Light Swords

Light Swords

The painting above was one that I did more than two years back when I was braving myself to enter into the world of design. I thought I was cut out for it simply because when I was stepping into an ICT foundation course, someone told me, “You can draw. Get into that.” Of course brains grow with praises to an amateur artist; “You can draw” is equated to conspiring a pimpled face teenager that she “can sing”. I changed my course, and after a semester into an Urban Planning degree course that made me feel like I was physically paving my green intestines into the ground of growing trees where the words “R.E.M. waves” and “headaches” were equated, I knew I wasn’t cut out for it after all.

Old habits die hard, and now, two years into a Political Science degree, I feel physically and mentally healthier. Seeking inspiration in the world without panda eyes staring back at me in the mirror, I know I’ve made the right choice. Sure, you have artists and designers, as well as philosophers and political scientists cropped above their boards and scraps of paper, ‘burning the midnight oil’ as they say… Glamourous and at times necessary, it is not to say that I haven’t done the same even now, but above all, I can say that I’m happy, even when I’m miserable. Of course, being a course-shifter or having committed profession-adultery, I’ve had my fair of seemingly dead ends: ‘So what are you going to do next?’ a friend jokingly asks. ‘Medicine,’ I say, and I’m taken seriously, leaving an all too familiar bitter after-taste in my mouth. I’ve even had a relative tell me to ‘go to the mountains to seek revelation’ (after already attaining revelation). Mmmm… tempting, but I like the rustic view from my no-elevator fifth-floor dorm (good workout).

So why did I change courses so many times? Well, simply because I believe that human beings are no one-dimensional creatures. Note that streaming and dividing fields came about when we started taking academia and education more seriously (or the other way around? and when was that? Sometimes we can’t tell). Great philosophers of the world like al-Farabi, Ibn Sinna, Plato, Artistotle were not just theorists or educationists per say. They learned, thought and taught about everything. Mathematics to astronomy to music to medicine, and turned a blind eye to those who told them they were wrong or mere dreamers.

But perhaps looking too far back into history poses an indefinite question to some. (Like, who cares?). Then look at examples today… Winston Churchill (bless his wit-ted soul) was not only the British Prime Minister, but won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. Howard Zinn who recently departed early this year was a Jewish but also a staunch supporter against wars (including that in Palestine) and wrote as a professor, historian and playwright.

Heck, if Willy had time to rule the country, roll the dice in a World (rather European) War, and took the will to write, then what in the world are we doing?

We live in a society where we have to do things right, but quick and snappy, and that means now. We talk about fast services, fast computers, attaining that college degree as quick as we can so that we can get a job in an even shorter time so that we can earn and…. and then what? Retire? Go back to the finer things in life when things are too late?

But no one really talks about slowing down, thinking about what you really want in life or taking a risk and saying, “Maybe I was wrong, so taking this step back is really taking a step forward, because I’m moving on.”

So in short, I’ve moved on. I’m going to graduate, with a Political Science degree and (surprise!) English as my minor. I’m going to keep on looking for the little things in life…

Some of us don’t necessarily want to be big or great,… though it may be just where people who start small end up.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kawan on May 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    You write really well!
    I enjoyed reading your “Light Swords” post.
    I feel the same about having to choose a field, especially after my highschool.
    Even when doing History now, if I was offered Wildlife Biology, I would go for it with all my heart! Eh, we’re all not one dimensional, right?

    Who cares?!

    I like your paragraph here:
    “We live in a society where we have to do things right, but quick and snappy, and that means now. We talk about fast services, fast computers, attaining that college degree as quick as we can so that we can get a job in an even shorter time so that we can earn and…. and then what? Retire? Go back to the finer things in life when things are too late?”

    You’re right, we definitely have to slow down. Who laid down the “system” of living anyway?
    It’s like we have to go through a routine. Like life was already defined in stages & enforced upon us:
    Childhood & Enjoyment, Kindy, Primary school, Secondary school, College, Uni, Job, Retire, Goodbye Life.

    It’s like we HAVE to feel the burden of what we (and/or the people in power) set for ourselves. And if one person does something extraordinary (and enjoys doing it, finds fulfillment, etc), we call that person “crazy” or “lazy”.

    BTW, I also liked how you ended the article. About how “the little people” end up successful without any such one-tracked intentions. Very impressive-suh!!!
    But you likened someone suggesting you do architecture because you can draw to “someone conspiring a pimpled face teenager that she “can sing””.
    What’s wrong with a pimpled-face teenager, man? wazzap wit dat!


    • Posted by kookaburra on May 13, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      thanks for commenting, kawan!

      well, there’s nothing wrong with a pimpled-face teenager. i didn’t say there was. and there’s also nothing wrong with knowing how to draw.
      but sometimes it gets to your head, especially if one is an amateur and hasn’t had a real background/training in a certain skill or profession.
      -that was the simile i was trying to use by comparing myself (not anyone else) to a teenager who, say, aspires to win the next singing contest or something!
      (all’s the rage, you see)… but then realizes that maybe that’s not what i want to do in the end.
      (many people who get into singing contests or anything else in life will tell you that).

      it’s like someone saying, “hey, you can really play the piano!” so you try to get into a music school and then you realize maybe you’re good at it,
      but not good at it to the extend that you want to do it to earn a living..

      and sometimes that’s a good thing, because you can get lost in the sea of someone else’s opinion, ideas, etc, instead of finding for your own voice.

      i hope that explained what i meant when i wrote it. i apologize to anyone who feels like i am referring to them, but look at what i’m trying to say behind that expression/figure of speech and not judge it literally, for i was a pimpled-face teenager… (still pimpled, but no more teenage).


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