i’ve graduated and there’s no more school to look forward to in august. i don’t want to take on a full-time, permanent job for many reasons, such as wanting to go back for NY’s LTC (for yet another year, yey!) and because i want to travel even more (in december, plans for Bali – again, and Cambodiaaa!). but in the interim of getting a part-time job (applied, got one one-off event job tomorrow – yey! and got an interview with a recruitment agency – more yeyness!), i don’t want to be just living a mere existence. i have a problem – i just don’t know how to stop living. one of my bestie’s, J says i have to learn the art of doing nothing. well, i don’t have a problem with that, i can sit down at a cafe and just people watch. but what i have a problem with is doing that everyday. so i fill my time with the gym, with dance and i’m adding on capoiera (again!) soon, plus maybe muay thai – anything to get me into the best shape of my life, to reach my ideal weight and to get those washboard abs that i desire. okay, maybe not washboard, but i want a flat tummy and a sex line. those plus my social life of meeting my close friends, meeting random people whom i haven’t seen for a long time etc. what better time to head out and meet people than now cause once i get a permanent job, it’s going to be … hard.
sounds like i’ve already got loads on my plate? yes, and no. because all that i’m doing is very “me”-centric. and that’s something i again, have a problem with. i like being “me”-centric, it’s something that i didn’t do for most of my life and getting into that mindset of taking care of yourself instead of relying on others, taking ownership of you and your life, didn’t come to me until a year or two ago. but that doesn’t mean that i’ve entirely become selfish. there’s something about my life and my beliefs that doesn’t allow me to do that. helping others, and volunteering came early to me. helping people through their life “crisis”, going to elderly homes and eventually heading out of the country to thailand and cambodia for overseas community services were turning points in my life when it came to the community services area of my life.
during my days in junior college, i went to chiang rai for an overseas service learning experience where we taught english in various schools and had homestay experiences in a village, walking a few kilometres to the school every day and well, being chased by cows in the field. it was a good experience where i learnt to appreciate what i have in singapore (honestly, sometimes i don’t do it very well, but i try) and sometimes, i miss the kids there. but it didn’t leave as much of an impression as cambodia did. maybe because we spent less time with the kids in thailand and because we saw soooo many different groups of kids that none really left an impression.
but cambodia, cambodia was different. it left a huge impression on me, it changed my life quite literally because i had an entirely new outlook on life and what i could do with mine after that experience. but more than that, cambodia and its kids stole my heart from me. and i constantly miss my kids who are there. i haven’t seen them for over a year already and i’m really wanting to go there. i’m in the process of making plans for a trip there in december and i pray that everything goes as planned! but recent events have made my longing for them even more evident and it’s repulsed me a little from volunteering for/with kids in singapore. maybe “repulsed” is a little too harsh, but i can’t think of any other vocabulary.
recently i involved myself in helping a playschool paint their exterior walls, which made me think of cambodia a lot because that was exactly what we did for IFCC. we had a professional company who helped to sketch a few drawings here and there, but most of the process was out of my hands – something i wasn’t used to. i loved how in cambodia we had an initial plan and sketches but could later on add our own little paintings and details to the wall. i felt quite lost when i was volunteering in singapore because there was not much plans or sketches and everything was so disorganized. >.< but what’s out of my hands, and which i have no power to change, i accept.
but it was the madness of the whole situation that really irked me. i kept comparing the experience in singapore to the one that i had in cambodia and the stark contrasts made me miss cambodia so much. the volunteers that were recruited for the project were mostly students trying to collect their community involvement project hours. instead of really painting the walls, they were talking and snacking away on chips and drinks. girls, why exactly did you sign up for this? because you can slack? because the job is “easy”? *lesigh. i don’t really think i want to comment on the actions of the younger generation. all i can say is that i’m disappointed at their actions and that if this is how our society is going to grow up, i really hope one day i’ll be a good mother whose kids are NOT anything like those girls that i saw.
but what i miss the most about the cambodian experience is that while we were painting, the kids there were always around us, playing in the streets, coming up to us despite the language barrier and trying to talk to us, showing us our surroundings, scaring us with huge worms and scorpions and trying to help out. it was so much fun and i learnt so much from those kids and came to love them so deeply that i constantly think of them. but in singapore, all i heard were kids crying because the preschool teacher didn’t give them a biscuit. i really went “wth” to myself. in cambodia, when i first met brom, my little street boy, he wore the same ben10 shirt the entire week we were there. and when we shared our sweets and snacks with the kids, they were grateful for it. they are denied so much more than singaporean kids but are so much more polite. they don’t go to school, but they know how to properly socialize, they know how to be thankful.
and that’s why i can’t wait to go back to cambodia. the people, the culture, the entire society there is so much better than what we have here in singapore. it saddens me that the kids of our country are spoilt. it saddens me that this is the future of our country. i pray, hope and wish for singapore’s education to shape them into better people eventually, a people who are grateful for what they have, a people who have a heart to serve and give back to society. but for now, i shall just head back to cambodia and share my love with them.
i wonder how much they’ve grown. and i wonder if they’ll remember me when i’m back.