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Tuesday, October 19, 2004 

from one university to another

I can’t seem to get away from universities.

No, I have not decided to pursue an honours nor a postgraduate degree, although it might be a possibility in the future.

For now, I wait for pre-employment formalities to conclude before I start a new chapter in my life on Wednesday 27th October. If everything goes to plan, that is the day I start work.

Those of you who know me well will immediately realize the irony of my employment by this university. No matter. I am glad to finally have some stability.

The past few months – it seemed like eternity – have been an extremely testing time. It has been an emotion-taxing and a confidence-sapping experience.

Everything I did or didn’t do had a domino effect culminating in a crushing crescendo of disappointment.

I thought photography offered me a way out of unemployment. There were a few problems with this. One was that I was disappointed I had so much difficulty in securing interviews, let alone job offers. I had realized this but never acknowledged it.

It ate away at me.

Consequently, my photography never reached the levels – passion-wise and expression-wise – it had in the past two years or so. I was also beginning to discover that my passion for photography was really a passion for friends (especially those in COSDU) and for many other things, nature and sports among them.

Photography aside, the continuing erosion of my confidence meant that I was loathe to hang out and to chat with friends. There was little point in chatting online, emailing, blogging, calling or any other form of communication. What was there to say?

“How are you?” “Are you working?”

How was I supposed to answer that? I didn’t want to keep on repeating that I wasn’t having the time of my life. Who wanted to hear for the umpteenth time that I couldn’t find a job and that my photography wasn’t going too well? I certainly didn’t want to spend money – on food or drinks – to say things I didn’t want to say.

So, I became a pseudo-hermit, wallowing in muddy depression. This, of course, was something else I realized but never fully acknowledged. Only recently, I looked up the IMH website and saw that I had all the symptoms of depression bar one.

If I had that symptom, I’d be a lot thinner. Sadly, my body works contrary to that, and my increasing bulk only added to the strain on an increasingly fragile ego.

Ah, yes, my ego.

Perhaps things would not have been so bad if I admitted that I was totally lost. But no. I was too proud to admit anything was wrong. I was too proud to accept help. I’m the one who’s there for others. How can someone who helps others not help himself?

Needless to say, I was at a spiritual low too.

As I stand at the cusp of working-life infanthood, I wonder if I’ll be happy at work. I don’t want to live to work. I don’t want work to consume me whole. There has to be more to life than that. I’m sure of that.

Sadly, I’m the conspicuous consumer that modern society has contrived. Already there are signs that I will become a serial-numbered rat in a race to nowhere.

Call it naiveté, but I hope that this doesn’t come to pass.


P.S. Thanks everyone who wished me all the best. It worked! =)

Hey there...
How's the new job? This must be day 2 for you...

Friday was day three. Work is pretty good so far. The day goes by in a flash. My colleagues are friendly. Food is cheap.

My only 'complaint' is the 2 1/2 - 3 hour total travelling time... But hey, I get to zone out if I'm sitting down. =)

2.5 - 3 hour travelling time?


It doesn't even take me that long to travel from the south of Canberra to the north.

Yah, 1 1/2 hrs from Bishan to NUS in the morning. 1 hour or so from NUS to Bishan in the evening.

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