It has been many months since the batch of 2015 has stepped foot into the demarcated lines of Victoria Junior College and it is at this critical juncture whereby the crazy frenzy of Promos is passing and the clout that is PW is fading that we are able to take time and reflect on what exactly happened to us when we chose to undertake the Junior College life.
Firstly, one realization is that friendship cannot be chosen; they are, however, earned by being honest and truthful with oneself and the other party in the relationship. Victoria Junior College is rife with students and in the hustle and bustle of over a thousand social lives competing with each other for popularity points and Instagram likes, one invariably retreats into his or her own shell and ‘go with the flow’. This manifests itself in the form of a herd mentality or ‘community over the individual’ phenomenon that is characteristic of societies that are heavily tainted by Confucian principles of hierarchy and harmony. In the 21st Century context of a seventeen year old, this ultimately means that people search for people whom they are comfortable with or think they can be comfortable with. Coupled with the destruction of a social system dismantled by the O Level Streaming process whereby the familiar is instantly replaced, most of us end up romanticizing the idea of friendship, such that we begin looking for friends that we think we are able to ‘click’ with and not really understanding each other before being fully committed to the new relationship.
The consequences of such choices means that more than half of us would have realized that the friends we have thus far made in Junior College would either be friends whom we can stay together with for a very long time after we graduate or they would have caused a considerable amount of emotional pain following the disintegration of the friendship. This could only happen because we have misunderstood the premises on which a friendship is built upon, honesty and truth. In thinking that we can ‘choose’ our friends, we have been fooled by the illusion of choice and forgot that a good and stable relationship is one whereby common understanding and rapport is key. A friendship should not be measured by the number of times a group of people meet over a certain week or even whether one could have ‘fun’ interesting sessions when they do meet. A chilling session or ‘lepak’ session, paradoxically, serves to validate the friendship more than one that involves constant exciting outings to iFly or other musings that our generations preoccupy ourselves with. What we need to understand is that a return to the traditional notions of honesty and trust is imperative for a relationship, either platonic or romantic, to work in the social environment in a Junior College.
Following a similar thread, the second reminder for all of us is to believe in the virtue of forgiveness again. This involves not only forgiving others but also forgiving oneself. This particular reminder might come as a surprise as many of us do assume that we are magnanimous in our mannerisms all the time. However, I do not doubt that many of us do indeed throw around the phrase “I forgive you” in Junior College. What I would like to reinforce, however, is that we should believe in the authenticity of that sacred phrase we utter, instead of just paying lip service to it. Many times in which we find ourselves in the position of forgiving someone else or forgiving ourselves, we repeat the phrase so often in our heads (or our loud) in the hopes that we can persuade our brain to accept it. This is particularly problematic as it encroaches upon the sacrosanct position of forgiveness; a virtue that should emerge from deep within our moral subconscious, not from self-persuasion or to push it further, self-deceit.
The next time we undergo the process of forgiveness, we should force ourselves to truly ruminate and brood over the exact causes and consequences of the situation. If we cannot find it in ourselves to forgive, it is best not to outwardly express it for it would be a shallow attempt at virtue and if we think we have the capacity for forgiveness, we should thoroughly commit ourselves to the process of rehabilitation that comes after forgiveness. Think of your Project Work members and the people whom you have offended, hurt and lied to throughout the course of this year and see whether you are able to find it in yourself to first forgive yourself and then seek your fellow compatriots’ forgiveness. Think of all the people whom have offended you this year and evaluate again whether you can forgive the other person or whether you have given him or her a promise that is false and empty. Think of yourself in the other party’s shoes and most importantly, think whether the friendship is worth salvaging or not. The answer to some of the most complicated questions that we face now can be answered when we just let go of our pride and see things for what they truly represent in the grand scheme of events.
For Part 1, this is where it shall stop, more will be posted soon but we should all take the time and reflect on our journey thus far as Victorians and ‘seek to find truth from facts’