April 26, 2004

Some food for thought.

Science's victory may have cost every one of us. And it has cost us deeply. Science may have alleviated the miseries of disease and drudgery and provided an array of gadgetry for our entertainment and convenience, but it has left us in a world without wonder. Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. Science proclaims that Planet Earth and its inhabitants are a meaningless speck in the grand scheme. A cosmic accident. Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone. We are bombarded with violence, division, fracture, and betrayal. Skepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought. Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have at any point in human history? Does science hold anything sacred? Science looks for answers by probing our unborn fetuses. Science even presumes to rearrange our own DNA. It shatters God's world into smaller and smaller pieces in quest of meaning ... and all it finds is more questions.

Religion cannot keep up. Scientific growth is exponential. It feeds on itself like a virus. Every new breakthrough opens doors for new breakthroughs. Mankind took thousands of years to progress from the whel to the car. Yet only decades from the car into space. Now we measure scientific progress in weeks. We are spinning out of control. The rift between us grows deeper and deeper, and as religion is left behind, people find themselves in a spiritual void. We cry out for meaning in channeling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, mindquests - all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer, but they are unshamedly irrational. They are the desperate cry of the modern soul, lonely and tormented, crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology.

Science, you say, will save us. Science, I say, has destroyed us. Since the days of Galileo, the church has tried to slow the relentless march of science, sometimes with misguided means, but always with benevolent intention. Even so, the temptations are too great for man to resist. I warn you, look around yourselves. The promises of science have not been kept. Promises of efficiency and simplicity have bred nothing but pollution and chaos. We are a fractured and frantic species ... moving down a path of destruction.

Who is this God science? Who is the God who offers his people power but no moral framework to tell you how to use that power? What kind of God gives a child fire but does not warn the child of its dangers? The language of science comes with no signposts about good and bad. Science textbooks tell us how to create a nuclear reaction, and yet they contain no chapter asking us if it is a good or a bad idea.

And all the while, you proclaim the church is ignorant. But who is more ignorant? The man who cannot define lightning, or the man who does not respect its awesome power? This church is reaching out to you. Reaching out to everyone. And yet the more we reach, the more you push us away. Show me proof that there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes and look to the heavens, and tell me how there could not be a God! You ask what does God look like. I say, where did that question come from? The answers are one and the same. Do you not see God in science? How can you miss Him? You proclaim that even the slightest change in the force of gravity or the weight of an atom would have rendered our universe a lifeless mist rather than our magnificent sea of heavenly bodies, and yet you fail to see God's hand in this? Is it really so much easier to believe that we simply chose the right card from a deck of billions? Have we become so spiritually bankrupt that we would rather believe in mathematical impossibility than a power greater than us?

Excerpts taken from "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown.

Traveller fell apart at 9:11 PM

April 19, 2004

The past week has gone by like a dream. After all, being at the twilight of your NSF career does bring with it certain perks ; one of which being all the time in the world. Of course, I'm supposed to feel like I have all the time in the world and yet, I feel as if time is trickling down an ever-expanding crevice of an hourglass. It will be in about 2 months time when I shall take my leave from Singapore. My leave from 20 years of this peaceful and stable life in Singapore. Not that I'm saying Australia is unsafe or dangerous, it's just that the recent reports of gang wars and Osama's looming threat have shaken my confidence quite a fair bit.

I'd be returning to camp next week to clear out my paperwork and tie up any loose ends I might have left hanging after my hurried departure on the 8th this month. It feels dreary to be truthful and I don't want to go back unless I have to. But then again, I've dreamt of this day for years when I'd be able to walk into camp and not care about anything except signing my clearance and cleaning out my locker and table. This is the dream of every NSF ; to sign your clearance and to collect that pink card you have been missing for the past 2 years. And it is my time. My turn. After all this waiting, after enduring all the taunting from campmates long gone, after taking all the shit from imbeciles who can't find a better opportunity to impose their authority on me, after dealing with adversities thrown my way. Yes. My time has come. I can safely say.

Ironically, Ziig will be enlisting 2 days before I collect my IC and I guess I do owe it to him to send him off. After all, when I enlisted that fateful day on 12th December 2001, it was Ben and him who turned up at Pasir Ris Bus Interchange to afford me a send-off early in the morning. Perhaps this time, I shall go with Ben to afford him that same send-off. I've already passed on survival skills and valuable advice for surviving the army to him and whatever he does now is entirely up to him. On that note, I was just remarking last week how time flies. From lamenting about enlisting, to suffering in BMT, to seeing Ben enlist, to shifting camp, to watching Ricson & co. ORD, to LRI 2003 and now, to my ORD.

On a side note, it will be Mark and Eugene's turn next year. See what I mean by 'time flies'?

Traveller fell apart at 3:25 PM

April 11, 2004

Picture a perfect sunset. Picture the mists settling over the horizon. Picture a hue coming over the land as the sun slowly makes its way below the line of darkness. Picture a forlorn figure.

He sits there, unmoving yet thoughts fluttering. He is lost surely although this place seems so familiar. Of course. It is the first time he has been here without her. He reminisces their first meeting here ; he, the ever-optimistic college grad, she, the wide-eyed girl from the country. Their eyes locked when they caught each other's gaze and it was then, that their souls entwined. She sat there motionless yet beckoning to him unknowingly. He gingerly stepped across the platform, each tile bringing him closer to destiny. Destiny. That is a subjective word. How did he know it was destiny? Because it felt so different, so entrenched deep within his soul, so wildly exploding out of his chest. Two different yet conflicting emotions existing in perfect harmony? This must be love.

Theirs had been a wonderful tale of fulfillment and satisfaction. Satisfaction? In knowing that they were destined to be together. In knowing that without each other they would perish. Yes. The notion of death did not seem to faze them. It always did but not so now. Meetings in school would be chanced. Rendezvous outside of school were always planned. And each time they met, it felt as if the world around them ceased to exist. Nothing else mattered. Except you. You.

And then it happened. He had lied to her, cheated on her. She walked out on him not out of anger but in hopes that he would repent. He walked out on her not out of lust for another but in his own pride he dwelled, refusing to apologise or seemingly repent. Yet in his heart he did. The day came when he decided he would rather risk his pride than losing her forever. And when he did, he found her... in the arms of another. Shock and devastation took over. He stumbled as he tried to walk away from the scene which had crushed his heart. His whole world had crumbled around him and there was nothing anybody could do to mend it. He lumbered aimlessly around town, finally arriving where they had first met. The Bridge. He peeked his head over the railing and contemplated taking his life. No. The memories came rushing back as he gritted his teeth and screamed in agony. Without her, his life was pointless. His friends had consoled him by saying there were many other fish in the ocean. But they all would not do. Only she would. And now, his only soulmate had left him. His life seemed worthless, meaningless. But no, taking his life would be taking away part of hers too for he knew that they were soulmates for life whether they were together or not. He refused to partake in his personal grief and instead stumbled away in a daze.

He died. Yes, even as Death comes to all Man. He did not out of old age or disease, but rather through a condition diagnosed only as heartbreak. Yes, it may seem ridiculous to you or even funny. But nevertheless, his life did end that night. Cold. Alone. In his bed. At the funeral, a black car pulled up and there she appeared. The love of his life. And yes, she cried. She wept. She teared. For she knew that part of her was in that casket. Part of her had died with him. Why had she left him? After all, her cousin had only advised her that afternoon to forgive him. It was all too late. Too late.

Later that evening, as she lay in blankets of loneliness and sorrow, she could feel a soft touch on her shoulders. Cajoling her to sleep. Whispering in her ear. It was he. He had come to bid her farewell and to tuck her into bed. One final time.

Traveller fell apart at 7:31 PM

April 08, 2004

The pale moonlight runneth deep,
Casting shadows upon thine stony creek.
Yet shadows not they be,
For ghosts of pasts forgotten,
Love the darkness and the negligence.
Thine own failure, thine must pay.
Yet thy own failure, forgiven may.
Lacking strength or courage thus,
Entrust. Entrust.
Slipping into hatred now,
Shalt God save us as he save thou?
O, foolish mortals yet
Look not beyond this set.
For the world's a stage and we, merely players.
Players though we may be
But a winner we shalt never see.
Save God. Save God.
And leave him to his devices be.

Traveller fell apart at 2:31 AM

April 06, 2004

Ever heard the saying about a 'blessing in disguise'? Suddenly, that very phrase became tantamount to what I was experiencing. After incessant nagging from my mother, I reluctantly agreed to pack my room ; disposing that which I had no use for anymore and packing the stuff I would want to bring Down Under.

As I lumbered silently on with the task at hand, memories of my teenage years coupled with my childhood hit me like a bullet train. Suddenly, I was thrust back in time, harnessed to a time machine and bungled into a vortex which was my bookshelf. I began first by disposing of all my old FHM issues. Issue by issue I dug up, various covers and bright colours began to show their lustre once more. Pictures of scantily clad women filled the floor of my room and when I finally pulled the last magazine out of the cupboard, I said to myself 'Oh my God'. Why so? Picture this. Twenty issues of FHM on the floor, discounting the equally numerous issues of NewMan I had as well as assorted copies of differing men's magazines. Add the total value of that and you get at least $200 worth of magazines. Had I really spent that disgusting amount on men's magazines alone? My sin had clearly questioned not only my morality but also my frugality.

Then came my BMT Enlistment Letter which I found nestled in the far corner of my bottom drawer. It was a pleasant surprise and a distant memory to say the least. But nonetheless, the feeling of apprehension and expectancy filled my senses once again, this time in anticipation of my release from the Army instead of my enlistment. It was ironic then, that I should find a letter dictating my imprisonment when I approach my ORD with less than 2 months to go.

As I dug further, I found books and notes which I had used back in JC. Things I should have thrown away but kept in hopes that they would one day be of use to me. I know better than that now. They are all down the chute at this point in time. Memoirs and little ornaments decorated my study table although most of them were choked with dust. As I picked each one of them gingerly off their perch to dust them off, I began to feel a sense of nostalgia. It didn't seem long ago that I had received or cherished them and yet, now here they lay, forgotten and seemingly unwanted in the wasteland of my desktop.

Most of the things I found that day, I disposed of. Perhaps it is symbolic then of my need to break free of this life I once led in Singapore and to start anew somewhere else. But as in every heroic epic, there will be something that I shall forever hold on to. Love. To dear Steph, even though I threw away everything else in my room, you are someone I'll never throw away. Because you made me feel special, you made me complete and most of all, you made me realise what true love is about. Thank you so much. I'll never let go.

With this, my heavy heart departs this space in which I pen my thoughts, hopeful of a restful night.

Traveller fell apart at 1:39 AM

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