40 minutes

Finished the First Aid test ahead of time today. Had about 40 minutes till the next session started. Went out, grabbed many eclairs and stood outside the class with Jess.

She wanted to sit down but not in the classroom because it was so cold, so we sat down on the pavement. We sat there and we chatted about our society and time just flew past. Before we knew it, time was up and we had to return to class.

Savoured the moment while it lasted. As I grow older, fewer and fewer people are willing to sit by some random pavement and indulge in conversations. In fact, quality time with people is hard to come by these days. Enjoyed that quality time. Not classy at all, but I like it.

#ilikemyjob because I get to spend time with people I care about.

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40 minutes

UNLEASH Day 2

To-do list when I came back at 10pm:

  1. Shower, of course
  2. Quiet Time with God
  3. Iron my shirt for tomorrow
  4. Check my work emails
  5. Email the Secretariat
  6. Blog – reflect about the day
  7. Research about the issue we are addressing
  8. Think of users that we have identified and identify their needs
  9. Update my notes on my learning for the day – guess I’m not doing this anymore because I have no time

If this goes on for the rest of the days, I’ll probably crash one of these days. Good thing though, is that I get a room to myself so the introverted side gets some time-off.


Today was the day that I worried about the most, and it’s also the day that I can’t wait to get over with. Worried because I know I have my insecurities when it comes to meeting people with accent, not to mention getting into a group and working with them for the rest of the innovation lab. After attempting to enunciate my words the entire day, I sound rather different in my head now, as if there’s an accent going on in my head. Also can’t wait to get this particular day over with because, at least now I know who’s on my team, and I know who to focus building relationships with – pretty settled in a way. Shall not dive into my insecurities; I’m leaving them with God, and also because I need to get back to work.

Two interesting observations for the day:

#1: As a part of the process of forming teams, we went through some activities to understand ourselves. One of it was this segment where we categorised ourselves according to the way we operate majority of the time – namely Say, Do, Feel and Think. I went into the one that says “Think”.

It was an interesting experience to be gathered in a group like that, because all of us identified ourselves as Introverts. What’s more interesting is that we also identified ourselves as “Forced Extroverts”, in that we force ourselves to behave like extroverts when we have to, and then we have to retreat later on to recharge. While I would expect the Thinkers to be Introverts, I wouldn’t expect Thinkers to always be Forced Extroverts. I guess in this setting where we signed up for this innovation lab on our own accord, having understood that we will be in the midst of a thousand delegates from around the world, Introverts who signed up are likely those who are ready to bring out an extroverted persona.

Also, two common traits we found were that we need structured/methodical approaches, and that we need to have all options considered before we act upon the decision. There was also this interesting sense of comfortableness, which is different from what I would feel when I’m in a mixed bunch of people. I guess that comfort came from knowing that everyone’s as introverted as you are, and that everyone’s feeling as uncomfortable about interacting with strangers as much as you are. In a way, you’re for once, not an odd one out in the party.

#2: After we settled into our groups, five of us made very intentional efforts in getting to know each other and getting comfortable with each other. Yes, I’m the only Singaporean, and the rest from Costa Rica, Denmark, Australia and a Hong Konger who’s doing his PhD in the UK. We went round to share about our passions and what we do. Through the time of sharing, I realised many things about our differences. For one, I felt sheltered, in a way that I’m unexposed to the troubles in this world.

The other difference I noticed was that in the stories I’ve heard in these two days, there were quite a few instance where people shared about how they simply leapt into action once they discovered a gap. As for me and the people around me, we wait for the opportune time. And when’s the opportune time, I gave a quick thought about it and realised, I have no idea. Had it been the past when I hear such things coming from fellow Singaporeans, I would have argued that it’s because these people come from more privileged backgrounds and they can afford to gamble with life options but I can’t since I got to support my family. But no. I’ve heard of how some of them are refugees, some of them were deprived of opportunities because of where they came from – basically problems that I don’t encounter in my life and in fact, I would say I had a more privileged beginning in this life than they did.

And I wonder why there’s such a difference in our attitudes. Not that either is absolutely better or worse than the other, but I just wonder what are the factors that shaped the way we are.

 

UNLEASH Day 2

Unleash Day 1

Finally, sorted out this mess called WiFi (thanks Amanda) and can properly settle down. Reached NUS at about 10.45am this morning and have been with close to a thousand international delegates the entire day. Thankful to have a room to myself, where I can simply take a break.

I feel like I’m back in camp, church camp to be exact. I’m (almost) off from work, and today’s pretty much a chill day with all the welcome events. I came back, bathed, and… well, sat on the bed to just pray and read the Bible. There’s a kind of unbusyness, and calmness. I like.

Hoping that these 8 days will be a good break, to draw close to God once again.


Interesting observation of the day:

  • Someone from LEGO gave us two packets of LEGO blocks each. We were told to play, and from there learnt the benefits of play. Favourite segment!
  • Another speaker got people to stand up as a representation to show that they have ever been involved in the things he called out. One of it was this: You don’t believe in a God or any higher being. From where I was sitting, I saw more than half the crowd stood up. I know there are atheists or agnostics around, but this percentage? I was surprised to be honest.
Unleash Day 1

Pillow

This episode has been replaying in my mind ever since it happened on Saturday. That morning, we went for a beach clean-up as an organisation, and with some of our family members. We offered to give away prizes to the team with the heaviest trash collected, just to add some fun to it.

At the end of the cleaning, a primary school girl walked away from a pillow because it was too heavy. I insisted on removing it so I went to pick it up with my hand. It was soaked with sea water hence it was heavy. That girl came running over and asked that I hand it to her, with the pair of tongs in her hand extended towards the pillow. I explained to her it’s very heavy and the tongs wouldn’t be able to carry it, so if she had wanted to take over, she would have to use her hands. At that, she walked away. It seemed like she didn’t want to dirty her hands. So I lugged it back with me and placed it in no group’s pile.

When we gathered for a debrief and announced the winner, the girl came up to me. She asked why didn’t I add that pillow to her group’s trash collected because they would have won if I did (actually, I doubt so). I got a little annoyed at that. I mean, you refused to pick it up, and you refused to dirty your hands with it. When someone does the job for you, you want to be credited for it.

But okay fine, you’re young. I was too taken aback by that demand, and perhaps in a lack of a position to discipline this girl. If not, I really think someone needs to sit down with her and speak to her on this. Mostly on that sense of entitlement, perhaps that taking others’ credit for what she was not willing to do, and somewhat on that amount of weight she gives to winning.

Pillow

Speaking Tough Truth, with Love

Had dinner with B and a young intern earlier on. B was sharing about her work woes.

After we parted, I thought that maybe I should talk to B about this when I have the chance to. Afterall, the intern’s young and I’m not too sure if she would appropriately handle the things she heard – I’m euphemising this so much. And I admit, I do have my reservations about her.

B texted about some random stuff and also said we could stop her next time, in case we didn’t want to take in the negativity. I replied to say I’m okay with it, and I deliberated on whether it was the right channel to speak to her about my thoughts. Crafted my message and edited it several times to make sure I don’t misrepresent the intern, to make it clear it could just be my personal opinion, and to lighten the tone of the text. And I wanted her to know that what I really cared about was her.

It was nerve-wrecking to send the text out. Was worried about how B might take it – was concerned about whether she would misunderstand my intentions and as a result hurt our friendship. Though I must say, this was probably the first time in this new friendship that trust was at stake. It’s either we make it or we break it.

We made it. She replied and from what it seemed, she understood that I said what I did out of concern for her. That means, trust level up I suppose?

Other than a sense of relief (before that I was fearful of checking for her reply), it also felt great that she received the text well. Hopefully this is a step forward in our friendship too. I had risked breaking a trust if she had not received it well, but I think tonight we gained trust in our friendship.

It’s also a blessing to have someone whom I care about enough to want to take such a risk to speak the truth in love. Had it been a passerby, I would have just let him/her be. It’s been a long time since a person like that is in my life.

Speaking Tough Truth, with Love

Reminder of God’s Faithfulness

For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling rather left alone, somewhat forgotten. Kept asking God, where are You.

But today, I set aside my lunch and dinner time to meet with two ladies. One from work, and one from church. With Pris at lunch, we took time to get to know each other as fellow Christians and prayed for the organisation together. With Yvonne at dinner, we shared about where we are with God, in particular how it has been trying to keep our faith as working adults.

For one, I appreciate the vulnerability in the time of sharing. Such an exchange is very much needed. I feel like I’m running so low on quality time like that, so much so that I have been feeling a lack of support in my spiritual walk.

In my conversation with Yvonne in particular, I shared about how God has been hearing my prayers since I started work here. From praying for Christian support, praying against divisional changes, to praying about my work relationship with my superior, God has been answering my prayers. It was then that I said, “I realise God has actually been quite present in my work place.” To which Yvonne affirmed and reminded me that it is often such times when we look back on what God has done that we realise that God has been here with us.

Struggling with community, but this is also a good reminder of the importance of community in spurring each other on. Today’s a good day, though tiring.

Reminder of God’s Faithfulness

Fashion

Found yet another 2 female friends who find that guys’ clothes and shoes usually look better than the girls’. They are those who wear dresses and blouses and I don’t know what other names there are to girls’ clothes. And I wasn’t even the one who made those propositions; they were the ones who brought that up. I merely affirmed, like, so enthusiastically that I think one of them got a shock. I rarely have expressions like that, but yes. Totally.

Can fashion designers start doing something about this. Frustrated at how guys’ clothes and shoes look so much more sensible (that’s right) and better-looking, and yet I can’t fit into them because of my small frame.

Fashion