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While I live and breathe and inhale in the air of the new millennium, it has become apparent that the person I am now has evolved from the one of yesteryear. I have come a long way, from the time that I used to spot a crew cut in kindergarten and going through primary school in a blur(daze), to the student I am now, majoring in Computer Networking. Many things have changed though. I have finally found my direction in life, something I dare say not everyone has achieved. I used to ponder a lot, and I still do, which partly explains the path I have chosen, the goals I have yet to attain, and the dreams yet to be fulfilled. To the uninitiated I would say, once you have made the choice in life, never look back and be ready to go forth with no regrets.

Struggling through my teenage years was never an easy task… Through the countless number of struggles, I have learnt to be independent, to think and stand on my own feet knowing that while the future is waiting to reveal itself, there are no problems I cannot solve. From my point of view, the real troubles in life are apt to be things that would have never cross our worried minds. I was never really a good academic performer at school. Things did not exactly get better either when I started out my tertiary education at Temasek Polytechnic, but it was a path I chose for myself. Therefore I found it senseless calling it quits, attributing my failures to a simple ‘lack of interest’ declaration. Three years later, I found my niche in computer networking! I worked hard to secure distinction grades in that field, a far cry from the Ds and Fs I used to receive. I felt that I needed to make a statement for myself and that it is never too late to ‘wake up and dream’. There is a Chinese saying, “Bitter first, sweet later”. This quote was delivered to me by one of my teachers who taught me in Primary Six. He said, “Would you rather spend 20 years of hard work at school and enjoy the 60 years of bliss thereafter, or enjoy 20 years now and suffer for the remaining 60 years?” But how many of us know exactly what we ought to be doing at any given one time? Will we ever look back one day and regret watching the years go by with little achievement made? How much is little? When is enough, enough? Ah! Those remain woes of a perfectionist. Is a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none better? Maybe, but on the other hand perhaps not. Regardless of the field we have a passion for, if one decides to do it, then it should be done to the best one of one’s ability. What is the point of doing something half-heartedly when in the end nothing is achieved ultimately? Wouldn’t the time and effort be better off used elsewhere? Dare to dream and dare to fail! In the course of learning things ‘the hard way’, I have learnt that we really ought to depend on ourselves rather then on other people, earning experience life has to offer, something which no one else can take away from us.

I was like every other kid on the street, having various different ambitions from time to time. They range from the ‘cool’ bus drivers to the top-notched doctor known for his expertise worldwide. I was not born to be a radio presenter, nor did I wake up one morning knowing that I may become one some day. It all started while I was in secondary school, where the ability to express emotions, concepts and news through mass communication intrigued me greatly. Apart from the great love I have for music, the ability to relate issues to listeners tuned in kick started the passion I now have for radio. For the past 8 years, I have jumped at every opportunity that I came across that would help bridge my confidence in public speaking. From the emcee I used to be for major school functions to being a current researcher for radio programs , it was nothing but sheer perseverance that has kept me going. From the first tape recording I did for myself which sounded horrendous, to the opportunities that may await me, it was nothing but the perseverance fed by the great passion I had for radio that has taken me to where I am today. I believed in myself (and I still do), and my hopes and dreams. It did not matter if no one believed in me for the real motivation and encouragement to perform came from within me. It is true that opportunities sometimes do come knocking only once, but I would advise like-minded people to never give up. If you would want to achieve a goal or task so badly, work for it. Some day perhaps, regardless of how long it takes, your efforts will be duly rewarded. It is not impossible to be another Tiger Woods, even if you have never picked up a golf club. If only you would try with lots of perseverance, the possibilities are endless. There is only one way to stay put, but an infinite number of ways to move ahead.

The end of the road is far from near. The choices have been made, the future undetermined but nevertheless, the road ahead appears promising. It is very important that I do what I enjoy. I tend to fare better in things that come naturally to me, increasing my self-confidence in a world where there is hope, if there is life. We should try to remember the compliments we receive and forget the insults. Enjoy what we have at present, do not live in the past nor wait for the future to fall upon us like a gift. More importantly, enjoy the power and beauty of one’s youth but do not expect anyone to support you for one may never know when it will run out. Advice is a form of nostalgia, and dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than its worth. At last, something that is finally free, but only if one would listen..


- Mark Lee - / 2001

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