Why I Am Still on Facebook

Lately, some of my best friends (some with civil servant ties, may I add) have used their social media accounts to express disappointment with the government. We usually don’t use our social media accounts to express our views on current affairs because, thankfully, our comfortable middle-class lives do not require us to have strong and urgent views on our stately affairs. But when overwhelmed by strong sentiments we can’t contain, we tend to just leave a message or two here on Facebook. And yes, I am referring to both the Oxley Road dispute and our drama of a Reserved Elected (or not really) President. My thoughts about those two issues are somewhere scattered on my Instagram account.

The larger majority of Singaporeans will not be leaving their opinions in words even if they do raise the issue in private with their friends and family. And thus, it makes me so so happy and restores some of the love I have for my country and the people it’s raised when I see people posting on national and social affairs even if we had not used FB as often as we did in our younger years.

I don’t know how many people express their socio-political views without agenda because I sit up when my friends who don’t usually update their social media accounts do so. And when they express their views on matters of state, I pay extra attention given the rarity of such expressions from them. And I still use social media because for every inane photo I myself post or see on my social media feed, there is one more that engages with issues larger at heart, one more that has the potential to heal or soothe a broken heart and one more that may perhaps lead you to write a post that isn’t about just the good and easy stuff in life. This also leads me to why I am posting after not having done so for a while.

“The woman you’re becoming will cost you people, relationships, spaces, and material things, choose her over anything.”

The above is a quote by Angela Benton, an Internet influencer I found on Instagram today through my favourite blogger — Joanna Goddard. I felt so strongly for the quote that I left a comment, for the first time ever, on the media account of a person I do not know personally. Someone replied to my comment and it made me think of how potent words are and how the quote had been a reflection of how my life and some of my friends’ have been.

Guess what I want to say is choices matter and I am always made a wee bit bolder by some of my oldest friends and personal heroes who make choices that are judged but brave the well-meaning (and sometimes unwelcome) feedback from friends and family. Everyone fights their own battles, sure, but some of us have harder ones because of our choices or circumstances. I am not even sure if it’a a matter of choice when it usually is just a case of us not seeing how it can be otherwise and just sticking to our guts. Of course sometimes, we need a good thwack on our heads for our obstinacy or self-destructive ways but it’s a solace to find people who are akin and are also risking to be called disagreeable for our comments at family gatherings, for not choosing to be silent when faced with issues you strongly care about at work and social functions, for choosing to fulfil another part of us that would also mean drains on our finances, and choosing to have strained relations with some people.

Being disagreeable is hard and why do we, even as adults, choose to be that? (Okay, by we, in my mind,I actually only mean a particular few of us who took up the same school subjects as I did.) I suspect it’s a self-confidence that drew its strength, over time, from finding people who are similar in convictions and also growing up independently but also amongst people who had our backs despite our difficult ways.

I also think we are grounded philosophically or spiritually in some notion of how we think the universe rewards its people. For me, personally at least, I believe that if the universe does measure its people, it wouldn’t be using the same material or popularity scale that’s used here on Earth anyway.

“I believe if there’s any kind of God, it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.” So says Celine from Before Sunrise. I watched the movie when I was 16 or 17 and it had formed the basis of how I think my God would be. Yes, you may say it’s very unbecoming to develop something as important as your personal convictions around a pop culture quote but I haven’t read anything that crystallises my thoughts more eloquently and with a touch of blasé that is all very cool to a sixteen year-old and also to a thirty year-old (haha!).

Yes, your choices, convictions and the words you write and say will cost you. Sometimes, you ought to keep your mouth shut or think harder about what you say and life has a way of telling you when to do that and it will do so often enough. That is tact, diplomacy, courtesy and sometimes conservation of energy reserves at work, not meekness. But when one feels, in his or her heart of hearts, he or she has got to make a stand for the man or woman they want to become, I hope the people around me do so. You will lose some people but you will also find your tribe faster this way.