The Alternative Life

Finally got down to write about the Heart of God Church UR Camp 2015 that happened last week. We had three crazy days of fun. We ran around town eating and completing random tasks, literally added colour to each others’ lives, and formed many new friendships along the way.

Uni students are an interesting bunch. We are passionate and will give our very best for a cause we believe in. We are idealistic. We stand for morals and values. Some might even say, we are the most convicted members of society. Uni students would never back down from a fight. And as I learnt, it doesn’t matter if the fight is over a raw chicken, Uni students will fight tooth and nail if that’s what they believe in…

Before

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After

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Yet, amidst all the fun and madness, the highlight of the camp was our two revival nights with Pastor How. On the second night, he preached about living the Alternative Life. Pastor showed us that Christ came to die for us, so that we could LIVE for him. And the life we are called to live was to be an Alternative to the life everyone is living, i.e The Alternative Life (*NOT The Alternative Lifestyle). He shared that

“An alternative life is to live a life so different that we offer others a choice. A different way of living, a different way of thinking.”

Reflecting on that night, I’ve come to realise that there is one distinct characteristic of modern societies – that all of us live wanting to have a choice. In America, people fight for the choice of free will. In the justice system, the greatest punishment offered is that to take away your power of choice. Yet, the funny thing is that in our nation, most of us live our lives thinking that there is only one path we can take as we go through our University lives. We think that our ultimate goal should be to get a respectable GPA by the time our years in Uni are up, while having a little bit of fun in our halls along the way. We spend our nights stuffed with readings and tutorials, not because we love it, but because thats the only way we don’t fall behind. We huff and puff our way to our FYP, then spend months ripping our hair out before submitting it in as our greatest achievement to date. When we graduate, we go for one last grad trip before we “settle down” into the monotony of work and life. That is the path we know. So that is the path we take.

But yet, there has to be an “instead” right? There has to be an alternative. Instead of spending our nights drowning in seas of readings, why not spend a bit of time helping others who need our help? Instead of going for a grad trip to Europe or the States, why not go for a mission trip to the Philippines or India? Instead of letting our Uni orientation camps degrade us, why not have a proper camp with good, clean fun? (albeit with a little bit of paint!)

Don’t get me wrong, there is no exclusiveness, or “holier than thou” attitude here. I am as pedestrian as any Uni student can be. I fight the same battles, face the same enemies (i.e. sadistic profs). But I hope to make alternative choices… I hope that I can choose to chase significance rather than just be driven by success. And hopefully, “that has made all the difference” (- Robert Frost).

Now, one week since UR Camp ended, those words still ring in my heart resoundingly. As we go on this final leg of our academic marathon, we know that graduating means we have the responsibility to contribute to our ambitious nation. But yet, there has to be so much more to life than just that piece of paper we receive at the end.

The late Mr Lee Kwan Yew once said,

“What is the ideal product? The ideal product is the student, the university graduate, who is strong, robust, rugged, with tremendous qualities of stamina, endurance and at the same time, with great intellectual discipline and, most important of all, humility and love for his community; a readiness to serve whether God or king or country or, if you like, just his community.”

It is not just about the GPA on the paper guys. That’s important too! But I believe we can always choose to live for much more.

I’m determined to live the Alternative Life. Here’s calling out to anyone who wants to join me on this road less travelled! :)

I leave you with a photo of my friend Joel, singing National Day songs while standing strong at the frontline of the NTU wall. Glad for Altertativists (Alternate + Activist) like him!

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