My lungs were violently gasping for air, my skin incarcerated the heat waves and my legs placed itself one in front of the other in a constant, circular motion. I was finishing up a thirty five kilometre hike, running past the towering trees and away from the two thousand metre climb behind me.
The unbearable heat and hammered fibres that compose of my body wasn’t actually a big deal. I was happy swiftly darting through the hikers since the annihilating thirst for a soothing ice chilled coke trumped larger than my unacknowledged fatigued. While I did try my best to exchange Good Mornings or Hellos to the runners, I was distracted by the counting of my footsteps: “one mississippi” “two mississippi”, “three mississippi”, “four mississippi”, then “WAIT … SHIT ” I stepped on an uneven rock, my ankle popped like chopsticks, and I thrust towards the ground.
Growing up, a sense of hopelessness always settled itself in the living room whenever I watched, on the television, an underprivileged coloured man plead for his innocence because of his tragic role in accidentally at the crime scene or when a public lawyer stands idle because “it’s just another one of those cases” or when people fail to recognise the need for compassionate assistance. The ringing sound of injustice broke my heart and my eight year old self rebelled against the urge to be idle. A gleam at the moving pixels decided what life would next become: I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.
In sophomore year of high school, luminescent white walls formed the four corners of my classroom. The atmosphere was stale and filled with sheer nervousness as the teacher held the summative papers that determined the future of thirty-two students. Part of me felt dismayed because the only thing that was beaming in my report card last semester was sterling Ds and Fs. But within four bleak seconds, a thundering applause greeted me as the teacher cheerfully announced that I scored top of the class.
Months leading up to this day, I devoured studying like it’s the new Apple iPhone on the block. Although I never really liked school, after receiving a good old fashion discussion with my proudly Asian immigrant parents; it was to be made sure that this very moment became a reality. And I felt hugely relieved because it was.
Getting the top of the class allowed me to study the “prestigious” route (i.e. the IB Diploma) and paved way for a summer internship at a top law firm in Hong Kong .
From the outside, life looked great. In fact, my eight year old self would be pleased with this trajectory of success: good grades, good opportunities and now soon admission to a good university.
As I limped with what’s left of my aching foot, I pondered, what do we do if all our abilities are stripped from us? If our hobbies, favourites and economic activities are part of our identities — the very things that require our mobility — what will we become then?
As the protagonist of the story, I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment when I dispensed the last straw of withering conviction in myself. Instead of bland and white walls that composed the room, summer was filled with a different hue; brightly lit colours one transcended violent apathy through the glass panes and into the sky high corporate building where the firm’s office was located.
I found it quite funny how newspapers, whether in cartoons or the headlines, often have a section to lampoon corporate jobs — to caricature their empty lives, sifting through life without meaning. I thought about how this reflected society and our desolate fear of impulses. It points to an omnipresent yet hidden problem and its our innate resistance to unsubscribe from the vanities of society.
Some go through life without discovering what drives them, the finesse in embracing failures, and joy of following their impulses — a life outside of comfort.
I suspect it’s difficult to live in spontaneity. It’s easier to go through life never jumping off the cliff of a stable job and into the unknown. Never travelling to France and falling in love with the French language to the extent that you’re rawly passionate under white sheets. Never knowing what it’s like to end a meeting call midway and go wholeheartedly to the faithful waves of the ocean. But what kind of life would that be?
In the end, is the point of life to be a ranked rat?
I founded a speech & debate club in my school, led the largest fundraising campaign for slavery, and even got recognised by Harvard to attend a conference in Japan.
- The same sense of hopelessness entered whichever room I went, not because of human biases that encroached the planet but rather because of my demise.
all in the name for becoming a lawyer with pride and conviction but the real prize was when I scored an internship at Ogier, a leading offshore law firm.
Since then, sifting through life became a bit blurry.
In his novel “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Victor Frankl writes “
I spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning of life and my purpose, and no matter how long i thought about it, I never reached a satisfying answer
“You’re unhappy — so unhappy that you’ve lost perspective on your career, your reputation, your holy schedule.”
This was true.”
is absolutely sensational and stirred a hint of defiance in me.
Harvey shows up at Mike’s apartment in a tuxedo and unceremoniously issues an order to don appropriate attire
- I pondered, what do we do if all our abilities are stripped from us? If our hobbies, favourites and economic activity are part of our identities, what will we become then?
I was finishing up a thirty five kilometre hike, sprinting past the tree branches as the two thousand metre climb behind me fades farther with my legs stepping one in front of the other seamlessly in a steady rhythm.
I realised I was darting past through the hikers — trying my best to exchange Good mornings and cheers — and it made me feel really good. I wanted to reach the bottom quicker since I looked forward to an ice cold coke and finally some rest. I continued faster, counting my footsteps, “one” “two” “three” then “SHIT!” I stepped on an uneven rock, my ridden ankle snapped and I land on the floor.
My feet were placing itself one in front of the other in a rhythm, my skin was boiling, and my lungs
When I was younger, I watched thrilling criminal investigations and court procedurals. To see an attorney in a pristine suit show up unceremoniously to slam a class action lawsuit
When an underprivileged coloured man’ s tragic role in a case was to just be at the crime scene pleads for innocence against the first degree murder conviction while his no good public lawyer stands idle stirs a sense of hopelessness. Then and there, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. My eight year old self eyed the moving pixels with sensation.
I was finishing up a thirty five kilometres hike, sprinting past the towering tree branches as the two thousand metre climb behind me fades farther. My legs places itself one in front of the other rhythmically, my skin
My legs placed itself one in front of the other in a consistent motion, my skin was boiling, like it entrapped the heatwaves of the whole Sun, and my lungs were gasping for air
The daily banter with colleagues, dissing about the sheer amount of tasks our bosses ought us to do or sneaking in chess crackers from the pantry made the internship worthwhile.