Singaporeans are like androids – part human, part functioning machines.
We have this mask we put on when we go to school and work, meet our relatives and friends, and some even don their façades 24 hours to themselves and their gods.
Working in Singapore is a test of how unemotional and efficient you can be at work, like a android who doesn’t have feelings yet knows when to summon the appropriate ones at will. There are suitable times to show more emotions, at lunch time, dinner events and team building trips, but the main bulk of our working hours are do more, do faster, do better.
Our feelings of being miffed, unhappy, jealous, sad or even elation are under a tight rein. Show too much and you are seen as emotionally unstable. Show too little and people see you as an unfeeling, aloof person who doesn’t care.
The trick many of us are still grasping is how to express the appropriate emotion at the right time, but it’s usually to mirror what others expect us to express, rather than reveal our true feelings.
When we don’t have an outlet to be ourselves and come under tremendous stress over too long a duration, drastic things occur, such as strokes, heart attack, mental illness, depression, abusive behaviour, murder, etc,
We pretend for too long to be people we really aren’t, in the hope our boss, colleagues, family, boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse will accept this ‘better’ version of us and be good / kind / loving to us.
This doesn’t work in the long term if it’s not who you really are. You can’t force yourself to be someone you’re not forever. You can’t love someone whom you simply don’t want to be with; it’ll be living hell and you wish you had the guts to exit the relationship earlier. You can’t improve the faults you have if you deny having them in the first place.
You can’t work for a boss who doesn’t let you grow, and you can’t pretend your friends are really your friends if you don’t show them who you are.
It’s time to stop pretending, and be brave to continue your journey to discover who you are meant to be, find the job you are passionate about and meet the friends whom you can truly be yourself with.
To stay where you are, wallowing in your misery, is a choice doomed for failure.