2013: A Year in Review


It’s the last day of the year. And my last chance to do a review of 2013 for myself, to myself. It’s a chance to close some chapters, put the final say to the many many things that have happened in the last 365 days. I’ve been to 3 different countries, stayed 5 months in Taiwan, 1 week in Japan, went to Malaysia in between my Taiwan trip for a good 5 days, went back home even. To look at a year in comparison to the year before always leaves me in awe; so many things have changed. The year can be neatly sliced into two parts, Taiwan and Singapore. It’s the first year in my life that I’ve only spent 7 months here.

And so, the biggest change must have been from my exchange. Living overseas for 5 months, away from the environment I am so used to. I am never the adventurous person; but I knew I wanted to know Taiwan. And so I went. After many places, many new friends, thousands of photos and a burn motocycle scar on my right leg, I came back. And thought that the transition back to a Singapore life was going to be hard. But the semester whizzed by so fast and I didn’t realize how much has happened in the next span of 4 months. Then was exams and reservist. After which I was (and am still somewhat) preoccupied by the Room Improvement Program. That’s been going on pretty smoothly, except for a cabinet that takes ages to arrive.

And as I came back I stumbled onto two pet projects, the Esplanade one for Huayi and another one for the ConnexSCIons for the school. And my semester seemed like only doing these two things, along with many other things. Life was too busy for me to look at the sky and think about transitions. In fact at the start I was almost grateful that there were things to keep me occupied; being too free made me think too much about everything back at Taiwan. Flying back after so long overseas is always very abrupt, no matter how many goodbyes and recaps you make. There was a life I was living in Taiwan.

I have grown used to going to Sinyi Church in Hsinchu,
I have grown used to being beside a very close friend who accompanied me almost everywhere, I have grown used to taking the pink bus for free from Chianchung Road to NCTU.
I have grown used to grabbing a helmet and propping myself to the back a motorcycle and off I go to many many places, as if I have always done it like that.
I have grown used to cooking dumplings and noodles in two pots, and eating them while watching 康熙來了. But the trip back brought everything to a sudden halt.

Thinking back, I am grateful, at least, that the busyness of school quelled the thirst to go back. It wasn’t a gush of emotions, it was a slow bubbling one. That, I can live with.

Actually, I probably was too busy with life after coming back. I know there were a lot of things I did that were unprecedented for me. Like guest lecturing. Like attending an exhibition as an artist. Like doing what I call “real commercial work”.

And those other things that are so unassuming went beyond my memory but formed the bedrock of the months here. TGIF, my cell mates are always there for me through these months. They are the people I subconsciously go back to because in a way they are as close as kin gets in terms of the people I hang out with. Thank you TGIF.

Throughout the months when I was back, and even the first night when I touched down on Singapore soil 3/4 way through my Taiwan journey, I met Qinghong, Yongqing, I have known them for the longest, since my secondary 1 days. And together with Shuting, they form the core of my childhood memories; I count it a blessing to be able to live so many years with them, and I look forward to even more in the many years to come.

And of course, my parents who have graciously given so much of their own to fulfill my dream to go Taiwan, and even more so, Japan. It was an amazing journey there. I won’t be able to make it if Daddy hadn’t exchanged more Yen for me… Till now I still miss Japan, and I am a little proud that I managed to tour Japan alone backpacking like that. Contrary to what I feared at first, I didn’t go crazy not being to speak meaningfully to people for 7 days. Japan is an amazing place. Super efficient, so futuristic yet traditional. It’s a wonder how they are able to exist like that. And I also tried my hands at the capsule hotel. And experience definitely ahahha.

My social circle is really small. I only have a very limited capacity to be close to certain number of people, so while there are definitely more people I can list to thank, I’d do them personally. And there’s not like hundreds more. And I can live with that.

In the past few days, the last few days on 2013, I was suddenly troubled by events and people that made me question the purpose of my existence in their lives. I ask the perennial question: what am I here for? If I live just to die. If I walk this road a thousand times and then I disappear one day, what would that make of my life? What is the point of my life if it does not impact others? I know one day this life will be over, and the route I take and walk everyday, sometimes I find myself just walking and not have a clue what I was walking to or for. It’s a sombering and scary moment to suddenly lose that ‘focus’ on what I am living for, even if its just for a second. It’s like a bulb that receives a sudden jolt of absence of electricity. It’s shocking (my pun).

2013 passed so eventfully, so quickly, so quietly. It feels like I can never fully consolidate my thoughts for 2013, then 2014 is here. Is time moving too fast, or am I too busy to observe it pass me by?

So, this is my very conflagulated review of 2013. Very messy, but very true. It’s been a hell of a year, but a year that was so essential, so beneficial, so very life changing. I thank God for 2013, and with that I look forward to 2014. I’ll write some resolutions after I enter 2014.


About jiromaiya

Largely popular with a few exceptions, he doesn't love the whole world, and doesn't try to either. A typical Singaporean epicurean, he enjoy

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