Looking back at 2004

Christmas is just about over. Soon, it’d be New Year’s Day. Yet another year has passed. Prepared your new year resolutions yet?…

Leave the past behind, and start looking forward! 2005 is coming up soon, and what better time to start planning for the future than the start of a new year? Be it losing weight, getting into a new romantic relationship, or preparing for a marathon, start now! And while you’re at it, why not start planning for the next decade or so as well?

face of apprehension

Anthony Robbins (“self-help guru”) once mentioned that when we plan, we often plan to do or achieve too much within a year, but often plan to do or achieve too little within ten years.

That commentary on how we plan has been stuck in my head ever since. Now everytime I plan, I make sure I remember to set more lofty long-term ten-year goals, while making sure I plan great (but not unachievable) shorter-term goals for the next year.

So when you start planning your new year resolutions, why don’t you start on planning your great and lofty “new decade” resolutions as well?

The Forgiving Church

The first half of today (the 24th of December) was very stressful; spent in camp, I was wondering practically every minute I if I was to book out today or not. Any mistake I made would have meant that I stayed back either today or tomorrow (Christmas! can you believe that? Duty on Christmas!) to do “regimental guard duty”, which basically means walking around the island of Tekong (a very tiny island where my camp is located), pretending to be on the lookout for suspicious characters.

Thankfully the day went well, nothing happened, and I managed to make it to midnight mass at my Church (the Nativity Church), something I promised God I’d do if I booked out today…

Of course, like most guys my age, my purpose of going to church wasn’t purely theological. I must admit the influence of meeting (or at least, looking at) the fairer sex was stronger than God would have liked.

Having arrived late for midnight mass, though technically early, we (my mom, my bro and I) had to stand outside the main church building.

It was a wonderfully cool and windy night. As I stood outside, feeling the wind on my face made me close my eyes and imagine myself far away. As the choir sang, I imagined they were singing for me as I stood atop a cliff, surrounded by nature, absorbing calm and peace.

I knew for at least the hour while the mass lasted, I was protected. I felt immortal. Whatever wrongs I had done, the church would forgive. I was not to be punished, but to be blessed and loved. It was a feeling I missed for so long…

To everyone out there, have a Merry, Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!

I wish tomorrow was a holiday

“I wish tomorrow was a holiday,” I wrote. Suddenly I realised I shouldn’t have said that. I will be booking into camp tomorrow, and though normally not too optimistic or excited about that prospect, I was before I wrote what I wrote.

The minute I typed in those words, I felt a tinge of negativity, and booking in seemed much worse than it did.

One thing that bothered me somewhat was why I wrote down those words if I didn’t really mean it. Remember, at that exact moment, I was actually feeling pretty upbeat about booking in!

I might hazard a few guesses. Perhaps it was due to the force of habit — I’ve always complained about national service, hadn’t one good thing to say about it. Perhaps it was a subconscious thing — consciously I’m pretending to like it, but deep down in my psyche I really hate it.

Then an interesting thought came to mind. Perhaps I’m writing this because I am expected to?…

At this point of writing, I suddenly realise something, that that interesting thought I just had, the one about people’s expectations, might not be as interesting as I thought. Now where did I read this before? Eureka! Everywhere!

Okay, so perhaps it isn’t quite an insight. But then again, I, of all people, never thought of myself ever falling victim to other people’s expectations. I’ve always lived my own life so to speak, doing what I want when I want. And in this case, saying what I want.

So SISPEC (School of Infantry Specialists), here I come! Okay, normally I would say how horrible the army is; how it’s wasting my time; how horribly pretentious it is (presentation is everything; how it’s many instructors abuse their power; how the profanities abuse innocent minds; how… you get the idea.

But besides these, allow me to list a few positives from the experience, ya?

The Training

Okay, part and parcel of military life is the physical training. Besides the standard training, which is by and large within healthy standards, there’s the extra training due to punishment. Normally, I cannot stand physical training when it’s punishment.

But I remember one night when we were subject to a whole lot of punishment. I remember we hadn’t had physical training for quite a long time (punishment or otherwise), and when it was dished out to us, I was absolutely gutted. Then this switch went off in my head: when was the last time I took my Amino Acid pills? When was the last time I really needed it?

By the end of my training, my body will look something like this! 🙂 If you’re a reader of fitness magazines, this photo should look familiar to you; it’s from a Hydroxycut ad!

picture taken from a hydroxycut ad

I suddenly realised: hey, this exercise is actually good for me. My thoughts went from, “oh no, please let us off already” to “some more! some more! give me more!”

The point is this: in SISPEC, training is supposedly tougher. Right now, I’m still overweight, and my six-pack’s a one. I haven’t got my gold in my IPPT (stands for Individual Physical Proficiency Test, and I do want a gold), and haven’t yet passed my SOC (standard obstacle course). So, hopefully with the tougher training, I will be able to meet my physical goals!

Financially Better Off?

Another thing that many people dread is something called “confinement”. It’s when other people get to go home, while you are stuck in the camp. I’ve thought about this quite a bit, and I realised that though it may be quite an unpleasant experience (or at least not pleasant), one can save quite a bit of money, especially if one often spends a lot during weekends.

This will help me meet my financial goals. What the heck, I’ll take it even further. I shall bring in a finance book, one of my favourites like those in the Rich Dad, Poor series (these books are truly a love-hate thing; I love the way he writes, hate the way I feel like I’m adding to his passive income!).

So while confined, I read my book, increasing my financial literacy and save on money not spent! Hmm, the army’s looking good right now!

Spiritual

Okay, I’ve been stuck at this for the longest time. How can the army help us grow spiritually?…

…I think I got it. In the army, some of the smallest mistakes can lead to death (mis-firing, releasing the grenade too early, jumping head-first into barbwire). Before any instances where I may have to cheat death, I shall say a prayer, thanking God for everything He has given me, and praying that he will continue giving me His blessings.

This will help move me closer to God, and help me cherish life even more. Confinement nights, if I am left alone, may be used for meditating. Since nobody is around (or if there are people, it’d be very few), serenity, peace and quiet is ensured, thus creating the ultimate meditative experience. If one learns about astro-projection through the use of meditative techniques (like my younger brother is learning to do), one might not even need to book out of camp to book out!

Relationships

Absence makes the heart grow fonder — need I say more? Of course, in my case, since I don’t have a girlfriend (yet), absence isn’t very good. The girlfriend whom I do not have might miss me; but she being non-existent, means her heart growing fonder does nothing for me, unless we get to have stronger non-existing love, which again, is non-existent and thus… …this is going nowhere.

Then again, I would like to self-reference the improvement in my physiology. As I work out even more and get in physically better shape, I am actually giving my future girlfriend me in a better package! Of course, personality does play a large part in relationships (I mean, who actually cares if their partner looks like a whore or a prune, right?). But a great personality coupled with a great body — I mean, wow.

So I’m working out for her, the non-existent girl I live for, whom will exist in the near future.

The Army Is Great!

Suddenly, the army seems like the greatest thing on earth! Man, I wish I had to book in today… *sigh* Nevermind, tomorrow’s not too far away! =D

This website has served its purpose

I believe that this website, edonn.com, has to take a different direction. I’ve attempted several styles of writing since I started it (July 2003), each one, I believe, quite different from the rest — what styles I have used I shall not discuss, for fear of exposing some rather embarrassing failures in implementing them.

Serving my National Service in the army has changed my life tremendously, the difference of life now and life six months ago is more than night and day. Six months ago, I had more free time than I had ever had; free time is now as hard to come by as water in the Sahara.

edonn.com served as something I could work on to pass the time — my disposition to avoid looking for a proper job/work meant I had loads of time to do anything I wanted. What I wanted was to do nothing, but doing nothing was harder than I thought, so I did the next best thing — do something I enjoy which might pass off as work; thus came about my developing edonn.com’s software, as well as doing research for my articles.

Then came my enlistment. Suddenly edonn.com turned from boon to bane; I dreaded updating my website, yet felt like I ought to. The dread really came from thinking of things to write that would “fit” into the style of writing I had adopted.

That style was of a more formal, well-researched (or at least I would like you to think of them as that), objective style. This though creates great headaches. It’s hard to think of anything else but the army, and every article I write, I guarantee, will contain something about it.

As such, I’ll start (officially) much more ‘blogging’ now, as opposed to ‘writing’!

Why Worry?

I have just completed the first phase of army life, the BMT (basic military training). No longer am I a just recruit, I am now a Private.

Stress in the army

The thing about the army is that they like to stress you out about the littlest things — shoes must be black, bags must be clean, do this that way, or else

Having always been one who does not believe in doing things I find stupid properly, I’ve always done what they told me in a very half-hearted manner, while most of my mates seem to put their heart and soul and more into doing all this rubbish.

Being well versed in the contrast effect, where it is easier to see a shoddy piece of work when every other piece is of a high standard, I’ve always worried when it comes to inspection or evaluation. Well, I’ve gone through the training, and it seems, everything has turned out just fine.

On hindsight, it seems I have worried all the time for absolutely nothing. All the energy I’ve put into wondering if I’d complete gruelling events or pass the tests have really been wasted energy.

One rule I’ve learnt: everything will turn out just right.