It all feels like a facade, however. Singaporeans are by and large the same no matter where you go. The office workers at Raffles Place are the heartland residents in Bukit Batok put in a pencil skirt and a crisply-pressed shirt. So what?
Maybe some of us work hard for a few years with a clear goal in sight and are made partner by the time we're 30. So what?
I had another talk with the junior partner today. It stemmed from me asking him casually how he's still in the firm seeing as he works really hard and keeps crazy hours. He's been in the firm ever since he was a pupil, and he's about 8 years older than me, so that's a really, really long time. I was honest in saying that I didn't think litigation was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; I might have mentioned that I have doubts as to whether I can last a year, or maybe that came across between the lines. His question to me, in summing up the whole dilemma, if it could even be called that, was this: Are you reasonably ambitious or are you content with making a comfortable living?
The thing is, the thing about me is, I'm essentially a dreamer. I exist in my own world where ideas can overcome everything; I like theories and the "should" and the "ought to" as opposed to the "can" and "will be"; and I'd like to think that my existence on this planet should be validated in a more meaningful sense, on a larger platform.
I am reasonably ambitious, but not in the way that he described. To me, having his kind of life is settling - and I don't want to settle for a relatively well-paying job in a local law firm from which you go home to the same four walls of the same HDB flat in which you've grown up, or spent the later half of your life, every day single day. I don't want to stay in this long enough for it to become uncomfortably comfortable, such that I unthinkingly settle into it and end up settling. Ever since junior college I've wanted more for myself than what this country has to offer - and I think that's the main thing. When I was 18 I wanted to go to New York and take a crack at the writing thing. Of course, looking back that plan was both childish and ill-informed, and at that time I didn't really have the requisite talent to even be thinking about that.
But I suppose what I had going on for me, and hopefully still have, is the passion to pursue what I wanted. I felt deeply in my gut, I just knew, that I wanted to write, and that was all. And so law school started and I was miserable as hell; I told the junior partner that my first two years of law school were some of the worst periods of my life, and I think it's true. It's especially true for year 1.
That's also the main source of conflict, this writing thing. It feels like unfinished business. At this juncture I can say with a reasonable degree of conviction that I would regret it if I never did anything about it. It still begs the question, though, whether it's still something that I'm passionate about, or if I tend to think that because I've defined myself along those lines for so long that I would feel lost and stripped of my identity if that suddenly changed.
Regardless, though, my life feels rather aimless at the moment. I'm not sure what I'm doing. I know why I'm doing it, but I can't focus on this money shit long enough not to be distracted by all these thoughts swirling around in my head asking me what the fuck I'm doing.
I guess the only thing that I can say is that I've always had a short attention span. That, and I'm going to have to talk less about this subject because I'm definitely going to be in the same place for the next 10 months at least, so what's the point of talking around in circles and always coming back to the same thing and saying the same thing all over again, just in a different manner? Frankly, I'm sick of the voices in my head sometimes. I'm sick of hearing myself talk in my head all the time.
But is it so wrong that I just want more than just...this?
Anyway, Junior Partner is really nice. I think he's the nicest person I've had to work for ever since pupillage started. I do a lot of stupid, careless things when I do his work, mostly because he's so nice, but he doesn't scold me or get impatient with me. The most he does is chuckle and speak a bit slower when explaining to me the stupid thing that I did or whatever. He's really patient with me and he's easy to talk to.
If the firm insists on increasing my workload based on the fact that I go home at an average of 6.45 every day, I'd rather do more work for him than to like, try to get used to someone new. Well, I don't really have a choice in that; another JP got me to do some letter of demand thing for some weird fuck case involving PRC defendants and some document in CHINESE (which horrified me), and sure he asked if I'm able to handle it but you can't really say no to that, right? Unless you have a legitimate reason - and I don't think "er I don't want to" is a legitimate one.
Actually, I'm surprised Junior Partner hasn't tried to get me fired by now. I keep thinking back to all the dumb things I did, like wondering over the phone to him if "late of" someone's address when we're doing substituted service is a typo, and I'm thinking, if I had to work with a dumb-ass like myself, I'd request a change of associate.
I think this just shows that I'm really not cut out for this job.
Also, it didn't help me very much when my boss emailed me yesterday to tell me to do a good job for the other junior partner with the letter of demand thing because he doesn't want other partners complaining about the quality of his associates. I don't know in which universe he thinks that would help, but okay, sure, if you say so, sure thing.
If anyone seriously asks me what I'm interested in, I'm sure they'd wonder what the hell I'm doing in the firm. But not to worry - I'm constantly wondering the same thing myself.
In Boyfriend news, Wei Chuen is in Malacca with Lonely Planet and he's totally not texting me because of some whatever network problems over there. Yeah, so I'm not really clued in on the details because he didn't provide any. I was actually legitimately angry last night that it was past midnight and he hadn't messaged me that I called him 3 times to make myself feel better.
He didn't pick up, so I only felt worse.
In any event, I saw a message from him in the morning saying that there was some reception problem in the new hotel.
Not quite sure if it meant he'd text when he wasn't in the hotel, or even if the toll free problem was fixed; but whatever, he's coming back tomorrow. It would then all be water under the bridge.
In tennis news, I got my racquet re-strung today. I'M SO EXCITED! I'm playing tennis tomorrow night and I can't wait to test out the new strings. I told my friend that I had a problem with hitting the ball long when I use a bit more force when I hit the ball. I think he strung it for me a bit tighter, which reduces the power and increases the control. I hope that works. I was getting really annoyed with me hitting the ball out of the fucking park when I tried really hard not to.
It could just be my stroke, but I really don't think so. I can more or less tell what I'm doing wrong in terms of the basic stroke when the ball doesn't do what I tried to make it do, so I concluded that the factory-strung strings had to go.
Also, I think if the new strings don't really improve my forehand topspin, I might just change my forehand grip from eastern to semi-western. I was shown the semi-western grip and it's really much easier to hit a topspin shot.
But then again, I'm as stubborn as Roger Federer. I started out with the eastern forehand grip and I am very reluctant and unwilling to change that. I want to hit topspin shots with my current forehand grip because I think I can do it, and so I will keep trying to do it until I give up.
Just scrolled back up to the part about the firm increasing my workload. You know, I think a huge reason I'm surviving now is because I don't work late hours. I get the occasional 9 or 10 p.m. and my latest so far was 11.45 p.m. Usually I'm out of the office by 7 latest, and I don't do any work once I'm out of the office. I haven't had to do any major work over the weekend so far. To a normally-functioning human being, that's normal, that's good, that means I'm not overworked, right? To a law firm, however, I'm pretty sure that means I'm not getting enough files.
Well, I did tell my boss when he interviewed me that I was hesitant to join the firm because I didn't want to work long hours. If my hours get any worse, I'd just remind him of that conversation and see what he does from there.