Home > Reflection > Thoughts on the Eve

Thoughts on the Eve

‘Where will I be this Christmas?’ was a question that crossed my mind a few times over the year. Well, it’s Christmas eve now, and I find myself at (or almost at) a point in time I’ve looked ahead to in time past. ‘Arriving’ at a ‘point’ identified at some earlier indistinct instant seems to prompt people to look back and look ahead. There doesn’t appear to be any reasonable explanation for why some ‘points’ appear more distinct than others, and it all feels horribly arbitrary, but then again I never felt like I needed any reason to ‘reflect’.

‘So where are you this Christmas?”I’m still home in Singapore.’

‘No shi – ‘

‘That wasn’t a flippant observation; I do observe there are quite a few people abroad this Christmas. Though I concede, it was unlikely that I’d be anywhere else. But where else have I been between last Christmas and this Christmas? There was Chiang Mai, and I’m sure many can attest to the wonderfulness of that trip.’

‘I’m sure. Now, before I repeat the question, let me make it blindingly obvious that I mean it metaphorically. Where are you now? As compared to where you were the same time last year.’

‘Worlds away, to put it metaphorically.’


‘Seriously? Don’t you know serious questions have very long answers that tend to diverge from the content of the question and leave the questioner unsatisfied?’

‘I wasn’t asking with any distinct ends in mind. It’s an open question. Start anywhere and diverge wherever you like.’

Having secured the right to diverge freely, I sit and think and sip for a long time.


‘My mind refuses to be diverted from music.’

‘Then by all means start there. I’m not asking for perspective.’

I think I might be, but I figure I can get that later. ‘I remember last year I was wondering whether or not to take Music HL. Typically, I was deciding between HL or nothing. I remember the “at the very least” situation I was considering just prior to my “might as well”. The real situation turned out better, albeit not as well as my “hopefully” situation would have been. I’m most thankful for having worked at composing. That’s a mandatory, and quite sizeable, component of the course, and that fact adds urgency. I think if I hadn’t decided to take Music, I wouldn’t have progressed in this heretofore neglected area of my musical growth.

‘Another benefit of being part of the music class this year was the performance exposure. What with S.L.A.M. and Christmas Classics, I’ve performed in two new situations. I’ve performed on my trombone a lot even before this year, but Christmas Classics was my first solo. Thanks to Matthew, I learned an instrument for S.L.A.M. I bought my own bass in July.’

‘That can’t be far off from your so-called “hopefully” situation. But then again, knowing your “hopefully” situations…’

‘The grades are OK-ish, but I can’t say I anticipated bass playing.’

‘Exactly! It wasn’t even in your hypothetical situation!’

‘I was slow to realize what I span between what I live and what I think, but I was even slower to realize that I could surprise my ego.’

‘Did you really surprise yourself with your ATCL result? I’ve been wondering how much of that Surprise was surprise.’

‘In the final months leading up to the recital-cum-exam, I think I was slightly more confident of getting the result. Perhaps I felt like I was really getting closer to what I envisioned. But I really was apprehensive about the result after the recital, because I know there were many, many technical slips. Turns out the examiner thought that the slips were purely technical too, that was fortunate. But I’m definitely thankful for the improvement made in the past year-and-a-half in my piano playing. Now I know what it feels like for it to feel right when I’m playing, instead of it feeling like it was not enough. I have my teacher to thank, though admittedly I didn’t really work hard before so I could have been better earlier instead of waiting so long.’

‘I think that you’re occasionally aware that you’re infinitely unthankful so I guess the initial question was a loaded one. I knew the answer could get very long. But I admit I did hope for a kind of answer that you knew I was hoping for.’

‘I think I’m closer to it now, actually. I think I’ve been doing something this year I can’t remember doing before, and definitely much more than before if I did it. I think I’ve been surprising myself, in good ways.’

‘In what ways other than the bass?’

‘There was the shirt design thing, which I never dreamed of doing. And I finally wrote a poem I’m happy with, which I’ve dreamed of doing, though I was afraid it would turn out to be a daydream.’

‘That feels like the kind of answer I was looking for. You’re truly a mind-reader.’

‘Merry Christmas.’

I’ve been writing as though they’re both me, and they kinda are, and I think they could be. I also think that’s enough self-consciousness for the day.Merry Christmas.

Categories: Reflection
  1. jia
    30 December 2007 at 4:08 pm

    waha! its good stuff. nothing like internal conversations. (:

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