Monday, July 27, 2009

the bonds of gratitude.

dusk at marina barrage

's been a long time since i was here. it's been a flurry of activity starting work and all. coupled with stealing time off to have a family picnic, or the birthday celebrations with all my dearest friends. work can be quite crazy but somehow, i enjoy my busy days. it's a love-hate relationship.

though there's always a time everyday that i hate my job. the first 10minutes after i force myself out of bed. working 10-12 hour days everyday, 5 days a week, is no joke.

but with the Lord's grace and strength i will make it. :)


well normally when i'm feeling bored, or when i get the travel itch, i'd come here, post a pretty picture that i took during my travels, write a bit and go back to what i'm doing. nowadays, apart from work, i go out or i try and finish my mammoth 4-season marathon of House.

as a result, this has been empty for awhile. and only something thought-provoking would bring me here.

via mr brown's twitter, i came across an article posted on a local e-journal of sorts. and being a sort-of scholar myself, i took it to myself to read the entire article, which was very very long. you'd think the author, a published author, writer and english major in northwestern many years ago and ex-teacher, would appreciate concision and some form of structure and organization in her essay.

anyway, she laments about her not making an informed decision when she signed on that dotted line when she was 19years old, and later being confined to the red tape of bureaucracy, forced to conform to government protocols, ideals and concepts.

later, she muses about how an overseas college education can profoundly change a person. and in that process, she had changed. and she resented her bond period, but still dutifully executed her responsibilities. she was the 'reluctant stayer', even when in her heart, she was a 'quitter', at least according to our PM.

don't think this summary does the article justice. so go read if you're interested.

my points. i agree with many points of view. and disagree. i'm sure many scholars would whole-heartedly applaud. but i do beg to differ.

1. at the beginning of it all, we made the choice to sign on the dotted line. we had all the time, the reasoning, the brain that God has given us to exercise free will. and whether we have made an informed decision or not, the onus lies with us to live with our decision.

if we were ignorant of the consequences, the job that awaits us or if we haven't given serious thought about the 6-year bond period or the 6-figure liquidated damages awaiting us should we quit, then the fault lies with no one, but us.

2. i'm one of the firm believers of quality teachers vs quantity. it's part of my idealistic nature, but the cynic in me says it's impossible. even with scholars, even with the best grades and the most amazing CVs, when your heart is not with teaching, you are not suitable. period. and for a scholar who resents that bond period, counting the days, i'd rather see your students in the hands of someone who has the heart for teaching.

3. fact of life - you can never escape politics and bureaucracy. it's everywhere. enough said.

4. i agree with all my heart, a college education changes one in ways that may still be invisible to us. years spent in classes, labs, project meetings, FYP madness, hall suppers, late-night production rehearsals, inter-school/hall games, illegal bbqs on school property, organizing events, midnight birthday sabo parties, mahjong sessions, cooking and drinking parties.

but having said that, the privilege of receiving a college education is not something that is available to all. some work their butts off to get into university. and for someone who has had the silver platter handed to (me included), shouldn't we be just the least bit thankful?

5. which brings me to my final point - on gratitude. without my sort-of scholarship, an award actually, i would never had been able to save my parents from footing my tuition fees AND give me allowance. my parent's money can be put to better use. i wouldn't be exposed to teaching attachments to reaffirm my decision of becoming a teacher. and i wouldn't have to look for a job in uncertain times.

and more importantly, i wouldn't be able to get an allowance top-up when i went on exchange, and enjoy my time in the US that much more. :) haha. and this 6-month stint in seattle did change me, widen my perspectives and made me realise - i have so much to be thankful for.

jason mraz is one of my favorite singers in the world. he's super talented, has a great voice, writes songs amazingly well. while i don't always agree with some parts of his lifestyle (eg. eating only raw food, argh; his spiritual beliefs are kind of strange etc.), but something i've always appreciated him for, is his continued reminders to be thankful. thankful for the people around us. for the world around us. to show gratitude for things that you have taken for granted.

from my perspective, i thank God for His grace and faithfulness. He has created all things, cared for all things, and abides with me everyday. When i was contemplating about accepting the award vs appealing into medical school, He allowed me to make an informed decision through prayer, meditation and placed people in my life who fed me sound advice. even as a very young Christian who was so far from being perfect and sinless, His faithfulness never faltered.

and because i was at peace with my decision, signing on the dotted line was easy. it was the best offer ever - to get paid to do something i love. even in the midst of difficulties, emotional turmoils, neverending work, horrible students who refuse to listen, i know my decision was right, and i know God will be there to strengthen me for the things to come.

and that is why, the next 3 years of my bond period should fly by pretty quickly. and i stick to my choice.