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 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.
The world we live in is full of myths, taboos and other old wives’ tales on how things should be or should not be done. For me, I asked a group of friends over Facebook, and they came up with some really original ones.
- “Don’t consume mutton if preggers . Like the baby might get epilepsy or fits in future.”
- “They kept saying to drink Soya milk and bird nest so that the baby will become really fair .”
- ” Like if u take chicken feet , your feet will become really strong . Does it work that way ?“
- “Also k not consume too much bird nest, or else the baby would prone to asthma or coughing.”
- “Avoid colas too during lactation…it will affect the infant. Real story not mine tho!”
- “Leaving bits of rice in your rice bowl after a meal will cause your future spouse to have lots of acne and pockmarks.”
- “bad luck to open an umbrella indoors.”
- “Shaving a baby’s head and eyebrows will ensure that the hair will grow back thick and luscious.”
- “One old myth: During pregnancy, don’t sweep the bed floor right underneath the bed… Baby will have lots of hair… Seriously I worry about those who believed this… Hygiene and cleanliness are more important…”
- “Never look at ugly people or monkeys and dogs during pregnancy. Heard from old folks”
- “Always comment n say how you like your baby’s facial features to be during pregnancy period n the truth will happen.”
- “Never paint or Knock your wall during pregnancy? Don’t try ya..”
- “Never use scissor on the bed during pregnancy “
- “Never fix wiring , ( I did ), then seriously Elias had his umbilical cord haywired. “
- “Don’t tickle the baby’s feet or he/she will be afraid to walk”
- “Don’t say “wah baby you are getting heavy”. Will induce jealousy from the evil spirits”
- “When baby suck his/her toe, u r he/she is going to have a bro/sis soon.. lol”
- “Don’t use anything sharp to cut on the bed when pregnant….. If not, the child will have cleft lips”
- “Never wash hair and have the fan blowing on oneself within the first month after one has given birth, or you will have wind in your body (Tao Hong…lol)”
Kwee Huat Wee
- “Do not let the young eat fish roe, otherwise they would grow up poor in their calculation.”
So there you have it, I’m sure the list is not exhaustive and in your time, you might have heard of new new ones, or some of these might stay to your time! Do add your own to this list and everyone can have a good time learning from it!
( Thanks to all contributors from #1303, you know who you are!)
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.