So I was talking to some people about my needing to stay back another semester, which naturally brought up a lot of differring reactions, ranging from “It doesn’t matter, I still love you anyway” to “Stupid idiot! Wasting you parents’ money because of your complacency and laziness”. My parents, surprisingly, leaned towards the former, possibly because brother dearest has hit even lower lows this year, compared to which I can do nothing wrong. Also, it’s not the first time I’ve done badly in school (gasp!), and I’m sure they’re still sufferring from remorse over my formative years (I play the guilt game very well). My friends provided the more varied range of advice, which roused in me feelings ranging from reciprocation of love to guilt and frustration. Thankfully (despite the dreadful heat, which I blame for almost everything shamelessly) I refrained from lashing out at anyone.
The truth of the situation is, of course, that I’m not too happy about having to stay back another semester. Firstly, it smacks of the bitter taste of admission of defeat, and – worst of all – stupidity. I’ve never liked feeling stupid, not since I was a fat little kid in promary school with no friends and high scores in math and english. Being smart was my only plus point for a long time, and I still have the sneaking suspicion that it still is. If at all I am, which is beginning to look more and more suspect based on my decision-making skills. Plus, there’s this insidious part of me that cries out at not being economically active at the age of 23 (till September!) that I believe stems from my growing up in Singapore, where you’re only alive if you work.
It’s not just me, of course, artists, musicians and other people who work in the creative line find themselves at the bottom of the social pyramid along with other low-income professions in Singapore (unless they make a best-seller). Maybe it’s just my own limited social experience, but then again I belong to the subset of Singaporeans that make up the bulk of funcitonal society (ie. boring, banal, blind) and I think it’s pretty safe for me to assert none of us would consider an artistic career going anywhere beyond part-time. At the back of many of our minds lingers this little thought about artistic intent – a waste of time that can’t bring fortune.
Happiness = cash.
Luckily, most of my friends are in 4-year courses, so I’m not looking at too many of them going out to work and leaving me as a silly student git, so peer pressure isn’t too much of a problem yet. The ones who have started work are thankfully in jobs that actually make me feel good about still being a student.
On the bright side of things, I suppose the extra semester will also allow me some times to think about what I really want to do with my life. It’s better than running off to Europe to find myself, I guess (though much less romantic) and will hopefully give me some time to come up with a decent portfolio.
Hopefully I get a chance to make it all right again.
So really, I feel bad enough about it already, I have reflected on my mistakes, I have repented and I regret my sins.
So spare the sermons?