In 1942, when my grandparents got married, their identity as a married couple probably was the most certain thing they had in their lives. The Japanese were invading Singapore and took hold of it that time. My grandfather migrated to Singapore at the age of 15 while my grandmother was born in Johor and moved to Singapore. They found that bit of certainty in the new family they were trying to form. But over the next 3 years, with the war situation, nothing was certain – they could easily lose their life any time.
As peace and ‘stability’ took hold, we try to find certainty and security in our jobs, our financial assets, education systems and even government policies. We take survival for granted and strive for ‘greater’ things. But the more we seem to crave for security in these things, the more we forget that ultimately, the human connection, and the formation of relationships is what brings that semblance of ‘certainty’ in our lives.
Today, in the backdrop of the pandemic, I hope everyone come to learn to relate to uncertainty in our lives in a whole new way. First, to accept uncertainty as simply a part of life. If you’ve not experience any version of that, then you have not been living life. Second, it would be to recognise that systems, organisations are not going to shield us from uncertainty; we have to build our own resilience, through our daily habits, through our self-development and developing greater independence of thinking.
Finally, let us learn to value human connection so much more and to find greater security in relationships than in things, systems or structure. In so doing, we will see through the hard work of making relationships work.