It has been a month since the big departure. With all the farewell cards that contained too little words to express how much I really felt. It was 0053 290618. For the longest time, I didn't want to sleep. I didn't want tomorrow to come. For the longest time, my heart felt like I had invested a tad too much into the relationships forged over these 6 months. On the 2nd of January, when I stepped into the office for the first time, it was the first day to the end of my life. I never really had the will to do much, my mum was going through a lot, I found out about the death of my friend. I started feeling a little too under-prepared to face the rest of my life. Yet, with every breath shared in the same office, I pulled through. In fact, with happy moments.
Never have I felt so comfortable to open up to people so fast. In a sense, they built a home in me, I really wanted to write so much more in those cards but I really did not know how. I felt like I should have written everything down beforehand. For the longest time, I had found a home I could run to in times of fear and break downs.
As I wrote those letters, I felt so scared to face the world alone this soon.I did not know why I was crying that midnight. It might have been the music I was playing from the stupid "Toppled wine bottles" playlist of mine. Or it could simply be the very fact that my heart was already missing the times we had. I did not have another option to express myself then, It took me 30 minutes to complete only 2 damn farewell cards. Every time I picked up that black pen and penned down my feelings, I felt a slice of pain across my chest and it stopped me from continuing.
I kept thinking life was going to be difficult without having the feeling of support for 5/7 of my life. I could not hide my sadness and I just wanted to run into all of your arms and cry. I believed it was the fact that we all had the commonality of wanting to prove ourselves that we were able to make it in the creative industry that really connected us. The fact that we were all trying to improve hand in hand with each other was so heartwarming. Even during those bad times, we were on the right side of rock bottom (credit song lyrics) and it didn't seem so scary there. Somehow we complement each other so well and I will forever remember this bond we share.
A bird never leaves its nest before learning how to fly but I felt like I wasn't ready to take on the skies yet. Time was a bitch. Still is. It hurts to leave. However, I told myself to stay hopeful. I knew that separation was inevitable. We will occasionally miss those conversations at night. Those conversations of everything and nothing. Those dreams we had, It will come to a point where communication becomes rare. Our future friends or kids will find our pictures. They will question who those people were, The tips of our lips will curve up. Our eyes will have invisible tears, Our hearts will be warmed. Then, we will reply that it was with them when we had the best days of our lives. We will hate ourselves from being careless and becoming vulnerable in the moment. We will hate to admit it but we will know that we missed us.
Hello again. Sorry if I haven't been writing and updating this page. Let me explain myself. I am currently on the road, travelling. Exploring countries and really just trying to get lost in the many countries of this world. I have included a new page to talk more about what I did in those travels and show you photos hoping they be the eyes to those who have yet to see. I have been to 4 countries for the past 1.5 months and I sure hope I won't be stopping there. However, out of all the differences, 'Hello' was what we said in every country. It was a word that created a beginning. In fact, it was a word that allowed me to meet so many people in so many places. I guess this is a beginning of whatever I am planning to do. During the past 1.5 months, I managed to also secure an internship to be a photographer before I enter Uni. College. Whatever you guys call it. Life is getting exciting and I just really have these expectations of the future. I mean, it is still all a blur. But definitely have a few parts of my life that I expect myself to fulfill.
Travelling not only let me see the concept of beginnings. In fact, seeing all the nature, meeting all the people, experiencing the cultures and tasting the foods. It just humbles me to feel so small in this great great world we live in. I just begin to really appreciate smaller things in life. Being away from home for 1.5 months may be a little scary for some young Asian dude since we don't usually leave the nest until we get married but since absence makes the heart grow fonder, I missed family times. And I am not just talking about my biological family. I am talking about my friends as well. Those who had stood by me the past few years of my life or even since the start of my social circle development. So many things to be grateful for.
I think I really grew a lot the past few weeks. I even learned things that they don't teach in school. So I am grateful for that too. What are you grateful for? When will say your next 'Hello'?
Another late night thought tonight as I lay on my bed and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. So I had a discussion with my dad who has always been a very stereotypical Asian with quite a strong conservative notion. I, on the other hand, growing up in a society that is slowly opening up to diversity among humans, in quite unsurprising sense, am a liberal. So there are really a lot of view points my Dad and I disagree on. Especially on societal aspects. For example, LGBTQ+ issues, whether or not one who is capable of entering a good Junior College should enter if he does not want to or whether we should always pursue a job that can feed you more than a job you are passionate about. Well, the common topics I find myself arguing about with him are mainly "Millennial Problems". In a sense, problems he probably would be ignorant or inexperienced about. However, as a liberal, I feel curious as to how a conservative think about such issues.
I recently saw a video called "Modern Educayshun" which is basically a video that revolves around a hyperbolic potential future of what our current predominant liberal generation could become. I will link the video below. But throughout the video I realize that soon we may become, in a sense, more conservative in relative to a future generation. In the video, there was a statement that revolves around the meaning of "Feelings means more than facts". I thought about it, and I realized, maybe that is a downside of liberals. We get so offended over a different opinion even though it may be hard truth. Maybe it is because when we become more open to the idea of different people, we subconsciously expect others to be more open as well, be it to oneself or others. Ironically, we become closed minded towards people who actually chose to have a more conservative mindset. We usually shut them off because the basis of their mindsets was simply not liberal. I guess what most liberals try to achieve or gain is a more idealistic future for the world where people only see people as a single race. We try to overlook differences and see who one really is on the inside. No judgement. All get along. As ONE.
However, conservatives sometimes may be right if they can prove their point. They act as little snaps into reality that most liberals become blind of due to our pursue for something more idealistic. I guess there are extreme liberals out there who really could not stand talking to conservatives. But, there is a way to have an open discussion and to talk things out between the two groups of people. I think before we can really judge if a mindset is wrong, we have to really get down to the basis of why one is having a different mindset from us. If I am a Clinton supporter and you are a Trump supporter, I cannot just shun you off simply because you chose Trump. That is quite 'Trumphobic'. Instead, I should be asking why you chose him. If your reasons seems morally correct, yeah I accept your different decision because I respect differences. But if your reason were to be morally incorrect, then I guess judgement will become unavoidable. I believe if you were brought up well, you would be able to tell whether what one is doing is morally right or wrong. So I guess what most liberals are forgetting is that we are neglecting and slowly taking away the voices of conservatives. Even though you may think they are, in a sense, more "heartless" or "politically incorrect". I suggest talking to them and be more accepting of their point. I mean, isn't that all about being a liberal?
I cannot stop one from being a conservative, so if I cannot change the situation, I have to change myself and learn to adapt don't I? Will you accept the points of a conservative?
So I don't know if you guys have heard of Mandy Harvey. Just a little background information, Mandy Harvey is a 29 year old lady whose audition for America's Got Talent 2017 blew up and got viral. She was diagnosed with a disorder around the connective tissues and at the age of 18 after falling ill, lost her hearing. Being completely deaf definitely brought her to a bottom low. But she wanted to do more with her life than give up. She held on to a dream she let go off once and that was music. She used muscle memory and a visual tuner to try get her voice back. Pitch perfect kind of come back. So she did and wrote her songs. Ultimately winning the hearts of the judges and earning her well-deserved golden buzzer. I'll link her audition below :) However, her audition was so much more than just her getting her long due reward. It was a message and a vessel to reach out to those people living through their bottom lows now. That one way or another, you have to make the first move to climb out that pit. No. I do not mean that you have to do this all on your own. Mandy clearly didn't. She had support. You need to find your support. But if you are on the other side of the frame, you need to take the initiative to be a support for those in the pit.
The thing was, the video clip and her life story spoke to me. She made me realize that there are boundaries out there in your life waiting for you to breakthrough. She really humbled me a lot and I really hope it does to you people reading this. Because there will always be a pit deeper than yours and if people who had fallen into those managed to get back on their feet and stand up on solid ground, there is no reason you cannot. It becomes a test of mentality strength. A test of resilience. Being someone who has experienced being ostracized and bullied during my younger days (not that I'm very old), I really became this person who caved in to the status quo of the social circle. I speak from the perspective of the kid who always tried to fit in and had to wear this facade on everyday in school. The kid who legitimately sits at the corner of every class. Managed problems only by himself because he was afraid that an additional problem, if known by someone else, could crush his life socially and mentally. I became blinded by my pit that was ever so shallow in comparison to many others. And I think taking the first step is always the most IMPORTANT and NECESSARY, in this case, it's acceptance. Accepting that you need help and you have an issue. That you have fallen into a pit. Your parents should always be the first people to talk to. But if your problems are family-wise, then friends or teachers or a counselor are fine too. You need trust as well. You think these people do not understand your situation? Make them. Emphasize the importance and it's negativity. Emphasize on your need for help. Because if you have fallen into that hole and you do nothing to get out, the light at the top of your head will only shrink. It eventually closes up. Cases of suicide and depression then comes in.
I guess what I'm really saying is to look at Mandy as a role model to fight. To not give up. To see hope. To accept. To save yourself. Because she survived, and so should you.
Mandy Harvey's Audition:
Hi. My name is Nathanael Layn Law. I am 2 people. In the outside world, I am considered a friend who is crazy in love with taking photos. I am the friend known as the crazy one. Probably the one with the most random thought. My friends input a sense of creativity and fun into my life. They expanded my circle of thoughts and feelings. They were an important part to the first attribute of the first person I am. I am considered the rebel in the family. I challenge the perceived conservative notions of my somewhat stereotypical Asian family. They expanded my thoughts and my empathy towards today's issues around the world. They helped me develop a level of EQ and IQ towards the outside world as my 20 year old self starts liberating into it. I became the bridge for my elders to connect with today's millennial problems that some how they were oblivious or ignorant about. Things like suicide, acceptance, bullying or passion not becoming your job. I am also a brother of a child who sees me as a constant academic competitor. A child who is working his way up to the top ranks in class. Very much like the Alex in Modern Family. But he help the idealistic me stay rooted to reality. I am a teen who is obsessive over comedy shows. Modern Family. Friends. Name it. I'll watch it even if it's a K-drama.
But I unfortunately only show that side of me 2/7 of my life. The remaining 5/7, I become "imprisoned" in my base camp. I am a soldier. I wear a uniform and train to protect my homeland. Very patriotic if you just remove the fact that I am currently going through conscription. But still, very patriotic. I don't sleep in an air conditioned room. I sleep in a bunk shared with 9 other fellow comrades who goes through the fun and shitty times with me. I have experienced treacherous terrains. Horrific weather. My skin has suffered too many infections and diseases after the multiple outfield training that lasts weeks. I grow to become more empathetic and compassionate about people who sign a contract to join the army. I grow to feel angry over petty reports on the internet over soldiers. I grow to envy the respect the west soldiers receive instead of ours. In my country, when you don that uniform, your stakes of getting reported on the internet rises by 50% because gossip is a huge part of my society. I grow to cry over "Soldier coming home" videos. I learn how to push my own limits and strive greater things. I learn more about my style of leadership. I become this extreme learner. One who learns via first hand and hands on experiences.
And there you go. I wrote this post simply because I realized how much one can stripped off their own identity to try and adapt to the environment they grow up in. But hey, my name is Nathanael Layn Law. I am 2 people. I grew up and was nurtured under 2 highly different environments and I want to know who you are too. Go ahead. Who are you?
Recently I have started working on my spirituality notebook. It is basically a notebook comprising of the many feelings, thoughts, music, verses, quotes and doodles I want to pen down. It keeps me updated on what I have felt throughout the entire month. So just a little bit about myself; I have this emotional side of me. It can be seen as something good or bad but I feel like these emotions sometimes needs an outlet. So this is the main reason why I created this notebook. I am someone who has suffered from insomnia and honestly, I am not fully recovered from it. I still get insomnia now and then and it sucks because I am currently in the Army and sleep becomes very vital. You usually try to sleep as much as you can at night so that you will not have lethargy kick in for the rest of the day. But in the last 2 weeks, these insomniac nights are back. They are hitting quite hard. My thoughts have been running wild. It has been involving death and life and future and fears and really nothing very positive. I have been going back and forth to my spirituality notebook and writing my thoughts out and hopefully calming the nerves at night. I have to say that it helps in a sense. It reduces the stress to stop overthinking and actually allows me to calmly stop my thoughts. So, if you are somewhat in a similar situation, I would really suggest having a spirituality notebook around.
In a more media aspect of life, I have been listening to 'very-year-2000s' music. I just felt like I needed the whole nostalgia. I wanted to go back in time. Just for a good 3 minutes. I have been hearing KE$HA, Avril Lavigne, Owl City and because of their recent concert right here in Singapore, I got me back some Coldplay as well. I have also been listening to the classic 'Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane' album, yeah? Good stuff. Also, I'm currently getting super hooked over Friends. Yeap, that 10 seasons-sitcom that lasted a good decade:) So in terms of media wise, I am bringing old school back. Old school is good school. (Though it ain't very old)
So, FOOD. I have recently been introduced by a good friend Adli, to this Mexican restaurant around the Bugis area. Located along Haji Lane. It was SO GOOD. I think it is going to be on my list of favorite food. I also have been cider-ing a lot. I do not know why I cannot stop drinking it. I need help. HAHAHA! I have been trying to gain a few because I felt like I lost a number during my Brunei training last month so...
Anyways, this has been pretty much what my life has become 25% into the year. Oh my goodness. We are 1/4 of the year done. Someone needs to make time move a little more faster because I CANNOT WAIT TO BE LIBERATED FROM MY CONSCRIPTION. I have been planning trips to Korea, Finland, New Zealand and China. I have no idea how the whole planning will work out but I am very excited to start reading the book called Earth. By the way, I came across this quote on Instagram (I know, what a great outlet for knowledge) but it goes a little something like this: The world is a book, if you do not travel, you are forever on that one page. SO, start exploring guys! Till next time :>
So it has been a while, I get it. I just returned from my overseas training which took place in a little tiny country called Brunei. A piece of land which holds the lives of a mere 420,000 people lies a series of dense and merciless terrains. So to those who do not know what is going on, here are some background information. The whole overseas training in Brunei mainly revolves around Jungle Survival. It's a Jungle Training Camp. My exercise duration over there lasted a good 20 days. We call the over arching exercise: Exercise Lancer. Ex Lancer consisted of 2 portions. Exercise Nomad & Exercise Buaya. Both involving a 3D2N and 5D4N outfield exercise respectively.
Story time. On the day of flight, before I left the house, my mum dropped my bag onto the floor, quite harshly to say the damn least, to her oblivious mind that there was a camera in it. So, the filter of the camera cracked. Since I am a photographer for the company, I had to pack a camera for this trip. And to make things worse, IT WASN'T EVEN MY CAMERA (I'm sorry to the rightful owner for only knowing this now :/ ) Anyways, my dad and I rushed to a nearby camera stall to see what damage repair could be done on the spot. Unfortunately, the owner said that they had to take at least a day to repair the lens and so I was extremely devastated. My dad suggested I get a whole new camera since I have had plans on getting one for quite some time now and in the midst or desperation, we did. I got a new Canon 760D and that is now my new baby. Of course we bargained our way to make the payment a little less painful. So thank you for the discount. Like seriously, thank you. Anyway, my dad offered to help repair my friend's lens and we set off to the airport with the brand new camera. However, on the way there, I realized that I had forgotten to bring along my wallet and my earpiece. Thank goodness I took out the necessary cards and slot it in my phone case pouches the day before if not I would have been in SERIOUS trouble. My aunt was kind enough to lend me her earpiece so thank you too. My aunt also gave me this tube of Yutzu sweets which you will later learn that it was extremely helpful to me.
After suffering from multiple klutzy heart attacks you would expect it to be over but it did not. At the airport, I was held back 3 times because I was told that I looked nothing like the photo in my passport. Honestly, that photo was a photo of me 2 years ago. I have received comments outside that I changed quite a lot (idk how) but I didn't expect it to be of such inconvenience. Landed in Brunei and everything went smoothly.
Woke up the first morning in Brunei to a sight of a cicada by my leg. And just so you know, that bug was the size of an index finger (no exaggeration). The first night we slept in a holding camp because in order to reach the actual camp, we had to take a 3.5h ferry ride. You might think that 'hey, that's not that bad, you can take a long nap and you will reach camp!' But lo and behold, that didn't happen when you realize you are allocated to a seat at the upper deck where the air conditioning has spoiled. So I died and bathed in sweat there.
Anyway, the living condition in the actual camp was pretty all right. Except for the fact that there were multiple water supply shortages during the first few days because everyone in camp was just binging on using water that the rate of using the water was like a lot faster than the rate of filling the water tanks. But that problem was solved a few days later after strict regulations on water usage. Oh, and it's like this breeding ground for cicadas because it's filled with it.
During Ex Nomad, it was a super fun experience, learning to navigate your way through the jungle. We were warned never to bash into the vegetation so my team strictly followed the clear ridge lines. However, the jungle plays tricks on us. Most of the time you will think that you are going in the right direction but after walking a good 10 to 15 minutes, you find yourself skirting to a different direction and that sucks. My team went up and down so many ravines and crossed so many streams we became immune to them. We met a few teams here and there and realized we were one of the few who actually managed to find a checkpoint. Yes, there were teams that were zero fighters. Teams who did well and teams who didn't. My team wasn't fortunate enough to have an experienced member inside to guide us, so being able to find 1 checkpoint kinda made us proud in a way. Cause the jungle is a merciless maze and we were told that people who have signed on in the Army and did navigating the jungles of Brunei can still get lost in there. Just so you know, during this exercise, during the last few hours, my team found ourselves at the bottom of this super steep ravine. I practically injured myself then. Basically, my rifle(M203) was trapped by this vine(we were along this steep ravine and on all fours) and I used all my might to haul it out. The rifle flew into midair and landed right smack on my knee, that same knee slipped along the slope only to find itself kissing a stump of wood. But still alive so still grateful.
During Ex Buaya, oh damn, the flashbacks give me chills. The tube of Yutzu sweets was a piece of home I smuggled out to eat, keep me sane. Basically, the overall general plan is that on the 1st day we will be heli-inserted into the wilderness and climb to the top of Mountain Biang (MB). On the 2nd day, we will walk quite a distance to a certain checkpoint. On the 3rd day, we were told to assault an enemy party that has already been deployed. On the 4th day, we will cross a river and climb 7 knolls (THE 7 KNOLLS) and on the last day we will walk to the gates of camp and assault a second party of enemies. Sounds simple but it was super tough. The terrain was harsh. It rained every single day. We had to be disciplined out in the jungle. Stay tactical. Hidden. Idk if I am allowed to say what we were taught then but just so you know, injuries happened, it was crazy, it was dirty, it was tiring and you have to really be prepared to conquer every single challenge. Especially, the 7 knolls. You may think climbing the mountain will be the worst. But wait till you climb 7 knolls. You can lose count of the up slopes and down slopes you will climb. The only easy day was yesterday. And that quote never felt so true. So for future batch mates going to Brunei. All the best. You will survive. But you will NOT come out in your tip top condition and that is OK because you can conquer Ex Lancer. I exited the gates with 100 over mosquito bites and rash so bad they were comparable to shingle rash. Sorry if I'm being too explicit but I just want you to know that it may look horrible and feel lethargic but the feeling of accomplishment will definitely be there. My body is recuperating and the recovery is good and I hope my friends are too.
Thanks for reading!
I cannot believe I have to be flying off tomorrow:( I just started to enjoy this break of mine from all the hustle and bustle of work life and now I need to step myself back into that uniform of mine. I don't know how to feel about time right now. It's like going fast and slow at the same time. Like I was pretty sure that looking back to 6th January last year, my conscription seems to be FLYING by. I mean, I'm down to like a single digit number of months left till it ends! I don't know about the others but I'm pretty much trying to grab hold of my seat because, well, I can't wait! I can't wait for this ordeal to be over. But now looking forward, the months now seem to be going by super slowly. I have kinda lost my whole concept of time now. Whoever said a minute was suppose to feel like 60 seconds, pfft, well, tell that to my brain now. I've yet to pack for Brunei. I've yet submitted my application to transfer university courses. Damn, I've yet to think if I should really transfer in the first place. Jesus, save me. I am just seriously hoping someone is out there that is able to understand this ridiculous mess of a being I am. Sigh pie. But photo taking today was very much needed to get my mind away from the chaos I am creating myself. I have been wanting to create a part 2 to the mellow series really. I hope you guys enjoy the photos as much as my cheeky model did when she saw a topless Caucasian doing push ups and having his own photo shoot as well. HAHA XD ! Sorry Vila :P Hope you guys have a nice day while I go back putting my life back together.
Today was chill. I manage to ask Si Qi to come join me to take some photos at this area called Henderson Waves. It is located somewhere around One-North area. But in order for us to reach to this majestic, chill, quiet and artistic bridge, we had to walk up this steep slope of tar. Uphill count, one. We then took a few shots there with her being VERY EXTREMELY CAMERA SHY XD But I guess it wasn't that bad. The photos turn out pretty decent.
When it was time we decided to go for lunch, we found a café. Okay, first of all, the café was pretty quiet. Secondly, the ambiance was super unique. However, the drinks there was super expensive. Burned a hole in my wallet. I paid 7 bucks for a cup of ice chocolate. And fun fact, the cup ain't big >:( Oh and just so you know, we walked uphill to the café again. Uphill count, two.
After lunch, we decided to go to somewhere nearer to home. We located a multi-story car park and went up to the roof top. This is when the temperature decided to be a bitch and enhance those laser rays. The heat was insane. And we then found out that the car park has vents present. These vents releases a charred smell (figured it was probably connected to the food courts downstairs). And at this moment, Si Qi's boots decided to open its crocodile mouths. Her platforms tore and she had to use her shoe laces to tie it secure.
We wrapped up today and head to the bus stop which, another fun fact, required another uphill climb. Uphill count, three :') I just want to sit on my bed and silently tear. But despite these Loserville moments, I got to say today went pretty well. And I am quite proud to create the GREY SCALES series with a camera shy peer:)
Every morning I will wake up in my bed and mutter a prayer. A prayer that will mainly revolve around a day filled with hope, grace and mercy as well. Every night I will go to bed and mutter a prayer. A prayer that will mainly revolve around thanks, appreciation and forgiveness. Recently, there have been many things happening and, in life, some things don't always go as planned.
However, we grow. We learn that setbacks are a process of self-betterment and that we can always live a life full of excitement if we do not automatically anchor ourselves with the down parts in life.
We can always try to find something new to do. Pick up a hobby. Pick up a book. Get lost in imagination and creativity. The possibilities to give your life a positive boost are endless. You can always sit by the window and look at the sun rays as they cast shadows of people, cars and trees. You can sit, wrapped in a warm sweater, with a cup of hot cocoa and read a book by the glass petition that separates you from the trickling 'silver snakes' outside and its fellow water droplets dancing in the wind. You can try to find beauty in everything. Sit back enjoy the mellow and chill morning in the weekends. Become more appreciative over the simplest things. Make yourself breakfast. Pancakes and omelette sounds perfect. Drizzle those pancakes with honey :)
So that is why I start a prayer every morning and night. Keeps me sane and holds my spirituality firm. Gets me going for the day and probably forget the bad that happened. What would you do for escapism? What would you do for positivity? What would you do to live?
A little more about myself:)