(Written on the plane - 20th of August)
Just finished <Prodigal Daughter>, and since there is still 4 hours to NewYork, I thought of writting something for everybody, well, I really mean everybody - so if you don't feel like reading, let me answer all the FAQs first:
1. My address in Pittsburgh
Carnegie Mellon University
SMC #3017 P.O. BOX 3320
Pittsburgh PA 15230-3320
2. (Thanks for those who consistently ask me about this thing)
'Carnegie Mellon University' (and yes, this place does not sell water melons)
I should be studying Computer Science for at least 3 years in CMU, Pittsburgh - financially supported by both my parent company SembCorp Ind and EDB. Can't say when I'll be back yet because I really have no idea how far I could get, but I'll be back for sure in two years time to do a 8 week attachment with S'pore Computer Systems.
3. Apart from email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also reach me at email@example.com - In case you're wondering how the address comes about - edu stands for education (please pardon the amatuers) cmu stands for Carnegie Mellon University (please pardon the idiots) and andrew is simply the name of the server of my university, a tribute to the founder of the university Andrew Carnegie, I think.
4. Flying on Singapore Airlines - tried to get a MAS ticket but fully booked. Fortunately one of my relative knew someone in SQ, and got me a last minute ticket - feeling lucky because as I walked around the whole cabin just now, I couldn't see an empty seat! Very tight flight too - I am landing on Pittsburgh only at about 4 pm and my orientation starts at 7 pm! Btw, SQ's computer games are quite 'fun'…
I just want to say a big thank you to those that have came all the way to send me off on the 19th, all who have tried to make it for the gathering on the 12th, and all those who have wished me well. I hope I have the energy to thank all of you personally, maybe some weeks ahead, depending on how well I adapt into this new environment.
Of course I have some level of apprehension, as well as some level of excitement, mixed with a little bit of loneliness now, but I should be too busy running around to settle down the following week to remember any of these.
To my ASEAN comrades, sometimes I think I am a little shy to tell you how much I appreactiate your help and support. I realised long ago that all of you are really selfless people who try your best in making our community more united and more alive, in different ways, at different times. I think that had partly contributed in making our tussle during A-levels rather intersting, instead of burying our heads in books and assignments all day long. I have one wish, a simple one, and I hope that you have the same urge too, that is – to keep in touch, regardless of age, commitments and physical location. I really do hope that one day we could meet again, by coincidence or not, to tell one another stories we will write in our lifes.
To my CHS kaki, especially those of my batch science classes, I would also like to extend my regards in whatever endeavours, present and future, that you'd be undertaking. I feel proud to tell others that I graduated from this school, not so much becoz CHS presented wonderful academic results year after year, but becoz we inherit the knowledge and courage from generation to generation, of stirving even when given the most unfavourable condition or consequence, of thriving in all situations without compromise. Let us continue our lives with the same drive we once found during our teens. As more and more of us are heading their own direction, stearing us radially apart, I hope that we will continue support one and other, and keep in touch.
To our millenial champion band of Malaysia, I would like especially those who have rejoiced over the wonderful performance put up few weeks back to know - that there are many, many others out there, whom you have never acquainted with, but share similar roots as you, who are proud of you, proud of your achievement and proud of our achievements. They range from forefathers of the school all the way to the students currently studying. They have collectively shedded more tears then can be seen on the TV screen. What I wish you to know, is that no matter how the style of the band changes, how the people in the band changes, how the policies, instruments, uniform, rules, and music in the band changes, the spirit of fighting for the best has never subsided since time memorial (argueably since 1982), and will never leave the walls of our sanctuary. Never think that good times are better than bad times, and that we have to strive harder only occcasionally. To uphold a legend is still relatively easy as compared to continually creating miracles and surpassing the limits of your seniors - hence being the legend yourself. You only have one chance - performance got no 2nd chance.
To the alumni I salute to all your support - I thought I have seen it all when I was in the band, but as I drift further and futher away, I seem to see more and more, this ever growing love despite of our retirement long ago. It will be the benchmark of a sucessful organisation - the willingness to ensure that our once dedication continues to produce responsible and remarkable youths. At the same time, with a similar will in our hearts, we will continue to keep in touch and resonate till death do us part.
Now, I am 10000m above the ground, flying to a place I long to go - at least once, to see what it is like somewhere else other than home. To put it simply, what I am going for now is not my ultimate aim of my life, but a period of self-exploration and self-enrichment, to seek more of what I can do or more importantly who I am. It is a move I should not regret (at least this is what I tell myself for now) after all, life has never promised me anything and what I eventually want is completely up to me myself. It is a 10-years journey - both in America and Singapore - to learn and experience, to fall and climb up again, to walk the path I would never had a chance to take if I continue to age annually. No matter this decision of mine actually contradicts that of my principles earlier, I cannot continually plant ironies into my heart that would one day make me explode into pieces. I would insist that it is a chance I should take, and consequently sacrifising some other things, like ethics and opinions. I think it is a give and take situation, at least one thing I am sure not to sacrifice, and that is our friendship. Our Friendship. Let it last, it couldn't last too long anyway, a century is just too good for a friendship to last.
As I grow (or age, whatever, erm... someone please tell pn. doreen i am not ah gong) I find it easier and easier to forgive myself. Unfortunately, I found it equally easy to forget myself. I used to scribble, from grafity to diaries, to remind myself of myself. But I think it is just going to get tougher and tougher. And as you care for me (yes you do, because you have read through all the text above till at least reach this paragraph - that is a lot you could have done for me, which I hope I could listen to you too - serious) I do hope you could remind me of me someday, when it is necessary, or when you feel like it. I think I would very much appreciate that, very much. Tell me one day about yourself and I will tell you how proud I am to have you to be my kawan.
I wonder when this mail will be sent, anyway, after orientation; I shall update every one of you a little bit more. Trust me, it won't be that nostalgic anymore - just hope that it will be long enough. Before I end, could someone kindly print this out and put it on the band notice board for the benefit of those without internet and those whose e-mail address I do not have. And if you rather not receive these long e-mails in future, please reply and tell me, I will keep in touch with you by other means.
Remember the spirit - all the best, always the best, all ways the best!
Ok, meal time - yum!
~ Ong Jiin Joo~
(Currently known as Jiin Joo Ong haha)