I just love the emo vibe of their second album, Tourist. It's the kind of music that I envision myself listening to in London, on a gloomy day with the rain falling outside my bedroom, and it's cold and I'm all by myself, but strangely at peace with the world. It's the kind of music that I hope will get me through what I'm sure will be patches where I feel like I've made a mistake moving to London (albeit just for a year - for now) or when I miss home, or when I feel lonely, or when I'm just in one of my depressive moods. Street Map is such a gorgeous song, as are Tourist, Trading Air, and Wires.
They're playing in some music festival happening in Wimbledon (!!!) in November. I'm thinking maybe I'd go if my schedule permits. Hopefully I would've made enough friends by then to not have to go by myself.
I bought a ticket to the final of the World Tour Finals a few days ago on the resale market, which means the price of the ticket is twice its face value. Fucked up like nothing but it would be so worth it if Roger made it to the final and won. If he doesn't...I hope I can sell it off somehow. Bleah. The annoying thing about supporting a top player is that he plays on the biggest court of the tournaments that he enters, which means it is damn expensive to try to catch him play. Since Roger qualified for the WTF, I really had no choice but to buy a ticket for the final in hopes of watching him lift a trophy live for once in my life.
I think the only two positive things about Roger's eventual retirement is that I wouldn't be so emotionally invested in tennis anymore, and that when I attend tournaments, especially grand slams, I can just buy a grounds pass and not stress out over how I might be missing him in action, or how I might not be getting the best seats to see him, blah blah blah. It would save me a lot of money. But I just can't handle thoughts of never seeing him on a tennis court again, not right now; and I'm still fucking mad about the fact that Andy Roddick played his last match EVER and I couldn't watch it because I couldn't stay awake at 4.30 in the morning. Fuck the rain delay.
Since I'm talking about Roger, I'd like to state for the record that the loss to Berdych put me in a godawful mood for the whole day and for reasons that didn't relate directly to the loss, but which stemmed from it. Meeting Mag for lunch was a welcomed distraction and I really needed to spend two hours laughing with her about all sorts of things. I even went back to the old office for a walk and may I just say that it was really freaking weird? Trust my luck, too, that the people that I wanted to see weren't around; but thank goodness that the people that I didn't want to see weren't around either.
I'm leaving for London on 21 September. It feels like it's everything that I've wanted over the past two years, and it puts into perspective just how far I have come since my pupillage days in the first law firm. I knew then that I wanted to get a Masters degree; I knew then that, essentially, I needed to go on an intellectual paper chase because it was quite literally the only thing that's capable of validating my existence in my own eyes. I'd take a Masters degree over making partner in law firm; I'd take a doctorate over making managing partner. These making partner scenarios aren't even remotely plausible when I try to envisage them because they couldn't be any further from what I value as important and which I want to achieve.
I have asked myself what the bloody point is. It's not going to make me millions; I am officially unemployed and it sucks not having a salary; and at the end of the day, no one gives a fuck what qualifications you have because in the realist, capitalist society that I live in and which I actually embrace, the only thing that matters is how much money you have in your bank account. If this is merely an attempt to satisfy a seemingly insatiable need for intellectual superiority, then I am quite aware of the fact that it's an extremely expensive one, not to mention ultimately misguided.
Truth is, it just boils down to two simple things: my ego and my need to be intellectually engaged. I cannot work in a law firm because the mundane day-to-day crap that I did as an associate, ploughing through documents looking for facts, drafting boring affidavits of evidence-in-chief to lay out certain facts, figuring out rules of civil procedure that were important but bored me to tears, depressed me like little else did. I cannot work in government because...it's the government and it's in my nature to be anti-establishment. Also, the slow pace of the working environment was a bit too comfortable to the point of being rather mind-numbing (literally).
I am at my worst in terms of personal growth when I don't feel intellectually engaged. I like to form an opinion on issues after analysing them from different angles, and I like to present my opinion and defend it when under attack. However, due to my single-minded nature, there are very little things that I care about in this world and which I view as important, and everything else that doesn't fall into this category is trivial to me. I couldn't give less of a fuck about commercial matters - banking, taxation, fucking intellectual property which I honestly believe is the scourge of human existence, etc. After working for two years in two different jobs, both of which had little to do with what I really enjoy, I have come to the conclusion that if I do come back to Singapore after my Masters, it would be with my tail between my legs, my tears streaming down my face, and my white flag in my hand, admitting defeat and settling for a mundane, uninspiring life.
I don't want to settle, you see. What's the point of being alive if you're just going to settle? I can't stay here because the opportunities as I see them are utterly unpalatable to me. I am therefore leaving and hoping to find opportunities in a vibrant, truly world-class city that hopefully would inspire me the way my previous two jobs laregely failed to. When I worked as a lawyer the dominant emotion that I felt was despair; when I was in the statutory board the dominant emotion I felt was nothing. Between the two, I'd take despair; but I'd rather have a third option - hmm, I don't know, joy, maybe. Is that too much to ask out of life? I don't want to be resigned to being stuck in a job that I go to for the sake of going, of having a job for the sake of it; I'm too fucking young to feel resignation. I'm 26, not 30, not 35, not 40. I have more of a brain than the average person and I don't want to settle. I don't want to be confined within the boundaries of this tiny island and the limited opportunities that it offers. I don't want to fall back on my degree and my professional qualification and go back to the private sector just to earn a decent living working in a job that I don't like. If that were to happen eventually, it has to be on my own terms; it has to be because I tried to get a better deal for myself and failed. It cannot be because I was too much of a wuss to be different and defy the conventional wisdom that no one really likes their job; that life is simply about making good money and starting a family and rearing children and retiring into the sunset (if you're fortunate enough to retire at all) and never stopping to think for a second what it is that you want, what it is that you have achieved, why the hell you're even alive.
I've made it plenty clear that I think life is a debacle and that people shouldn't reproduce unthinkingly because it is an inherently selfish, and more importantly, meaningless, act. It is therefore my personal duty to myself to make my own life less of a debacle and to somehow justify my existence. The first hurdle has been cleared: I only truly feel like I'm alive when 1) I'm writing something mind-blowing; and/or 2) I'm intellectually engaged.
I hope London gives me some answers, though my negative disposition precludes me from being too hopeful. I just need to break out of this cocoon. It's too comfortable in Singapore. It's so comfortable that it's so pointless. I need to do something meaningful; I can't settle for good enough. I can't settle for comfortable. I can't settle for a job in a big firm and/or a job in a reputable government. I just can't do this. There is simply no point.
On another note, it's plenty clear just how self-centered I am. I am capable of caring about other people and I genuinely care about them; but it's quite easy for me to just move on if that's going to suit my own agenda. I'd look back once in a while wistfully thinking of the closure that I never got, but I'd almost always put myself first. It takes a lot of effort for me to be - loosely speaking - selfless. That word itself is slightly repulsive to me because the concept that it embodies is alien and tests the limits of my imagination.
I wrote this entry four years ago after returning from my Europe trip with Mag, during which I spent the last four days wandering around London by myself (something which I orchestrated from the beginning). I hated the loneliness that I felt then, and I got bored pretty fast because I was all alone. I was happy to come home to my family and friends and the sense of comfort that I felt when I was surrounded by my family at the airport probably prompted me to write that entry.
Still, what strikes me now when I think back to that entry and when I read it again is how I knew, even then, that I wouldn't let sentimentality get in the way of what I want. What I wanted 4 years ago - heck, what I wanted in 2003 - is the same thing as what I want now. I'm so glad it's coming. I'm scared as hell, and there's someone that I can't bear to leave, but I'm so glad it's coming.
Lastly, I received an interesting message from this really smart person that I briefly know online: "The secret of happiness is PERSPECTIVE."
He was responding to a comment I made about the Federer/Berdych match but his choice of words made his message generally applicable to life. I probably need to get some perspective, but then, life isn't as easy as a tennis match, or a tennis tournament, or the tennis achievements of a complete stranger whom you happen to idolise. How do I gain perspective from everything that has happened this year? How do I do that? What perspective is there to be gleaned from tragedy and the gravest mistake that I've ever made? It's hard to have perspective when your only point of view is negativity.
Anyway, I'm tired. I've written too much. I need to write more often; not only would I spare myself from writing these agonisingly long entries, it would make me feel less like I'm wasting my time doing nothing.
Also, I'm currently reading W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. I previously tried to read Donna Tartt's The Little Friend but I couldn't believe how fucking boring it was when the prologue was so tantalising and atmospheric (basically set out the supposed mystery of the novel - a family finding their little boy hanging from a tree in their own backyard, dead) and I couldn't understand why the writer thought that I would be interested in long, endless, pedantic details about some random characters who were utterly unlikeable. Not only that, the novel felt very To Kill A Mockingbird to me - the setting (the American South); the themes (some racism shit); and the precocious protagonist who was reminiscent of Scout from TKAMB. I did that book in secondary school and I'm sick of reading about the bloody South and the necessary racial themes that seem to come with the territory. I also have no interest in reading about stupid, uneducated rednecks. It's telling when a book does not inspire me to read - this book made me not want to read, and so I had to give up at page 257.
Fuck me, I'm not reading another American writer after this disaster. I thought I'd try American for a change because the last 10 or so novels I've read were all written by Brits, but I'm only reminded of why I think British writers, generally speaking, are vastly superior to American writers.
I know, I know, generalisation, can't judge a whole nationality of writers based on one poor book and Tartt actually writes well, but shit, I can't be fucking bothered. I don't want to waste my time reading boring shit, and I know what I like and I'll stick to it, thank you.
I can't wait to read Ian McEwan's new novel. That means that it's going to be disappointing. I really love his writing but some of his novels have such disappointing pay-offs.