Money/Capitalisation/Living.

Passion doesn’t feed.

It feeds your soul and your spirit but also burns you out. I think growing up has made me realise that, and unfortunately my father might have been right to say: Pursuing interests is only for the rich.

I remember crying and feeling discouraged when I first heard that. How unfair, my first thoughts were. But now I feel and know where that thought comes from.

But of course it is relative. It is about how much or little you are willing to live with. A standard of living is defined by oneself and that is the ultimate benchmark that stresses money woes or not. Who cares about materialism as long as you are not seduced by the hot wheels and the empty condominium pool?

It gets difficult when social media just keeps boasting all these expensive overseas trips and restaurant selfies and “live” videos of someone living the typical rewarded life.

Sometimes I question myself if I am alright with missing out on luxuries. I wonder how that must feel like. It will be nice to be on a trip, or take a degree in a foreign land, or or or or or.

But they are luxuries. I don’t actually need them to survive. I just want them. And it is so easy to mistake wants for needs these days. It is so easy to develop this fear of missing out when I am already missing out on millions and billions of things every day, yet I fool myself into having a mental checklist of all these luxuries I should embark on in the future to play fruitless catch up.

How silly. How naive. How caught up in fantasies and ideals and stupid greed.

I can save for a house. I can save up for occasional rewards. And with that, I am blessed. Why do I not see that as a sort of gift but more of a below average sort of ability to do so?

I need to stop killing myself each time my bank account depletes little by little. I need to stop panicking. I need to stop thinking about money all the time and wondering if I should just take a minimum wage administration job just for the digits to grow.

I don’t want to buy into the concept. I don’t want to define myself by the amount of money I have or the assets I own.

I need to learn to keep things in perspective and earn wherever I can to be comfortable and to fulfil my duties as a daughter/friend/person.

And if I want something, I will focus on saving and getting there at my own pace. There’s no right time, so nothing will be too late.

I have to remember to not play the numbers game and may I never forget. For if I walk down that path, not only will I still be poor, but I will also have no soul.

Because I know that I cannot live without art. And what is a dead person to do buried in money?

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@teodawninks

(Taken from my Parkview Museum visit)

I still have many things to do but I am pretty happy that I finally started an Instagram for my art.

Some of my art.

Because I wanted a way to archive and to show the work I am doing, even if it is less for others and more for myself.

So far, the process has been great. I probably just enjoy exercising my creativity and working my hands on something. It’s always great when I hand the projects to their rightful owners and they appreciate it so much.

To everyone that has been a part of getting diaries or received something from me through art: thank you.

And I hope you love it as much as I loved placing my heart into it.

Starting this as SaveDawn to pay off my school fees, I am glad I went with my instincts. Because it did save me in more ways than just monetary.

It reawakened my forgotten joy of drawing and just creating with my hands. And it became almost therapy for me. Calming me and giving me a soft high.

I am happy x

Alone.

I am a rental flat. Where people come home to only when tired and has no other place to go. They don’t even call me home. I am just a place to spend the night, to soak the tiredness away from that body and to abandon by day.

I am a sun. That’s all I am. I give life that is taken for granted and blamed when the rebellious rain strikes. Too hot or too distant.

I am alone. And maybe that’s just how everyone is, too.

Used and useless.

When your feelings, your experiences and you become a minority. Honestly, nobody else cares.

And everyone thinks it is just your problem alone instead of asking how they can help or do better for you.

Because in the end, nobody cares about another person.

Always on the outside looking in.

The wrong gender. The wrong institution. The wrong crowd. The wrong behaviour. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Uber Ride Uncle #2.

In the same week (as the previous Uncle #1), I got a ride with another uncle. Possibly the same age as my very own parents, so around his early 50s. He seems strict and with deep wrinkles sitting on his weathered face.

We started talking, since he initiated a conversation and I sat in the front passenger seat.

– Girl, how old are you ah?

– 23 this year.

– Wah, so young. Good lah. Uncle old already. So you in university?

– Yeah, I am.

(At this point, as I have mentioned, I always just assume a role and don’t feel the need to be strictly specific about what I actually do.)

– Uncle also thinking of studying. Got accepted already. For a Masters in Project Management. Don’t know want to take a not.

– Oh, that’s nice. Why you want to take Masters?

– You see that building? I inspect one. I am a building safety officer. So some projects are given to me, and I check the building standard.

He then goes on to wave his hands animatedly as he points out all these buildings we are passing. All the details. What companies, from which countries, who’s the bigger company and why so many condominiums are growing on our land. He spoke with so much passion and I could feel his spirit.

But then he quietens down for a while.

– But now, sometimes, no projects. The last six months, nothing given from the association. I ask them why, they just tell me. No budget. Have contract also no use. No jobs. Then his little centre compartment of his aged Honda clicks open. A little lanyard is lying in there, slightly faded. – That’s my Tour Guide license. I do that on the side, but also nothing. No use. All overseas one and big companies do now.He clicks the compartment together a couple of times to make sure it remains closed for the rest of the ride.

I didn’t know what to say, so I just stayed silent and nodded whenever he is saying something.

– So, girl, I ask you. What field good to study now?

– Hmm. A lot of people going to do Business degree. Most transferable. Opens more options I guess?

– I have two children. One law, one doctor. But now law also very difficult. Too many lawyers so little jobs. How? Like me also. My diploma project management, go take masters in project management at least 50k gone. After take already, also don’t know got job or not.

Traffic light: red. I turned to look at him. He stared off at the roads ahead, mind no longer here. His eyes grew redder, as if reflecting the light. He wiped them and looked down at his lap.

– Nevermind. Uncle just work lah. Drive Uber now, since got car. Just work. Work until I cannot work anymore. I also don’t know how.

My heart broke when I heard his voice on the verge of breaking yet succumbing to resignation. The sense of helplessness with a lack of fight, but driven by perseverance and family.

He went on to pick up two other passengers, who shower no interest in his talk about their respective condominiums and eventually the ride was driven in silence. Even my responses weren’t enough to spur him to speak again.

I was the first rider to get off. I was actually hoping to be the last, just to get a chance to say something back. Not let the conversation we had end so abruptly and with heaviness.

But as I stepped out of the car, with the two ladies busily fumbling with their phones, the uncle looked at me.

And said:

– Okay, thank you girl. Good luck with your future. Keep trying.

I smiled and nodded.

– You too!

And the little old Honda drove away to Mandarin Orchard.

I really wanted to cry but I guess that’s just life. I wish him well, and I hope he knows that he is not alone.

Uber Ride Uncle #1.

I boarded the Uber car home. It was a pool ride and we had to drop two others before it was my turn. Usually that happens. I am always travelling from the city area all the way East. I am always the last.

When the rest of the riders are gone, the driver started to talk to me.

Usually this happens too. Conversations happen when there’s only one rider. Otherwise, the ride will be done in silence with poor radio content providing some background music.

– Girl, studying?

– Yah.

– Where?

– Lasalle.

Okay. Usually I lie because I cannot be bothered to explain where and what and how I am in an obscure school where only 5% of the population knows.

– Oh the art art school near Rochor there. Study what?

– Uh…

Should I say theatre? I have said that before and the judgements are damn harsh. Well…

– Design is it?

– Uh, yah. Design. Graduating soon.

– Oh good lah. So after graduate how? Want to do what?

– Not sure lah. Still have time to think a bit.

– Yah, but must have dreams mah. Must aspire to something. If not how?

– Hahaha. Yah, I know lah. Maybe I will start my own company or what. Do my own thing.

– Yah. That’s good. Cannot always work under people one. Go nowhere. I retired already, was working sea imports/exports. Now just drive Uber.

– Oh okay. Cool.

– I tell you what. But you are a girl, so very good. Work, see see the world out there for three to five years. Then hopefully you meet a man and get married. Have your own family.

– Uh…

My brain kind of kept blinking a red emergency light, and I was in the front passenger seat. So I was really bracing myself for a typical boy more important than girl gender roles conversation.

– You just listen can already. No need to take what I say. Just think about it. I have a daughter, only one. I am coming 60 and my missus 61. She’s close to her cousins but when we are gone, who will accompany her and be with her? She second year uni now, and I am worried.

I notice how he sighs and drives slightly slower.

– Yah. You can work work work achieve a lot of things but when people family reunion, you go home to nothing. Family is family. Extended family is still not the same as your own family. Her cousins will go on to have their own family also. Then how?

Then he goes on about how I don’t have to share the same view as him. Apparently he’s talked about this a couple of times and people my age find his view severely unpopular.

The ride ends, I thank him and he gets out for a smoke.

– Okay. That’s my last job today. Girl, get home safe okay. If anything happen, shout. Uncle is here.

And I was surprised by the experience. Maybe those words are not meant for me, but more so for his daughter. Who is a similar age to me.

Also, family. What is that value? Now? Today?

It is nice and deeply touching to meet someone who really believes in something with such sincerity, and carries it openly.

Faster days. 

One day, I felt a little change in me. Maybe what I have been hoping for all year has finally happened. Maybe the chemistry in my mind has balanced out or shifted. Or maybe I have aged just a little bit more after turning a year older.

Or maybe I just woke up one day and allthe  little actions I have been taking this year added up and the difference is reaped.

I feel lighter and more free. My eyes are open to possibilities and I feel the forward momentum. Pulling at me stronger and sometimes, I feel like if I jump off the ground high enough I can float.

The days fly by and gratitude has been filling me up. A quiet joy. Slightly less dark days and time goes faster.

I’ve been spending my days writing thank you letters, making art and reading all the books I finally made up my mind to buy. Life’s been good, and if the rest of the year goes like this, I am content.

Gratitude holds such power over my being. And I am grateful that I have things and people, to be thankful for everyday.