March (On)

hello it is the 6th of March and I am two months a lawyer-in-training

I was able to attend my brother’s graduation from Sterling Campus today, and having come off a pretty intense stretch at work I was still semi-dazed and unused to the taste of warm sunshine splayed across my skin and the smell of freedom on a warm afternoon

then I got inside and found myself a nice space at a pew near the front, and when the lights dimmed and the graduates streamed in I found myself biting my lip very hard to keep myself from crying (though I did anyway)

I think in some ways that was the culmination of a lot of fears that I had harboured – about my brother going off the terribly-beaten track and enrolling in this ‘Christian liberal arts college’ for one and a half years, and the time that it had cost him, and the inevitable What Next?? and Where We Gonna Go From Here?? questions that I had tried to push down and wrest from my mind.

And I don’t think it’s all that different from the fears that attend the Singapore Student, the sort that ambles along down the kindergarten >> primary >> secondary >> jc/poly >> uni path, and freezes up when mid-way through university there is a glut of (insert profession), or when work is awful and disenchanting but you are too afraid to stop and consider going elsewhere in this terrible economic climate, even when work is eating you alive you still try to soothe your fears and tell yourself that it is All Right because the unknown is too uncertain

ANYWAY, two things that the graduating speech-giving human said that stuck with me:

  1. knowledge demands a response. it is not neutral, and so we cannot be passive.
  2. service cannot be an afterthought.

if CIP is presented to students as just a box on a checklist of the Well-Rounded Student to be ticked off, hello just dip your toes in and collect your badge at the door please and thank you, then it is no wonder that when work gets busy the community gets forgotten.

I really really liked what the young lady said – that with the knowledge they now have, passivity is not an option. passivity is not ‘neutral’ or ‘passive’ at all, because sitting on your hands when you know about the needs of your community means rejecting and ignoring and turning away from those needs. service cannot be an afterthought, because if it is you end up with a generation of Mercedes drivers (sorry dad, I know yours was suuuper cheap and second-hand so I don’t mean you at all!!!) and fancy art collectors (i love art, but when people are literally dying..) and workaholics glued to their desks, slaving away for (what exactly??? yet another Prada shoe that will not satisfy them??)

service to others must be the centrepiece of our education, and in that regard I am so very thankful for Sterling Campus and the crop of young men and women that it has raised up. may they carry on in faithful service to the community around them, “not looking to their own interests, but each of them to the interests of others“. soli deo gloria.


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