This morning I had the strangest, most intriguing Soci tutorial I’ve ever had in my entire 2+ years of being in NUS.
Whoever said Asians aren’t willing to express ourselves cos we are conservative and shy should SHOVE IT and seriously sit in for the next tutorial (which I do hope will be as eventful as this week’s). Singaporeans have surprised me for the first time.
So, some context. For this first tutorial on Lifecourse & Ageing, we were supposed to select an object and give a 3 minute show&tell about how that object signifies something about our lifestory. Which was honestly intended to be more of a see-how-creative-you-are concept, but turned out to be a massive MY-ENTIRE-LIFE-FROM-BIRTH-TILL-NOW (and insert dramatic life events and information that you would expect to be disclosed within the confinements of a couselling session).
Maybe this was because our tutor, a really pretty Japanese lady in her 40s gave off the pleasant, understanding, UNLOAD YOUR PROBLEMS TO ME I CAN LISTEN TO YOU vibe. That is so far the only reason I can think of. Either that or Singaporean young adults are seriously starved of outlets for emotional unloading.
So lets select a few favourites.
Girl #1 (she took like 10 minutes): Recounted how she had a weird obsession with burning pieces of paper and one day she accidentally burnt her house down.
Girl #2: (I THINK THIS IS MY FAVOURITE): Started off saying that she’s not used to presentations and doesn’t really know what to say, and then went on to share about her breakup with her boyfriend of 7 years (“WHAT THE HELL RIGHT 7 YEARS”, I quote) as well as how she once used her locket to describe it as a symbol of love in a presentation, and now “ITS NOT A SYMBOL OF LOVE ANYMORE SO STUPID RIGHT” I quote once again. And this is my favourite part – “Actually now I don’t believe in love anymore I THINK LOVE IS B**SHIT and now I’m actually seriously doubting if I’m going to get married.” Oh bygolly.
Boy #3: This dude kept it short about his life in the Navy, and was pretty funny. But I seriously had my fears to our tutor’s reaction when he used the word “horny” to describe the people on his naval ship. He also left us with a mesmerizing quote, “They say sailors are either womanizers, gamblers, or drunkards. I think its pretty true.”
Girl #4: This girl brought along an Enid Blyton book – The Adventures of the Wishing Chair. Which was all fine, until she started describing what the book was about – how informative, now I know its about “a boy and a girl and of course, the wishing chair…. and the chair sprouts wings randomly and brings them to places” – AND she started describing Perth and what kind of guest room she stayed in while she was there on holiday, and paused for a very long time to recall the BREEDS OF DOGS that she had encountered.
Girl #5 & #6: “I grew up with having very low esteem and no confidence in myself.”
Girl #7: She described how she had always been very independent and determined UNTIL she got into a relationship in JC which is currently still ongoing – “and I think that the relationship really stifled me from doing better. I always wish that I can change my life, and if I could, then I wouldn’t have gotten into a relationship.” I think you can, lady… its called breaking up.
Girl #8: Okay this was the dramatic ending to the tutorial. The girl looked perfectly normal and composed. A few minutes into her story, she started talking about how her parents never think she is good enough, even though she got into university, they complained that it wasn’t business or medicine but only ARTS (stab to the heart much), and her siblings are so much better than her and nothing she does will ever be good enough….. yes, yes AND yes, you guessed it, at this point she started to break down and CRY. And had to pause to compose herself and her friend had to go up and give her tissue and a hug. SEE I TOLD YOU, IT TURNED INTO A COUNSELING SESSION.
Girl #9: This was directly after the previous drama girl, and I thought it was really intriguing how the previous girl shared about her strained relationship with her parents, whilst this Muslim girl shared about how her parents got divorced and she had to take care of the family. Two very valid and relevant perspectives – does one shame the other, or merely shed light on the importance of good parenting in general?
Okay that is the end of the super-interesting-morning that was my tutorial. If you made it this far, I applaud you cos I think it was worth it.
Aside from the bizarre thoughts of WHY IS EVERYONE BARING THEIR HEARTS & SOULS TO A CLASSROOM OF PEOPLE THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW, I actually was really absorbed listening to every single life story that was being recounted.
In my classmates, I saw bits of my own life, bits of who I regret not becoming, bits of who I wished I was, bits of who I never want to be. Funny, how we pride ourselves in our own individualism and personal experiences, but deep down, we all share a common thread. Of personal struggles, identity issues, relationship ties, family problems. Its somewhat strange, yet comforting at the same time.