Break rules. It feels damn good!


Growing up, I was brandished by my peers as the renegade, the square peg in a round hole, the tomato potato. Let me tell you, they made no mistake. I could care less of what they thought. What went off their father’s anyways? Punctuality and I hadn’t been acquainted yet. I deliberately arrived late everywhere, even school, where people would get in trouble for coming on time, kind of school.

It wasn’t that I had a rebellious nature of any sort, like the Guvera’s or Hendrix of the world. Nor were they hiring first graders out of private school.

I just simply refused to follow man-made systems. Why should we follow systems? And man-made systems? Why can’t all the schools of the world start at 10am and not 7am? Who makes all the rules anyways? Some man sitting way before I was born – at an old desk made of wood – decided schools should start at 7am so as to make the lives of children miserable.

He was a lonely man, drinking hooch, naked, by the fireplace, dreaming unicorns and not worried about the parents of children he had in his room that day.

Since I was never on time, I figured, what the heck? While I’m at it, why pay attention in class or even face the teacher? As it is classes are boring and they have you do ‘kiddy’ stuff. Where the adults at bro?

All those repeated lectures, no bathroom breaks, as if I had committed a biological sin. Having to wear a uniform, which would have any rock star from the 60s cringe.

It must have been the naked principal, who made us come at 7am. No pun intended. Why couldn’t we be kids, when we were kids? It’s a system everyone chooses to follow because of a few reasons. One could be because they choose to accept what’s being handed to them. Another being not having the balls or guts to change and question ways.

Who wants to fucking reinvent the wheel, right? Right?

Classrooms were full of boring textbook knowledge (who knew Google would be a thing) and a far cry from “kids-oriented.” I chose to stand at the back of the class and stare at the interesting wall (it was a blank wall painted white) sharpening my pencil.

It was a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Time would fly and my parents were happy. Everyone was happy. Like Coachella back in the day. Shortlived and at bay, were these sweet periods, only in time for report card season. Before the arrival of grading thunderstorms, I had nothing to worry about and went about being a carefree chipmunk.

Turns out I was never paying attention in class, my report cards read like a fairytale with many climaxes. Think little red ridding hood gone slutty, shaving her head, screwing the wolf and selling the video rights to Pornhub. It was a thrill, however, my parents didn’t seem to agree much. They murdered and reincarnated me, every time they saw a report card.

In retrospect, how silly were those fucking report cards.

As school progressed, I chose to put my life on the line for the sake of my career. Did all the leg work! Such as: Never being on time, not having the proper uniform, bunking class, never read or studied for a single exam. It did give my parents sleepless nights. But, I did what I wanted. It sure felt good! Fucking stubborn little prick.

My reckless behaviour continued, I had failed in every class offered by the CBSE syllabus. I had carved out a unique niche for myself, an ‘I could care less’ kind of niche. On several occasions, I was told by my teachers & especially the naked guy that I would one day serve tea at stalls. My ignorance allowed me to live beyond those remarks.

The only people who had any faith in me were my art teachers, they did see something in me. It could have been for the reason that all I actually did in class was draw, draw and draw – during math class, during science class, during biology, during prayer, during detention and any other time that I got. Even in the loo, crouched over the poop station, for that matter.

Let me tell you I am no artist or painter, I couldn’t paint for beans now. How ironic! Isn’t it! Well, it so happens my ‘I-could-care-less’ attitude got the best of me and I stopped drawing. What a waste of talent, you may be thinking? Stop it, right this moment. What goes off your fathers? It’s my life (cue Bon Jovi).

Life continued. I did get into a college eventually. You must be wondering how? After all, he did fail every class. Well, it turns out my daddy knows people everywhere, freaking everywhere. College days went by like a blink of an eye. Almost like this sentence. Made good friends, though!

Friends, I can count on with my life. Ok, maybe not that dramatic but with my pencil and sharpener. I know, I know sharpener, but gotta give those guys some credit. It’s a public blog for crying out loud. Hey Brian! Playing XBOX tonight?

This meaningless life was going nowhere. All the partying, sleeping around – the alone at home, alone type, drinking, going for crazy long drives with friends, had come to a climax.

The movie needed a twist. Here came the director, my dad – finally sick of my disastrous endeavours. He decided to take matters in his hands and have me pack my bags and sent far-far-far, really-really far away from home.

OK. Maybe, it’s not that far. It’s a two-hour flight from home. Here, the place far away from home, called the world of ‘Really-silly insanely-dumb let’s talk jargons’ world of advertising, I discovered lunatics have a place on earth. At that moment, I knew I was home.


By Paul Syng

Paul Syng is a multi-disciplinary designer based in Toronto. He focuses on a problem-seeking, systems thinking approach that can take any form or function.