Good Things Come In Pairs!

“Good things come in pairs.” The first time I heard those phrases I was being offered two mandarin oranges during the festivities of Chinese New Year! At that time, I was way too happy to have two of my favourite fruits, to think more about this Chinese Saying. Honestly, no other orange makes me go gaga like a mandarin orange does. Sadly, you only get them around Chinese New Year.

However, Mandarin Oranges and Chinese New Year are not the good things that I would like to dwell on in this post. In this post, I shall dwell on two ‘small steps’ I recently took, towards being the journalist that I one day hope to be. One was a prize I won for a short fiction competition; the other was getting selected into the college journal committee. As my friend Jie Mei (whom I admire for her clarity and succinctness of speech) once put it for me, ‘I consistently derive great heights of virgin ecstasy from writing even when I am pretty much an old hand at it already!’ So, I love writing. I believe in writing to first amusing yourself, then the rest of the world! My rationale ~ why would anyone want to read something that you would not want to read yourself?

Last Christmas season, during the course of a conversation I was reminded that it would be my first Christmas since my namesake passed away. Each time the reality of my granny’s death hits me, it throws me in a state of depression. And every time I think I have come out of it, I find someone else say something that reminds me of her, that makes me wish that my granny was here to tell me everything would be alright, to tell me that I would survive!

This time, all it took was someone to taunt me using my middle name (her name). I made up my mind then; enough is enough! I set a deadline for getting over my grandmother’s death. It had to happen before this year ended! That is when I decided to write down the thoughts that had been floating in my head for the past eleven months. I realised that my story actually fit into one of the topics for this competition I had come across. It did not take too long to pen down what my mind had been crafting for the better part of 2011.

In retrospect, I think I exploited the one tragedy that ever struck me, but I do not regret it. Although it did not help me forget the loss, it helped me realise that I needed to accept the fact that she was gone. I might not ever go back to being the same person I was. However, I do not need to feel the need to! Once I sent my entry for the competition, some part of me was already feeling victorious. It was the victory that comes from conquering the conflict within oneself.

Turns out, the organisers did not consider it an utterly shoddy piece of work. They acknowledged my efforts with a third prize. Going through my piece now, I realise that there was a large scope for improvement. Maybe, I should have read through the piece a couple of more times before finally sending it. However, I do not beat myself up over it. I like knowing that people appreciate my piece. So, I am not the best yet, but one of these days I could get there. I shall work towards that day!

The other ‘small step’ was turning up for the selection round of my college’s law journal committee. I went there with no great hopes. Last year I had not even understood a single sentence out of the 5 page article I was given to write an abstract on. I was not expecting this year to be any different.

When the test actually began, I started reading the article. I was astonished that it was not as unintelligible to me as I had anticipated it to be. However, a short while later I realised that I did not have sufficient time to sit back and read through the entire 7 page piece of writing. I decided to skim through the entire piece, sticking to just the first sentence of the paragraph at some places. I hurriedly jotted down a quick abstract with my limited comprehension of the commentary. Today I was informed that I was selected into the journal committee for the following year!

Over the years since that first time I heard that phrase, I have come to value the good things in my life a little bit more. I now seem to understand the Chinese Saying a tad bit better. And I am looking forward to my next pair of good things!

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