“No, no there ain’t no help,
It’s every man for himself.”
– Six Degrees of Separation, The Script
The last time I was in Perth was for my second Honours graduation back in March 2013. Right after my graduation, I published a photo album on Facebook called ‘Six Degrees of Se-Perth-ration’, which was meant to be a collection of sweet memories I’ve collected during my last few days in Perth. I knew it would be a while before I would be back, so I had a list of dear friends I wanted to see and have a good time with before I left — which eventually culminated in this album. The omission of bitter memories from this album was absolutely intentional of course, considering it is rather inappropriate to be whining all the time on social media — makes one seem so tragically attention-seeking — but such is the beauty of social media. Those filtered photos do a great job of helping us hide our skeletons in the closet.
Upon being asked to show something about achievement, I naturally turned to this and another photo album on my Facebook called ‘Golden Days VI: Dernière Danse‘ — something which I actually rarely do these days. I found — and perhaps always will find — Perth to be a slightly painful period of my life, but I could also look back on it now and be grateful at how wonderfully things wrapped up in the end. In fact, if I looked just a little bit closer, I would find that I had more things to cherish than to anguish over — a fantastic academic mentor in the form of my heaven-sent Honours supervisor, supportive housemates who constantly kept reminding me to have a good time, wonderful friends (some might have fallen off the bandwagon, but there are those whom I still hold very dear to me). Most importantly, Perth was also a time when I was doing some serious exploring — of myself, the world, sometimes with company and more often than not, on my own.
It goes without saying that if Perth hadn’t been the roller-coaster ride that it was for me, I might never have been able to unearth the motivation to get to where I am today. Cambridge certainly makes it all worth it in the end.
This photo below was taken some time during winter of 2012 when my housemates and I — one a Singaporean, and the other, an Indonesian — went out to have a ‘pre-graduation photo shoot’. I had another semester to survive before I finished my Honours, and our Indonesian housemate in fact just started her PhD in plant biology, but our Singaporean housemate was graduating that Spring, and we wanted to do our own little Caporn-only celebration (Caporn Street was where we lived under one roof and shared many laughters and tears and desperations and one unfortunate incident involving a microwave and a fire in the kitchen).
Perth would not have been a blast towards the end without you, so this is a toast to you ladies who made the burden bearable, and who made me forget so many regrets by keeping me focused on the present.
You too are heaven-sent.