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.
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.
(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.
It was never thought to be an exciting thing writing a blog for the both of you, but as I evolve as a writer for this blog, I also learn, and improve on my writing. Although I want to say that the numbers is not my primary aim, I’d be a complete liar if I say it didn’t bother me a bit.
As at 8 December, Tuesday, yesterday, the viewership hit 3519. I’m really not a very numbers person, but one thing that serves as a feedback, what I write for your boys has a strong complementary vibe with the ground. Readers do relate to what I write. I can’t help but compare, that it is still a long way to go, and honestly ‘3519‘ is quite paltry, according to other blogging giants out there, who can easily hit 5 digits viewership.
Keeping up with the proverbial Jones, is always a matter of relativity, more importantly, I want to put this up as a ‘celebration’ of an achievement, life’s too short to wait and celebrate ‘big’ achievements, we need to find little nitty gritty small accolades and give ourselves pat on the back for doing well, every now and then, here and there, up and down, left and right.
writing for the both of you to read as a testament of your dad’s journey as a parent…
While I’m not out to compete for viewership, keeping to the true spirit of this blog; writing for the both of you to read as a testament of your dad’s journey as a parent; the glowing ‘3519’ do tug me to put up posts, harboring towards ‘populist’ subjects. It’s tempting, really, but deep down inside, I know if I do that, it will no longer be a blog about a dad writing for his 2 sons. Yes, I’m keeping (trying to) my ego in check. ‘LOL’
So I will soldier on, and write, nice stuffs, mundane stuffs, some day to day stuffs, not-so-nice stuffs; so at the end of the day, I sincerely do hope, the 2 most important readers in the world, find solace and relevance in these writings.
For all my other readers, thank you for the support and it is really very humbling to know that what I write, from the deep caverns of my mind, resonates with you. It gives me a conviction to continue writing, and sharing insightful nuggets about my thoughts about being a parent, parenting and how it our daily affairs affects us.
We reached the hotel like about 9.40pm. tired after a day’s worth of running, flight delays and; our holiday hadn’t officially begun!
So at the front lobby of Kuta Station Hotel, we began the process of checking in, with all the documentation.
Thanks to the internet, we’ve already check out the hotel grounds, the reviews and the pictures, we liked what we saw on the net, and it was exactly that when we reached the place. The service was great, and the bellboy was a great help and extended his services to great lengths. They gave us room 3101, everything was fine except the smell.
It was an intense sewage smell that seeps out from the toilet, And there is no way we can escape that, we called the room service who came and sprayed some kind of deodorizer which neutralized the bad smell, it was a tactical move, and not long after the smell returned, the next day.
Too tired from the day’s adventure, we decide to called their room service and had our dinner outside our room, the food was great, I ordered a pizza and it tasted good! Everything was done clean, and the food was wrapped in cling film, we had no issues with the food.
We woke up rather late and had our first breakfast at the hotel, but before all that we called the room service due to the smell and they came, again with the spray. Your mum took ownership of the can and we used it liberally. Really, really liberally.
We took the streets after a quick breakfast, for our destination fascination, Water Bom! We choose Kuta Station Hotel simply because it was just a scan 5 minutes stroll from Water Bom. Security was tight in Water Bom, as there was a compulsory bag check, which was done by a very freindly security guard.
Needless to say, you boys are very, very excited about it. We got through quickly with the admissions and headed off to fun! Out of instinct, we headed to the kiddy area, which is not a bad idea. We wanted a gazebo, and we were worried that ALL of it will be taken.
The very friendly staff at the locker area helped us with our woes, luckily, there are still gazebos available (actually a lot of them are not taken up) and we took her suggestion ‘number 26’ which is in my opinion, THE BEST GAZEBO IN WATER BOM. Firstly, it overlooked the entire Funtastic kiddy pool play area, and just next to us, a life guard, so it is like having a security guard for our gazebo. And it is the only lone gazebo there, the rest are clustered near the toilet and other places. The breeze is good for number 26 and all other amenities, food, top up counter, locker, toilet are all nearby. Location, Location, Location…
We played with everything our family can play, that means some slides that Wayne’s too short to go for, we have to omit, which is the boomerang, that ride needs at least 1.2m of height for entry.
Wayne, you’re most game for Twin Racer, and made no hesitation. For Ian, you were rather apprehensive, but after seeing you little didi went for the ride, you decided to join the fun. Your mum called it the ‘Aladdin’s ride’ as you have to use a blue foam mat for the ride, which looks something like Aladdin’s magic carpet.
I tried the ‘toilet bowl flush’ ride and that is one of the most exhilarating ride ever!!! You step into a capsule and the bottom is a transparent piece of plastic, which acts like a trap door, it opens and you drop, near vertical down the tube, and slide, screaming down all the way. Wonderful adrenaline rush!
The only family ride we took together was the Python where all 4 of us can squeeze into the dinghy for an exciting, white water rafting style sliding down a dark tunnel, we all screamed all the way down!
‘toilet bowl flush’ ride … is one of the most exhilarating ride ever!!!
We also tried the pipeline, another ride that the little Wayne can take without hesitation, I have a feeling that you are going to grow up to become an adrenaline junkie.
And I have a feeling we will be returning to Water Bom, because there are some rides that is too high for Wayne, and we will come back and finish our unfinished ride.
The money we paid are well worth it, the food is good, your mum ordered an apple crumble and chocolate brownie, and cheese fries for you boys, it was delivered to the gazebo and they will return to collect the empty plates.
Overall, we loved Water Bom, it is fun safe and very thrilling. Very convenient, we walk out we can find food, and convenience. It is so vibrant and they really made us feel very welcomed.
We ended the day around 6pm, the time the water park closes for the day. After trudging back to the hotel, we bath and cleaned up a bit, before heading out again to get dinner at Coco Bistro, at Discovery Mall. Consistent to the spirit of Balinese hospitality, we had a hearty meal whilst enjoying the good service. By then, Wayne is beyond tired and we head back to the hotel to grab our night’s rest.
I decided to give your mum a ‘me time’ for the hardwork she put in helping you, Ian with your exams. So I took you boys out so that your mum can go for her nail message, compliments of Auntie Chai Ping.
Where can we go, 3 male members of the Lim family? The Istana was hosting an open house and it is free entry for Singaporeans, so why not? We packed up and headed out, looking forward to spending some time at the official residence of our President. After all, it is free entry and its been a long time since I’ve step foot in the Istana for a visit.
We reached the place and found it to be raining a little, and got heavier as we approached the Main Building. the compound is really a nice place to visit, with the sprawling greenery, and magnificent lawn. Once we passed the tight security, the first sight that draws us towards was the Swan pond.
The both of you were fascinated with the single white swan there and snapped pictures like it was the last living White Swan on earth. Thankfully the turf on the Istana ground is quite well maintained, despite of the rain, and wet grounds didn’t translate into a muddy quagmire, despite of the heavy trampling by the large crowds.
As we walked up and towards the slight gradient, the both of you chatted that this was where they saw on television the funeral procession of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and wondered where is the Sri Temasek.
The Sri Temasek
The premises was out of bounds and we can only stop to appreciate the diminutive building, where so much of our country’s history has happened there. While we watch, our minds played the mental image of Mr Lee’s cortege rolled out from the place, in a wet day no different from the day we visited Istana.
The Main Building
We had to seek refuge there along with many ‘un-umbrella’ folks, as the sky decided to open up on us. We learned from a Scout there, that we can actually buy a ticket to go into Istana for a house tour. With nothing better to do, I decided to leave the 2 of you with the Scout and headed out in the downpour to get the tickets. There is no photo taking allowed inside so we have to keep our pictures in our head.
The interior is a grand place, which is of course, as we have to host our nation’s guests there. There is an air of importance as well as decorum, you can’t help but feel the importance of such a place to us ordinary Singaporeans. it is important that we host our country’s guests in the highest pristine so that we get the respect and voice in the global community.
The Gun Terrace
This is certainly the highlight for the both of you as you boys take turns to take pictures of it, walk around it and explore this World War 2 relic.
The Military Guardroom
We did a few fun shots there with a few ornamental mini cannons, your little brother, as usual, is such a pain when it comes to making him look at the camera and do a decent pose!
Our signature childhood photo
This is the kind of photograph where we can look back, decades from now and relish the memories. I am sure many of us and our parents out there has a photo like that taken with a soldier standing at attention. This will certainly be a journey I hope the 2 of you can cherish and remember fondly.
Your Great Grand Aunt, Ah Poh, has died. She was 75 years old.
Her demise was somewhat expected as she has been plagued with a number of ailments, diabetes, kidney failure, and finally gastro-intestinal cancer, which was certified by the doctor to be the cause of death.
As much as I am sad for her passing, honestly, I didn’t feel much sorrow for her; rather, I felt that death was a kind of release for her, and also for your grand Aunts too. Your Ah Po wasn’t married, and relied on her 4 nieces and 1 nephew to do most of the care taking, and when it became too much for them to handle, they employed a maid for Ah Po, but even that, your 3 grand Aunts and your Grandma, still make an effort to take care of her, especially in the twilight of her life. Despite of not having kids, her nieces and nephew were her children, they cared for her every needs and wants.
She was a simple lady, with not much needs and wants. Quiet and unassuming, she helped your grand-uncle at his pork stall, until she is no longer able to. For all family gatherings and occasions, she has never made it a grand fanfare or trouble anyone too much. We always enjoyed her presence as our grand dame and of course, her occasional humor.
She belonged to that generation where she don’t display much affection publicly, but she dotes on all her great grand generations, and please remember, part of your Ang Pow coffers comes from her, she never fails to give the both of you every Chinese New Year.
Her final days
She was in the hospital for more than 3 weeks, and through the barrage of tests the doctors made, they found out that there is a cancer growth around her diaphragm, which is physically obstructing her ability to swallow food. Whenever she tried she would vomit.
The cancer growth was aggressive and it was beyond any treatment to save her. By then we knew the eventuality.
Death or the process of dying can be very unpredictable. The dilemma was whether to continue with her dialysis which helps her clear her toxins in the body, but her blood pressure will plummet to a life threatening stage, and if she is taken off dialysis, she will bloat up. The doctors, being the experts in matters of life and death, gave her expiry as a matter of days to live, so her caretakers came to a consensus to take her off the machine and let nature takes its course.
It was on a Tuesday morning when the caretakers were summoned to SGH as they deemed she is at her final hours, it was not to be. Your grandma, through the discussion at her bed side, noticed that she was visibly stirred at the mention of ‘home’. She wants to go home!
What I heard from your mum, was that Ah Po was so happy to be back home, lying on her own bed, stretching and kicking her bolster, feeling so comfortable to be back home. Her caretakers did what they could to prepare for the eventuality to catch up.
We brought the both of you down to see her on Thursday and she is already drifting in and out of her sleep, sometimes she would open her eyes to acknowledge, sometimes, she would just sleep. We were glad we saw her on Thursday, because on Friday, evening she quietly slipped away, while everyone was outside, about to take their dinner.
We weren’t there, your 4th grand-aunt post a message on our whatsapp group that Ah Po has passed away.
When we brought the news to the both of you, already tucked into bed, Ian, you’re the first to cry, followed by your little brother. I think it affected you more than your little brother, because, Ian, you’ve always been the more emotional one. Your little brother cried, perhaps because you cried. But I guess the bottom line is we were glad we brought the both of you down to see her before she died.
The cremation was slated for Monday, 2 November, and all of us tried to be there, for her final journey. the mood is obviously somber as the monks performed the funeral rites. the both of you have to go to school, but your mum and I decided to pull you out to make sure that the both of you attend the funeral. It’s an obvious no-brainer, She is your Great Grand Aunt, this is her funeral, period.
Remembering our past
I think we as Asians, don’t talk much about death as if it is a taboo, I agree with that, but I want to make sure that you boys remember your elders who has passed away, these people are the reason you boys are here. Without our past, without these elders, whom have shaped us, we will not be able to carry on the values and ethos to the next generation.
More importantly, I want you both to remember and talk about your senior generations, it is obvious that when (if) you both have kids, you will tell them about your Ah Po, whom they have never met before. And you will tell the people you’ve met about your Ah Po, the kind things she have done for you both. You cannot have a beautiful future by not telling a story about your beautiful past. sometimes the past is sad as it contains death and destruction, but these are events no one can escape from, we all will die, and we all will depend on our future generations to tell stories about us, so that we can live forever, in the stories you children tell the next generation
What an adventurous Sunday we had! We decided to head to Johore Bahru to check out Angry Bird Activity Park, with your grand parents tagging along!
We decided to take a bus from Yishun Interchange which runs AC7 into Kota Raya 2 bus terminal in JB. We left Yishun for JB at about 11.50am, with Ian running out of patience! The bus journey is pretty nice, uneventful, and the bus driver was a seasoned one, as he must have traveled that route everyday. he seems to know how to beat the long queue, only to be beaten by a car, which broke down in front of us!
Since it was father’s day, me, being your dad gets to go in for free, and if you ‘like’ and upload your picture into their Facebook, the other family members gets a 25% off! Not a bad deal. And the grandparents gets to go in for free, as they we senior citizens. Cool!
By the time we settle our lunch and let the both of you loose, it was already 4pm, the both of you played until 5pm, when the place close for an hour. The evening session starts from 6pm and ends at 10pm. (And no, we are determined not to let you play till 10pm!)
The park was fun, you boys went crazy and ballistics with the trampoline, the Air Parkour Park, Piggy Shooting Gallery, and other fun stuff, there are go-kart for you boys to paddle, we joined in the fun as well, go-karting round and round. I went crazy on the trampoline too, it was great fun for everyone. You mum joined in doing her tarzan swing, but she refused to let go of the rope and fall into the foam pit. Knowing her, she will find the pit too dirty for her to come into contact with. Well, for the sake of fun why not???
We left about 8pm for dinner, as we are determined to leave JB as soon as we can, but we know our efforts were futile. we will probably reach home past 1am.
AC7-Our Saviour, our Bane
After dinner, at a lackluster Kenny Rogers outlet at JB City Square, we headed home. I didn’t really have a plan to get us back to Singapore, the idea is to get past customs, take whichever bus that comes along, we can land at either Woodlands MRT, or take AC7 to land back at Yishun, which is the best case, or the trusty 170, which runs to Bugis.
Problem is, after we cleared the customs, we couldn’t figure out the queue line for AC7, so we ended up queuing at 950 to bring us to Woodlands MRT. But a pleasant surprise awaits us! AC7 turned up at the berth next to 950’s and we gleefully hope on it. It was our best case scenario! In the melee, I paid RM$1.50 for the 5 of us (弟弟 rides free), which in actual fact takes us to Woodlands and not Yishun. A full fare to Yishun would be RM$3, which I realized from the receipt.
We knew when we reach Woodlands checkpoint, we have to clear the customs quickly as the AC7 bus will not wait for everyone, the bus will leave when it is reasonably full, whoever missed can wait for the next AC7, which might be more than 30 minutes away. By the time we clear the customs we are already pushing towards 11pm.
But we were late! I think I caught a glimpse of the AC7’s familiar purple colour bus drove away from the bus bay. And as usual, there is no signage telling us where to wait for the AC7. Tired and frustrated, we took the next best option, 170 service which ends at Kranji MRT, if we can get there we can get home by MRT.
Phone MIA- leave no phones behind
When we alight from 170 at Kranji MRT, Ah Ma announced our next adventure, Ah Gong has left his phone in the Xray machine tray, he took his black bag, but he didn’t take his phone. Your Mum and I sprang into action. I call Starhub to get the line suspended, your Mum called the ICA to see if there is a remote chance of recovering the phone.
The scenario was bleak. There are hundreds of people passing through that check point using the same tray, if the Customs Officer didn’t pick up the phone before anyone does, then the reunification of the phone with Ah Gong will really depends on a Good Samaritan. We were never that optimistic.
I got the phone line suspended, and your mum, managed to get to ICA, Woodlands checkpoint, and to our surprise, the officer says he will check and call us back. Which we don’t think he would. The clock is pushing for 11.15pm, and it looks like we have to take a cab home instead.
Your mum’s phone rang and much to all of our surprise, the ICA officer called back and said the ‘black LG phone’ is with him! Your mum, Ah Gong and Ah Ma immediately hailed a cab from Kranji back to the Woodlands customs to get the precious phone back, while we hang around at Kranji for them to come back. It was a tiring wait, Wayne is already on the verge of sleeping. Ian, too tired to be restless.
They came back, close to midnight, your Ah Gong, a happy trooper, to have recovered his phone. It was a simple phone that wouldn’t have cost much even if you sold it, but it is the photos of his precious grandchildren in it that he will lose. This upsets him more than anything else. And getting is back made him the happiest grandpa in Woodlands.
By the time we hailed a cab, and reach him, it was close to 12.30 in the morning. you boys, dead tired, slept till mid day the next day, Your dad, has to crawl out of bed to work as it is a Monday. But what an adventurous Sunday we had!