Penmanship is not Handwriting!

Penmanship BookDear Ian,

When I bought this book for you, I was hoping that with practice, you can write better.

Frankly speaking, your handwriting is terrible!

Yes, we are at the digital age, we type, we ‘QWERTY’ a hell lot. and in fact, academics and other experts who is bothered with handwriting, is bothered that the quality of our handwriting is deteriorating! In short, penmanship is a dying art!

Here is one dad, trying in vain to stem that trend, well at least my 2 kids.

Penmanship is important. It is you.

Like what I told you last evening, Your attitude towards this book is that of ‘handwriting’, you are aiming for the mirage of perfection. What I saw was you, copying letter for letter. I don’t see a practice of writing, I see an attempt, a lousy attempt by a human boy to do a computer’s job. There was almost e-q-u-a-l spacing between the letters, there is no word, there are letters.

What I want is ‘PENMANSHIP’ not handwriting, what I want is writing, not copying letter for letter. what I want is READING, reading the phrases and transferring them into the book.

Writing as I mentioned, has everything to do with reading. you cannot read properly, you cannot write properly, period. You read it wrongly, you’ll for sure, write it wrongly!

So please, I hope by the time you read this, your penmanship is at least up to speed and in decent character and dignity. And you can read this post, in retrospective, in amusement.

Thinking for yourself vs thinking selfish thoughts

Dear Ian,

There is a difference in the two ways of thinking. Unfortunately, most of us, are often stuck in the latter, instead of the former.

These two thought processes seems rather similar.

But they are not.

When you think for yourself, it means that you are able to tease apart, the ‘you’ from the ‘self’. More often than not, the ‘you’ or the ‘me’ as in the personality,the ego is always wanting pleasure, always wanting, wanting. In my opinion, thinking for yourself, is the ability for the ‘self’ to tell the ego, prioritise, make choices, and sacrificing the pleasure, now, for the greater pleasure later. Thinking for yourself is in my opinion, a selfish act, for the greater good. your own good.

That means that you are able to think on a high level, not just being a whiny little kid.

Well, thinking selfish thoughts needs no introduction. It is the impulse-like decision-making. seeking the immediate pleasure, sometimes at others expenses. Which means you do things with only consequences for yourself.

Looking at the now, now, and when you cannot get it, you fret, instead of thinking about ways to get it, perhaps seek help, perhaps collaborate. perhaps, helping others get what they want, so that they can help you get what you want.

Selfish thoughts, is all about me, me and me.

So I hope that by the time you read this, you’ll have already made a habit of choosing the former, over the latter.

Reality and Perception

Dear Boys,

Recently, there was a couple of news breaking event. A Malaysian Airline plane, MH370 went missing, and it is a Boeing 777, which was supposed to be a very sophisticated aircraft. Last year, in December 2013, there was a riot in Little India. It was one of the worst civil unrest in recent history. And lately, there was some breach in the ICA (Immigration Checkpoint Authority) at the Woodlands check point. A Malaysian Teacher drove into Singapore with being stopped, by the time the alarm was raised she was long gone, only to be arrested a few days later. And the another uncle drove his Mercedes Benz through a ‘Cat Claw’ which is a vehicle barrier. What was supposed to stop the Benz, apparently failed.

We living in Singapore, has the best of everything, best of the Airport, best of the shopping centres, Best ports, and a lot of other best things. And this makes us a rich nation, very, bloody rich. But one thing we need to remember. When we are this rich, we can buy the best to deal with the worst.

We have the resources available to handle the worse situation, or so we think.

The failures is a reflection on how we think we can deal with reality and what reality really is, reality is really a big fat ugly bitch. There is no negotiating it, it is unreasonable, it will upset every thing you have in mind, ala the Murphy’s Law.

We still need ingenuity, spontaneity, and creativity to deal with reality. The best equipment will fail, process will capitulate, structure will collapse. What is left behind is every single individual one of us to come up with something creative, something that is us, and through a collective ‘me’, then we can have a sustainable ‘us’.


Dear Ian,

I bumped into our neighbour one evening, while I was sending you to your Chinese class.

Me: Bro, just came back har?

Neighbour: Yah.

Me: see you, bro

Neighbour: See you, bro

Then you asked me, if our neighbour, who is a Malay is my brother. I was kind of loss for words, from the innocence of your question.

Me: Well, son, he is our neighbour, also my ‘brother’. He is my brother from another mother!

Read and Write

Dear Boys,

What is the correlation between Reading and Writing?

The smartest people in the world can write, that is a given, but do you know they are also the most avid readers?

It is not just reading, but reading smartly. People who read well, and read properly can understand the contextual relations in the contents. They can relate to the written. They can not only read, but also use their creativity and imagination to bring what they read to life, in their head.

They are able to play with the scenarios in their head after reading. and mutate and role play what was read.

When they need to write, that is where the proof of the pudding is. What they write will tell them about what they’ve read. The writing part, especially when it is written neatly, concisely, and quickly tells how gathered a person’s thought is.

A person who writes well, thinks well, and those who thinks well, reads well, and read a lot.


Dear boys,

Bullying will exist in all facets of human existence. It is real, whether you’d consider it unfortunate or not, I’ll leave that judgement to you.

Ian, during your time in Kindergarten, you told us there is this girl, who always disturbed you when you are in the toilet, doing your morning business. She will kick your door and this is unnerving to you, inside the cubicle, perhaps her actions will interrupt your call of nature.

Anyway, what we as your parent did was to ask you to pretend to go and do your morning business, go into the cubicle but not do your business. predictably, she will come and kick your door, and when she does, open the door and scream at her!

Well, I can’t specifically recall how that episode ended, or if you did exactly what we told you to do. Amongst other things, we also did told you to talk to your teacher about it.

Whatever it is, that situation went away.

Bottom line is this, boys, talk, talk to us about any instances of bullying in school. We are your parents and we know you, but we cannot fight the bully for you, we can only teach you ways to deal with them.

So far I do not have to worry much because both of you have quite strong personalities and I don;t think you 2 will attract bullies, more importantly, I’m worried you boys become bullies yourself!