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“Does a journey of fortitude necessarily lead to true happiness?”
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“Does a journey of fortitude necessarily lead to true happiness?”

 Singaporeans are caught in a vicious lifestyle that pits high expectations against the quest for happiness, writes Aristle Tay, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Singapore. He says the solution is a matter of perspective.

The year 2013. It’s a new year with possibly new dreams and aspirations to chase.

Somehow, I am not too optimistic about these prospects. There is some weariness registered on my face. Such expressions are vividly seen on the faces of my peers, too. Why is that so?

Well, there are many reasons. However, the one I find the most relevant is related to my geographic context. We all understand that Singapore is an island nation. There are virtually no natural resources here. The only major capital we possess is our human labour. It is therefore no surprise that my government has chosen to invest heavily in my people.

While this social policy has reaped some fruits, with Singaporeans performing well in various niche areas, it has also built several sky high expectations for us. 

The result: a vicious lifestyle revolving around the hands of the clock. Our rest times are reduced to a mere shadow of what they formerly were. Eventually, we began to ask ourselves “Does a journey of fortitude necessarily lead to one’s true happiness?”

I can’t answer that question on behalf of my people. However, I can express my opinion of true happiness. Happiness, to me, is a rather delicate object. It is highly dependent on a fragile balance of my work and life. At times, work steps in and life has to step out. But for me as a solider, I know that what I am doing is instrumental, in a way, to ensure the future of my loved ones.

In all, one should realise that happiness is like a piece of glass. Only by looking through at different angles will you be able to observe that what you are experiencing is actually the true happiness you are seeking.  

Photo: copyright Commonwealth Secretariat

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About me:

I’m an 19-year-old male Chinese who loves astronomy, adventurous challenges, running, and most of all, interacting with youths all around the world!  Presently serving my two-year National Service in the Singapore Armed Forces.

I have always held the belief that arguments and debates, while meant to drive out flaws in our opinions, should serve to bind us together and not separate us. For united we stand, divided we fall.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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