09 November 2021

I have shared earlier that I am going to stop writing. But I realised that by doing that, I lost a tool to reflect and a means to communicate with whoever wants to communicate. Sometimes, I am not so good with words, and writing remains an excellent tool to externalise my thoughts. Hence, I have decided to start writing again quietly, but this time around, without any commercial or business intent. Therefore I still consider my writing career ceased, at least for now. After all, I am not even sure if my current role allows any side income.

There are many thoughts in my mind and many things I want to share. But somehow, I realised that the older you get, the more careful you are with the things you share with people. Sometimes, someone who seems benign can turn malicious and use this information against you to achieve what they want. I generally believe that people are good-natured. But I also think that if you put yourself in a vulnerable position, some will take advantage of it and leverage upon you. Sometimes, I wonder why do we have to make the human relationship so complicated. But perhaps it has been as such since ages ago.

I remember that my WhatsApp profile has this line – 欲知其国者,which means one who wishes to govern. I think for someone uninitiated to read this, he must have thought what an arrogant guy. Without knowing the entire phrase, it is no surprise that one would think this way. We often see things within our limitations, and leaving this phrase there was to see who are the ones who judge without thinking further and who are the ones who are more sophisticated in their thinking. It is like wearing a Rolex. To call another materialistic for buying a Rolex, one must first recognise that it is a Rolex and that it means something. Hence, who is the materialistic one? Eventually, I took down that one-liner, not wanting to create any more wrong impression of myself. I think I have enough to deal with for now.


I am now coming to an end to my second phase of probation. I really don’t know the kind of impression that I left in the hearts and minds of others. But I did what I could, with the best intentions I had. I can only hope and pray that people can see where I am coming from and be wise enough to distinguish who is good and evil. I can do what is popular, say what is nice to hear, pretend to be who I am not, and mask my emotions to preserve my career. I hope that I can eventually complete this journey successfully. But I would like to do it being the true, authentic self. Because if I were to pretend to be who I am not, to complete this journey successfully, who is the one being endorsed? The real me or the fake me?

I think I am doing the people injustice if I remain silent on the things that I think should be addressed. After all, this is a small window of opportunity for us to interact with one another. After this phase, we will all be leaving for our destinations, and I may not see these people again. And when I say the people, it means the general public. We are first and foremost accountable to the people, then to the organisation and lastly to our superiors and peers. We are also accountable to our families and ourselves. Pissing people off does not mean that I am not people-oriented. There are different groups of people that we need to be accountable for, and sometimes, a certain group of people is more important than the other, which is the people in this case. We are, after all, in the public service.

I don’t mean that I am always right or that I am infallible. There are times which I fail to perform up to even my standards, and that is when I need others to remind me as well. Telling others to buck up doesn’t mean that I am always “up there”. Instead, we achieve collective excellence when we remind and look out for one another. This goes both ways, much like respect being a two-way street.

For someone to go around speaking badly of others, it would also mean that one could well be the target when they are not around. In Chinese, there is this phrase- 来说是非者,便是是非人。 This translates in English, the dog that fetches will carry. For one to bring gossips to you, he will take your gossips to others. This is something I remind myself of because sometimes, I too get carried away when I am ranting.

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Categorized as Journal

By ben@sgben.com

Hi, I am Benjamin. I am a Singaporean son, born and bred. I came from a modest background, just like most Singaporeans and went to mainstream schools like most middle-class Singaporeans. What makes me different is my unconventional choices and journey in life, giving me more profound insights. Entering a secondary school infested with secret societies in the earlier days exposed me to a different side of Singapore. I graduated well despite having a volatile phase. I chose one of the youngest polytechnics despite having a score good enough for JC, even as others tell me it is not recognised, and I would not make it into university through that path. During my National Service, I also went through a difficult phase of rediscovering the purpose of serving. My university was another defining chapter, spanning over nine years, involving many adventures and endeavours. As you can see, I seldom bother myself with dogmas. I strongly believe in Steve Job's speech at Stanford University. I hope to lead others by example, inspire them to do the same and empower the decisions they have to make in their lives. Reach me at sgBen.com.

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