I got to office very early this morning, because I found out my favourite ex-teacher was giving a talk as part of the Continuing Education series for the other professionals. This was a lecture I wasn’t going to miss!

I wasn’t disappointed. My ex-teacher was dynamic and outspoken as usual. When he spoke, everyone sat up and listened.

When I first attended his lesson all those many years ago, I knew I was going to register for all the modules he was teaching; I didn’t care what modules they were because I knew I was going to enjoy them, I was just going to ‘follow’ him. Before it was time to choose my supervisor and topic for my Honours project, I sat in his office and convinced him to take me in as the only student for the year; he wasn’t intending to take in any student because his laboratory was undergoing renovations. I am eternally grateful he agreed to take me in.

I learnt so much from my Boss (as I called him) in that wondrous year I spent under his tutelage. He drank tonnes of Coca Cola; so did I. His intelligence and sharpness of mind (and tongue) superseded all he did, but he remained humble and oblivious of his accomplishments. I felt in awe yet super tiny in his presence.

But there was no denying that underneath all that brilliance, laid the fundamental values that made Boss a world-renowned Master in his specialty – PASSION and CURIOSITY.

Passion and insatiable curiosity were what I did not put into practice after the short year with Boss, unfortunately. Other life priorities took over; I walked further and further away from what interested me all those years ago.

Meeting him again after all these years was so exhilarating; but time didn’t allow me to say much to him. He told me to “behave” and behave is what I’ve been doing all these while, in some areas. I wanted to tell him so much that I’m back in school again, not in the field I spent 4 happy years during the undergraduate years, but in another area that has caught my interest. That I’m considering becoming like him, albeit 20 years too late in my lifetime. But I hesitate – he’s UP there and I’m way below, no accomplishments under my belt, except that I contributed to the dismal birth rates in Singapore; even though it wasn’t enough to meet the replacement number.

I would love to ask for his advice, but I would flounder at the first question he is sure to ask – what do you want to do? I know the general direction I want to go towards, but do I have the knowledge, determination and detailed plan (and dozen other things) how I would go about achieving what I want to do? I need to go into my reflective cave again and again to think things through.

Maybe I should pluck up the courage to drop him an email nevertheless ..


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