of perplexed faces I’ve witnessed as a result of my telling them that I’m pursuing a degree in arts. “Oh cool. So you can draw very well?” they would respond. Sure… let’s just go with that.  

But for those who actually do realise that I am generally referring to the Humanities and Social Sciences, usually respond with a curious amalgam of incredulity and scepticism. They can’t seem to rationalise the purpose of an Arts education vis-à-vis an actual career trajectory. Follow up questions, along the lines of “What are you planning to do after that?” usually ensue. The general implied consensus is that my degree is of little value– and by extension; my intellect.

Ironically, the Arts faculty is by far the largest in NUS, with an intake of around 1200 undergrads per year. Critics reconcile this paradox by subscribing to the perception that the faculty is a ‘dumping-ground’ for those who could not secure places in science-related faculties (subsuming a considerable population of undergrads, like me, who willingly chose the Arts). Alas, this perpetuates the notion that the Arts kids are just not ‘smart’ enough.

Now that I have established the context within which my education is being perceived by others –although I admit that these are my sole interpretation of general sentiments and are, thus, open to my bias/overstatements– I shall present a non-exhaustive list of reasons as to why my education is ‘ruining’ me.  Continue reading

Community Award: One Lovely Blog

lovelyblogpink2

I would like to sincerely thank charteblanche for nominating me for this blog award. I am really humbled, considering that I have been rather absent on this platform over the past month or so. And also thank you for brightening my day in such a gloomy and stressful period in my life.

Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.

  1. I am an immensely guarded person. This is also the reason why I appear to be highly unapproachable, often deflecting intrusions with humour and sarcasm. Very few people actually know the real ‘me’.
  2. I do not subscribe to labels –and especially dislike the human disposition for binary categorisations. I believe in fluidity.
  3. One of my greatest character flaws is that I can be domineering when working in groups (that hold my interest), which I find to be off-putting myself.
  4. My self-concept is misaligned with reality. How I want to portray myself does not line up with how I am in actuality. Therein lies the greatest contradiction I call ‘myself’.
  5. I love travelling. I have been planning my travels, without worrying about money or my future. Honestly though, I feel that such experiences are far more important than future financial security. Now the problem is,  I can’t seem to find a like-minded individual to go backpacking with.
  6. I like being alone, but I don’t fancy being lonely. I have been alone for a very long time, and that’s how I like it. But there is a very fine line between being alone and being lonely, which I seem to step on occasionally.
  7. “That which we manifest is before us.” –Garth Stein. While I do believe that we are products of our circumstances, I also believe in human agency.

 

I am supposed to nominate a few others for this award. But given my absenteeism, I think it would be rather unfair for me to do so.

Because I am free.

“WTF is going on?”

“My life is going to shit;
and I’m going down with it.”

I am in the midst of a mental breakdown. I wish I could so eloquently put down the circumstances leading up to my exigency. But as I try to type what I had pieced together in my head, while I had tried to mourn my flailing self-control, the monologue now escapes me.  Continue reading

The ‘Beneatha’ In Me

Something happened in literature tutorial today that I’ve been dying to pen down. The class was amidst a discussion on Lorraine Hansberry’s play, ‘A Raisin in The Sun’. My prof was being quite critical of the character ‘Beneatha’. He commented that while her ‘dream’ was nobel in some sense, as compared to her brother’s, it was quite self-serving. Whereas, Walter’s dream was essentially rooted to his family.

“Professor, I’ve got a question. Don’t you think that we are being too critical of Beneatha? I mean, she is still studying in college– so she’s quite young. And in that age, isn’t that normal? To waver between identities and ambitions?”

Prof goes on to poll the class on whom they agreed with; him or me. (He wasn’t being condescending; it was all in the name of intellectual discourse.) The results of the poll was pretty evenly split. So he asked a few people who agreed with him to respond with their viewpoint.

A girl, whose name slips my mind, spoke up. She remarked that Beneatha should be around our age– and that should translate into some form of maturity to consider her family’s needs rather than just her own. “Her dreams are quite selfish,” she said.

Prof surveys the class once again, “Who agrees that Beneatha is selfish.”

Majority of the class’ hands were raised; mine included.

“So you changed your mind?” he asked me.

“No. I agree that she is selfish. But shouldn’t that be expected of her? I feel like it is a phase that many of us go through, even at the university level. We are still in the process of building our self-concept, and it tends to be more selfish than not. So I was just wondering if we should hold it against Beneatha for thinking a little too much about herself.”

Continue reading

“Seriously, What Are You?”

“What are you?”

“Human.”

“No, seriously.”

“Racially ambiguous.”

 


I have been perpetually subjected to questions about my race/ethnicity over the past 21 years. It’s really such a pity that most encounter with fellow Singaporeans boil down to my race and the colour of my skin. Why can’t we all be colour-blind? I guess we never will be until our dear government decides to remove the ‘race’ category under our identification information. In other parts of the world, nationality would suffice. But here, it boils down to racial divisions – Chinese, Indian, Malay, Eurasian, or Others.

Alas, I cannot change such social predicaments. So I heave a huge sigh, and try to have my fun with these racially-conscious people by giving them ridiculous responses. My best one yet is ‘mocha-flavoured goodness’. But in all seriousness, my formal answers do vary according to my mood. I usually start with ‘mixed’ as a standard response. But these busybodies would never be satiated by it. So, I say ‘Chindian’ (a common term in Singapore to denote Chinese–Indian). And if they have the misfortune to become privy to my official race (as per my ID) their vision gets swirly from confusion. “What the hell is Ceylonese?” they’d ask. Then, I would heave another huge sigh and give them the full picture.

Continue reading