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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Squirrels, Birds, and being overseas, yet again

For this past week, I have been waking up early (around 7am), automatically, no matter what time I sleep. The sun is up by then, part of it is shining into a corner of my room, the air is fresh and breezy (I leave my window open at night), the birds are chirping heathily. Spending about an hour plus on the computer every morning is the first thing I will do once I open my eyes and get out of bed. That is BEFORE starting on work, which will, by then, be about 10am.

Yesterday morning, I was studying on my bed, then staring out the window at the huge tree outside my window. There was a family of squirrels running around, jumping from branch to branch, trying to catch one another, eating fruits on the trees, playing catch-me with the birds on the trees as well. It's a wonderful sight. They are so carefree, with nothing to worry about, apart from staying alive and trying to get food. Sometimes I wonder, what would it be like if I were a creature in the wild? Would I be fighting for my life? Would I be enjoying the food? Would I even be able to think?

Birds chirping in the background are the only sounds I hear. Other than that, my room is silent. No music, no screaming children in the background or in the house (coz everyone is either sleeping or studying), the back of the house facing my room, all peace and quiet, and the only sounds are movement from myself when I get up to walk around my room while studying. My room is conducive. I like the sunlight. Although it doesn't shine straight in my face, it is visible, and it makes me happy, makes me cheery, makes me feel awake. The sounds of birds chirping provide background noise, but that happens only in the mornings. Nevertheless, it's a welcome sound. =)

Studying is the one wonder which never ceases to amaze me. So far, I've more or less done a 2nd round of what I'm tested, with the exception of Cardiology, which I'll be doing today. My exams are tomorrow. I don't feel anxious or panicky. Worse still, I don't feel prepared. I just feel cautious. I think exams have come to not mean so much to me anymore. Exams don't make ME. My degree is different from other degrees. I don't have to fight for a first or second upper. Having excellent grades do not make me a good doctor. So what if I know all kinds of knowledge now? Will it stay with me for years to come? In a few months' time? I'm thinking, as long as I pass my exams, know in my heart that I've tried my best and done all that I can, it's enough. For now.

I've been reading something on the net 'Reports From Tomorrow' which Lit had recommended on his blog. It's really refreshing to see the views of expats who live in Singapore, apart from the ones I know, who are essentially my sister's boyfriends. I've come across a couple of things which I would like to remind myself of:

The point of living abroad is the for the experiences - bad as well as good, learning and relearning that while our differences hold many surprises, people are not that different, regardless where they live. ....

The diversity of S'pore has been wonderful. We've had the chance to learn so much about the local Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures. Here we have all the "strangeness" of living in several different lands at the same time without the need for travel or the problem of language.

S'pore has been a great base to see the rest of Asia. It's western enough to be comfortable, but near enough we can go to places all over southeast Asia with ease.

Singapore works - not something you can say about many places in Asia. It's beauracy is astonishingly efficient and honest. When I had some hassle with my last work permit, everyone, locals as well as ex-pats, was amazed it was messed it up. The city is clean and safe (ask any white woman how safe she feels here). The public transportation system is unquestionably the best in the world - easy, plentiful, and cheap. ....

Coming overseas, I see that now. Those who do not leave Singapore often take things at home for granted. Perhaps that is why we complain so much. Perhaps all college students should take a year out to sample what the rest of the world has to offer. It will be a huge eye-opener, compared to those who start working, or those who want to do some good and do voluntary work. Apparently a stereotype has evolved over the years that 'Complaining is to be a Singaporean, one of a Singaporean's life-passions'. That, to me, is derogatory. Complaint is good if it is for change. However, I just don't understand why some have to complain about every single mundane thing. Are we that narrow-minded? Or just simple-minded?

Sigh... there, my tirade/complaint for the day. ;) Now, it's back to studying for me.