À la recherche du temps perdu

news from nowhere

Month: May, 2015

反覆

每天反覆重覆着一樣的失望憤怒悲傷內疚暫忘釋懷,一樣的思路回憶解構分析。每一次都想放下,每一次都想再來一次,明知傷害已然造成,多講反而無益。說到底也不過是自己的外疚和自尊作崇,想做點甚麼也不過是想讓自己好過一點,跟對方感受無關,實在是時候放過人家放過自己。我總是不斷找出自己不愛對方或不能在一起的理由--找出一大把來想要合理化自己的決定,卻更加顯出自己的錯誤。如果當時真的那麼不喜歡不快樂,那早就不該在一起。既然選擇了在一起,現在就不得後悔不得怪任何人,老老實實的承受結果的各種不愉快好了。剛剛才想起那天他來接機的時候,正好滿四周年--如果我們仍在一起的話。只是我那時一點也沒有察覺到。我忽然這麼想:既然已經破壞了人家的幸福,最少也別拿走人家悲傷的權利。愛情本身並沒有錯,錯的只是人。過濾所有沙石情感,到最後留下來的,應該只得對不起,和謝謝。

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What is at stake here?

I remember first coming across the usage “what is at stake” at the Politics course during my second year in university. We had to take a course from outside our own Faculty and I picked this introductory to democracy course offered by the Social Sciences Faculty. Basically there is a risk of sacrificing something in basically any political system we can ever possibly imagine.

But I am not talking about politics. We all have to make choices in life and that often involves risk and sacrifices. Recently there are so many confessions by individuals who claim to have found true happiness and meaning of life through an act of utmost bravery – namely giving up one’s existing career and life to embark on another – that bravery most of all inspires awe and envy and all kinds of mixed feelings in people. It is especially brave for those who have had a very good qualification and a very good career that guarantees a very handsome income.

But why? Because they have more at stake?

When I left for my working holiday, many friends congratulated on my bravery. I would say my qualifications as a student of Literature are decent enough, but it is true they are not a Law degree or a MBA from Cambridge or Harvard. I never earned much as I have always worked in the cultural sector and it is a truth universally acknowledged that they never make big money nor pay good wages in the cultural sector. So I assume I do not have much at stake.

During my working holiday I met a young man at a farm where we worked for board. At 32, he was the same age as me, and like me, he had resigned from his job and embarked on one year’s journey. He was a good looking guy from Tahiti, spoke fluent French and English, and had worked in New York in investment banking for some years. Undoubtedly he was very smart and very charismatic, with a very warm and open manner. He was no snob and he never thought it beneath him to perform the lowliest labour. In fact he had a very healthy body and bore the hard labour very well. When I asked him, he said he was not sure yet but he might not return to his former career as a banker. In fact he might go to a small village somewhere in Asia and run a guesthouse, or something modest like that. Neither of us thought it was a big risk or a big sacrifice.

There is also this young girl friend who first gave up her Law studies to pursue the Arts – a very brave albeit incomprehensible act to most people. After graduating with the best results among her peers and receiving an offer to further studies, she gave that all up for someone she met during a short trip and is now living in a foreign land where she has no friend and cannot speak the language, not to mention school and work. Even I was a little surprised by her choice – but she related it as if it was the only sensible thing to do.

Looking at these two wonderful friends I am more certain than ever. People choose to risk their lives not because they are brave, but the exact opposite. For those people who can have everything they want but choose not to have them, there is nothing at stake at all. The girl in the online article who graduated from Yale and who gave up her $95,000 job to move to an island to scoop ice-cream, there is nothing at stake for her neither. Because most often than not, people who choose this kind of life, are educated in a liberal environment and wiser than most people around them. While they see through to the core values of life beyond pure material gain, they are more ready than the others to pursue what they think possesses real worth, without suffering much sacrifice. Because what they give up does not hold the same value as it has for the others. And even if that one choice proves wrong, they can always return to their former lives, or restart elsewhere, and they must succeed given they abilities. Nobody is going to starve or lose a limb or die because of their choice.

It is people who are privileged who have the freedom to choose. It is for people who have no other life choice, who cannot afford to change their lives, that the stakes are high. If you do not have a degree, do the lowliest jobs that do not require much skill, earn the minimum wages and have a family of 12 to feed, and you choose to give up your job to pursue a dream, I will say that is real bravery. It is very unfair but true.