Friday, October 22, 2004

Handle With Care II.

As you can tell from this entry, it usually takes me a while to think about stuff...

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Dear old-friend-who-got-upset-at-me-for-suggesting-emigration,

I am sorry I upset you when I suggested I might be leaving Singapore permanently. However in all honesty I cannot understand why you reacted the way you did. Was my decision to explore my options at a possibly more fulfilling life for myself in an alien land offensive to the life choices that you have made for yourself?

We have been friends for a very long time. And God willing we will be friends for a very long time to come. In our globally connected world of email, of instant messaging and cheap VoIP calls, sheer physical distance does not forspell the doom of a friendship. And it is not like I am not going to be visiting either. Emigration may imply the termination of relations with a specific country and/or government. Must it also necessarily imply the termination of relationships with family and friends?

This is a choice that I have made. It is by no means an easy choice - to consciously choose to leave all that is known and familar, to start all over again from scratch in a totally alien and potentially hostile land. Of you, old friend, I ask not of pity or sympathy but of your good wishes and emotional support. It is going to be one great adventure and one wild ride, no matter if how well or badly it all ends.

Like all things in life (and engineering), it is about tradeoffs. All my life so far, most my life choices have always been in the negative - choosing against issues. I have chosen against kids, against marriage, against 'safe' careers that offer little growth. I have chosen against putting down too much roots, against long term financial commitments, against being tied down. And it if it meant living out of a suitcase if that was what it required.

In return for the price I have paid, I have purchased options. Now I am choosing to exercise one of those options. I choose because I want to, and not merely to be controversial or to challenge the status quo. (I think we are all too old to be playing the role of the rebel without a clue!). I do want to set down roots. Perhaps just not in Singapore.

The life choices I have made have been different from yours. Some of them are even on the opposite side of the spectrum from your own decisions. Our choices are not 'right' or 'wrong'. They are just different. But I do not seek to negate the lifestyle choices of others by the act of exercising my choices.

My lifestyle is not an affront to the life choices that you have made. It merely refects a different worldview. We just value different things. Even as kids we liked different types of icecream but that did not prevent us from being good friends. Why would this be any different? I respect your life choices (even though I do not understand and/or approve of some of them). I only ask the same courtesy of you - that you please respect mine.

Yours sincerely,

Your old 'rootless' drifter friend


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