18 Mar 2013

A Celebration Turned Into A Rant

Had quite a bit of fun today. Well not technically today since it's already like past midnight, but it was a few hours ago.

St Patrick's Day was celebrated along a small portion of Boat Quay, and the presence of green and clovers was more than noticeable. My dad and I came along to see the usual beer-drinking and merrymaking being formalised into a properly organised event for the first time here. 

We got more than what we came for. We also happened to chance upon Baracuda Batucada, the energetic group of percussionists from Ngee Ann Polytechnic that drummed out infectious arrangements of rhythms and sounds. Needless to say they gathered quite a few crowds, and got many listeners bouncing to the beat. That itself was already pretty enjoyable to watch. 

On more than a few occasions, a few adventurous people who just couldn't contain their bodies anymore decided to spontaneously break out into dance in front of the performers, who clearly didn't mind. In fact it just strengthened the performer-audience rapport, and showed evidence that music can still reach out to people even without the presence of a melody.

It was a nice scene: the listeners were at least smiling if they didn't dare to answer the urge to dance, and the performers were doing what they did best with genuine joy. All this happened on a bridge that illuminated boats glided underneath, surrounded by various buildings that housed some of the finest in outdoor or indoor dining and entertainment. The air was cool and breezy. The energy level was high.

I guess this further made me aware of why I'm terribly torn in choosing specialised subjects for university. 

The main reason was that I didn't have an extremely strong inclination towards one field only. Knowing my skills in the subjects I've studied for the past 6 years, I can at most say that I'll probably be better at science-related stuff, which is very unhelpful because it leaves me with fundamental sciences and most of the multitude of engineering choices. But a secondary reason is that after hearing all the speeches on the various courses offered, and visiting many of the booths scattered across the campuses, every subject has good arguments for how those who pursue it will make quite an impact on the country, if not the world. 

That scene I was in just now was only possible through the accumulation of efforts of people from various fields: land planning, real estate, architecture, engineering, tourism, education, music, business... they are the numerous gears that, when put together correctly, help make the grand project tick like clockwork. None of them are dispensable in this.

As ideal as it may be to do just purely what I like for the rest of my life, reality dictates that I should at least do something that helps my chances of independent survival in today's world. Basically, I should pick a career that is both sought after and is something I'd probably like to do for at least a few decades. The latter requirement is already tricky considering how I have a clearer idea of what I would not like to do. To pick a career that would be sought after... that's not so obvious to me either because it seems that the country needs more people in more types of jobs. 

Sometimes I wish it was enough to be myself, with no need to deal with compromises between interest and practicality. What's wrong with just doing something I really like that others may get to enjoy or benefit from? I wish we could just do away with the extra complications like potential future salary, life cycle of the industry, stigmas against people holding certain jobs...