I am actually very tired, but the extended evening of chats was still tolerable, or rather, very enjoyable in fact. This is a really long week in PP, and amazing enough, it was not a long week for just me. All of us are returning only on Saturday, which makes almost a full week here for a few of us.
Seniors. Someone asked me one evening, why do you call them “seniors”? So we had a whole discussion and came down to the conclusion of Asian culture / values especially in the professional field / trades. Friendship feels a little out of place. I think friendship is a basis, a foundation. Yet, I am very fussy about when I use the term friendship. I remember when I was in high school, where we girls were figuring our own sense of identity. That was when we started discerning between friends and classmates. Before that, everyone was considered a “friend”. Then we started getting fussy – friends, classmates, schoolmates, batchmates, teammates, housemates, they are all definitively different. Seniors, juniors, they are different too.
So, back to seniors. I cannot bear to call them my friends, or my peers, because they are not, they are my seniors. Just like my form teacher (almost sharing an office with me) telling me to call him Alvin when I called him “Sir” or “(tea)”Cher”. Asians are very particular when it comes to “hierarchy” or “seniority” and much respect goes to teachers and the people who went on the journey before us. It is not something enforced, but rather something ingrained. Just like how Oliver has to greet all of us older than him, whether it’s us, or the neighbours or the cleaners at our block. It is quite a nice culture, I feel. Not that I would demand anything from my juniors, but that mutual respect in a different way feels nice. It is not a sense of respect for seniority by number per se, but rather, when someone has been on a journey longer, the person would have thought deeper and had more experience, skills, knowledge, etc in that field. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a matter of superiority or inferiority, but rather just a quiet kind of respect. I would not feel any sense of inferiority because being “junior” just puts me in a position of “I have not reached there yet“, where “there” is extremely subjective / contextual, and the “yet” suggesting that I will get “there” in time (or in no time!). Guess this is a field where accumulation of experience matters. That is also why architects hardly retire, because they peak so old, it does not make sense to retire when you have just reached your peak. 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 Milk the experience! 😀
Haha, just gloating.
It was a really lighthearted evening of chats about nothing significant. Haha. Good exercise for everyone reading this (comment below!!!): which 15 books changed you the most? Try to do that in 15minutes. I didn’t manage to get past the halfway mark, and I took the entire evening… It is a pretty strange phenomenon, because I thought I always randomly recommend books on my blog wherever and whenever!
Anyhow, watch this space. I will slowly add to the list .. and see how long it takes to reach 15. 😀 I have a feeling I took so long because I did not want to acknowledge the nerd in me with all the philosophy books I read in my postgraduate days (but I loved them, and they changed me!)
- The Journey Home – Kryon
- Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder
- The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Rhythmanalysis – Henri Lefebvre
- Stillness Speaks – Eckhart Tolle
- No Mud, No Lotus – Thich Nhat Hanh
- Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
- One Hundred Days of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
(hahahaha, this is like pre-emptive book version of my life in Shanghai, years after I read it)