Have you got friends like Eeyore’s?

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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.

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!)

Our shared stories

Dear Boys,

You dad’s friend, Uncle Adrian has been very kind to feature this blog on his posts. You see he was making a list of Dad Bloggers in Singapore and you dad happened to be one of them.

I know what this blog is for, you boys can read it when you are much older (perhaps sooner than later!). Getting attention is the last thing on my list, yes, it is still on my list. You can find out more about Dad bloggers from his post http://adriantan.com.sg/the-ultimate-list-of-daddy-bloggers-in-singapore/

Just out of curiosity, I went to see what the other Dad Bloggers are about, by far, hands down, without going into details, the rest of the guys beat this blog hands down. They have better graphics, pictures, more colours, more interesting stories too!

I also saw that a number of them put very nice family photos, kiddos and all. I blog with none of the both of your being pictorially exposed. I write about you both, I tell stories about the both of you, but I want none of your pictures in my posts. Well, at least not your most current pictures.

Why?

Perhaps it was a protective nature for me, as your dad, you boys are entitled your privacy, you both are young now, and wouldn’t know if it is the best thing for your pictures to be in the internet, and attract attention and consequences that we least expected.

Well, maybe I’m being a little paranoid, what could happen? At best, good vibes, people recognizes the both of you, and you boys attract and enjoyed a decent following. Or otherwise! The bottom line is as your dad, I cannot assume that in pasting your picture all over the net, is in your best interest. You boys deserve your privacy, and perhaps when you are old enough to decide, you can decide if you want all these attention, until then I as your dad, will decide that you boys will have the privacy to grow at your own pace.

In the year 2065

Dear boys,

Our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong  talked about the next 50 years of Singapore lately. And I sat that afternoon at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre having my packed lunch, and I wondered how much will remain 50 years from now.

Singapore as a country that is constantly changing. The Singapore in the 90s will be very different from the Singapore, now, and it will be different again 10 years from now. We, as a country is the best example of the evolutionary principle. We got strong, remain strong through constant self imposed change. Long before things need to be replaced, we’ve already replaced them.

My Lunch at Esplanade Open Theater Anyway, while I sat down to have my lunch, I looked at the Esplanade Bridge, it was build in 1997. That means the bridge is 18 years old. And will it still stands 50 years from now? Will the building, One Raffles Place still stands? Will the CBD still looks like the CBD 50 years down the road?

I will be 89 then, your mum 87, Ian will be 60? And Wayne, a ripe young, 57! So many things will happen that has yet to happen.

During my time, my generation of Singaporeans grow up listening to rather staid stories about how we were founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, and the fable of how a prince lost his way in a storm and saw a Lion (there was never a record of that magnificent beast in Singapore!) and named our island ‘Singapura’, we also hear a lot of our pioneering generations’ struggles, racial riots, world war 2, and other stories that will probably become tales and fables 50 years from now.

More importantly, boys, tell stories of your own, there will be many more challenges ahead, many more social events, there might be another world war, there might be other calamities, there may be other social political unrest, revolutions,  and other events, these are stories that will make up your life. Tell these stories to your kiddos, tell them like how I tell you, because our heritage will be passed on from mouth to mouth, stories we tell our kids are the stories of our nation.

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’.

The Everyday Experts

Dear Boys,

In my time, there is this group of people who are colloquially called The Everyday Expert, in our context, let’s call them “TEE” for the sake of the conversation.

These TEEs are everyday people, most of them quite well-studied, meaning they commonly hold a degree or higher, working professional, a specialist in their line of work. And they are OPINIONATED.

Take for parenting. I learned recently on phrase “When a person who does not have kids, gives me parenting advise, I’ll tell them to f**k off!”

Well, I am not that sort to tell people profanities, after all these people  to be helpful. They’d like to let you know about something that you might not know about. But then again, the road to hell is pave with good intentions. It is these good intentions that I would like you two to take note of. Every intention is borne out good. But not everyone out there can tell you how much bad, good can do in the wrong turn, time, context and crowd.

I can tell you being a parent, your parent, there is no one standard way of raising you 2, What works for Ian, might not work for Wayne. One rules have to be bent, the other enforced. There are no standards in parenting. When you come across well intended people who gives you nice sweeping statements like these, they are potential TEEs.

You: ” I jogged regularly, sometimes, about 15 klicks at a go.”

Potential TEE: “Oh you got to watch out for your knee, My cousin, he is a regular jogger and he takes XXX supplements to protect his knees!”

This inferred reference implied that the TEE has potentially never actually jogged as much as you did, so he would like you to know that he knows of someone who jogged as much even more, hence a reference to an expert, will potentially makes him one.

TEEs typically would be eager to volunteer their opinions to you, without you asking for them. To them it is a contest of content, not context. As long as it is ‘parenting’ they will have something to say even though the closest they’ve got was being a kid’s uncle or aunt. TEEs typically have answers to ALL questions, and solutions to all problems, including disarmament of the Nuclear Superpowers, and the impasse between North and South Korea, and the reunification of the North and South Poles.

Never let these people influence you, spot their shallow and slightly out of context answers quickly and move on, don’t get hook answering them, because it will be a waste of your time, and your response will only give them power to showcase how little they know.

And of course, please, do not become a TEE. If you find yourself doing anyone of those things I’ve just described, find a nice solid concrete pillar and bang your silly self smart-ass skull on it hard!