Today we had a talk from Deborah Emmanuel. Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean poet, a performer as well as a four-time TEDx speaker.
Deborah started her talk with a bit of her past, of how she had trouble fitting into the Singaporean community. She introduced to us a common formation in the Singaporean community CMI, Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Deborah claimed that she couldn’t fit herself into any of these categories and had difficulty fitting in.
As a Singaporean Indian myself, I feel that Deborah had proposed a point that hasn’t been discussed enough in our school (UWCSEA). A reason as to why we never discuss this issue is because we don’t need to worry about it. The idea of “not fitting in” is an insignificant issue which isn’t precisely a part of our school. As a UWCSEA student, I think that we never acknowledge people who are unaccepted. We never notice the people around us who are rejected in the sense that no one understands them and no one wants to. The idea of fitting in forces the majority of us to change our personalities and the way we look. We only change to be noticed. Relating back to the CMI, I feel that this “system” or categorizing people is absolutely unnecessary as it traps people into being something they may not aspire to be. Even just the idea of being unaccepted due to the difference in sexual preference (LGBTQ++) is not necessary. And what is most troubling is that these categories have labeled us from the second of our birth, which basically narrows our choice of everything (religion, race.. etc).
I think that a major question that is asked during existential crisis or depression or just pure frustration with life is “What is the point of doing something if no one else is even listening?” This phrase shows the sign of giving up and it is used too often in our generation. We give up too often when we think something is becoming too rough or too complex and is slowly becoming deformed and monstrous to take care of. I myself say this many times, but I feel that it is important to carry on working because there will be a time when people start to notice you. Take Van Gogh for example, not until his death did people notice his artwork which changed how people saw things. I am not saying that death is required to be noticed, but to engrave something immeasurable and valuable should be encouraged.
There was a poem that Deborah had performed named “I love you”. It was written for her mother. What I feel that Deborah was promoting that “Love isn’t permanent” and “Love doesn’t last forever” these are both mediocre and obvious points but it does strike a question of why is there only one way for love to be? Even though the sense of love between people is different, however, it still the same. I don’t think that love is permanent either because, at some point, there will be a time when one person or the other will run out of emotions just like how one day, the sun will burn out or the world will come to an end.
I think that this was the most interesting talk I have been too, it has given me a wider perspective as to how oblivious we can be to our surroundings as well as how we underestimate our powers. We don’t care about issues like recycling or global warming or racism or the refugee crisis because we don’t want to. We feel that these problems will go away at some point and we don’t want to accept that they will only increase until something drastic happens. But, we can always turn things around by changing ourselves and individually reflect on how we can improve and how we can develop in a way that doesn’t harm our environment.
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