=685= Reflections: Intrusive

A few years ago, after apologising to a friend, he said that he felt that I was rather intrusive. Context being that we were good friends, over time, it has gotten a bit awkward, we forgot how to interact with each other. So when I interacted with him, I tried the same stuff when I was close to him and he was not comfortable with it.

There was another time, I was having supper with a group of people, so I just recounted this namewee video I watched and basically went a bit crazy. I mean I got everyone to laugh alright! (HAHA, achievement ok!) However, my leader didn’t see it as a good trade. I remembered he even went to ask me how my kids will take me seriously if I am always being a joker.

Since then, I have been rather cautious to not be intrusive into other people’s lives. I can always live with silence. Be it in a group setting or a new friend. I will watch what I say and wait until the other party warm up to me quite a bit. I can always be loud and say quite stupid stuff, I am talented in that area! 😂 It is really easy to be loud and get attention, I find it harder to know when to speak and when to not speak. Beyond having other people to take me seriously, knowing when to speak actually works really well to be funny too. A good punchline is about timing. No one says the punchline before the joke, in the middle of the joke or long after the joke was being said. Having a good punchline said at the right time will get the best laughs! HAhah!

Being a friendly person isn’t about filling silence. You can be friendly and quiet. Being friendly actually takes quite a bit of sensing the situation and the other party. One person can totally be comfortable with you being a joker, another would think that you are a joke and drown you out. I see value in waiting to pour into someone’s lives. It gets really uncomfortable when someone gets way too personal way too early. Can you imagine someone you just met tell you about his alcohol addiction?

If you are not a counsellor, you will have no idea what to do with that information. Who can blame you for being uncomfortable with the other party?

When integrating into a new group. If everyone are strangers, it is alright to be a bit loud and talk quite a bit. If you are the only one that is new to group, you should really keep quiet and learn what the group likes to say or do. A culture of a group will not be changed forcefully from the get go. Understanding the group, know their habits and slowly come in, that will help you integrate a lot better.

Being friendly isn’t wrong, but being friendly to the point where the other party feels uncomfortable, will really make a bad first impression. First impressions may not be that important in the long run, but for the start, it will really be hard to move past it.


=684= Word: Trash Bag

“Don’t put a trash bag here, later other people treat this room as a rubbish bin!”

I get a bit disappointed with this statement because of a few things. Isn’t it sad that in training courses we learn so much about teamwork but when we come to units and we become so lazy? I totally get that it is really annoying that we will need to clear trash even if it isn’t our own trash, but seriously, why are we so particular over something so simple?

Is it really that hard to replace a plastic bag for the rubbish bin? Instead you settle for a dirty office with bottles everywhere. Just because you don’t want to throw other people’s trash. Unfair as it is, the alternative is that your work place is filthy. Is it really worth the small extra task that you need to do?

Sometimes my seniors would annoy me with a similar issue. In the bunk, we have a trash bin. My seniors really dislikes clearing trash, so they use this argument. “I don’t throw trash into the bin, I keep my own trash, so why should I go clear it?”

In terms of fairness, sure, if you never did use it, why should you be the one that clear it, it makes perfect sense. Surely the one that used it should be the one that clears it. However is it really such a big deal that you have to fight over something so menial? If we are really nitpicking, I can bring the same concept forward, “Since you don’t pay for WIFI at home, you shouldn’t use it!”

Why be so selfish? It isn’t like I am asking you do one more extra duty, it is just a simple task that everyone can do. Life is full of things that are unfair, just deal with it.

My previous sergeants would always discourage me from sweeping the staircase myself. I will always tell them that it is really easy, really nothing too difficult. They then will counter it with, “Yeah, it is simple, so why can’t others come and sweep too?”

The thing is you cannot always expect other people to do things. If A expects B to do, B expects C to do and C expects A to do, who in the world will actually do it?

Expectations seems to work better top down; a boss expecting his employee to not be late to work. Expectations don’t work as well sideways. Very few people I know give expectations to their peers. Can you imagine a friend saying, “To be my friend, you need to greet me every time you see me, listen to me for 30 mins every time you see me and buy me a birthday present.”

It is very strange that as a person of the same rank, you go up to your friend and say, “Hey go sweep the floor. It is your responsibility!”

Unless it has been previously decided upon, it isn’t something that is nice to say. So I take it upon myself to go sweep the floor. The alternative is to not sweep the floor at all and get scolded for something can be avoided very easily.

People should really just think about the alternative.

Is it really worth it to let the place be so dirty and be scolded?

=683= Reflections: What If

I recounted my story with C to ZQ over duty two days ago. To be honest, I feel rather embarrassed to say the things I have done. HAHA.

I meant, texting a girl everyday without her texting back was really quite creepy. AHAHA. Not allowing her to copy your homework and call her on the phone to teach her math sounds really cheesy too. In my defense, I was 15-17 ok!

ZQ pointed out a possibility that I have never really thought about. He said that it sounded like she liked me, because we were texting everyday, that it was mutual, but I waited too long and she got fed up. The argument was just the last straw. He said that when she texted me back after 4 months, I should have just told her that I was hurt and told her that I liked her. Nothing bad would have happened you see.

That really kinda stirred up something in me. The question of “what if” came up. I can’t help but think of what would have happened if I did that. Looking back, I just felt that I was too immature and too bad at expressing my own feelings.

Though feelings aren’t there anymore, there is a urge that wants to know what was on her mind.

The devil is devious, he tells you that what God has given and planned is not as good as what I could have had. “I could have gotten the girl.” “I could have ended the situation better and more maturely.”

The fact of the matter is that I didn’t. Nothing is ever going to change that. I will forever be the guy that was smitten by the girl in class, managed to creep her, managed to warm up to her, managed to text her everyday to the point she actually put her head on my shoulder and I still didn’t tell her that I liked her.

Last year, I was rather affected by the phrase, “it felt like a missed opportunity.”

Demoralising as it was, it was true, I missed an opportunity and I am never getting that back. Thinking about about how I thought about such decisions last time. I used to think that if I don’t do this I will regret it forever. Quite classic Hollywood.

Honestly, you will be surprised that regret will also pass in time. In the moment you may regret, but after that moment comes other moments that you have decided to choose instead. In every choice, there is always something to give thanks for.

Be it choosing to confess and face the rejection or attraction, or waiting until you are more mature to, both have its own advantages. Now that I am more mature, I wish that I have more experience when it comes to such things. However, I don’t regret choosing to wait. Young Me had wisdom that I am sad that I might have almost forgotten. I just wish that young me would mature faster and yet keep the passion that he has.

Perhaps as we continue to live life, we would make decisions that impacts our lives deeply. It may be a good choice, it may be bad, may we find wisdom from the choices we make and grow more mature.


=682= Word: Difference

I have been talking to my platoon mates about something my friend had said. My friend said, “most of the better guys are attached.”

My platoon mate was a bit offended and he asked what does that mean. I then pointed out two groups of people in our platoon to him, the attached and the single. He saw the difference almost immediately.

It is so true that it is almost tragic. HAHA! The guys in our platoon that are attached are just a bit more mature and know what to say and when to say stuff. It is very interesting. The way they hold themselves is very different from the way most single guys in my platoon does. The single dudes are generally more lazy, sloppy and puts in less effort than the attached.

I wonder what caused the difference?

Is it a matter of self worth? That the attached know that they have “market value” while the single guys don’t?

Is it a matter of experience? That the attached have more experience with handling problems with they partners that it flows into their daily lives?

Is it a matter of intelligence? That they were smarter in the first place?

Is it a matter of courage? That the attached were brave enough to confess that they are more secure than the single?

Is a matter of identity? That they haven’t found their significant other, so they don’t know how to be themselves.

Whatever it is, there is a clear difference between the two. No example is better than the two sergeants I had in the platoon.

Sgt A is single. He is very hardworking. He does up all the admin work of the platoon. He wants to be friends with his men, but he also wants to maintain his authority as someone higher ranked. As a result of that, it was very confusing to communicate with him. He wants to be your best friend, but wants to be higher ranked. He acts all buddy buddy one moment and he starts being firm in another. He often make statements that are supposed to be “jokes” but it has underlying messages that he is higher ranked. He was clearly uncomfortable to talk about girls in a sexualising manner, but he makes himself do it to fit in to the crowd.

Sgt B is attached. He too is very hardworking. He doesn’t expect his men to be his best friends. He decided to be a big brother to his men instead. He would play with his men, but he will never act as if his men has to be his best friend. He is only firm when there is a need to discipline people. He may be higher ranked, but he never did flaunt it. He refrains from talking about girls because he has a girlfriend, making simple remarks like, “she is quite pretty eh!” About other girls and nothing else.

Well, I know both Sergeants personally and I can safely tell you that I prefer Sgt B. Both are nice, but B knows how to be secure with himself and play his role well. He doesn’t get confused with what hat he wears because he is always wearing that same hat.

Some truths that I have learned:

  1. You don’t have to know everything in every situation to be a leader
  2. Being consistent with yourself is really important. Don’t be one person to a group of people and another with another group.
  3. You don’t have to say the same things as the group to fit into a group. Friendships can happen in many different ways. No two friends agree on every single issue.
  4. No one likes someone that flaunts. Be it money, clothes, equipment or power. Sharing with someone something that makes you happy is different from flaunting. One is simply giving thanks for what you have, the other purposefully points out what the other party don’t have. It is VASTLY different.
  5. It is ok if you are not close to someone. Silence doesn’t mean the other party hates you. Trying hard to be someone’s friend does NOT equate to doing stuff that only best friends do. In fact, acting like you are close to someone often backfires instead of working out. Trying very hard to continue a conversation is not the same as asking if the girl I was texting is the girl I like. VERY different.
  6. When talking about girls, one can simply be quiet if you are uncomfortable. Knowing what to say and guarding your mouth and heart is important too.

I think why there is such a difference is because the attached just get to experience stuff more that they learn stuff like what I have listed above earlier. May we all learn how to be a better person.


=681= Reflections: Socially Awkward

In my time in church, I noticed about 3-4 people with strange behaviour. They are people with low EQ. Not that they are saying offensive things, but something about the way the interact with people is very strange.

Some of them unload out sensitive information too early. Be it an abusive father or a struggle with something, they dish out information like that without thought.

Some of them act way too close way too early. Hugging someone that they just met. Saying things like “did you miss me?” Even though you guys aren’t close.

They just aren’t comfortable with silence and often make very funny statements that no one makes.

As a result of their strange behaviour, church people often have no idea how to interact with them.

It is a challenge to love these people. It is very hard for you to relate to them. You have no idea of what they say is true. You feel a bit uncomfortable because you have not warmed up to them yet. It just feels weird you see.

How should we as christians and the church interact with these people?

God, give me the patience, love and compassion to love these people.


=680= Reflections: NDP

Haha about time!

My journey in PG has rounded up to this moment. I still remember the Sergeants and CFCs asking us during our progressive standing training if we wanted to go for NDP. At that point in time, without thinking much about it, I blinked twice, indicating that I wanted to.

As time went along, my work load and duties in the platoon kept increasing and the moral of the platoon went down. I was also a bit depressed and just did not want to do anymore extra work. So when my sergeant told me that I was chosen to do NDP, I was honestly really sian. Hearing that every Saturday will be burned did not help me accept this news either. I mean, every Sat means no cell for a while.

However, that duty, my senior told me that it actually isn’t that bad, you will do more weekend duties if you are not doing NDP. So after thinking about it, I just decided to do it.

Thinking back, I missed quite a few rehearsals. The first one was because I was still in Malaysia for Retreat. The next one was because I wanted to go for TW’s wedding. Nevertheless, it still a long two months of training. We often have duties before and after NDP too. It was rather difficult. Having the newly instated guard duty wasn’t helping. Though to be fair, I do enjoy guard duty a lot more now.

For me, training in NDP was never about like drills. I have got the drills part down. The part to nail is the part about nerves. 15 check bang, 11 check bang, though challenging but the stress when going through the parade was WAY worse; the stress that you have being afraid of screwing up.

I think playing on stage so often does help me quite a lot when nerves comes. Ahaha, but ya, thankfully NDP parades has went rather smoothly.

Several highlights though!

1. Free food!
It was just nice that we get quite a bit of snacks for the parades! Koi, Liho, Milo, Mr Bean, Old Chang Kee among others.

2. Meeting Charlie Lim and Joanna Dong
Ok, this was rather nice! I have always been a Charlie Lim fan you know! His album is still one of the coolest sounding singapore albums I know. To finally meet him in person, was dope! HAHA! Not to mention, I managed to get him sign my copy of his album. Having DL as the person liaising with him doesn’t hurt! HAHA!

Joanna Dong was a special case. I actually never even heard of her until NDP. I heard her voice and I was so shocked that she sounded so good! I did my research and found her audition video in Sing China. After that I was looking for an album, but nope, couldn’t find any recent one, just her own debut EP. Nevertheless, her music was REALLY good. So just took this chance to take a photo with her too!

3. The NDP people did get a bit closer together
I guess when you spend 2 months together doing this, you do at least bond a bit. Even I warmed up to me during this period.

I am so glad it is over! I can finally have my Saturdays back! Though this is one memory that I think I will remember for a while! 🙂