1 October 2016:
End times are near.From the first stanza of W. B. Yeats’ The Second Coming,
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convinction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
What a week this has been.
Following the ecstasy of the previous week, this week has been about disappointment and confusion and insecurity. What a sharp contrast, isn’t it. I’m not going to do another day-by-day recount this time, though.
It hit me on Thursday: end times are near. For fans of Breaking Bad (which I currently am), I’m sure it must be no difficulty recalling the season 4 finale, which (as it happens) is titled End Times. But no, this isn’t just about a name.
Those who have watched the episode would’ve remembered the intense mood. It was almost certain that this time Gus Fring will finally get rid of Walter White. And of course, Jesse’s loyalty finally wavered against Walt.
That’s a show, a fictional episode. But what if I tell you that this was somewhat like what I’m experiencing currently? Of course, it will never be that dramatic but there are strong parallels. And the worst part? I am no Heisenberg.
I once shared my problems with _, and he shared with me how he never faces such issues: through an intense web of manipulation, coercion. Nothing’s illegal, but certainly ethically questionable. To be honest, I’d love to do that if it can solve problems.
Sadly, I am never that skilled. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not (as of now), but I can never come up with intense strategies such as _. So yes, this is one suggestion I will not be able to pull off. I am no Heisenberg.
When I mentioned the phrase to S, he thought that I was referring to my ORD. Which, in fact, should be a happy thing. But with things in the state they are currently, I really don’t know how I will react to leaving. My aim was to ensure I left things better than when I came.
But by now, I just feel so worn down by the current state of affairs. E asked me why I was so depressed few days back. I kept mum, but I really had so much to say. Yet, how could I confide in a contributor of my troubles?
I acknowledge that I have no life. Unlike most other guys, I don’t fancy most sports, I don’t play games like Fifa or Overwatch (though I roughly know about them). As such, yes, it is rather hard for me to fit in with most others.
And, as it happens, I like my current job. But then what happens? I become associated as the go-to guy, the one to seek help from when things go wrong. On the positive side, that’s some form of recognition and accomplishment.
On the flip side, I am associated with nothing else. People regard me as a worker, not as a person with feelings, with interests (albeit varied). Just earlier this week, when all I wanted to do was talk casually, E diverted conversation into work.
As much as I love to be around E, I’d rather not talk to him, than talk about work (and nothing but work), especially after work hours. Even though I am a no-lifer, this doesn’t mean I am a 24/7 helpdesk.
And of course this also brings me to the topic of ‘rememberance’. I dare say that I am well-known amongst every command team in every company. Again, it seems like a good sign. But no, because all I become is a troubleshooter.
_ ever told me, frankly and harshly, that people become friends because they have mutual benefits. That is, A has something to gain from B, and B has something to gain from A. I do acknowledge his point, but I really hope it isn’t the case.
Earlier this week WK messaged me after a week since we last messaged. He asked me about how I got promoted. Tone was nice and friendly. To be honest, I had absolutely no issue with answering his questions. But that was it.
And this, from someone that promised to ‘update’ and more. Maybe I’m just too uptight about promises, but I get quite affected when people promise something and don’t deliver. If I forced someone to do something, I can still understand if he doesn’t.
But to me, if you promise someone (with no threat or coercion), that you’d better fulfil it. I really don’t know. Is it that nowadays, promises are no longer held as tightly as before? Is it that generally people casually throw promises about?
Or maybe, in a similar fashion as ‘Why did your cheek come hit my hand so hard?’, I should just accept this and be accustomed to disappointment. Learn to treat fulfilled promises as bonuses, and never expect them to happen in the first place.
This is me getting cynical. But with things going the way they are, it’s hard for me to see another way out. That is exactly the whole idea behind 認真你就輸了, a constant reminder to myself (which I still fail to abide).
It’s really hard for me not to think that I am treated as nothing more than a troubleshooter, when every day I see countless examples of it. So far, I dare say no one has altruistically befriended me with no other motives. Except maybe G.
Almost every company trainer knows me. Some are closer to me than others. Yet, everyone is nice to me only because they want me to give preferential treatment to their company. There’s nothing about really befriending, just lots of smiles.
This is perhaps a work hazard, but I am really tired of it. I am tired of being led on by people whom I thought was genuinely befriending me, seemingly concerned about me, but then realising they are more interested about getting things done instead.
And at this point, I’d like to say that I am not expecting everyone to be ‘true friends’. I am firmly aware that ultimately, though we are all NSFs, some treat this as nothing more than a job. They just wanna get it over and done with.
Hence, I am perfectly fine if some of them are profesionally corteous and nothing more. There is nothing wrong with simply building professional, amicable work relationships. But what I am really sore about are people who seem to care for you and want to be a friend, when it is nothing but a ploy to make me feel indebted (and hence help them out). Good play, but thankfully I saw through it.
So in conclusion: end times are near. Not because I am going to ORD, but because I am so tired from this whole state of affairs and can’t wait to leave everything behind. To justifiably leave people who can’t care less about me as a person with feelings.
Earlier this week, S was saying how he would miss B so dearly, when the two of them have been ‘us against the world’ (his words, not mine) for most of their journey here.
I don’t know how well I hid it, but apart from being happy for him, I was also intensely jealous. I have no buddy to count on, that I can depend on at all times, that I can help out when he is in need too.
I thought I had one previously, but look at how that ended. Till today, that failed mess still has its repercussions. I suppose G and I were buddies for a few months last year, but sadly our environments changed.
And in my current environment, there is no one to ‘count on’. There is no one that will have the same schedule as me, to be able to pass the time with me and keep each other company.
But by now, of course, I have resigned my fate. Through whatever decisions I made back then, and whatever else decisions that others have done, this is how it’s going to end.
I am like Walter White, sitting in his garden waiting to be killed. Only that I have no gun, and definitely no Lily of the Valley plant.
28 September 2016:
24 September 2016:
What an interesting week it has been . . .
Long-time (ugh, how pretentious) readers would probably know that I generally dislike posts that detail the what-happens of my day / week, but for this post only I’ll do a short one of the past 5 days. Not all details are mentioned, just significant ones that I will mention after that.
Sun, 18 Sept
- Reached camp an hour earlier to settle some stuff.
- Realised that K had booked-in even earlier than me, starts brief text conversation.
- Settled it (thankfully) and went to bunk to change and unpack.
- As I had about half an hour before fall-in, I went up to the bunk where the men bunk at.
- Wanted to meet K in bunk, but realised he was sleeping. No wonder he stopped replying me.
- Instead saw D. Spent the next half hour talking with D about the ‘history’ of the bunk and how things were previously.
- Also briefly mentioned my religious beliefs and how it differed from his. (This was prompted for, certainly not me proselytising.)
- K woke and showed that his hip was somehow hurting more than usual.
Mon, 19 Sept
- Early in the morning, realised that both D and WK were getting posted out. Both postings were fairly satisfactory.
- D ended up rushing as his posting was effective 19 Sept. (He was supposed to have been informed the Fri prior but was not.)
- Very shocked that just a day ago I talked with D one-on-one for the first time and now he’s posting out.
- Relieved that WK is posting out to a good posting in another unit. Was still rather guilty about previously but at least he finally gets a permanent posting.
- Spend at least one hour teasing WK with K about how someone’s gonna be a sergeant after all.
- Decided to go out with WK to celebrate and bid farewell.
- Sort-of excluded K cos I wanted to eat 小籠包, which was not halal.
- Guilty x100 but luckily he was fine with it, since we would go with K tomorrow.
- Went to eat Crystal Jade with WK, burnt a hole in my wallet.
- Thoroughly loved the 小籠包 though.
Tues, 20 Sept
- Settled miscellaneous matters relating to work. Wasn’t in much of a work mood, though.
- Went to eat 18 Chefs with K and WK. HJ followed too, though he previously said he wanted to stay-in to ___.
- Ordered salted egg prawn pasta. Rather expensive but loved it. It was a little jelak towards the end but still lovely.
- Had a really good time with the three of them the whole time.
- Nearly got emotional about how much I’ve been yearning for such good company but never had for months already.
- As I burnt my wallet yesterday, told WK I would pay him next week.
Wed, 21 Sept
- Sort-of remembered it as WK’s final day in the unit.
- Nothing particularly remarkable during the day but tried to treasure the time spent with him.
- Sort-of neglected work again.
- Went to eat with E and somehow ended up walking to mess.
- Had a funny, poignant time with E.
- Again treasured such times.
- Met ex-CMT at mess.
- Mentioned to him about WK’s posting there and got WK an interview.
- Told a shocked WK (and K) about it.
- During the day a work-related conflict popped up. Was texting K about it at night but ended up calling and talking to him about it for an hour or two.
Thurs, 22 Sept
- Didn’t receive any news from WK.
- Not quite affected by WK’s leave as K, who was mopey almost the whole day.
- HJ took off to send his dog to the vet. Teased him about eating dog since he’s such a dog lover.
- Went out for fish soup and back.
- Talked to JG about how my understudy still isn’t here.
Fri, 23 Sept
- Big work-related troubles brewing since yesterday exploded today. Didn’t help that relevant personnel went MIA as usual.
- Just when the big trouble died down, another smaller trouble exploded. Called HJ for help but he didn’t answer.
- Narrowly managed to settle the trouble. Was very, very upset with HJ and his unhelpful absence.
- Talked to him when he finally came.
So yes. What an interesting time. But the main part(s) of my week was in fact the company I had and how grateful I am to have them. And then comes my insecurities and how I am so afraid of what may come.
The past week was fantastic and I had fantastic company because there were certain conditions such that I was able to join in. I will not be having the same conditions the next week. Then, what I am going to do?
Also, before WK left, he mentioned that it’s highly possible to meet up again since his new unit is still rather close-by. True, but what if we don’t? Maybe not because he doesn’t want to, but simply because he’s too busy.
All this while WK has been really nice. I am not the easiest to get along with and so I thank his patience. But now that he is in a different place, I really don’t know if he will still be willing to meet up. Again, I don’t blame him if he doesn’t.
Ever since I entered NS, I don’t think I’ve really nutured a friendship that I can safely say will last beyond this two years. I certainly hope it’s just me being paranoid, but it seems that way to me. I barely keep in contact with anyone from BMT or SCS.
And then there’s the issue of work-friends. Some people I interact with are really friendly and nice. But beyond work, zero contact. I don’t blame them for it. They probably treat me as a work-friend which is understandable.
But I just think it’s sad that that’s all there is. Even with E, whom so far seems like a nice person to be around. I am highly aware that as it is currently, I am no more than a work-friend. Once I leave, I really won’t be surprised if there won’t be any contact.
All this is exactly why I adopted the motto of 認真你就輸了. Previously WK was saying how it wasn’t correct and it could end up hurting others that may actually be also putting in effort. What a dilemma indeed for me.
I really wish I could be like one of those people who really 看得開 when friendships or relationships go poof. Am I just too sentimental and/or emotional? Some people are just able to move on. Is that supposed to be the ideal?
From a Buddhist perspective, indeed ‘nothing is permanent’. But I guess sometimes things are very different in theory than in practice. And this is really one aspect which I struggle with. I can only hope for clarity.