The organised chaos

What will you remember 2003 for?

In slightly less than 24 hours, the hour will strike and revellers would be celebrating the arrival of 2004. Another year would have passed and we would once again be facing a showdown with our reflections of 2003.

To prevent myself from getting all emotional and teary-eyed then, I have thus decided to do my reflections now. I want to be able to usher in 2004 with a considerably lighter heart (hopefully with the aid of some ice cold beer) and not with the stone that hung onto me for dear life during Christmas.

For one, 2003 will always be associated with SARS. In March, we learnt of this terrible illness that strikes at ease. Schools were shut, examinations postponed and people lived in the discomfort that they could be the next one to contract this respiratory illness. There were those who gave their lives to SARS in the name of duty and courage. And there were those who blatantly flouted the law and broke home quarantine. But despite the cover of fear that we lived in, Singaporeans soldiered on and we became the better for it.

2003 is also the year of the dead. So many talented luminaries passed on, leaving behind their glowing legacy. Most recently, we have cancer claiming the life of Anita Mui. But at least she did not go gently into the good night, she gave it her all and she fought it till the very end. On the other hand, Leslie Cheung would rather go to death in his own way and subsequently took his own life. Katherine Hepburn, too, gave in to death. So did the brilliant intellectual Edward Said. In all, not a very good year.

This year has also been the year of the war. USA attacked Iraq in the name of peace, killed both the Baath radicals and innocent civilians and tried to justify their Weapons of Mass Destruction claims. Finally, their patience (and desperation) bore fruit as the despot Saddam Hussein was captured. Meanwhile, Americans stood firmly behind their President (with the exception of staunch Democrats) as only Americans can. The repercussions of the invasion? Al Qaeda’s wrath unfurled and there were many bombings and attacks worldwide, most recently the two attacks on the president of Pakistan.

Personally, it’s not been a good year for myself. I went through a six-month internship and realised that what I thought I wanted to do is not what I want to do in future. Public relations holds no meaning in my life and I am not really excited by the prospect of it. I do regret my choice of major but well, there’s only half a year to go so I might as well finish it. On a brighter note, another door unlocked itself and I am now entertaining the idea of teaching. Teaching children about the arts and drama sounds appealing, combining both my love for children and the humanities. On the other hand, writing as a career sounds right up my alley too.

2003 saw me leaving my comfort zone as part of a couple and becoming my own single self again. Although it was not without its pain, at least I can hold my head up high and say that I did my best to keep it going. As someone said, it was a case of bad timing but well, who’s to say it was or it wasn’t? Perhaps God. My only regret is that I was never strong enough to draw him out of his unemployed shell and encourage him to go on being the man that he was once. I let him push me further and further away until we both could not tolerate it anymore, did not know what it was that kept us together. If only I had been firmer, if only, if only. Life is so full of if onlys. Now as I walk on alone, I tell myself to be strong and even if my tears fall as I walk, at least I am walking. He will always be someone special and my Christmas/birthday wish is for him to find a job and become the man that he was before, the one that I had fallen in love with.

But even though I lost what I thought was the love of my life, at least I gained more in friendships. People who loved me and supported me, who listened to me, who let me cry and then tried to make me laugh – people like my bestest friends Min and Dawn etc. These are people who will still be walking with me no matter what happens in life and I promise that I will do my best to be the friend that they are to me.

And so ends another year. Cheers to 2004: May it be a beautiful year filled with hope, love and laughter.

So what will you remember 2003 for?