Rays of Splendour


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Different stages in life

“Wherever you are, be all there.”
Jim Elliot

It was Wednesday morning, 8.20a.m. The morning radio was playing in the background, filling the eating outlet with strains of uplifting music. My breakfast was on the table in front of me. I spent the time looking at the people around me as I consumed my breakfast. Most of them were having their breakfast alone too. I spotted two groups of people – a mother and her daughter, and a couple – seated on my left and right respectively but they were the only people who came for breakfast with someone.

Questions flashed through my mind as I took in my surroundings. Are these people, like me, not working as well? Why are they having their breakfast alone too? What are their plans for the rest of the day?

That last question made me see, not for the first time in the past few days, that I’m currently on a different path in life as compared to people I’m close to. Everyone I know is working – my parents, my brothers, my best friends – or at least involved in pursuits that make them useful to God and society.

And if the flow of conversations between us in the past few days are anything to go by, I feel pretty small to be sharing with them the simple things I spend my days on as compared to them. My activities are just so irrelevant and unimportant that these days, I find myself taking a step back and instead of sharing things about myself, I’ll just listen to them share their days, and partake in their highs and lows. Frankly, listening to them is much more interesting than sharing with them what I do, feel, and think about these days.

While I recognize that not everyone will be on the same stage or path in life as me, that still didn’t keep off the loneliness I am feeling as I stood on this particular path.

Looking at it positively, I’ve come to the following conclusions after much thought:

  • AllahΒ swt has entrusted me with all these time for a reason(s) which I’m beginning to slowly see as the days unfold. In the past few days, I saw that one of these reasons would be to provide some support for my family as they go about their daily responsibilities. Alhamdulillah, that has brought me much joy and something I look forward to daily.
  • By keeping me alone (yes, I literally have no one with me from morning when the family leaves for work until they are back from it at night) most hours of the day, Allah swt is giving me opportunities to draw myself closer to Him. Alhamdulillah!
  • Time is so fluid for now that I have absolute freedom as to how I choose to spend it which is something I can never do once I’m tied down to work, studies or any other responsibilities that life offers.

Sounds pretty exciting once I write all that out.

So wherever I am in life that He has led and is leading me to, I pray that I’m present in the moment, fully embrace it and that it is one that is pleasing to Him.


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Visa application woes: Applying for the D-2 Korean Visa

I’ve finally summoned up the mental readiness to go through the whole process of applying for a D-2 student visa.Β  The mental readiness is needed only because 1) Administrative processes can be painful and 2) I’ll be passport-less for a while.

As of yesterday, I’ve made a total of two trips to the South Korean embassy in Newton. Both times, I have been unsuccessful in submitting an application for a student visa.

The first time my attempt for a visa application got rejected was entirely due to my negligence. I had failed to note that the embassy conducts visa application requests only from 9.00 – 11.30 a.m. I came at 2 p.m and was obviously turned away. The second time I was turned away was due to insufficient documentation. Apparently, one needs all these document for a D-2 student visa application:

  1. Original passport
  2. A copy of a passport-sized photograph
  3. Acceptance letter/Offer letter/Certificate of admission from the educational institution in Korea
  4. A copy of a bank statement indicating one’s account balance for the past three months
  5. In the event that you have a sponsor for (4), then you would need to produce your sponsor’s bank statement
  6. A copy of the educational transcripts or certificates at your last educational institution
  7. For the employed: A letter from your employer indicating that you are under their employment

During the second visit there, I had failed to produce number 7. Never did I anticipate that I had to produce that when applying for a student visa!

The copy of my sponsor’s bank statement was also rejected as her name was not clearly printed on her bank statement.

So I’m telling myself that the third time I make my way to the embassy, I truly need my visa application to be accepted. The need for the visa aside, I actually find it pretty restrictive that the passport is going to be withheld for a period of time which means that I won’t be able to journey out of Singapore on a whim. That is such a tragic thought!