Moving to a new website-http://theaikidad.wordpress.com

Dear Boys,

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.

 

 

Have you got friends like Eeyore’s?

https://www.facebook.com/cmhagb
https://www.facebook.com/cmhagb

Dear Boys,

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.

Name calling- Eunoia

Name calling- Eunoia

IMG_20160107_122222

At the onset the school is already risking alienating themselves from the local heartland population.

Dear Boys,

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.

KISS… again!

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.

Links

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/whats-in-a-name-eunoia-jc-spells-it-out-in-a-letter

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/eunoia-jc-please-rethink-the-name

http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/press/2015/12/new-government-junior-college-to-be-named-eunoia-junior-college.php

http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore-news/eunoia-or-ev-nee-ah-jc-principal-explains-why-name-was-chosen

http://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2015/12/eunoia-i-know-yah-he-know-yah.html

What is a Flag?

 

 

2014-01-01 08.16.04

Dear Boys,

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.

photograph of Singapore-sourced from Aaron Loh
photograph of Singapore-sourced from Aaron Loh

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.

Heard about these parenting taboos?

Dear Boys,

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.

Erena

  • “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 ?

Agnes

  • “Also k not consume too much bird nest, or else the baby would prone to asthma or coughing.”
Flo
  • “Avoid colas too during lactation…it will affect the infant. Real story not mine tho!”

Jason

  • “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.”

Yvonne

  • “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…”

Gracia

  • “Never look at ugly people or monkeys and dogs during pregnancy. Heard from old folks”

Dawn

  • “Always comment n say how you like your baby’s facial features to be during pregnancy period n the truth will happen.”

Matthew

  • “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. “

Samantha

  • “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”

Melody

  • “When baby suck his/her toe, u r he/she is going to have a bro/sis soon.. lol”

Olivia

  • “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!)

All time high…3519

Dear Boys,

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.

A letter to our daughter by Mark Zuckerberg

A letter to our daughter
Dear Max,
Your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future. Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.
Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.
While headlines often focus on what’s wrong, in many ways the world is getting better. Health is improving. Poverty is shrinking. Knowledge is growing. People are connecting. Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today.
We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.
We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today. Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here.
But right now, we don’t always collectively direct our resources at the biggest opportunities and problems your generation will face.
Consider disease. Today we spend about 50 times more as a society treating people who are sick than we invest in research so you won’t get sick in the first place.
Medicine has only been a real science for less than 100 years, and we’ve already seen complete cures for some diseases and good progress for others. As technology accelerates, we have a real shot at preventing, curing or managing all or most of the rest in the next 100 years.
Today, most people die from five things — heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases — and we can make faster progress on these and other problems.
Once we recognize that your generation and your children’s generation may not have to suffer from disease, we collectively have a responsibility to tilt our investments a bit more towards the future to make this reality. Your mother and I want to do our part.
Curing disease will take time. Over short periods of five or ten years, it may not seem like we’re making much of a difference. But over the long term, seeds planted now will grow, and one day, you or your children will see what we can only imagine: a world without suffering from disease.
There are so many opportunities just like this. If society focuses more of its energy on these great challenges, we will leave your generation a much better world.
• • •
Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality.
Advancing human potential is about pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be.
Can you learn and experience 100 times more than we do today?
Can our generation cure disease so you live much longer and healthier lives?
Can we connect the world so you have access to every idea, person and opportunity?
Can we harness more clean energy so you can invent things we can’t conceive of today while protecting the environment?
Can we cultivate entrepreneurship so you can build any business and solve any challenge to grow peace and prosperity?
Promoting equality is about making sure everyone has access to these opportunities — regardless of the nation, families or circumstances they are born into.
Our society must do this not only for justice or charity, but for the greatness of human progress.
Today we are robbed of the potential so many have to offer. The only way to achieve our full potential is to channel the talents, ideas and contributions of every person in the world.
Can our generation eliminate poverty and hunger?
Can we provide everyone with basic healthcare?
Can we build inclusive and welcoming communities?
Can we nurture peaceful and understanding relationships between people of all nations?
Can we truly empower everyone — women, children, underrepresented minorities, immigrants and the unconnected?
If our generation makes the right investments, the answer to each of these questions can be yes — and hopefully within your lifetime.
• • •
This mission — advancing human potential and promoting equality — will require a new approach for all working towards these goals.
We must make long term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking.
We must engage directly with the people we serve. We can’t empower people if we don’t understand the needs and desires of their communities.
We must build technology to make change. Many institutions invest money in these challenges, but most progress comes from productivity gains through innovation.
We must participate in policy and advocacy to shape debates. Many institutions are unwilling to do this, but progress must be supported by movements to be sustainable.
We must back the strongest and most independent leaders in each field. Partnering with experts is more effective for the mission than trying to lead efforts ourselves.
We must take risks today to learn lessons for tomorrow. We’re early in our learning and many things we try won’t work, but we’ll listen and learn and keep improving.
• • •
Our experience with personalized learning, internet access, and community education and health has shaped our philosophy.
Our generation grew up in classrooms where we all learned the same things at the same pace regardless of our interests or needs.
Your generation will set goals for what you want to become — like an engineer, health worker, writer or community leader. You’ll have technology that understands how you learn best and where you need to focus. You’ll advance quickly in subjects that interest you most, and get as much help as you need in your most challenging areas. You’ll explore topics that aren’t even offered in schools today. Your teachers will also have better tools and data to help you achieve your goals.
Even better, students around the world will be able to use personalized learning tools over the internet, even if they don’t live near good schools. Of course it will take more than technology to give everyone a fair start in life, but personalized learning can be one scalable way to give all children a better education and more equal opportunity.
We’re starting to build this technology now, and the results are already promising. Not only do students perform better on tests, but they gain the skills and confidence to learn anything they want. And this journey is just beginning. The technology and teaching will rapidly improve every year you’re in school.
Your mother and I have both taught students and we’ve seen what it takes to make this work. It will take working with the strongest leaders in education to help schools around the world adopt personalized learning. It will take engaging with communities, which is why we’re starting in our San Francisco Bay Area community. It will take building new technology and trying new ideas. And it will take making mistakes and learning many lessons before achieving these goals.
But once we understand the world we can create for your generation, we have a responsibility as a society to focus our investments on the future to make this reality.
Together, we can do this. And when we do, personalized learning will not only help students in good schools, it will help provide more equal opportunity to anyone with an internet connection.
• • •
Many of the greatest opportunities for your generation will come from giving everyone access to the internet.
People often think of the internet as just for entertainment or communication. But for the majority of people in the world, the internet can be a lifeline.
It provides education if you don’t live near a good school. It provides health information on how to avoid diseases or raise healthy children if you don’t live near a doctor. It provides financial services if you don’t live near a bank. It provides access to jobs and opportunities if you don’t live in a good economy.
The internet is so important that for every 10 people who gain internet access, about one person is lifted out of poverty and about one new job is created.
Yet still more than half of the world’s population — more than 4 billion people — don’t have access to the internet.
If our generation connects them, we can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. We can also help hundreds of millions of children get an education and save millions of lives by helping people avoid disease.
This is another long term effort that can be advanced by technology and partnership. It will take inventing new technology to make the internet more affordable and bring access to unconnected areas. It will take partnering with governments, non-profits and companies. It will take engaging with communities to understand what they need. Good people will have different views on the best path forward, and we will try many efforts before we succeed.
But together we can succeed and create a more equal world.
• • •
Technology can’t solve problems by itself. Building a better world starts with building strong and healthy communities.
Children have the best opportunities when they can learn. And they learn best when they’re healthy.
Health starts early — with loving family, good nutrition and a safe, stable environment.
Children who face traumatic experiences early in life often develop less healthy minds and bodies. Studies show physical changes in brain development leading to lower cognitive ability.
Your mother is a doctor and educator, and she has seen this firsthand.
If you have an unhealthy childhood, it’s difficult to reach your full potential.
If you have to wonder whether you’ll have food or rent, or worry about abuse or crime, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.
If you fear you’ll go to prison rather than college because of the color of your skin, or that your family will be deported because of your legal status, or that you may be a victim of violence because of your religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, then it’s difficult to reach your full potential.
We need institutions that understand these issues are all connected. That’s the philosophy of the new type of school your mother is building.
By partnering with schools, health centers, parent groups and local governments, and by ensuring all children are well fed and cared for starting young, we can start to treat these inequities as connected. Only then can we collectively start to give everyone an equal opportunity.
It will take many years to fully develop this model. But it’s another example of how advancing human potential and promoting equality are tightly linked. If we want either, we must first build inclusive and healthy communities.
• • •
For your generation to live in a better world, there is so much more our generation can do.
Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges. I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives.
As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.
We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.
We’ll share more details in the coming months once we settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves. We understand you’ll have many questions about why and how we’re doing this.
As we become parents and enter this next chapter of our lives, we want to share our deep appreciation for everyone who makes this possible.
We can do this work only because we have a strong global community behind us. Building Facebook has created resources to improve the world for the next generation. Every member of the Facebook community is playing a part in this work.
We can make progress towards these opportunities only by standing on the shoulders of experts — our mentors, partners and many incredible people whose contributions built these fields.
And we can only focus on serving this community and this mission because we are surrounded by loving family, supportive friends and amazing colleagues. We hope you will have such deep and inspiring relationships in your life too.
Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children. We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world.
Love,
Mom and Dad