leaving the harbour
i remembered an occasion in secondary school when my lit teacher explained to me why the elizabethans thought of life as an ocean. before the days of advanced navigational equipment, sailors who set out to sea were literally sailing into the unknown, the way all have to eventually ‘leave the harbour’ and face an uncertain future. he didn’t elaborate much more, as he did not have time for ‘juvenile drivel’, or so he claimed (you’ve got to believe it, i was quite the devil in class).
with that trigger, it didn’t take long for me to draw my own ‘juvenile’ and silly conclusions. i thought, if life was an ocean, then enjoying the calm waters and the ethereal sunsets (and computer games and push-pops) must constitute the ‘good times’, and the raging storms the bad. if the screeching gulls regaled you with praises, what about shark attacks? if my life is indeed an ocean, then i am barely out of the harbour, and those watching over me (the ‘harbour-masters’, who else?), do so with a mixture of 20% pride and 200% anguish. i better stop before i sound like i am applying for an hdb flat.
the start of the university experience can be likened to exiting the harbour, sails full of wind and vitality, the integrity of the vessels not yet weakened by the waves and the wind. the choices presented at this point in time come in their intimidating multitudes, spread out in all directions. with a map drawn from the experience of predecessors and a shaky compass which doesn’t always tell ‘true north’, i left. only that i forgot to loosen the lines, still tied to the moorings, those i call old habits of security…
pity, this metaphor has fallen into disrepute as a travesty.
credits to terence, his post reminded me of the metaphor, and my lit teacher.
for more on my college experience, click here.