Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hold the Door

Game of Thrones fans who watched S06E05 will recognize the reference. Last night, our hearts were torn out of our chests and stepped upon, as we witnessed one of the most beloved characters meet a heroic death as he held the door against a horde of zombies, so his master could escape.

I wept, as surely thousands around the world did, and up to now I find myself ruminating about this simple fellow whose tragic end wrought so much emotional damage.

I suppose it's partly the brilliant storytelling: how the character's name (Hodor) was actually a shortened version of the command "Hold the door."

And it's also awe. And envy.

I am in awe of his single-minded purpose. How his teenaged mind was blown apart by the enormity of what he was allowed to witness: his own death, several years later. And how he met his end bravely.

I am envious of his will. His strength of purpose. He knew that his entire existence stood for one thing: to hold the door despite desperate straits and certain death. He knew that if he did just this one thing right, he would have fulfilled his purpose.

And I suppose we are all in need of the vision that Hodor had. A glimpse granted to him in his youth, that both destroyed and made him.

To be utterly filled with an all-consuming mission. To move with certainty throughout life, knowing that each and every action was for a greater purpose. To be without doubt and the accompanying fear, to be strong against all distractions and temptations.

Hodor shows us what life is meant to be all about: not some demented search for happiness or self-actualization. But rather, the sweet, holy mission to serve and protect.

To live like Hodor is an honor. To die like him would be divine.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Singapore 2016 (Part I)

With good friends, old and new!

Singapore is the second country I've visited, the last one being Japan way back in 2011. I accompanied my mum to her 40th anniversary reunion with her good friends from SSEAYP (Ship for South East Asian Youth Program). I'm truly grateful to be given the opportunity to act as bodyguard because this was a trip I could never have financed on my own (#teachersalary), and it was a week full of fun and learning!

So we did a lot of this... 

Us being educators, it was only natural that we go museum-hopping instead of the usual touristy things! Which is to say, we DID hit some of the touristy spots like Sentosa, Universal Studios, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, the River Cruise, etc.

But then we made sure to do a lot of bookstore hunting as well as play watching!

Worshipped at Kinokuniya, Takashimaya, Orchard Road
Trekked to Tiong Bahru to spend a lot of S$ in BOOKS ACTUALLY

The set of Singapore Repertory Theatre's Shakespeare in the Park offering: ROMEO AND JULIET

And we also did a lot of this...

Lovely dinner with Daniel, Kesavan and his lovely wife at the National Kitchen by Violet Oon Singapore!

I daresay I ate more than I could possibly walk off! :) There were simply SOOOO MANY GOOOOOD THINGS TO EAT.

High tea at the Raffles Hotel

Where they do Hainanese chicken right! And chicken curry and garlic vegetables and rice!

The cereal prawns were the culinary highlight of the trip!

My mom and I, and the Singapore night sky. Observe the Singapore flag flying in the background. :)

I guess one reason why I felt so at home in Singapore was because it reminded me so much of Manila. Or rather, I believe it is what Manila could be, decades from now. When people are more disciplined and when things work the way they should. Where the citizens take pride in their homeland and show it by doing their jobs as best as they are able, asking not what their country can do for them but rather what they can do to make their country better.

Another important lesson: The backpack is KING of all bags.
Next time... I shall pack everything into a backpack, I KNOW it will save me a great deal of time and shoulder-ache!

Other (deeper) reflections to follow in succeeding blog posts. But for now, let me end by saying THANK YOU SINGAPORE! And I am confident that we can follow in its footsteps, if we but decide to discipline ourselves and work hard for that day.
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