Tossing yu sheng at Roy's for the Lunar New Year: wishing for PBs, bonuses and results for races
It's been a long, exhausting Lunar New Year week. Coming on the heels of yet another Police reservist call-up, I feel that everything from the 20th January till today has been a drawn-out reunion with people from various times of my life.
My 7th call-up to the academy over the last two weeks of January was memorable only because it will be my last at Thomson Road. The iconic, 100 year-old academy will be vacated by all police forces around May, and I will next report for duty at Still Road base. I will miss the trees and stillness of that place.
After my reservist I had a meet-up with famous six at Kembagan. Six of us began meeting after we ORD-ed, and since then our group has been defined by halves. Half of us no longer serve in the same unit. Half of us have earned enough to own our own vehicles. By the end of 2014, half of us will be married. I belong in the latter, the holding-still-for-as-long-as-possible group: still in the same unit, still taking public transport, still single. But no matter how far we are in life, it's amazing that six guys can still sit down and have dinner for 4 hours beside a mosque and laugh ourselves silly joking about each other's misdemeanours committed years ago.
But the highlight of the weeks was the cross-country seniors gathering at Roy's house. I've long left my university days behind, but I still find myself comfortable in the presence of these people. I've trained alongside, competed against, argued with, and prayed together with some of these guys and girls on-and-off for more than seven years now - and we continue to do what we do best, which is mostly getting together to eat and remember. Every meeting brings new faces, seniors and juniors alike, because of crazy work schedules. Unlike the groups that I formed in other social settings like church and class that insisted on continuity, we are haphazard and randomised.
Every meeting of cross-country seniors is an exercise in wistful nostalgia and measured future planning. True, we have our disagreements and the usual interpersonal shit. It's a place where, for a short moment, we pull each other to our feet and remember when we first met and throw cards for how we'll turn out. Particularly poignant: as we tossed yu sheng yesterday, we realised that everyone present still is single.
Why do I cherish these gatherings with people I may see once in two years so much? Perhaps it's because I accept that these people will always be better than me. All the cross-country seniors at Roy's house yesterday have - without going into details - been through some personal trauma, and has emerged stronger. The passage of time has hardened their craft and bodies. So that I'm constantly in the presence of runners turned triathletes, dragonboaters, competitive cyclists and swimmers (or in my case, runner turned PR person/ writer, although it's a bit weird talking about writing to this bunch) It's humbling - extremely humbling - to know that the senior/junior who I paced for an entire year around the track has reinvented him/herself into something bigger and better.
Competition binds us, pain refines us, reinvention finds us and, always, a good meal unites us.
In the presence of giants, I choose to follow their shadows until, by the trick of light or the toughening of my own resolve, I'm standing thick in the straight line of people who block out the sun.