Friday, November 07, 2008

Yes We Can

I will remember the day Barack Obama was elected POTUS. I was in Redwood City, California, at a restaurant, having dinner with my new colleagues at the last company in Sillicon Valley still hiring new employees. I saw his acceptance speech later that night at the bar of the hotel I was staying in.

He was magnificent.

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Many detractors of Obama had told me earlier this year that change, by itself, means nothing. Change can mean the dawn of a new golden age. Change can also be getting run down by a truck.

I now have an answer for them.

You are right. Change -is- a neutral concept, neither good nor bad. However, that is only half an answer. To answer the question this way ignores what has come before and what is going to happen ahead. It ignores the 8 years we have watched the worlds only superpower flush itself down a toilet.

Simply put, no one calls for change when things are going right.

So yes, change is neutral, but a call for change is always positive. It means the first step in solving a problem: it acknowledges that we have a problem in the first place. It is this way and ONLY this that we can grow.

This call has been answered at last.

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I originally went to America in search of a better life, to find a place that I could call my own. It was only when I returned that I realised I already had such a place - Singapore.

The lessons I learnt during my stay in America are, frankly, Hallmark Card moments. Love your parents. Value your friends. Do right by others. There's nothing profound about these lessons, except that I had to travel 8000 miles to learn them.

I was expecting to be choked up with seeing the part of America that I loved so much and missed so badly. Instead I felt...nothing. No tears, no change, no choking up. When I went back to my old stomping grounds, I actually felt a little disappointed. Was this what I worked so hard to return to?

That's when I realised that, over the last two years, I had outgrown California. That is and has always been a symbol of freedom, hope and love for me. Like all symbols, they were not valueable in and of itself, but for the messages they conveyed. Once you grok the message, well, there isn't that much left.

I didn't need California anymore. But I still appreciate it, like an old friend with whom you finally come to terms with, warts and all.

So here it is. My final lesson. Never lose hope. Money lost can be earnt back. Opportunities will come again. Failures will stop stinging. Love can be found again.

Take it from me. All that shit doesn't matter. I was penniless, jobless and torn up over all the opportunites I missed because I needed to nurse my emotional wounds. Today, I have a great job in a company I love. I have friends that I love, and family I learnt to see with new eyes.

Tomorrow they may all be gone, but it won't matter.

Only hope matters. Hope is what will keep you going, because nothing can keep you down forever, so long as you have hope. Hope makes the bad times liveable, and the good times magical. Hope is all. With hope we can do anything, live through anything, achieve anything.

Yes we can.

9 comments:

Pendragon said...

What happens when the Old Man dies? He may be a crochety old dictator, but he ran things smoothly.

Once he vacates the seat, SG will get torn apart.

Will you want your children to grow up in a place that's falling to pieces?

-ben said...

I originally went to America in search of a better life, to find a place that I could call my own. It was only when I returned that I realised I already had such a place - Singapore.

Good for you that you've accepted Singapore, KC.

Khayce said...

Pendragon,

Singapore is ALREADY a place that is tearing itself to pieces. The one thing I think Singapore has going for it is that it is ONLY valueable as a single piece and not in pieces.

Ben,

It's not Singapore per se. More like a state of mind.

Pendragon said...

Do you think that there's anything we can do about it?

Khayce said...

Yes we can. :)

Profit said...

"I originally went to America in search of a better life, to find a place that I could call my own. It was only when I returned that I realised I already had such a place - Singapore."

Hey! It's just like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Profit
http://profit86.livejournal.com

Pendragon said...

Like what?

And I'm not talking about our economy. Our social culture and values ---- or lack thereof; it's all going to eat us from the inside out.

Khayce said...

You have asked a deep and complex question that can be summed up in one sentence: "What exactly do you mean by social morals and values?"

If you mean 'motherhood' truths like "Do no harm" and "Treat others with respect", yes, that is exactly what we need going forward.

If you mean 'ban gay marriages' and 'whack the idiot who irritated me' then no, that's not what we need.

I'll write more about this in time, but it comes down to one thing - stop the bully mentality.

The Horny Bitch said...

California is like a woman you fancy, whom you wnat to spend your days with and who you wanted to grow old and stay with but it didn't turn out the way u wanted.

When you left Cali and return to Sg, you left as a broken man..

It's ok. We learn. Maybe in time, Sg can be Cali.. =)