46. chimes of freedom flashing


finally finally moving that vapid bloated consciousness off the armchair and into doing uni apps. time is short for the early d deadline, im going phuket next month for a (well-deserved) break with my bunkmate and colleague, and im going to to australia for training next month on the 15th, coming back only in november.

in a corrupted replay of the whole oft-repeated existentialist dilemma, the essays are causing me anxiety. thousands of bewildering possiilities, and the need to navigate the infinite and make a single final choice that is necessarily finite. how do you choose an aspect of yourself to force down on paper to serve as an accurate representation of you, especially when you know that you are more than that particular aspect, and/or when you dont even know who you are?

two years ago, i would have been much more certain on this. JC, and the predominance of the intellectual strain, the whole bloody drive to success imbued in every singaporean. i would have talked about my achievements, my academic interests, my cca and all these other constructs that so serve to provide meaning to the potentially meaningless life of a student. now, two years later, i can no longer pin myself down. my attitudes, experieinces have changed, defy easy categorization. in jc, there was a conception of me, made solid and whole by what i was expected to be. it may not have been entirely true, but it was comprehensible, and reassuring to me and to others. now, this conception no longer exists. it is cracked, nebulous, and formless where it was once solid. there are a series of opinions, attitudes, experiences, but they do not stick together to form one body.

anyway, it has been very eventful since i last wrote here. no complaints at things. i have extended my ord by 1 month because the army (ie my platoon) needs me, and it is good that this deferment/ postponement of a much awaited moment doesnt have much effect on me. army life is bearable if you hit the morass with the right attitudes. during this period too, have slowly been regaining my brain, reading at a voracious (in relative terms) rate. read vonnegut and some non-fiction econs book lately. finally feel like i am using my time more wisely. what have i been doing? the last half year was a dream. watched ingmar bergman’s fanny and alexander during my duty on sunday, and it was his warmest and most evocative film that i have seen so far, about family, childhood and the fantasies of adults and children. met some friends i really want to meet (before they leave for overseas again, at least), and yesterday missed maf to catch japanese film festival at the national museum. yesterday were films by imamura shohei (one of the apparent greats of jap cinema, whom ive been wanting to catch), who passed away last year. watched 4 films back to back from morning to night – eijanaika, black rain, vengeance is mine, ballad of narayama, and left the theatre with my brain about to explode from overload. complex, varied and idiosyncratic films. the 2nd and the 4th were beautiful though, and it was worth it. (especially since the films were free screenings)

so its 2 and a half more months now. slowly, surely, the end is in sight, and i can see the signs. a change of seasons is in order.


4 Responses to “46. chimes of freedom flashing”

  1. 1 supermango

    tell the truth, then. who you were, what the army has made you, how you feel now that defies easy categorization. it never hurts to be honest! (:

  2. 2 nurul

    sorry i dont have any pretty things to say, but just – all the best, joel! take care.

  3. 3 Ant

    That was all terribly intellectual but for your sake I wrapped my mind around your maunderings and finally managed to comprehend! (that was a joke).

    I’d like to add my name to the hordes of well-wishers. I wish you a bright future when your army tenure ends, and I know you have the talent and ability. Have fun, work at a reasonable pace, and all that. You are a rare genius, and I am happy you are not wasting your potential.

    We should meet up some time soon, too. I hope our divergent paths in National Service have not put us apart, for I am frankly amazed why anyone would extend his slave-contract to his country, working as part of a service whose nature in itself is destructive and violent. But I respect your decision and your motives and beliefs vis-a-vis the ORD extension, so good luck! Fare well and maybe I’ll see you around.

  4. i want to watch ingmar bergman, and maybe next year i will be able to put a menu my friends and i conceptualized to use; it will be a good day, rainy, quiet and nothing but the silent progression of movies.

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