How Important Are Grades?

Recently, there was an article that showed a teenage girl, a straight A student from a well known school, committed suicide after achieving two Bs in her ‘O’ Levels.

To make things worst, her mother committed suicide three months later and her father was left mentally unstable. This aftershock of the collapse of the family was felt by her grandmother.

While it is tragic, this incident has exposed a crack in our robust education system and open the floodgates of issues that we have been trying to ignore, or at best, fix.

Today, my feature writing lecturer told us a story of how a senior of mine, a GPA 4.0 student, failed two entry test when he was applying for his internship. Despite appeals by lecturers, citing his excellent academic record, he was rejected for being “useless”.

In a society where A’s and distinctions are valued more than real learning, we are faced with a question that needs some answers real fast. 

Today’s society is dynamic. Trends have a short shelf life in today’s ever changing and interconnected social digital world. One moment you’re in, and the next, you’re out. 

A paper qualification can get you in, but it’s absolutely useless if you want to survive, much less to thrive. 

I have to admit, the Singaporean government has been trying their very best to prove that you don’t need to have stellar academic results or a prestigious degree to be successful. 

The difference in Polytechnic and Degree graduates pay scales has been narrowed down and Polytechnic graduates no longer have a ‘celling’ in their career path and could have just as a fulfilling career as their degree counterparts.

While some people still argue that degree holders have higher starting pay, they fail to see the subtle yet powerful changes we are trying to make. 

Yes, a degree will warrant a higher starting pay and position, but it does not give you much of a head start over your counterparts who enter the industry with a diploma. 

I once read somewhere that whether you have GPA 4.0 or GPA 0.4, we will all end up in same place – the graveyard.

At the end of the day, people need to see that it is not the end of the world if have a B, C, D, E, or an F on your report card. 

We need to see that it’s not about how we failed at one point of our life, but how we get up and grow stronger after each failure.

Remember, in the end, what matters the most is what you did with your life and not what exams you did well in. 

Because, as they say, failure is the mother of success.

[Cover Photo by LIM MU YAO]

Apple’s Great Aftercare Service & My dead Macbook Screen

My love for Apple grew today.

Seriously speaking, out of every after sales customer service that I have ever used, Apple is still the best by far.

This was what happened:

My Late 2011 MacBook Pro 13″ screen’s backlight recently died this week (meaning that the screen is still working, but you can’t see it because it’s not illuminated) so I have been struggling to do my work and many other things because I need an external display.

When I brought it down to an authorised Apple Service Centre to check and see what’s the damage, the customer service personnel confirmed whatever I have hoped to avoid – the hefty price tag that my friends have all accrued before because of the same problem.
The cost? $600 – $700, but after adding all the extra costs it could go right up to $800 – $900 after everything.

Considering that I don’t have the money to spend and the urgent need to really use it cause it’s a work computer, I called Apple Support.
Matt picked up the phone and tried to help me. He said the same thing as what the technicians back at the authorised centre, and there was nothing they could really do.

Most of the time, CSO (customer service officers) will just say “I’m sorry” and wait for you to hang up, but he did something extra – contact a senior product specialist.

Harris, the product specialist, came on the line and talked to me and after a while, he told me that due to such special circumstances, he will place a parts only exception on the repair, meaning that the parts will be shipped for free and I would only have to pay for the labour costs.

The amount I have to pay for the repair? $100 – $200. A significant drop from the $800 – $900 I had to pay initially.

This really speaks volume about how much Apple and their support team value us as customers. Considering that my warranty have already expired and that this is an old unit, they were still willing to help me out FOR FREE (they said I may need to purchase a single incident thing costing about $38).

Granted, Apple products are expensive and sometimes lack the function of other products (I can’t play games on a Mac).

But never once I have had to wait more than 5 minutes for an AppleCare support crew to call me, neither did I face difficulty in sending and collecting my MacBook when it needed servicing, and that is some seriously good customer service.

I must say though, I have had other great customer service experience, but none of them could match Apple in terms of helpfulness and promptness.

Inferior.

Inferior.

Once again, I’m here writing about something that I had tried to stop thinking about again.

But a small chat with one of my closest brothers had sparked me to write this piece.

Are polytechnic students really that inferior to JC students?

Why do people have that mindset?

Just because JC students get all the lauding in the media and get to represent Singapore on international academical competitions?

Just because the bulk of Singapore’s finest athletes, politicians and businessmen come from the top schools?

Just because society define success as the amount of As and achievements you have tied to your name? Just because society lauds the brightest of students?

I understand the feeling because I have been surrounded by a lot of JC peeps and when they talk about their achievements, it’s easy to understand why you start to feel inferior.

I have friends who tell me that if you want to be an athlete you need to attend top schools such as SJI, RI, HCI, ACJC or SSS (Singapore Sports School).

I stared at him and wondered “how is that possible? Don’t we have talents from neighbourhood schools too?”

This mindset has gotten to the best of us. It has been the main reason why most of us polytechnic student have decided to retire our dreams and hopes on becoming the next pride of Singapore.

Ladies and Gentlemen, life is as such. Our JC peeps were born bright and smart. We cannot change that.

But what we can change is ourselves.

We can change what we love, and what we want to do.

Look at Anthony Chen, he went to my school because he loved film and he won a golden horse award. Ask a JC student to get such a prestigious award and they will ask you “where is the answer key?”

Just because our peeps at JCs look like they having a lot of fun, and their future is brighter than ours, must we shortchange ourselves?

Find out what you really love and do it.

A close brother of mine once told me “Do what you love and let it kill you.”

I love DJing, and Electronic Dance Music Production, and my course taught me that, and hell, if you one day found me slumped over a mixer console dead, you can safely say I went in peace.

So stop feeling inferior, it’s hard, I know, because I have been feeling that way for the past 3 years. But I realised that if you are truly passionate about something, the world is yours to control.

I’m so sorry for allowing this blog to go stale. I’ll try to update it weekly!

Motivation and ADHD

Motivation.

I wonder, what is my motivation in my life.

Recently, my father told me that I need to find a driving force in my life.

But, is it strange that I’m driven by vengeance, by the fact that people look down on me? Is it the norm that people are motivated by hate, that they do things only be because they want to make a point?

I have many doubters, who doubted me. Who told me I will be a loser, and will never amount to anything.

Damn right they were.Until I created a strawman , of which I labelled her as an elitist. The hate I had for her saw me putting in efforts which I never once undertook to achieve the results which I never have gotten.

Until I created a strawman , of which I labelled her as an elitist. The hate I had for her saw me putting in efforts which I never once undertook to achieve the results which I never have gotten.

But, it came at a cost. I was reliant on a drug. I was reliant on Ritalin like how a weak athlete was reliant on steroids. I could not do anything without that white pill.

Recently, I was at child guidance clinic renewing my prescription for my medicine. I asked the doctor was there anything more powerful than Ritalin.

I even requested for a nerve stimulation drug, but she said no.

Why?

Because I ran out of motivation.

I used to be very afraid of death. I used to sit up in my bed and was scared that I would die in my sleep. I told myself I had so much to live for and that I’m not ready to move on. Yet, today, I find myself in a position that I have nothing left to lose, and that if the devil came to claim my soul, I would be more than willing to leave with him.

Over the years, I garnered many haters. My first two years in secondary school were my craziest. I did things that offended people in the masses, and I had no chance to make things right. I find myself stuck in situations where I genuinely felt I had nothing to lose.

Sometimes I wake up and think that maybe if I was a cool kid, maybe people will like me. That’s why I’m so critical to what people think of me. I shape myself according to them. I put them before myself.

Growing up with ADHD was tough, I had no filter, no control; hell, I was a psychopathically insane delusional man who offended the world just by being Timo.

I find myself having to conformed to what the environment wanted me to be. I could never be myself because if I did, I wouldn’t have any friends and will be heading the down the dark path of loneliness.

So, the question remains, what is my motivation?

That is a question I have yet to answer.

Loving yourself is selfish (or at least to me)

Some people have always told me that I am a guy who always gives up easily.

I second that remark.

Till this very day, I start to think why do I do so. The very fact stands that I could have done so much more in my life if I had pushed forth as hard as I could. But yet, I let such opportunities slip through my fingers like how the sand flows through your hands when you open it.

Looking back, I realized that from young, I have been drilled to be the very best. Ironically, it was not the very best I could be, but rather to be the very best as how the eyes of the world perceived that term. I was trained to fulfill the benchmarks of every aspect of my life, for I knew that was a reward for achieving such a daunting task.

But I never made it.

I look around me and I see my friends, all A students, achieving high GPAs, receiving countless scholarships and praises from friends, teachers and family alike. I aspired to be like them, and I got third place. The spoils were not good.

I took another look at my friends who did not excel in academics, but did excel in other forms. Talented friends who could sing, dance, produce, speak, emcee and other forms of desirable skills were plentiful. Sadly, I had not made any progress there either.

Someone once told me, that I should love myself before I can love others.

I knew it was utter bullshit to put yourself before others.

How could I love a hallowed, shallow minded man? Why should I invest resources into a man incapable of being the best? Why should I love a man who is insane, delusional, destructive and extremely insecure?

I aspire to help people because they have more worth than myself. I believe that they are of more value to society than I ever was. I knew that given the right push and support, they could be whatever they so desire.

I feel happy when I see them smile. When they walk on stage and receive the scholarship they have been eyeing for a long time or when they walk on to the podium and take that trophy.

Their joy tells me I did something worthy in my life, and that it was more valuable to burn money and dump into the drain than to invest in myself.

People remind me that I have value. That I’m worth it.

Of course I have value, because when everyone around you spits in your face and leaves you to die in the ashes of failure and harsh reality, I will be the guy who will pick you up, fix you and prepare for your comeback.

When you’re done going to the top, you can abandon me and go back to your hi-bye friends and I will rot back into the dark abyss of obscurity until the day of fall, where I will pick you up again.

As such, till this very day, at this very moment, I don’t know what I live for. I don’t know what skills I have. Hell, I don’t even know who I really am.

So maybe that’s why I give up easily.

Because, I have nothing to lose except my very own life and other people’s happiness.

Blog is NOT dead! :)

Oh dear, I have not updated the blog in quite a while haven’t I?

Well, that’s because I have been using Dayre (dayre.me/nfshp65) quite a fair bit now and also the fact that my last 4 weeks have been insanely packed.

Last week alone, I had 4 gigs (2 for NJC Open House, 1 for School of ICT and 1 party) and of course that means I have a lot of catching up with my work to do! (Sleepless nights, come to me!)

The semester is pretty short, and would be ending by Chinese New Year. This is the first time I can seriously say, I DON’T look forward to it, because that’s when my exams will be.

Anyway, I will be updating this blog with some archive post which I have posted on my facebook. That’s the problem with me, I publish my supposedly ‘blog material’ on facebook.

I will update this blog in the following weeks, unless I die from the pressure exerted by my assignments. 😦

Let’s all hope 2015 would be good!

December

Ah.

December is already here. The year seems to pass so fast.

The first two weeks of December is so packed with so much stuff. I have an exam, Outward Bound camp and filming, all within the second week of December. Plus I’m releasing my mixtape on 28th December, so look out for it!

Oh, by the way, I started a Dayre account (dayre.me/nfshp65 ) and as such, I will be blogging there more often now. Do follow me! (dayre.me/nfshp65 )

I have to write a year in review soon. I must say, December was a year of fiascos. My life changed for both the worst and better, which is kinda better than the monotonic 2013 of popping Ritalin, camping at starbucks and studying till the cow came home.

The first half was so full of shit, considering my break up, my failed self reform and the “new change” in FMS that I desired went down the opposite route, also the lost of many good and close friends.

But, thank god for the second half, where I discovered NPDJ, revived my DJing and Music Production hobbies, met great new people (even got some of the close ones back!), entered Youth Corp Singapore and found some true friends who would back me up in FMS.

“As I look back on my life, I realize that everytime I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better”

That quote couldn’t have summed it up better.

New mashups and edits will soon be coming to my mixtape! In the mean time, you can find me on Dayre ( dayre.me/nfshp65 )

Will write soon 😀