Thursday, July 26, 2007

Word of the Day II

  1. (UK, Australian English, New Zealand English, slang, pejorative) An idiot, a stupid, annoying or ineffectual person.
  2. (UK, Australian English, New Zealand English, slang, pejorative) Someone who shows off too much. Someone who is overly proud of himself.
Don't ask what brought this about.

Friday, July 20, 2007

An Open Letter to California Bar Exam Takers 2007

Dear Bar Exam Taker,

You probably don't know who I am. You probably don't care. You probably stumbled upon this blog through a Google search, hoping that someone, anyone would be as miserable, nervous or irritable as you are feeling now.

I cannot offer that comfort. I took the bar exam last year. I understand the feeling though. I know that feeling well. For months, irritability and sadness were my constant companions. I, too, searched blogs to see if someone, anyone was as miserable as I was. I, too, clung on to Richard Sakai's words of comfort, his stories of people in such terrible positions that they could not possibly pass, but they did.

Today, I offer my own story for comfort.

Like many of you, the California Bar Exam represented hope for the future. I came to California hoping to find a job, and a life away from the stifling atmosphere of Singapore. The year before had been hard. I did well for my postgraduate course, but after a year of closed doors and rejection letters, I was nowhere closer to finding a job. So, yes, the Bar Exam I hoped would change things.

A month before the bar exam, the laptop I was going to use for the bar exam crashed. I was unable to recover anything from it. What's worse, I had been training, until that point, to take my exam on the computer. I lost a day too, trying to get the computer to work, but to no avail. I honestly thought I was going to go mad that day. I remembered resisting the urge to throw the traitorous computer against the wall.

I sucked it up. I started training to hand-write this exam. But even that wasn't the worst thing that happened.

A week later, my wife called me up from Singapore. She told me my marriage was over. I fought hard, trying to change her mind, to make her at least give me time until after my exam to work things through. She didn't. She was adamant. One week before the exam, I was so exhausted that I gave up. She conceded me a three-month hiatus, but even then, I knew things were over.

And just like that, my reason for working so hard for the Bar Exam was taken away.

I passed the Bar Exam. I took that sucker by the horns, and gave it my best shot, then went back to Singapore in tears. By the time I knew the results, the three month hiatus was over and I was facing an impending divorce. I guess I could have flown back to California to find a job, but then, what would be the point?

It is not my intention to make this sound like an "Against All Odds" story. Rather, this is a story about perspective. Right now, the Bar Exam may feel like the most important thing in the world to you. Passing it is the culmination of your dream to be a lawyer. Nothing else should matter, right?

You see, life has this funny way of throwing curve balls at you. You cannot possibly anticipate the million and one things that will happen to make your life miserable during the Bar Exam. The secret, the REAL secret that the Bar Exam doesn't want you to know about, is that these things don't matter.

Ultimately, your life after the results of the Bar Exam, pass or fail, is your own. You are the one living your life. Not the State Bar Examiners. Not Richard Sakai. You.

To this day, when people ask me what my finest hour is, I tell them it's taking the Bar Exam. It isn't because I passed. It's because I made it through alive. It made me realise the depths of endurance I had. It showed me that I had friends who cared about me. It made me realise I was loved.

The Bar Exam is no monster that thrives on corpses of failed students. It's no mirror reflecting your worst fears back on you. It's there, and it's not. It's you. Only you. You give it meaning. You make it the monster. You turn it into the mirror.

All you need to do is reach out your hand, and reach right through. Then go on living.

Best of Luck,
Anthony Lim

Why Learn Swordplay?

Because Swords Don't Run Out of Bullets.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Am back. Missed out the Teochew Duck Porridge near the PJ Hilton (where I was staying). Experimented on KFC instead. Found it much better than Singapore. Dunno why.

Ah well. Good to be back.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Heading Off

Heading off to KL for a business trip. See you guys when I get back.

P.S What the heck is there in Petaling Jaya to eat?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Almost Infamous Part V

I've known Christopher since I was 15. We met through a mutual friend. My first encounter with Christopher was....tense, to say the least. I don't wish to rake up the past. Suffice to say, he isn't the same person that he is now. To be fair to him, I'm not the same person I used to be either.

Fast forward approximately 15 years.

I am walking in a shopping center near my workplace where who do I bump into but Christopher himself. He runs up a descending escalator to catch up with me, on the ascent, when he spots me.

It is the first time I've seen him in person in years. I've, of course, heard of his success with his book "Harvesting the seeds of prosperity". I've not read it myself, but from what I've read of the excerpts, I see very sensible advice.

I smile. We catch up. He reads this blog, which is a bit of a surprise and relief to me, since I didn't have to update him much on my life. I'm glad, because repeating my story is starting to get a little weary.

I've been catching his commentary on occasion on Mr Wang's blog and on Intelligent Singaporean. Christopher is an incisive as ever. There is something different about him though. He is appears more settled and less cutting. If it were two years younger, I'd say it was the marriage. (Congrats again by the way). I'd like to think I know better.

Perhaps it's a change of brain biochemistry at age 30. Maybe it's just life wearing away at rough edges. I remember a time when Christopher and I were hungry young men ready to take on the world. We have grown wise. We have figured out that no one achieves success. One merely prepares for it and has it settle on oneself like a mantle.

We exchange numbers. Chris makes me an interesting offer, and I smile, and indulge in it for a while. We promise to keep in touch.

Thank you Chris, for running up the escalator to meet an old familiar face.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ridiculously Tired

Am swamped at work this week. Have a number of corporate training sessions to give, plus am in the midst of changing office.

I must be getting paranoid. I read this on LMD's site and instead of being amused, as I normally am, I started wondering if I happened to be responsible for the "particularly slow and boring training session".

I started becoming particularly paranoid when I realised that I could be reading about a colleague's sexual habits. That would be wrong on so many levels.

Then I looked at the date of posting. It was Wednesday. I didn't conduct a training session on Wednesday. -phew-

Stupid paranoia.

Edit - Am back to being paranoid. LMD's post was at 00.22 Wednesday, which means she was referring to Tuesday afternoon. Ugh. Argh.