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Because it was Al’s last week as a bachelorette, we girlfriends decided to (finally) meet up for tea at Arteastiq. There was a strange sense of lingering bittersweetness as we listened to each of us share about our present stage of life. Almost fifteen years ago, we still donned our short haircuts looking like awkward schoolgirls on the edge of puberty, carrying our heavy schoolbags and making our way to school. Now years later, we have experimented with all sorts of hairstyles and lengths, negotiated fashion trends, and exchanged our boxy schoolbags for totes and hobos. Time has been kind to us; we have grown up well.

I listened in to the various conversation threads at our tea table. We recognise that life is not all roses and chocolates and pastel colour shades. There are realities of wedding days that people may gloss over due to the hype and celebrations; there is unflattering truth that I have ballooned twice in size since I graduated from University. There is the private emptiness when a happy marriage has not bred children a few years later. There is that nagging torment that beneath our seemingly successful jobs, we are not all that happy, and looking for the next turn in life is at the corner of our minds. There is also that swell of courage that we need to brace ourselves with, when we get ready to welcome the possibility of change.

I am becoming more excited at the prospect of possible change, and am becoming more convinced that there is no harm in entertaining that possibility. Perhaps when time is ripe, circumstances will allow me to be more forthcoming in sharing.


Too Large For Words

So it happened. A disaster, both tragic and unexpected, in the form of the quake that hit Sabah and the climbers at Mount Kinabalu last week, happened. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the quake, Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans alike. As an educator, my heart went out to the parents, teachers and students involved in that horrific experience. It would take a person all the boldness and courage and faith in the world, to move past an experience that shattering, and keep living. I cannot imagine how everyone directly involved must feel. I worry for how Singaporean public would try to wrap their heads around this letting a group of Primary School students trek overseas and whether or not the trip is justified, whether or not the experience is worth it, whether or not … we could have foreseen what would happen. These parents, students and teachers put their faith in a school learning expedition, because they believed in an education that was bigger, and better, and beyond the classroom. I pray they do not lose hope in that ideal after this. I pray that the school leaders have the wisdom to counsel, to support, to love their teachers and students more than ever. I pray that the parents and families will learn to trust and love and live again. I pray that the teaching fraternity, all of us out there, will band together and stand up for what we believe in.

Everyone has been sharing the articles and news on social media since a few days ago. My fingers wane at the prospect of sharing an article like those being circulated. What happened seems too large for words to describe or contain, too sensitive for it to be conveyed via online text. Should I appear apathetic and distant and say nothing when I share the article? Or should I engage in what has transpired, and undermine the severity of emotion underpinning it? There just seems to be no straightforward, correct way to mourn with the relatives of the deceased, our teaching fraternity, and our nation.

Perhaps that is the way mourning is: always out of place. May God uphold us.