Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Circles in the Sand

"I write, but no words come out." Almost a tip of the hat to my dear 'xp.

Been back on local shores for about more than a week now, but I seriously cannot find the words, or even the motivation to actually sit down and write; about Niagara Falls, about the rest of The Boston Chapters, or even about anything in particular. Seems that I left my beautiful muse (muze, haha) on the flight home and haven't been able to hear her soft, sweet whispers in my head anymore. So, here I am, dead in the night, doing nothing except drawing Circles in the Sand.

Speaking of circles, I remember a time in which I was in Secondary School, and we had to run 6 rounds around the track for our 2.4km run. But I've never been good at long distance runs, and even worse so when I''m exhausted, so my mind shut off and I ran a 7th round, obviously clocking in a very bad timing with the other fatties.

But I guess this incident was only a prelude of how the rest of my life would unfold; going an extra round just to get the same as, or some times even worse results than, most others would.

So, the green leaves fade to a golden brown, as autumn creeps up on us once again. And once again, I'm here idling my time away in the dead of the night, looking or waiting for something to happen. Brings back an eerie sense of deja vu from a year back.

I remember the nights I whiled away after sending out numerous resumes to even more countless companies, I was sending out more and more each week and getting the same amount of replies, regardless of the number of times I refreshed my inbox in the same day. One year later, and I am back to the same place again, feeling like a fresh graduate all over again, sending out resumes all over again, and of course, waiting... all over again.

Sometimes, I really just want to seek a little more certainty in my life, at least in some aspects of it, so that I can at least deal with the other uncertain aspects with at least some ease of mind, but of course, I know better that it doesn't happen that way, at least not for me.

The truth of the matter is, the Circle of Life for me is in every way, cyclical. And nothing wrong with circles you might say, after all, with each iteration of the circle, the marks of the circle get drawn deeper and the lessons in life are etched more deeply into one's soul, eventually molding him / her into the person that he /she needs to be.

In all optimism, I blindly hope that this is the case for me, and hopefully, as with all success stories, there is a point in time, a time in which one is ready, that this vicious cycle breaks, and that person can safely say, "the rest is history...", then life becomes more or less a straight line (albeit with some jaggedness along the way, but still very much a straight line), and its more or less smooth sailing.

While I patiently, and sometimes think to myself, almost needlessly wait for that one big break to happen, I am starting to wonder if, in the first place, the circles that I am drawing in life are to any effect at all?

What if I am only drawing Circles in the Sand? Circles so ephemeral and vulnerable to the mercies of the weather that no matter how deep or numerous I draw these circles, a simple breeze is enough bring all the effort to naught and I have to start from scratch over and over again?

Sure, one can argue that with each circle drawn, I take away a brand new bag of experience and in the end, "experience" more than others, making the final destination so much sweeter. But still, let's not kid ourselves here. For starters, many people get by just fine without having to experience all this "bonus content" that I feel that I've been given. Sometimes, I feel like I've been given the "Director's cut" of the Singaporean-life.

But more importantly, the hard and sad fact is that people, most people at least, have no regard for all your journey bullshit until you actually reach your destination, or at least some sorta destination in life. People only pay attention to you when you have achieved something, and THEN you earn their respect when you share your journey with them; it's never the other way round. After all, who wants to respect someone who despite going through more rounds, merely ends up with... mediocrity?

Jaded and doubtful? Perhaps, but I guess it was only a matter of time before cynicism and pessimism crept in when one is given a bucket of free time, a truckload of uncertainties and an absence of purpose in life, after all, the mind is a wandering beast. But still, I guess one of the last reins of optimistic delusion that I've been able to muscle out of my will and keep the beast in place these days is:

"I have no idea when I can say 'and the rest is history'; but I'm sure that when I say it, I will be ready to say it."

So then, if you'll excuse me, I need to go rehearse that line to get it right, and maybe squeeze in some time to draw some more Circles in the Sand in on the shores of my tiny little island, despite my extremely busy schedule of sleeping, gaming and wondering. But first, there is something urgent I need to attend to, I need to click the "refresh" button over my inbox.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Boston Chapters: Over Troubled Waters

The bridge has always held a significant value to me. Sure, it stretches across an extremely peaceful river with the most tranquil of sights - sail boats gently gliding on the water's surface as the sun's rays reflected off of the dancing waves of the river. But then again, it has never really been about the sights of what one would see on the bridge, as much as it sure does help; it's the very act of crossing the bridge that counts more.

Geographically, walking across the bridge takes one to "the other side", or a whole new realm we all know as Boston. I remember the first time I crossed the bridge, I felt a slight rush of excitement as I made a mental note of the "new frontier" in which I was about to set foot upon.

Over the course of the 2 months, as much as the feelings of excitement and adventure peeled off with the weathering of time, I still always make it an effort to walk across the bridge every time I want to head down to the all-too-familiar comic shop or Prudential Tower on the other side.

As much as it would make more comfortable sense to ride the bus instead, there was just something about crossing the bridge on foot that meant something, something that felt "right" or refreshing; especially so during the times that I walked alone, with only the hymns of Mother Nature ringing through my ears. Somehow, walking across the bridge had unknowingly become my little quiet spot and reflection time for the duration in which I've been here.

I'm sure the sights and sounds played a part in attributing to the creation of this little emotional and mental refuge for me; but thinking deeper about it, I figured that maybe its because it holds a significant metaphorical meaning to me as a person as well.

The entire experience of this 2 months could very well be likened to, you guessed it, a bridge in my life; a bridge over the turbulent and troubled waters of uncertainty. And just like the little bridge, these entire experience is also set to lead me into new frontiers; a new chance, a new job, a new hope, maybe. No one really knows what really lies on the other side, but I'm sure that this bridge is leading me somewhere.

But just as or perhaps even more important than the eventual destination, the bridge in itself, is a journey or part of THE journey as well. While the main purpose of it was or is to bring one to the other side, I cannot deny that making this crossing has yielded its own share of intangible rewards as well.
In summary, these 2 months habr been magical to say the least (minus the debacle of "Black Tuesday"), and not only have I learned and grown as a Game Designer with the project and under the guidance of the people that have been helping me out along the way; more importantly, I've learned and grown as a person, learning important lessons from the experiences of almost-utter freedom and independence, and I would be lying to say that I didn't almost enjoy every single minute of it. And the best part is, I managed to do all this while joining a team of talented (and some less-talented people) in creating something special.

While not THE most polished or complete of games, Muzaic is definitely something that I'm more than happy with the way it turned out. Sure, we had our hard times, we crunched blood and sweat out of the last fortnight, and we worked our asses off to get all that we wanted in; but through all the buggy mess that was / is often out of our control, the bottomline is: Muzaic is a game that I'm proud to call my own, no matter what anyone or everyone thinks about it, I will always feel that magic was made while I made this little crossing in my life's path, and in many many more aspects than one.

I looked at the iconic pointed-top of the Prudential Tower get bigger and bigger as I drew closer to it. The length of the pathway behind me getting longer with each subsequent step I took. Sail boats glided across the surface like every other good-weathered day. The waves rippled under my feet as I looked at the shimmering image of the sun on the water's surface.

And turned around, and stared long and hard through the intense light at the scene that surrounded me. Today, I crossed the bridge for the last time...

........... See you on the Other Side