Of Lost Ambitions and Shattered Dreams

I wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid. Then in Primary Two, I had to be prescribed with spectacles because I got myopia from late night story book reading. Pilots are required to have near perfect vision.

I was talked into wanting to be a doctor and heal people and save lives. Then at Primary Five I watched Friday the 13th for the very first time and decided prematurely blood and gore was not my thing (I am actually quite into horror movies and slasher flicks, but it’s a tad late now).

In secondary school I wanted to be a rock star. I enrolled into a Yamaha pop drum course, only to be told on my first day in class that they had put me in the pop guitar course instead. Six months into watching my guitar instructor living out his dream to be Gary Moore in front of 8 clueless students, I got demoralized and quit.

(I still play now and again. I’m actually good enough to impress girls, but not good enough to go pro, and I’m married already, meaning I’m no longer eligible to impress girls. Another useless talent to add to my list.)

I got an art award from AT&T and thought maybe I could be an artist. I was collecting comics for a few years and envisioned myself imitating the masters in my figure sketches; Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane. But such delusions of grandeur and a lack of opportunities for such artists in Singapore (so I believed) prevented me from walking down that path. I sometimes think back on this and wonder.

I entertained the idea of being a commando in the army just before I got enlisted. For a full 15 minutes.

I went into bartending and found it did a great deal of good to my market value in the dating arena. Then I started flaring bottles and was told by my management they didn’t want any more broken bottles and bleeding heads.

I did stage crew work and was surrounded by music from all corners of the world. It was beautiful and exciting. We did everything from weddings to WOMAD, got backstage passes to the best concerts, exposed ourselves to workshops and met drunken girls offering us drinks and their phone numbers. But the hours were long, the tempers too hot, and the pay not worth the abuse. 5 months later, I walked.

I took up a government job transcribing court proceedings recorded on cassette tape 15 minutes at a time. On hindsight, I never should have quit; welfare was the best of any job one could find, work was simple and enjoyable, and life was good. But I succumbed to greed, and forfeited what would have turned out to e a stable life with little worry for a job that paid twice as much but did half as much good for me.

I thought I wanted to be an ad man. People call them creatives; creatives who had all the Big Ideas, creatives who came up with taglines that stick in your mind like annoyingly catchy one-hit wonders, creatives who made the media industry work. I signed up for a Mass Communications diploma, aced my interview, and scored above average with more than a few distinctions under my belt. I graduated, and came out thinking I was finally ready to do what I was meant to do.

5 years later and on the last legs of my professional youth, with a resume that boasts my abilities for everything but media communications and design, and a portfolio that furrows eyebrows instead of raising them, I was lost again.

I never thought I wanted to write.

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