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The thoughts of an NSman to a friend

By Eddie Choo

There is the dreary boredom that saps the life out of us, the hours merely standing and waiting for things to happen, where the only thing that keeps us sane is that far-off hope that everything is going to be over soon - that being a lie we have to convince ourselves of in order to keep going.

All that I've experienced can't be put neatly into words, words simply fail to describe the fullness of our NS experience. These are the endless days in bunk, training under the hot sun, full of perspiration - there are the endless nights digging holes in the ground, filling up sandbags, walking with our gear, under the moonlight, the stars, or the clouds. There is still so much to write about. So many words to say that can't be spoken.

But all of these, all of these will end, and then finally, the joyous daybreak of freedom from the endless nights of oppression.

And after that, onward to my dreams. Everytime I think about this, I feel a lot happier. I'm still wondering if I should be a chemist or a writer , or perhaps I should do both. But on another level, I'm thinking about life-work, the stuff you do that defines your life, who you are, more than anything else. Do you think of this?

We all know the truth, that Singapore is really too small for our dreams.

But even that is peripheral to the goal we have to simply make life better for the people around us, our community, and even beyond, to the world.

Maybe I'm too stuck on all these, but I can't think of another way to live my life.

Then there are those who live each day getting by on what they have. Our friends who strive to make a career, climbing the ladder of success, who participate in this endless rat race striving for fame, wealth and a comfortable life. Well, if they are smart enough, if they are talented enough, if they are hardworking enough, they'll get to where they want to be.

But I do hope you understand why I'm telling you all these - the rat race is for them, not for you. Their means - this rat race that consumes their soul, if for their end. And what is their end? That’s the thing, they have no real ends. I hope eventually you'll find an end worth your life, and join not their race, but your own.

I guess these sort of things might be too young for us who are just only starting our lives to understand, but I hope its not too late for you to sidestep this trap that so many others have fallen into.

Eddie wrote this as an afterthought to a friend.

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