walking musician

Free vector art via vecteezy.com

Last month, I officially entered the workforce. Soon after casting my resume out, I received a prompt reply from a company called Pickupp. I guess it must be fate that they picked up my application. Just like that, I escaped unemployment, and earned the title of Junior Software Engineer. I lamented at how my days of ambling were over. A new chapter in life was unfolding itself. I drew a sharp breath, and exhaled, readying myself for the working life.

My first day was rather memorable because every experience was novel. I remembered waking up before the sun rose. It was a one-hour drive to my workplace located in Mont Kiara. To pass the time, I tuned in to my favourite podcast — 99% Invisible — while cruising along the scenic NKVE. I walked into the office to find it empty. Leisurely, I started munching the piece of bread I had packed earlier. The space was small, yet it offered a much-needed tranquility after a tiring commute. I sank into the comfortable office armchair, gazing at the morning cityscape through the floor-to-ceiling window. Not long after, a knock on the door broke the solitude. My colleague walked in and greeted me, marking the start of the workday.

The rest of November came and went. One week, I was settled in the corner of the office, furiously working away at my laptop to set up my development environment for work. The Technical Lead who resides and works in Singapore dropped by for a few days to onboard me as the first engineer in Malaysia. Another week, I found myself in a dense, unfamiliar metropolis, taking the MTR to Tai Koo station where one of the Hong Kong offices was located near. It was there that I met the amiable CEO and industrious engineers, along with several other employees from Pickupp Hong Kong. In a blink of an eye, the month of December had already arrived.

Now, having more or less adjusted to the routine of work, I am finally afforded the time for introspection. I recalled one Saturday afternoon when I was enjoying lunch near Digital Mall. A middle-aged man who was sat in the middle of the alleyway caught my attention. Without notice, his fingers fell promptly on the synthesiser, and began dancing with elegance. Music flowed out from the two tall speakers connected to the side of the instrument. His mouth sang words into the small microphone clipped onto his bright-orange shirt. Before I knew it, I was absorbed by the dated Malay and English songs he was churning out. Done with his repertoire, the man gingerly reached into a small box to take out a few banknotes. He felt the notes piece by piece, all while staring blankly at the air. Then, it dawned on me. He is a blind musician.

For some reason, that fact struck a chord with me, and lingered in my mind. It took me a while, but I think I finally understand why. I am not too different from the blind musician. I am blind, for I cannot glimpse beyond the present. Life is an intricate web of paths, but it unfolds ever so slowly. I need to continually feel the way, and inch forward, one step at a time. No one can ever fully ascertain his or her bearing nor destination. I am a musician, for I have been composing my music all this while. Life is chapter after chapter, song after song. Every choice I make is a different note and chord on the music sheet. Decisions one make, no matter how tremendous or minute, coalesce to form a meaningful event.

Looking back at the past month, so many things have transpired in that short period of time. I secured a job. I started my career. I experienced the working life. I travelled to a foreign land. I met interesting people. It serves as a reminder as to how spontaneous life can be. Thus, I should always embrace being a blind musician. I am blind with nothing to fear — each new experience is invigorating and exciting. I am a musician with nothing to rue — a single mistake does not dictate the final outcome.

“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
― Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems