Musings – a product of the System

I wrote this a longgg time ago (15 Dec 2012) and it has sat as a draft for a long time. I decided to read it.. and try and remember what else I wanted to add. I don’t remember.. Which is typical.. but that’s ok. So here it is.

Also a doodle, just for fun. Quite an old one but nevermind.



I often have ridiculous flights of fancy. And often at stupid o’clock. However, it seems appropriate to share this musing before I forget it.

My train of thought runs thus:

I was thinking about how, when one succeeds – suddenly everyone wants a piece of you. Everyone wants to benefit from your fame, perhaps rise from the updraft of your supposed upward trajectory. (Who decides which way is up anyway!?) Further, when that happens, one may often be invited to institutions, perhaps even one’s alma mater – to impart some form of wisdom to the younger generations. Possibly to inspire them to try and aim high, which in itself is no bad thing. So I thought.

I know, I am a little scientist/artist who exists in a world where much of who I am and what I stand for are often considered as insignificant as dust (or whatever, take your pick). But on the off chance that something amazing happens and my ‘star rises’ (so to speak), I imagined being invited back to my secondary school in Singapore and paraded as being something worth aspiring towards. Then I imagined what I might say to them. I thought a little of what my speech would be, and promptly realised that anything that I deemed worth saying would probably not be considered the best thing to say. I imagined myself submitting a draft of my speech, and then having the chance to speak taken away.

I would have advised the students to work hard, but play harder. I would have told them that work is not the be all and end all. I would also have told them that the world’s idea of success is wrong – not that it should stop us from working hard, but that it should stop ourselves from working ourselves to death by putting financial and societal success on a pedestal. So far so good. But there my thoughts stopped – as I realised that to continue to talk about how I believed work and study should be approached, would be to share my faiths and beliefs… and that, I think, would not be welcomed very much, if at all!

What, you wonder, could be so bad that this might happen? Further, what sort of mad institution would behave in such a manner? I must admit that I might be exaggerating a little. But anyone who has been part of the system that I have come from may understand a bit better. First, the institution in question is a secular one, and is well known for producing students of the highest academic calibre (depending on your standards and whatnot). Secondly, who in their right mind would encourage students to not desire a job that would make them fabulously wealthy, or to desire to be an outcast of society?

How could I possibly explain to those students that I believe that the best way to live life is to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Christ? Sure, I may not be very good at it (and am usually reluctant, if I must be very honest), but Christ is my saviour nonetheless! A truly successful life, according to the Bible, is one lived by running and finishing (not winning mind!) the race that is set before us. It also means a life where you might be more often than not: shunned, made fun of, rejected, belittled etc – even by your own family! It means a life of being tagged as stupid, even when you are clearly not! (The shiny new letters that follow my name certainly prove that I am not stupid!) Now that I’ve described my life (that of a typical Christian), I do not think that I would be allowed to ‘inspire young minds’ – mostly since the life I describe is rather unattractive on the surface. My ideas of success would be quickly rejected by my old school.

I would rather decline the invitation and save me some trouble. I want no part in encouraging the potential crushing of souls into the machinery of the merciless educational system of Singapore. I was a product of the system, and hardly any good has come of it. Money and high ranking in society cannot offer any true freedom. I believe that only life in Christ can. Otherwise we end up being slaves – to work, to attempt to find any high that will fulfill our desires, and find nothing.


Ok just realised I would add something after all. In the light of the post I just wrote abt the Holy Spirit and being empowered by it, I think it would be good to accept an opportunity to make a speech that might make people uncomfortable, but curious. Because then they might start asking questions. And that’s what we want.

But it would still be pretty difficult. Hmm.


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