A response from the future

Hello there my invisible comrades, dear friends who have some glimpses to my thoughts. I have been quiet for two years and a blog reminder message in your email may come as a surprise or perhaps it will go directly to your social emails in newly organised email. No worries, messages from me are meant to be quiet celebrations or simple questions that need no audience. It is a blog to the void and I am happy that it remains as such – a sort of poetic gesture cast out to an ocean of advertisements, updates, and spam mail. I wanted to write today, as I felt the need to reevaluate my own feelings from when I last wrote.

My last blog had a sense of gloom, a sense of fear of the unknown and I was trying to talk to a future self, which by now, has aptly become me.  I, the future self read the thoughts of my old self and had to react to what he (the former) wanted to say. In a way, my mind is travelling in time and resolving personal issues that I had before in order for me to move forward again like how Spock advised Spock in many occasions.

For the last two years, I have made a personal resolution to strive and link both my landscape architecture skills to my knowledge on heritage. I have published articles for a journal, collaborated with other colleagues to write about urbanisation and heritage issues, engaged young people in the Philippines for the importance of valuing heritage, and presented in some international conferences that combine my interests. At the same time, I went back to designing landscapes in Singapore while trying to put my creations in the greater context of the city, embedded with deeper cultural interpretations. Eventually, I crafted a new order in my brain. I no longer felt that I had to choose between the knowledge streams I have acquired. Designing landscapes and understanding heritage values are all part of my work. They are part and parcel of my own world views.

My own failures and disappointments in the past have made me pursue my passions further and I am confident that I no longer have to debate to myself  of the value of my master’s degree. I know now that my knowledge matters and that my master’s degree is an asset to my own personal development and my understanding of space.

Coming back to Singapore was both challenging and rewarding as I had to find my own path of solving my  personal issues of meaning. I no longer had the backing of a great community of heritage practitioners in Germany that saw that protecting heritage is a mission to all people, and to be honest, there is only a small part of the general population who believes that. I have accepted that now. My reintroduction to Asia allowed me to distill what is really important in my own context while I carefully keep intact the knowledge that I have harnessed  so that I can use them in opportunities where it matters.

Tomorrow is a starting point of a new chapter of my life. This new chapter will allow me to use the different knowledge streams I have gathered and distill from it strategies which I can use for managing a designed landscape situated in a natural heritage site. It will become my new testing ground for using both learnings from heritage protection and landscape architecture and apply them in different ways . It will require me to develop new skills and probably make mistakes along the way. As I move on to a new role, beyond what I have been used to, I speak to you again dear self to guide me for the correct actions to take. What will our conversation be like in the next time you write?

You will have to keep me updated soon, dear self. I am very excited to hear from you.

Advertisements

The world needs people who have come alive

After sending emails to relevant individuals before I plunge into an intense 10-day UNESCO conference, I again felt the need to to sit down and be in my paradise zone. Today is another last day in Singapore. Like many other last days before taking a plunge for adventure, I am in deep thought, being fully aware of my emotions, hoping to decipher the meaning of these few seconds. I again will embark on a journey, or rather continue one as I see the fulfilment of a dream.

In 2012, I decided to take a journey to quit my job and fulfil a long time yearning for a masters degree and with that decision came the embrace of new ideas, experiences and seeing life in a different perspective. I initially felt scared leaving my comfort zone to decipher who I want to become. However after sometime, these emotions settled down and I became comfortable again with my own skin and I moved forward the connecting with people who are just like myself, passionate about the cultures of the world. Along the way, I have gathered new skills, for example, reading dense books on culture and sociology, discussing how local people adjust with challenges of the modern world, academically debating with international students from parts of the world I can’t even pinpoint in a map, learning to research more scientifically and lastly, becoming comfortable living in places where English was not the native language.

I spent almost two months here in Singapore at our lovely home with my partner and our two dogs, with my days filled with readings on cultural, historical and landscape matters for my final academic work. Hours pass with me huddled in a corner and all that I exercise is my brain and my fingers, churning up data on possible strategies to make historic places more relevant to people. You might think, that is such a boring life! but you know what, I feel that learning about heritage and culture actually makes me sharper, makes me look under the surface and it makes me connect far better with the people around me. I now see that everything has a certain meaning, our buildings, our traditions, our clothing, our language, our politics and all that we see are linked to something intangible. I feel more mesmerised with the world than ever before.

By tomorrow I will be in the middle east, in a dessert city I have only visited in transit to Europe. I will be going to a political and cultural conference on heritage, the biggest and most important one there is, and I will be part of a delegation advocating the conservation of nature. I would never have dreamed being in such a situation before my World Heritage Studies. It seems to me that the world has revealed something that I have never admitted, the world chooses where one should go. I try my best in what I do but it is fate that moves me forward and my life, dreams and future are dependent on so much more forces than myself. I am happy to now believe in such philosophy. The last few months have been such as a blessing to me and I am honest enough to say that I don’t know where life will take me. My task for the moment is to do “my job” everyday, maximising the capacity of  fate to pick the best choice.

As Oprah Winfrey rightfully said to the graduating students of Harvard University in 2013, “You will find true success and happiness if you only have one goal, and that is this, to fulfil the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being.” She yearns students  to maximise their humanity by using their energy to lift themselves up and the people around. She also quoted the theologian Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I believe that this masters has made me feel more alive.

Believing in Great Things for 2014

December 31st, 2013. Today is the last day of this magnificent year. I never really expected it, but I believe this year has been one of those wonderful years which I am extremely positive and at the same time, extremely … Continue reading

Rate this: