Monday, March 12, 2012

An ode to the second week of March: Good and Evil

Oh Destructive one
What did I do?
You cursed me with demons
When I hadn't a clue

Oh Heavenly one
What did I say?
You blessed me with angels
When I lost my way

Oh Wise one
Is this what I see?
Of Good and Evil
Only the extremities?

Ah Mighty one
Unfathomable your ways
Today good prevailed
To you, my gratitude and my grace.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

To help and to be helped

How many times have we heard our parents or teachers say, "Be an asset to society" or "Be useful to society"? I don't know about you, but I've heard a lot of that. Why do they say this? Well, the world lacks helpful people and with more of them, it's likely to become a better place.

But is that it? Are things so simple? I don't think so... There is a catch to this whole becoming-more-helpful business. I realized this during my army training last week.

Imagine a day comes when most of us become super helpful and only a few selfish people remain. How then will those selfish people become helpful, when the people around them only want to help and do not want to be helped? 

By depriving a selfish person from the opportunity of becoming helpful, isn't a helpful person being selfish? Think about it...

To be truly helpful is not just to help, but it is also to have the ability and the humility to be helped. That's what I realized.

What can I do?

What can I do with a woman,
When I have no time for love?

What can I do with conversation,
When I have nothing to say?

What can I do with manners,
When I live without them?

What can I do with control,
When that's all I'm about?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Some powerful moments


For the past 4 weeks, I've been training in the army on an island called Pulau Tekong. It's been a physical and mental roller-coaster so far. But nonetheless, I've enjoyed myself thoroughly. In my time there, I've had numerous moments that made me go "wow!"

One of those moments was during field training (in a forest). My buddies and I had put camouflage cream on our faces so that we blended in with the forest. We had also covered our vests and helmets with leaves and twigs. We were then instructed to lie prone next to a tree and disguise ourselves. We were not supposed to move because that could give up our location. Lying there, next to a tree, I somehow felt one with the forest. I felt one with nature. There were ants and funny-looking insects crawling all over me. There were even insects inside my pants. But none of that mattered to me. I was at peace... And everything felt so right. I could just stay there forever; become a rotting log or even a small tree. That was something.

Another powerful moment was seeing my buddies getting punished and watching them do push-ups in compensation. This sounds rather sadistic, but believe me it's not. The sight of 50 to 60 young men going down to the floor and back up in that push-up position- something about that sight was very powerful.

The last experience that impacted me was during one of our long marches. We were all wearing our full gear, with our huge fatigue backpacks, helmets and rifles. I was at the back of my marching group. All around me was dense vegetation. Looking in front, I saw the rest of my group. Everybody looked the same to me from back there. Everybody looked equal. There were differences in height and shit like that, but that didn't matter much. While marching, our helmets and bulky bags were swaying in cadence, and our footsteps were in tune. There was something simple, yet so powerful and harmonious about that moment. I really enjoyed it.

My army experience so far has been a collection of such wonderful moments and of course, many painful ones too. I look forward to more of these wonderful moments.