There is a part of my life that I didn’t put down in records. I am an Aikidoka.
In fact, I have another blog that talks about Aikido, it is everything about Aikido, and it has been something I’ve been doing long since I met your mum. In fact it was my Aikido blog http://whoisrandylim.wordpress.com, that gave me the grounding to write a parenting blog.
There are some issues that is nagging me as I write. There are things about Aikido which I learned and made me a better dad. There are things about being a dad that changed how my perception towards Aikido. And there is a certain cross between the Aikido and being a Dad, and I want to synthesize this two subjects into one. So I present http://theaikidad.wordpress.com.
There’s a lot that I wrote in this blog and slowly, I will transfer all contents to my Aikidad site. And soon I will close this so that my focus will be more directed and for you boys, you can see a more holistic opinion of your dad.
I was never a person who believes in festivities, much less a ‘Happy New Year!’ which in reality, just another day, another number on a calendar. Well, me, pragmatic to the core. Or so I thought, until I saw the movie New Year’s Eve.
All things end, before any new beginnings can start.
I can still remember vividly catching this film with your mum, in December 2011, at Shaw Orchard. We were on a date, and we wanted to catch a movie, not to sure what to catch we looked at the posters and I felt that New Year’s Eve is a safe bet, as it has Robert De Niro, and other star-studded casts, Hilary Swank, Jessica Biel, Zac Efron, etc, etc.
The film was so good, it changed my mind about New Year’s Day. It still does. In fact, I just caught it again with Ian for 2016’s New Year’s Day movie, when they showed this movie on TV.
So what’s so good about the movie?
Well, the movie was set at 2010’s New Year Eve’s celebration at New York, and what happened to a bunch of really hot, good looking people on the turn of midnight. There are many many events happening, all weaved into the movie. I like it because, all these seemingly independent events, comes together eventually at the end of everything.
It tells a story about all these people, who internally have some emotional knots, unsettled business, some of them want to crawl into their abode, and let the New Year pass, somehow they were dragged out of their negativity and the larger scheme of things caught them and changed them.
It is also about regret. All of us has it, we want things to be better, but we cannot changed the past, we have to look forward, but our past drags us down, we cannot shake it off, when an event like the New Year comes along, it metaphorically tugs at us to let go of those bad vibes, leave them in the old year. Let the regret stays there.
More importantly, it is about taking a chance to take action. The New Year motivates us to take a chance. Take a chance with people whom has hurt us before, give them another chance to change. The New Year gives us courage to charge forward, some in foolhardiness, others with gusto.
How it has changed me?
Like I said it, I’m not a big believer of ‘New Year’ when everything is still the same, people die, plane crash, sun rise, moon set. The dreary daily mundane things goes on.
After watching the movie, I felt that there is a meaning for festivities, especially for something as big as the New Year. Celebrating it (or not) gives our lives meaning, texture, an event.
Like it or not, it will come, like Christmas, Like the impending Chinese New Year. These events, are larger than us, and calls for a celebration no matter what.
No matter what, meant that we have to look beyond our troubles, woes, warts and all. We have to look up, we are forced to, by these events, to look back, and reflect. There is no hole you can dig that is deep enough for you to escape any celebrations. Your birthdays are a celebration. Yay!
We have to celebrate
No matter how bad life is, how terrible a condition we find ourselves in, we will celebrate, invent a season for celebration. Because we humans live and thrive on joy, happiness, and all that irony. I read that even in the darkest days of the Sarajevo Siege back in the early 1990s, the folks would find any form of reason for celebrate. One resident even called for a celebration, losing 10 deutschmarks.
All things end, before any new beginnings can start. The New Year is a time where we can find our closures, make peace and move on. The year may be bad, but having a calendar meant that no matter how bad, it will end. It has to, the sun will set, a year will end. We really need to take stock of our efforts and time, and look into the future, the New Year. It can also be a dreary thing, looking in petrification what bad things is going to happen. But like I said it, we humans live on hopes and dreams, not doom and fear.
Stay positive, the New Year is here
So sons, when you think that life is bad, and you want to skip a celebration, think of it deeper. An event is something abstract, you cannot hold it, nor touch it, yet it will come and everybody will celebrate like crazy, forget all their troubles and hatred for once, drop everything and celebrate! If you have nothing much to celebrate everyday, then these are dates on a calendar you can mark, to celebrate, lose yourself, and let the large scheme of the New Year Celebrations take over you for once!
I came across this post by Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce Facebook post, and along with the comments.
It has never dawned to me that Eeyore‘s creator A. A. Milne has created such a melancholy character filled with such love and affability. But in real life, characters like Eeyore are often shunned, avoided and sometimes hated. Humans typically like to hang around positive energy, and will do what we can to get more of that, less of the negativity. So the knee jerk reaction to shun characters with depressive states is understandable.
This post challenge that understanding, when we read Winnie the Pooh’s adventure, we like to read about Winnie, Tigger, Piglet, Kanga and Roo, Eeyore usually stuck out in his own depressive way, perhaps something like an anti-hero of sorts. He is not the main character, but he has his own unique way to complete the ‘family’, Reading Winnie the Pooh without Eeyore, just don’t quite sound or feel the same.
Despite of his depressive trait, his friends didn’t leave him. They stuck with him, and involved him in their games and activities. They didn’t judge him, tell him to change, improve him, send him for therapy, counselling, treatment, detox and other stuffs to help him get ‘better’. They are friends of Eeyore, they didn’t want Eeyore to be ‘better’ so that they can be friends.
This is the metaphorical attitude of being ‘unconditional’ towards your friends and loved ones. You be with them for who they are, not for who they are going to become, because of your influence. You cannot manipulate your friends to become someone you think you might like to hang out with.
‘Change comes from within, not without.’
It is like how people always categorically puts it ‘Change comes from within, not without.’ You cannot change people by asking them to change, using your influence, Jedi mind tricks, hypnosis, peer pressure and other extrinsic methods. Eeyore’s friends never asked for him to be any other guy, other than Eeyore.
I have read to you boys some stories about Winnie the Pooh, watched a couple of movies about it, but I’ve never thought of Eeyore like this until I saw this post. It is very profound, telling how quickly we stereotype people, and make often ‘callous’ comments like ‘Why don’t you cheer up?’ If the person is brooding, let the chap brood, be there, be present for the person, if the person is worthy to be your friend.
Honestly, you cannot get ‘infected with depression’, by hanging around depressive people, it is all in you. If you get depressed around depressed people, the problem is you, not them. you have to ask yourself, why do you let external factors affect you and change your mood?
Not forgetting what we are discussing here is a 2 way street.
Whilst it is not in your power to cheer people up, others do not have the power to ask you to cheer up, when you don’t feel like it. When you become depressed, your friends will ask you to cheer up. You would want to cheer up, pretend to look cheered up, so that you don’t disappoint your friends. Honestly, sometimes, it is okay to stick with the group norm, fake it to make it a bit, but sometimes out of those friends, you might come across a friend, who is okay with you being sad, okay with you being happy, okay with you for being you, then that friend is someone who has the maturity to accept you. That is a gem of a friend.
In Eeyore’s case, he has quite a handful. He even has Tigger, who is poles apart in character with Eeyore. But they never quarreled about it, they literally ‘agree to disagree’, if I’m allowed to use that very abused cliche.
So this is not a post that says, boys, it is okay to be yourself as who we are as ourselves, are often constructed by the friends we hang around, and if you have friend like Pooh, Tigger, Roo, Kanga, even an Eeyore will learn to have fun when feeling depressed.
At the onset the school is already risking alienating themselves from the local heartland population.
There is a new kid on the block in the junior college (JC) industry. The new JC will be called Eunoia JC.
There are 18 other JCs in Singapore are simply called;
Anderson JC, Anglo Chinese JC, Catholic JC, Hwa Chong Institution JC, Innova JC, Jurong JC, Meridian JC, Nanyang JC, National JC, Pioneer JC, Raffles JC, Serangoon JC, St Andrew’s JC, Tampines JC, Temasek JC, Victoria JC, Yishun JC.
Some of these JCs have a heritage to their names, some are very established and has a long history, some are new, some choose to tie their name to the specific geography where the school is located, Yishun JC is located in Yishun, and so is Serangoon JC (well, sort of). There is some logic towards naming these schools. There were another 2 new JCs which was opened at the turn of the 21st century, Innova (in Woodlands) and Meridian (in Pasir Ris).
By the way, Eunoia JC is not even going to be sited anywhere near to ‘Eunos’, the next most rhyming Singapore word.
Even these 2 schools, which names sounds a bit more contemporary, was spared the limelight the way Eunoia JC is in right now.
Well, I can live with Meridian, or even Innova, which sounds a little cheesy, too pushy toward inspiring, but yes, Innova loosely equates ‘innovation’; well, we do openly harbour hopes and desires we have for our future generations, to be innovative.
So what is Eunoia? Why Eunoia?
(Even MS Words and WordPress spellchecker flagged it red!) It’s Greek loosely meaning ‘goodwill’ and some ethical human foundations. One of the many flak it received was it’s too difficult to pronounce, and Greek? Sounds a bit too far from Singapore, geographically speaking. On top of the economic situation they are in? Not the best example of a nation state in the current free world.
According to the incumbent principal Mrs Wong, there was a selection process and Eunoia was chosen over 199 other suggestions, this was based on an online suggestions from stakeholders like parents, students, then there was ‘brain storming’ (what a cliche!) and consultation which took them 6 months to choose Eunoia. It was revealed that, these processes are documented and recorded, as in any bureaucratic government sanctioned work. I’m sure they also document and record as to how they came about with other names for other JCs.
K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Gen Z JC
So maybe, based on their records, they tried out ‘Meridian’ in 2003, no one really bat an eyelid, ‘Innova’ was up in 2005, well, didn’t create much of a buzz either. So base on their past experiences perhaps, no one really bothered with the names, so they were probably embolden to try something different… hence Eunoia (I’m still trying to get used to typing this Greeky word); and it hit a media storm.
Since this is the newest kid on the block, I wondered, why did they choose a name that is from an old. long dead civilization? Is Eunoia going to teach Greek philosophy? Mythology? How is Greek culture related to ours anyway? Will there be statues of Greek gods in the schools? How far will they take the Greek theme to?
And I wonder how will our young, tech-addicted, literally-glued-to-the-smartphone generation (Gen Z) take to the name? Does it even inspire them to higher Greek aspirations? I’m not sure if I am.
In my own small pragmatic way, the way to name names is a 4 word-acronym… K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple, Stupid.
As we all can see, this is not as simple and stupid as it seems. Even big, smart organizations like MOE can trip on it. Process upon process, brain storming and consultation, group thinking will not work. Logic and sensibility will always prevails, a good name sticks quickly, has a good vibe and helps bring in the right crowd, is Eunoia trying to target a Greek audience?
No local wise cracks?
Why do we need to travel to Greece to get a name? We have plenty of smart, wise people in Singapore. All our state Presidents, past and current are great people, why not Benjamin Sheares JC? Yusof Ishak JC? They bring a sense of Singaporean-ness to the JC, students can relate and entrench to that. They can read up on these great men and also aspire great things, for Singapore, not Greece. These names are closer to home, and gives our school a local identity. Oh, why not name the JC after a great Singapore woman? Joaquim JC would be a simple one, easy to mouth as well.
Stay grounded, MOE
Most schools in Singapore are meritocratic, which means we are going to have heartlanders aunties and uncles sending their kids to this strange sounding school for their education. These folks will know nuts about Greek, and mouth something as ‘cheem‘(deep), profound and greeky as Eunoia; all they want for their kiddos is to have a good education. As much as the Eunoia JC’s principal defending the school as not wanting to sound ‘high class’ but wanting to provide ‘world-class’ education. But in this naming gaffe, people are already thinking the former, even before you can prove to deliver the latter. At the onset the school is already risking alienating themselves from the local heartland population.
This should be an easy one, that is the Singapore Flag the both of you drew this year. We can look at all the flags of the countries around the world and give a symbolic meaning about it. Describe it, the design the meaning and the history behind it.
Singapore is not big; it can almost be capture in a single photograph.
It is just a picture, drawn by someone, 2 dimensional (OK, so the physical flag is 3 dimensional, fine.) While it is good to have something iconic, a flag cannot feed you, cannot give you sustenance. You cannot build your home on a flag, you cannot make friends on a flag, feed your family.
This is the real flag.
This is a picture of Singapore, taken by your dad’s friend. You can almost see the entire island, from Tuas all the way across the horizon to the East, Changi. You can go to Google Maps to get the entire map of Singapore, but this hazy picture take from the sky, tells the story of our home, Singapore is not big; it can almost be capture in a single photograph.
I’ve always held this thought. Most modern artillery has a maximum range of over 50 km, especially the German Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000). It claims to have a range of 60 km. Which would means that if we place a PzH2000 in Changi end, and fire a round, that round can land in Tuas, 50 km away (that’s the entire length of Singapore, east to west). One battery of Pzh2000 stationed anywhere in Singapore, will most likely reach out to any targets in the island. That is how small we are, we really have nowhere to hide (perhaps on the outer islands?)
This is it, boys. Have a good look at the picture, really good look. That is where we stand, make friends, build our home, defend, die and bury our dead. The whole piece of rock, sand, water, grass, trees and concrete, it is nothing much. But if we give it up, even a bit, the whole landscape is redrawn. The symbolic flag stays the same, but we know, on the ground it never will be the same anymore.
So while we do project a significant leverage in the global community, it means nothing if we cannot hold ground. It means nothing if we cannot keep this land. Nothing else matters other than the ground we stand on, and this photograph, is the best testament, every single inch of this land, is a Singapore flag.