08 March 2006

The Lovers, the Dreamers and .... Mr Wang

Some responses to my two recent posts "The 5 C's Reexamined" and "The Pursuit of Dreams":
"....I do not really agree that it is the society's expectations of you. Rather, most of the time it comes from the parents. Not so much from your teachers or peers. Sometimes I look back and wonder if what I was doing all along (prior to Grad School) is because of what my parents want me to do, and not because of what I myself want to do ...." - by Tak Chek, Living Your Parents' Dream.

"I have seen many young and brilliant Singaporeans in the UK. Yet, to date, I have not seen young Singaporeans dreaming of winning the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize or even put their passion so that they will be placed on the map against the top guns from the west. The reason is that they are not confident about themselves ..." - by BL, It Takes A Dream.

"Even as you work out your goals and your dreams, I hope you would pause for a while and ask yourself if, on the road to achieving your dream(s), whether you would end up a mindless ant, or are you going to be a soul-searcher, poet and visionary." - by teacher Madam Sng, A Dreamer or an Ant?, (a post addressed to her students).
Personally, Mr Wang does not really have any single big dream that inspires his whole life. However, he finds life to be endlessly interesting because ever since he was a kid, he has always had many wide-ranging interests which he pursues with a lot of gusto.

Coincidentally, Mr Wang has recently been attempting to master "Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog, on his guitar. Rather apt, because the song is all about chasing your dreams ....

"Eighteen chords with minor sevenths and suspended major 7ths,
AND a transposition from the key of G to G#.
Don't underestimate my song!"


Anonymous said...

"If you really don't know what your own dreams are, then it is not necessarily a bad thing to pursue the goals that society has chosen for you. It may even be a very good thing. After all, what would you do otherwise?"

Mr Wang, I think that is very well said. I think in recent times, people (Singaporeans included) have tended to glamourize their lives and lament what a big success they "would have been" had they not trodded the local system and had they had options (options which they are unable to articulate). If society chooses goals for you (or mummy makes you wear a pink shirt, when you want to wear a blue one), when you come of age, it's up to you to buy yourself a blue one and not wear a pink one and lament 24/7 and just about blame everyone except yourself.......

I have pursued the goals Singaporean society has chosen for me and admittedly have had my whiney moments, but now at 27, I can't imagine leading another life....I went with the default and am happier for it. People who don't conform, make wonderful movies (and win Oscars)and we watch these wonderful award shows on our plasma TVs from the comfort of our condomimiums, that is our station in life....and I dare you to tell me that is a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Ah the typical air in the head materialistic singaporena girl speaking. Probably a bonafide SPG too.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Actually, "goddaughter" is Mr Wang's real goddaughter (and yes, she regularly reads this blog). Although she herself does not realise it, she is actually pursuing a dream of her own.

Her dream is to travel and work internationally, and to see the world. She has worked in Singapore and now she is working in London and she's planning to relocate to Hong Kong or Tokyo next.

Goddaughter does not realise that she is pursuing a dream, because her dream is so compatible with the 5 C's kind of aspiration (yes, she earns quite a lot of money). Nevertheless it is her dream anyway.

Dreams do not necessarily mean that you have to be a singer or an artist or a filmmaker or anything particularly unusual. Many people's dreams are fully compatible with a conventional path in life - for example, you may dream of saving lives (and be a doctor); or you may dream of inspiring young people (and be a teacher); or you may dream of travelling and living in different countries (and be an international banking lawyer like my goddaughter).

Anonymous said...

"Ah the typical air in the head materialistic singaporena girl speaking. Probably a bonafide SPG too."

Ted, sometimes I wish I was as described, but unfortunately I know just a teeny bit too much to pretend to be any of those...can probably pass off as SPG, but bona fide veli hard ah...

Blank Doll said...

Does anyone else notice that the ST consistently confuses the conditional and the future tense? Especially with the words 'will' and 'would'?

Anonymous said...

As much as we appreciate the goals society has given to us, we should also support those who have dreams and visions.

People like JBJ, 80 years old have been fighting for Singapore's democracy since 1981 when he became the first person to break PAP's monopoly in Parliament

2005 Singapore-Globalized, 2nd most open economy, Open Open Open blah blah

Seats in Parliament
PAP: 80 plus
Opposition: 2

In contrast, number of votes 2001 election
PAP: 75%
Opposition: 25%

Shouldn't the opposition have at least 20 seats in parliament?

Weird or what?

Anonymous said...

Al Gore received more votes than GWB. Shouldnt he be POTUS? Now that is what I call weird.

As long as PAP receives 2/3 majority in the parliament, 2 or 20 opposition members will make no difference.

BTW, did you know that it is illegal in the US state of Georgia for married couples to have oral sex as recent as 1998? Isnt this about the same time as Singapore legalising oral sex as foreplay.

Singapore laws are not that archaic after all!

via reddit

Outrage After Teen Gets 10 Years for Oral Sex With Girl

Anonymous said...

It is not necessarily bad thing to pursue society chosen goals for you since you can always blame society later if you are unhappy.

It is easier being wrong in a group then to be wrong alone

Blank Doll said...

The opinions of a 17 year old are that the opposition is insipid and should not deserve a chance to wreck the Singapore economy. Truly, I think the economy should still be our focus and unless someone can prove that the PAP are leading us down the cliff of a slowdown, I think they still deserve our support. Somehow, I believe the presence of too much food and comfort has led Singaporeans to think about strange ideas like freedom of press which looking at the grammar of the Straits Times, should not be condoned.
Oh and the subjunctive is used after an emotion is described or some sort of doubt. It is a must that he be killed, is a subjunctive.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Heheh. Grammar alone won't be enough to help you do well in GP. You need to learn to make logical arguments too.

ashke said...

I always thought that the song, The Rainbow Connection, was anathema to dreams. Since, well, rainbows (I think it symbolizes dreams) are 'only illusions'. But then again, on re-reading the lyrics, maybe what Kermit's trying to say is that dreams are as natural as breathing and what other course in life can you take but to find it?

Anonymous said...

I am glad the above 17 year old cannot vote yet. Even if the said 17 year old can be in a GEP and knows much more about economics than any of us, I hope he can stay the happy mindless little ant he will be.

I am glad he cannot vote. Peace!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

No .... The Rainbow Connection is not anathema to dreams. Kermit first alludes to a cynical view of life:

"Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows?
And what's on the other side
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide"

But then Kermit goes on to explain that he does not agree with such a view:

"So we've been told
And some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong wait and see"

ashke said...

Ahh, that's nice. Muppets songs are always so cheerful, optimistic and thoroughly, thoroughly nice...

Anonymous said...

The Rainbow Connection is a favorite school song of a certain top girls' school. Everyone's gotta have a dream, even if it is as mundane as someday owning a car, or having kids and a peaceful life. Dreams are what give us hope and energy.


Blank Doll said...

The 17 year old has the sense not to write an entire argument with the space afforded in a comment box.
The 17 year old has also seen what Singapore is today and is thoroughly disgusted with his elders with their instinctive distrust of the government borne out of studied ignorance and a blind faith in liberty and freedom as well as too much food to eat.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Blank Doll

In case you do not understand, I'm fully happy to listen to opinions that differ from my own, if they are logically presented anyway. However your argument basically breaks down all over the place, and therefore don't deserve much in the way of a real response.

I'll just put it to you this way - even if the 2 or 3 opposition members were terrorists and successfully blew up an entire building in Shenton Way, this wouldn't take more than a quarter of a percentage point off the year's economic growth -

much less

"wreck the Singapore economy"

as you have suggested that they can do and will,

just by being in Parliament and speaking on issues.

That's how wildly exaggerated your argument is. You suggest that a few opposition members standing in Parliament can

"wreck the Singapore economy"

something which skyrocketing oil prices; SARS; the 1997 Asian currency crisis; competition from China and India, put together, could not do -

why, you elevate the power and influence of opposition members to that of gods, or demons,

or at least a Hurricane Katrina,

I should say.

Blank Doll said...

I admit to having written an argument fraught with holes, probably because it wasn't meant to be much of an argument and more of a sudden sense that we do not appreciate our leaders very much.
I may have been too callous in pointedly accusing the opposition of such a thing partly because the opposition has never tried to tackle the economy so we'll never know but also partly because what is more important is the view amongst laymen that all the government does is suck money and make lives miserable. It is the general sentiment that underscores the background which disturbs, why ought the government be portrayed as such? Is authority centred upon the government which is also the seat of a singular party be bad for a country?
Although probably rather too late, I realize that I probably shouldn't have tried to air these views here seeing as this really isn't the place and do apologize. 17 year olds and their ideals sometimes get in the way of things.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Well, I have to say that your comments were somewhat off-topic, since the post was about people's personal dreams, and not so much whether or not the government sucks money and makes us miserable.

Maybe you can look out for a more appropriate post on my blog sometime, to express your political views about PAP and Opposition. I'm sure such a post from me would come along sooner or later.

Anthony said...

I have to say something in Blank Doll's defence - if nothing else, (s)he is at least asking the right questions, even if I don't necessarily agree with his/her conclusions.