My daughter found an old photo of me and my friends. I looked at the photo and instantly remembered the moment it was taken.
She asked me, ‘But mommy, why is it blurry?’
So I explained to her, ‘This was when we didn’t have mobile phones and front facing cameras. So we couldn’t do selfies or wefies. We had to use the old automatic camera and the self timer, and hope for the best. And even then, we had to wait until we finished the entire roll of film, and send it to the shop to be ‘washed’ before could see the real photo.’
She looked at me, puzzled, and proceeded to call her brother, ‘Hey look Ashraf! It’s a photo of mommy from the OLDEN DAYS!’
Ladies and gentlemen.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I will be turning 40 this year. I know, I don’t look it, right? Some days I feel like I’m still that 17 year old girl, just finishing high school.
Speaking of school, last year, I attended my school reunion. You see, I went to a boarding school. So these were guys and girls that I spent 5 years with, day and night, weekends and holidays, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, til SPM do us part.
So I spent that reunion night reconnecting with many friends I hadn’t seen for nearly 20 years. Remembering, reliving our glory days, catching up and discussing what the future holds. It was a momentous night and we went back with promises to meet again for another reunion in 3 years time.
I went back, with my head in the clouds, feeling like I was 17 again. Remembering how I was back then. At 17, I was hopeful, dreamy, ambitious, naive, insecure and clueless about a lot of things.
Today, at almost 40, I’m older, wider and wiser (I hope). But deep down, I’m still that hopeful and dreamy girl I was back then.
At nearly 40 as well, I’m very much aware of the fact that my days are numbered. I know it’s morbid, but it’s a fact of life. Sadly enough, I have lost a number of friends over the years due to illness and unfortunate circumstances.
Last year, I lost one friend in particular. I hadn’t seen him in some time and I wasn’t particularly close with him but we did spent one summer holiday doing our industrial training together. This guy.. He was one of the smartest, most talented person I knew. Full of life, kind and generous. He was struck by a brain infection and passed away about a month after.
I attended his funeral service and thought I would be able to remain calm and collected. But as soon as I passed his casket to pay my final respects, I completely lost it and began to bawl like no tomorrow.
I went back and told my other friends that we can’t, we shouldn’t, wait another 3 years for the next reunion. Because... life is short. So short. We never know what can happen.
The reunion.. made me dream and feel young again.
But losing my friend... was a definite wake up call.
I got to thinking of all the dreams and ideals I had back in my younger years – I wanted to write and publish a book, I wanted to travel the world, I wanted to go to Space Camp in the USA, to get married and have kids.
SO here's what I've decided.. this year, I want to start chasing dreams again. I’ve written a book that fingers crossed will be published soon. I have some travel plans in store. I want to read more, write more. I may be too old for Space Camp but who knows??
Ladies and gentlemen.
What’s your dream? What was your dream back in your younger years? I believe, it’s never too late! Take a moment to remember and dream again. Meet up with old friends. Organize a reunion. Make plans.
Because at the end of this all, I for one, want to be able to look back at all the photos from the olden days, even the blurry ones, and remember.. all those happy moments. Wouldn't you?
One more thing before I go, I want to remember this moment too. Smile everyone! *Grabs phone. Takes picture*
Over to you, contest chair!
About Moments & Dreams
This was my speech for my club level International Speech contest held in March 2016. I won the club level and went on to represent my club in the Area level contest, at which I got first runner up.
The speech was initially titled The Olden Days and was really inspired by that moment when Yasmin saw my old photo, which was indeed blurry, and called it as a photo from the oooolden days (ala Peppa Pig). I thought it would make for a good humorous speech and was saving it (if ever I needed to do a humorous speech). But when I was asked to take part in the International Speech contest (which is meant to be an inspiring speech), I got to thinking of how I could make it into what was hopefully, a good inspiring speech. The reunion, losing my friend..it really happened. And it was indeed two defining moments I had last year.
I think it is one of the best speeches I've written (*cough* perasan sebentar). It means a lot to me. I love it. I thought I did have a good chance of winning. But alas.. that doesn't matter really.
I hope you enjoyed reading it, and hopefully it stirred something in your soul, to remember your own moments and dreams.
Rest in peace, Jeff.