Sunday, June 29 When there's no real answer (from the New Paper)
Sometimes, life doesn't make sense. Certain events just cannot be dissected or evaluated scientifically. Things like why a child dies, or how a good person suffers the worst luck. Even if they don't happen to you, you are reminded of them whenever you read the newspaper or swtich on the TV news. We don't understand why these things happen. We try. Always. We ask who, what, when, why and how. But every attempt to understand is thrown back in our faces, and we realise we are not going to get an answer the way we want it. Scientific views do not always stand up to our demands. Try telling the spouse of a murdered man that the reason her husband dided is because a knife went through his heart, tearing through essential valves and disrupting the heart's ability to pump blood. That's not what she wants to know. She wants to know why her husband was taken from her. One day, she may come to terms with her loss and be a stronger person for it. But an answer? That may never come. And that is what we must realise. Life includes events we cannot understand, things we cannot dissect under a laboratory microscope. Why? That's just the way it is for us finite folks. Maybe the world is too big for us to perceive in its entirety. So learn not to be harsh on yourself when things happen that you cannot control. When things go wrong, don't blame yourself, your friends or the powers that be. Accept change, as hard as it always seems to be. And though it may seem like you will never be happy again, know that you can be. Keep going. You will laugh again.
The night before I met Tania (fiancée of a Singaporean doctor who died of SARS), I had an argument with my fiancé. It was a one-way argument – I was ranting senselessly at him over the phone while he patiently bore with me. I’d had a long day at work, was cranky, and found fault with trivial things he said. Whatever reason I had, I realized it was a lousy one after talking to Tania. The first thing I did when I went back to my car after the interview was to SMS the sweetest apology I could to him. It had to do with her story, which moved me to tears several times during the interview. But more than that, it was the hug we exchanged in the life lobby afterwards, and her parting words to me. “The trivial things don’t matter at the end of the day. They really don’t. Treasure your loved ones while you still have them. You really won’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” she told me. But how easily we forget. Just a few weeks ago, I heard Tania share her testimony in church. Like many others who were sniffling around me, I cried. My fiancé, who was sitting besides me, squeezed my hand. I cried even harder. Somehow, I believed that we became more loving to, and appreciative of, each other after that Sunday. Yet there I was, throwing a tantrum. How easily we take our loved ones for granted. I related my meeting with Tania to my fiancé last weekend. Over dinner the next evening, he suddenly blurted out: “Thank you.” “Thank me for what?” I asked, surprised. I would never forget his reply; “Thank you for coming into my life.” That from a man who is usually not at all expressive. I also shared her story with another friend who was going through a rough patch in her marriage. The next morning, she told me: “I’m going to try harder.” So that’s what that cruel virus called SARS did. If any good had to come out of those 3 months, it is this priceless lesson learnt. Trivial things really don’t matter.
Unlike the over-anxious father fish Marlin in Finding Nemo, for most of our dads, showing affection is like pulling out hair. Forget about getting a hug. And if you're expecting daddy dearest to utter those 3 words - I love you - you have a better chance of striking lottery. But just because dad is a little (alot!) less expressive doesn't mean he doesn't give a damn about your life. Dads here just speak their own tongue when it comes to showing affection. Top 10 ways to tell dad loves you 1. Tells you to have that last piece of chicken even though he really wants it 2. Either gives you the silent treatment or nags at you for staying out late 3. Gives up watching tv to chauffeur you home 4. Passes you the keys to his beloved shining Beamer 5. Pretends to be doing things or watching tv late at night, but is actually staying up to wait for you 6. When you complain about being bullied, he gets just as worked up as you do 7. Slips you money before you go on a holiday 8. Boasts to his friends about you, but in a deprecating way: "Aiya, Ah Boy very useless one. O-levels only scored 8 As." 9. Pretends to know a thing or two about "hip" stuff just to let you know he isn't a conservative old fart 10. Recounts his war stories and hardship days with relish, if only to make you learn not to take what you have for granted
Your shoes say alot about your personality. Yes, whether you are vain, lazy, or sensible, it's all in the shoes - to the people who know what to look for. All right, that's just one opinion, take it or leave it. Only fashionistas go around reading shoes and telling you what an item of clothing says about you. But the following is widely practised but not optional: Whoever you are, wherever you are, the world reads you. Mind you, it's not as if people are observing you to write a thesis on you. People notice you - and everyone else - simply because it's second nature. The way you treat a stray animal, the way you speak to your parents, the way you deal with stress - everything you do reflects what type of a person you really are. Stressful thought, isn't it? Don't freak out, though. Just be aware of it. As social creatures living in this world, we spend lots of time being observed, and observing others. What you do every day impacts on the rest of your life. One grouchy day after another adds up to a week or longer of grouchy living. That's not pleasant for you or the people around you. So let the awareness - that people may draw conclusions on your personality from their observations - educate you. How? Observe yourself. Be inspired to be more consistent. Let's say you usually donate money during flag days but yesterday, you happened to be in a bad mood, so you stomped past the volunteers rattling their tins. Did they deserve that? Would it have hurt you to have stopped? Bad moods cannot be avoided, but we can learn to be more rational when dealing with them. We all know our actions and speech reflect our inner self. So let's work at it - inside and outside - to be better and happier people.