On a social level

I’ve got to admit I was rather apprehensive about this whole HP thing when I first joined it bout one and a half years ago. There were classmates I didn’t really talk to much (though I knew they were awesome x10000 people anyway), primary schoolmates I wasn’t exactly familiar with, people who didn’t share my musical interests at that time (Mandarin Pop) – a complete and potentially devastating list of reasons why I would possibly alienate myself from the bunch. There was also the “science guy” tension – joining HP was a risk for my grades because I tended to do more outstandingly in my Sciences (at least at that time, who knows about now). Things turned worse when we started the year off with orientation and the whole buildup of the “rara” mood (e.g. fac dance) – having had 4 years of bonding in Scouts, it seemed just artificial to forge friendships with strangers (especially when you really don’t know anything about them). This doesn’t exonerate me from anything though – I was (and probably still am) the quiet, shy and passive guy who would rather sit back and observe than do anything.

Later on in the year I identified precisely what made things so divisive and asymmetrical between the two groups of people that I interacted chiefly with (Scouts and HP), hence making it more difficult to fit in completely with either group. First off, a language separation. Anything to do with Scouts was in at least 3, if not 4 languages; anything to do with HP must be in grammatical English – HP is where bad English becomes the perennial joke. For me, it was difficult to adapt to both “modes” of speaking at the same time: for instance I found it very weird when people in Scouts (who normally used Mandarin) were trying to use more English when talking to me. Second, it was the separations within the school – though I was keen in interacting with the Scouts, the divisions (in terms of class and classrooms/ class benches/ curriculum) never gave me enough time and room to do so. Maybe I should have joined something like OAC but I really don’t know – it might have pulled me further from the people in HP. I guess I could highlight some “cultural” difference between the Scouts and HP as a third reason but pinpointing the exact difference may be difficult.

I guess I’ve changed quite a bit since I started socialising more with the HP people. I think I speak more (and better) English nowadays; I have a wider perspective of music; I actually know some stuff about English drama and culture (these come among a dozen other changes). Despite all that, I still wouldn’t say I’m totally absorbed into the HP culture. There are still many times where things happen in HP, and I think to myself: “Hey, this isn’t what the Scouts would say/ do.” I guess I still can’t detach myself completely from my Scouting background – it’s exactly Scouting which has taught me so much: humility, dedication, integrity, all with an added mean streak (yes, there are awesome x10000 people in Scouts too). Even though I wasn’t some great achiever in Scouts, I took a lot away from it [I still remember Yu Guang saying that all the APLs (before the March shifts) have really learnt a lot from Scouts, a statement which is resoundingly true]. It’s probably that which will make my experiences with the Scouts unforgettable. Maybe this is what Mr. Ang meant when he said “Western education with an Oriental slant” (quote’s not exact) – being open to both “cultures” and accepting them for their value.

While I was on the way back from the Queen musical, I was telling a good friend that I’d post the review on my blog as soon as I came back. He asked: “Why not post it elsewhere (he referred to somewhere specific)? Not many people read your blog anyway.” That was a good question, and I gave it some thought. The purpose eventually dawned upon me. I don’t blog for readership (no, not even when I’m writing a review). I blog to sort my thoughts out. Whether blogging gives me calm after adrenalin-packed moments, or clarity after confusion, I think it really does me some good – I think mapping out my thoughts makes me think much more clearly. And I think this post has really done me a whole lot of good.

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