12 Aug 2012

What Does Your Heart Beat For?

The first time I heard that question, I immediately thought about the blood rushing through the many vessels in my body, enriching parts of my body with oxygen and nutrients while transporting away waste... then I realised it's a figurative question. Silly me.

That's the divine question posed to us by our school as part of National Day celebrations, the message being to feel proud of our country, as well as the school itself.  So of course the ideal answer to what my heart beats for is supposed to be Singapore and/or Raffles.

I'd like to say that, but that doesn't completely encompass what else my heart beats for.



Not everything I'm involved in has to do solely with bringing glory to the school or doing the nation proud. Some may like it, but that's not my taste. I do have other personal interests, you know. Problem is whatever Singapore or RI wants more often than not doesn't align with those. RI insists that love for the community must be shown using the number of hours poured into doing typical community service activities, like collecting donations or visiting homes, but I think there are other ways to judge that quality. Not everybody that racks up the minimum number of hours is deemed to be caring towards the less fortunate groups of society. Singapore insists that we need more people to make more money to help the country grow faster, but I think economic growth isn't everything... and it does drive up inflation anyway. RI deems only school-endorsed activities to be recognisable as achievements worthy of showing off in a portfolio, but there are plenty of other commendable accomplishments that can happen outside of school, or even beyond the specific time period that the school only chooses to cast an eye towards. Singapore wants youth to do standard money-spinning jobs, but I think there's nothing wrong with providing more freedom in this modern era.

Yup, I have differing beliefs with that of the school/government. At least mine aren't that outrageous. So if not specifically for the country or the school, what does my heart beat for?

Frankly I haven't a good idea on that. The best answer I can come up with at the moment is... myself. No not just due to physiological reasons, but also because most of my actions have been based on my judgement alone. In a way, I live for myself, which sounds weird. I'm using my own ability to satisfy myself or empower myself further. So that just makes me selfish.

...or just giving myself reasons to keep on with my life?

I mean, I don't want to end up as someone who gets burned out on devoting time and life to others without seizing opportunities to embrace life for myself. I do things so I can find out more for myself what else the world I live in can offer. Not solely for glory and honour, not solely for justice and equality, but also to let me explore more possibilities. I don't want to end up as a well-crafted ivory game piece that can only make fixed moves around the board; I want to be able to access new moves, and perhaps be able to go beyond the board.

I'm not sure why I'm even given this chance at experiencing life in the first place, but something tells me I shouldn't waste it. And I can't be too certain that the school or government knows exactly how I should go about doing things so I can get the most out of my limited time. Surrendering freedom in exchange for strict devotion to only one highly regarded cause isn't what I'm inclined towards, so becoming a doctor or lawyer or teacher seems out of the question.

Of course I'm not discouraging serving the school or nation with passion, if you believe those are worthy causes then go ahead. We aren't all homogenous in ambitions and personalities. I'm just saying I shouldn't be pressured to meet expectations that are flawed. Just because I'm not involved in music performances endorsed by the school doesn't mean I suck at, or have no regard for music. Having not enough CIP hours doesn't mean I'm completely heartless towards society or feel absolutely nothing when I see the disadvantaged groups in Singapore.

Well then, what does my heart beat for?

I don't have a clear answer for that yet, but I certainly don't want my heart to be pulled in the wrong uncomfortable ways.