Playing Monopoly

Playing Monopoly

Dear Boys,

We will always remember Monopoly as our go-to board games, and we started this game back around May 2020, where the whole world was still gripped dealing with COVID-19, and Singapore was caught in a Circuit Breaker where most of us were made to stay home. Your dad lost his job, and with nothing else to do, we huddle and play games!

Other than Monopoly, we also dabbled with Uno, as well as Scrabble, but it is Monopoly that kept us playing the longest.

Turn of Fortunes

It is really a very engaging game and your dad has the dubious record of going to jail for 4 consecutive times. The final 4th time had your mum laughing in stitches. I was just one move away from the ‘Go To Changi Prison’ spot and I swore no way in hell I’m gonna roll a ‘One’ on 2 dices, with 2 dices, with both getting ‘1’, I’d still pass it right?

Wrong.

It had to be that the 2 dice got stacked and the one on top turns out to be ‘1’! It just has to be this way. Off to jail I go. That means I missed collecting $200 FOUR times, $800 bucks gone, sitting in jail.

Other than this story of a lifetime, playing Monopoly also teaches us that luck, fate and fortunes changes.

For the first time Wayne play this game, you got very upset to the stage of tears when you start to lose your money to taxes, and paying us for landing in our property. There is a strong sense of pessimism and dread when things don’t go your way. It took us a while to explain that this is the rule of the ‘game’ and not everyone wins consistently, and some others, (like your dad) suffered worse fate!

I had to borrow, mortgage my property at one point in time to get myself out of financial woes. Ian, your elder brother fared much better in terms of financing and wealth.

However, as we played on, more often than not, Wayne you end up either the richest, or one of the richer ones. You own Queen Astrid Park and every time we stepped in there, we are taxed heavily to the verge of bankrupt! You also had the first hotel in the game.

Dec 2022 Monopoly

We played this game again in Dec 2022, during the school holidays and again, you seem to suffer the same detrimental outcome. This time you were older and we can explain the Law of Attraction, and see it in action. While you lament and whine about your pitfalls, the more pitfalls you seem to have.

When we tried to change your world view and see some glimmer of hope in the dice you rolled, which sometimes favours you, things seems to look up, one way or the other. It’s a strange thing, this Law of Attraction, but there is some experiential truth to it. you think yourself into the reality you want, even when things are not going your way.

Roll of the Dice

Sometimes, it is really the roll of the dice, and that is how it is, Monopoly is a good microcosm of the life at large. Sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you don’t and you have to wait your turn, for things to get better. Being negative, whine, gripe, complain and sulk won’t change a thing, and staying in negativity will often cause you to miss a good turn (pun intended). We simply wallow in self-pity that even when things are looking up, we are not able to see it, because of our closed negative mindset.

Sometimes, it can be just plain dumb luck, but luck aside, which is not something we can control, but we can control how we perceive things. A simply game of Monopoly can teach us if we are going to crumble because of a bad dice roll, or are we going to keep our hopes up, keep playing and before you know it, you’re winning. well if you ever go bankrupt, just remember it is just, Monopoly.

Leaving a Legacy

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Dear Boys,

Joel’s Ah gong did one heck of a job with his garden. He took an empty piece of land and turned it into a little oasis that everyone can enjoy.

More importantly, he has build something to be left as a legacy. All of us will leave something behind when we die, the question is the what we leave behind. As your parents the biggest legacy I have and will continue when I die is the both of you, this is the most direct form of legacy. You will continue my genes, my stories and carry on my history. you will tell you children(if you plan to have children) about my stories, and your children(if your children plan to have children) will tell their children about my stories and yours. Legacies usually goes from word of mouth to word of mouth.

Sometimes having a legacy means that you leave your work undone, for people to continue. Work can be large or small. Mr Lee Kuan Yew left us the entire country as his legacy for us to continue, that is a monumental task!. For Joel’s Grandpa, his garden will be his legacy.

The pond.. where little fishes swims

It is a beautiful piece of work, and it is all him, he got the land from his Resident’s Committee, did the planting, and segregation, there is a little pond, some chilies plants, there is a small corner for cactus and it is all well spaced out. It is a simple piece of joy to walk in it and it will be a spot for everyone to enjoy! He is still working on it and every little plant and flower has been touched by his green hands.

Of course, he couldn’t have done it alone. But if he hadn’t started something, then other people can’t follow. His garden draws fellow gardeners there, to help him, and also to work and make the garden nicer.

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And gardening is a never-ending job, if you do it well, it can go on and on. There are constant challenges, in making sure the plants are watered, pests, kept at bay. When the plants bear fruits, you can distribute it to the community. when plants whiter and die, you grow new ones. and when Joel’s Grandpa dies, his garden will continue and someone has to take over the task. To keep up the good work. and when people look at how magnificent the garden is, they will remember the person who first bring about its fruition.

We will also remember him, because he has given us place that we can enjoy.

First Published: July 22, 2015

The Toy Train

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“And if this misunderstanding sinks in, it will become a bitter reality for you two when you become adults.”

Dear Boys,

Wayne got a toy train set for his 6th birthday, compliments of your uncle Philbert. You two have been bugging me to open it ever since you got it and I only relented until the weekend.

It is a nice little train set, with the train engine, and a little coal carriage (which hides the 4 ‘AA’ batteries), 2 passenger compartments and a cargo carriage. The track itself, is where the story begins.

It was an ease to fix, but a pain to get the train to run smoothly on it. it was either very precise or very imprecise, we ran the train a couple of times and it gets derailed again and again. My experience tells me that we have to run it a couple of times for it to get run in.

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Until then the little train continue to get derailed, and I stood back to see how the 2 of you troubleshoot the situation. Looking back, the efforts you both put in can be best described as ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’

弟弟 was doing what he thought would be helpful, by turning the train on and off, but it only frustrates the 哥哥 while the 哥哥 tries to align the wheels on the track. It didn’t take long for the both of you to get caught in the cycle of perceived mischief.

The 哥哥 will be thinking that 弟弟 is into mischief when he tried to turn on the little train, when all the 弟弟 was trying to do was to solve the problem. And 弟弟 didn’t know that 哥哥 was beginning to accuse him of disrupting the problem solving process (something which 弟弟 has done in the past, as he does have a strong history of mischief) So I witness a slippery slope down, where both of you are trying to solve the problem in your own way, not knowing that in doing so, you both are sabotaging each other’s effort.

It was interesting to see this and I became conscious that if no one intervene, it will eventually be a little nasty seed planted between the both of you, as you both grows up, both of you will see each other’s effort to help as a sabotage. And if this misunderstanding sinks in, it will become a bitter reality for you two when you become adults.

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I stepped in and explained what has happened, more importantly, turn the whole perception around. and make the both of you see that the whole problem solving approach together, and as a fun thing. Working together to try and align the train on the tracks, and monitor it while it moves, and when it gets derailed, one alerts the other and we all stop the little train so that we can fix it. 弟弟 becomes the assistant and helped 哥哥 who is the ‘engineer’.

Truth to be told, once the little train runs in, the derailment becomes a lot less and both of you boys began to enjoy playing with the little train set. More importantly, I’ve change the way you boys see that the train derailment, as part of the fun, and not just a problem.

First published: March 10, 2015

Name calling- Eunoia

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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

Why is Aikido an Art of Peace?

Why is Aikido an Art of Peace?

Let’s look at a common scenario these days.

For the more law abiding members within the population, how many of us entertained thoughts of berating people who do not wear masks during the heights of the COVID19 pandemic? Feeling like punching them in the face for not putting on the masks?

How often have we scoffed at people getting their comeuppance? Or we gleam at the opportunity being the one who delivers the punishment?

Tit for Tat, anyone?

Aikido is not Attritional

When we are on the mat, we are not keen to display our superiority and overpowers our opponent. We are not keen to show off that we are better than our partners, nor are we keen to put up a good show.

It doesn’t add up to anything good.

Being inconsistent is an attribute of being a human, we cannot keep up a façade of excellence 24/7/365. We will falter, we will mess up. And when we do, we will need help and support from our fellow humans, friends and even strangers. By pretending that we are better, puts us at a stand-off distance, and alienates people who are in a position to help us.

A false sense of superiority also triggers a competitive instinct in our partners, as they will feel put down by the feeling of being less superior to us. When this comparison starts, the whole dynamics will become a duality, good to bad, superior to inferior, win/lose and swinging back and forth creates an inefficient imbalance which will destroys the harmony we need to achieve our goals.

No chance for destruction

Harry sensei’s style of Aikido lacks a large repertoire of Atemi, which is a kind so ‘soft’ strikes that helps us break our opponent’s balance or distracts them from the actual waza we are doing.

While he has never clearly explained why he doesn’t do much atemi, the understanding is that atemi can invite atemi. When we strike, our opponent can strike back, which will change the whole dynamics of how we want to practice Aikido, by ending things amicably. Striking can potentially escalates the tension and build more conflict, even when we are successful in our strikes, the hurt from being hit is very acute and it can invite retaliation.

How often has we argued with our uke in the principles of MAD? Mutually Assure Destruction’; “I can hit you from that spot! I’d say. And in turn my uke showed me that I can be hit, in exchange of hitting. And because Aikido is such a close quarter art, we will risk being hit, while we engage in hitting people.

Turning dissipates aggression

Aikido is circular. cyclic and cylindrical, even when we do not see it. When violence or aggression occurs, it is often directed, at someone, or something, which means it has a linear energy, it needs to get out, from point A to point B.

“I am hurt (Point A), so I will hurt the perpetrator back (Point B)”

“You punch me (Point A), I will hit you back (Point B)

It draws us back again to a duality where there is one winner one loser.

We want to circle that negative energy so that it can dissipates, and we can absorb it to neutralise the aggression. We do not want to use our own body to absorb that aggression through hard training and conditioning, again, there is only so much punishment the body can take before capitulating, so it make more sense to direct any force outwards, than to use our body to contain the blows.

One Good Turn

Given our volatile world, we need more purveyors of peace, by not fighting, not stopping the aggression with more aggression, instead, using our skills to ‘bleed’ out the negative pressures, we give the situation a chance to deconflict and deescalate the tension.

Aikido’s circular motion means that our opponent’s oncoming energy has a course to run, in a way that is harmonious to both of us. We take away their ability to hurt us, and also hurt themselves. In a move like irimi-nage our uke’s forward motion is turned away from its original path and circled to a location where we will be in a better position to end his/ her energy naturally.

Coax not overpower

This is a higher order skill that is very difficult to achieve, because we have to completely forget about our own stances, and self, and fully immerse into our opponent’s being and intention. Only when we are able to dissipate our image in front of our opponent, then we can have a chance to turn his aggression around, and coax them into a position safe for everyone.

Surely we can overpower our uke, once we are in a superior position, and once our opponent feels that they are being over powered and loses the fight, they will find a way to over power us and win back the fight. What’s the whole point in that?

Project Peaceful Intentions

We often invite the trouble we hope to avoid, and until we can find out why, troubles will continue to follow us. Coming to the mat to practice helps us better understand our own aggression. and puts us in a more pleasant, and joyful state. How often have we come across a person whom we don’t like simply by the way he/she stands? Somehow that manner of postulation simply invites a sense of arrogance or bigotry.

So we need to avoid being picked up as a target for violence or aggression, not by being belligerent, nor by being pacifist. We need to remain neutral in our stance and stay open when we are engaged in a stressful situation, always seek out a better way of making sure all parties involved walks away without a sense of retaliation, only then can we attain the peace we all strive to have in our lives.

Day three at Bali, Shopping, shopping, shopping

Day three at Bali, Shopping, shopping, shopping
Beautiful Kuta Beach
Beautiful Kuta Beach

Shopping!

It was a day dedicated to exploring the Kuta strip, as well as shopping, your mother’s vice. As Kuta Station Hotel is conveniently located almost smack middle of the Kuta belt, we came out, walked right all the way up to Hard Rock Hotel, exploring and munching, grabbing some touristy stuffs from Matahari. It was a hot day, and after a sun kissed day in Water Bom, we were sun kissed some more walking our beat on Kuta. There is a lot to see, and do, and everywhere, people will tout you for business. Not in a overly oppressive way, but they genuinely want to part money from your wallets, and if you are keen to, you have to bargain, aggressively. Prices can plummet from RP 120,000 to just RP 45,000. And your mum drives a hard bargain. She cuts the price until the stall owner pleaded her for profits. But that is how it works, everything transacted in good spirits and commerce.

Cheap after a hard bargain!
Cheap after a hard bargain!

There are some who are cheeky enough to ask where we are from, and wants us to give them our Singapore currency as souvenirs. ‘Yeah right.’ I told these lame jokers, I only have Rupiah with me.

We went to Kuta Beach via the main gates and are greeted by more touts, they sell everything, you need, and if you don’t stop, they can’t stop you, so we have to ignore them and walk and enjoy our stroll. The view from the beach is wonderful, the openness, the vastness of the Indian Ocean. The beach is beautiful, sans the touts, it is a place you can really sit and relax.

Kuta beach, sans the local touts
Kuta beach, sans the local touts

We walked on and shopped for more gifts, and then headed back to our hotel to deposit the goodies, before heading out again, turning left, for Lippo Mall, another shopping mall which is similar to the Discovery Mall we visited last night.

But is was not to be, Lippo Mall is much cleaner, more up market, the toilets are cleaner and they have a hypermart there, which we walked through, checking out their goods. It was a nice spacious mall with a pleasant surprise, they have a cineplex at the basement showing some nice movies.

We came out of the mall and something nice was happening at the Mall front, there were some Volkswagen streetvan selling food, and these vans can be driven on the road. The stall owners were game enough for the both of you to climb in, on board for some photographs. It was nice as we do not have such food vans in Singapore.

Food truck @ Lippo Mall
Food truck @ Lippo Mall
Food truck! Volkswagen style!
Food truck! Volkswagen style!
Food bike!
Food bike!

We took our stroll back to Discovery Mall, so that you dad can grab a sunset view of Kuta. It was a magnificent sight! We can see the sunset, along with all the sights of Kuta, the folks having fun at the beach, planes landing, the waves, the surf, you can stand and everyone is there to see the movement of the sun, slowly across the horizon, that bright red, orange spot light we called the Sun, setting. And once the sun is completely over the horizon, we can officially call it night time! Of course there are still some residual light and it is still bring before the sun really goes down.

Hindu customs at Bali
Hindu customs at Bali

It was at the beach that I asked one of the Balinese why they have offerings everywhere on the floors, at escalators, in front of shops, streets, stalls. That is where we learned that the Balinese made such offerings 3 times a day, and it is a bad thing to have stepped on them. Caution boys!

We walked back and pondered what to have for dinner, and we settled for a place just 2 hops away from our hotel, they served a decent meal of local fare and western food. We headed back to the hotel, slurping on ice cream we bought outside our hotel. It was a good way to end the day.

The sun over Kuta
The sun over Kuta

Our final Bali Day

We woke up to have our breakfast before heading to the airport for our flight at 1045hrs. Which means we have to be at the airport by 0845hrs, which means we need to be on the road by 0800hrs. Your mum has everything worked out and we got our taxi from the hotel which delivered us to the airport in less than 10 minutes in a Monday Kuta morning traffic.

Checking in is a breeze and we have that settled quickly, thereafter we proceeded to WH Smith to dispose off all our Rupiahs, your mum bought a whole lot of cooking seasonings, and other munchies, I spend the last bit on a packet of Fisherman’s Friend and a stick of bubble gum.

The place where we unloaded all our Rupiah
The place where we unloaded all our Rupiah

Until now, you boys are still harbouring hopes that the plane will get delayed by some volcanic ashes so that your holidays can be extended. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that didn’t happen and we flew back in comfort.

The flight was a very good one, on a very clear day, we can see clouds and the sea, as well as the land. Ian, you spotted a couple of cruise ships at the sea and it was truly a great day to be flying. There were clouds floating by us, like cottons. Some really massive clouds from a distance really makes you think that they are solid enough to walk on, and live in there. It sure looks like a piece of solid real estate and it is no surprise if people will think that there might be a heaven lurking in there somewhere.

We landed in Changi Airport, home sweet home and ended our Bali holidays. It is certainly an experience for us to remember!

Family shot before departure
Family shot before departure

First Published: December 5, 2015

Day 2 of Bali Trip-Kuta Station Hotel and Water Bom

Day 2 of Bali Trip-Kuta Station Hotel and Water Bom
The boys chilling at the front lobby
The boys chilling at the front lobby
Our sweet welcome drink from the hotel
Our sweet welcome drink from the hotel

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.

Your mother checking in...
Your mother checking in…

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.

Wayne's beef sausage hotdog thing.
Wayne’s beef sausage hotdog thing.
Ian with his chicken stripe thingy
Ian with his chicken stripe thingy
station pizza, its actually quite good
station pizza, its actually quite good
Wife's Balinese spread. The chillie is super spicy!
Wife’s Balinese spread. The chillie is super spicy!

Day 2: Water Bom

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.

At the entrance, waiting for fun to begin!
At the entrance, waiting for fun to begin!

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.

Owner for the day lah
Owner for the day lah
Gazebo number 26, best!
Gazebo number 26, best!

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…

Funtastic play area. you boys spend the most time here.
Funtastic play area. you boys spend the most time here.
At the Funtastic kiddy play area, just outside our gazebo
At the Funtastic area, just outside our gazebo
Ian having fun
Ian having fun

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.

Ian at the Twin Racer.
Ian at the Twin Racer.

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.

Wayne with his Conetto
Wayne with his Cornetto
Ian with his Magnum
Ian with his Magnum
The food! which is very Good!
The food! which is very Good!

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.

After Waterbom, Wayne's too tired to walk
After Waterbom, Wayne’s too tired to walk

First Published: December 4, 2015

Our Bali Adventure-Day One, The Plane trip

Our Bali Adventure-Day One, The Plane trip
3K241 departing .0715hrs, gates open!
3K241 departing .0715hrs, gates open!
Terminal 1, at about 6am in the morning
Terminal 1, at about 6am in the morning
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Gate C11, waiting to board our plane…

We can choose our trip, but we can’t choose our adventures.

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boarding yay!

We experiences exactly that when we depart for our Bali trip on 27 November, a warm Friday morning. We booked a cab, we took the first early flight to Bali, Jetstar 3K241, on an Airbus A320, and we were all excited about what lies ahead. The flight will be about 2 hours 40 mins tops, and we settled down with the take off, and other mundane experiences of taking an aeroplane.

Ian, your timing was impeccable when you asked your mother,’what time are we landing?’ To which your mum replied, ‘in just about 30 minutes.’ We’ve been on the air for about 2 hours and looking forward to touching down on Bali about 9 or 10 in the morning, on schedule. Cool.

‘hate to be the bearer of bad news…’

That was when the PA system came on and the captain of the plane told us, he ‘hate to be the bearer of bad news…’ (His exact words!!!) and proceed to professionally deliver it to us, due to the volcano erupting spewing volcanic ash into the atmosphere….(I was still think at this part, ok, our landing will be delayed. Which is fine. Still) … ‘We are unable to land and we will be returning to Singapore’… Yes… returning to Singapore…people in the plane was shocked in disbelief…. Not to mention an air of disappointment. The captain proceed to sum it up… ‘Safety first…’ And that was that. And to add on, the return flight would be another 2 hours…. Of on-air dismay…

Landed back in Singapore, about 11.40am
Landed back in Singapore, about 11.40am

It was no fault of anyone actually, it’s just one of those things, unexpected. While we were flying back, I was still half entertaining thoughts that ‘Hey, things might take a turn for the better and we might make another U turn and head for Bali!’ That’s me entertaining wishful thinking, but of course the reality is that, there is only so much fuel the plane hold, and once a decision is made, it is made and will not revert.

The look on your face was utterly disappointment, Wayne, I don’t know about you, Ian, because you were sitting with your mother, but from what I know from her, she said you look just as sian. Well, what to do, we are all encapsulated in an airborne flying tube, with no control over what has just happened, we cannot march into the cockpit and commandeered the plane to land in Bali, the pilot is doing his job for the safety of the entire plane. It is a sense of helplessness, that our plans for the day, or even for the whole holiday might be in jeopardy.

So your mum and I worked out our contingent, claim insurance. If we can take an afternoon flight, we would, we might lost a day, but we can still salvage the rest of the trip, and the highlight, Water Bom.

So the plane made its way back and we sat pondering our fate. The crew was very nice and tried their best to make everyone comfortable. We landed in Singapore, with the cabin crew announcing ‘Welcome to Singapore.’ There were a lot of ‘pfffft…’ And hmph!!!….’ In the air but everyone knew and understood it was not really Jetstar’s fault. It was their company’s policy on safety, and we cannot argue with them on that, better we land back in Singapore, than to have other untoward situations happen elsewhere.

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As it was Singapore Changi Airport, we were not short of help. We were told to proceed to Transit counter ‘C’ to check out our alternatives. As we were amongst the last to leave the plane, a queue has already formed at the counter. The Changi Airport staffs wasted no time helping us, by allowing us to help ourselves with their inexhaustive supply of Nescafe Canned coffee, Milo, bottled water, biscuits, Oreos. They helped to allay our inconveniences. The staffs were also very helpful in ‘babysitting’ the both of you while you parents handled the process. It always feels good to be home, even if we were inconvenienced.

We learned that there is another flight out for us, which will depart in 1525hrs, which means we have a little more than 2 hours to kill in the terminal, we were given meal vouchers to settle our lunch at Burger King (honestly we weren’t too starved after gobbling the biscuits and drinks), but want not waste not! We got our meals and had our tummies filled.

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kill time at a terminal 3 play area

We explored the terminals a bit, since this is quite a rare chance for us to have free time, we went to terminal 3 to explore and then took a sky train back, after going to our gate at C11 only to find out that the gate was empty, we panicked and your mum rushed ahead to check what happened, did we missed the flight???!

Delayed!
Delayed!

Turned out we didn’t and the gate was changed to D38, which is at the other side of the terminal. So we rushed there, only to find out the flight was delayed! Until 1705hrs, gates open only at 1605hrs. So we sat and waited again. It sure feels a bit like the Amazing Race! Without the prize money.

So much happening for Day 1! And we have not reached Bali! Eventually, we did, board the plane; the plane took off; the plane flew for the entire journey; and landed in Bali!. This time there was an euphoric cheer in the whole cabin, when they announced “Welcome to Bali!”

Our 'Lucky' SG 50 plane
Our ‘Lucky’ SG 50 plane

First Published: December 3, 2015

Punctuality

Punctuality

Dear Boys,

This is one virtue that will never go out of style, it will always be trending and you can never be wrong with it.

Being on time is something we all need to strive, and I am certainly not the prime example, your mum would forever say that I was late for our first date! What an impression I made huh.

On Time, Every Time

This is your report book, Ian, if there’s anything you can be proud of, that will be the ‘0’ you have for the records. You 弟弟 is also a stickler for punctuality, constantly hustling me to get out of the house on time so that he will be on time. In fact he would like to be very early.

Remember this habit, and always practice is.

Long Tail Effect of Being Late

We engaged a Math tutor and she is brilliant in her work, but we can never trust her to be on time. She is so consistent in being late for your lessons, we wouldn’t bet that she will be punctual. There is always some kind of excuse, and it got so bad one time; she was more than 45mins late! So we have to push bac our dinner appointment because she was so darn late. While you can be an ace performer, brilliant in your work, and perhaps an expert in your field. but if you cannot turn up on time, it will affect the way people depend on you to get things done. You may not see the effect. but having the entire village wait for you to turn up also shows your lack of respect for other people’s time. It also distracts people from your real talent and cause people to doubt your abilities.

Tip of the ice berg

Never mind why you are late, honestly people don’t care about the reason why you are late. You. Are. Late. If you consistent bend time, the effects will show, once people casts an image of your tardiness in time, that reputation will be difficult to shake off, and it will precedes everything else you do. When you can’t plan your personal time well, people will come to a conclusion you are not good at planning anything at all.

Of course that is a sweeping statement, and you are your best agent to make sure people don’t come to that wrong conclusion. So that is the first battle to fight and win, be on time.

Being Early is Being On Time, and Being on Time is Being Late

This is a mantra I try to practice every time, granted that the vicissitudes of life is a constant curve ball, you cannot expect the unexpected and you will be late for this or that, now and then.

So always add some buffer into your time; if you need one hour to complete a task then turn up some place else, add another 30 minutes extra wouldn’t hurt. If you are cutting it too close, and you might be late, let people know in advance, and still endeavor to be on time.

End on Time

Being punctual is not only about being there on time, it is also about ending on time, so that you can let people go about with whatever other tasks they have after your time with them. Ending on time also tells people you can deliver within that stipulated window and speak concisely in a tight package, focused and undistracted.

There are some unforeseen issues that will crop up, make sure you don’t get drawn away from the main point. Keep the main point the main point and take other matters that might come up later when you have settled the main point.

Much more than punctuality

Being on time builds credibility and trust, people can count on you to show up, on time, and things can get done. This is a virtue that will never be out of fashion and you boys must continue to keep to this best practice wherever you go and in whatever you do.

Camping June 2022

Camping June 2022

Dear Boys,

We decided to spice up our lives for the June 2022 holidays by going camping. On our own. Woohoo.

With the limited space campsite available, we picked an offshore one, at Pulau Ubin, Jelutong Campsite, and one of the challenges will be getting ourselves cleaned. Unlike the campsites on Singapore, we are very much on our own at Pulau Ubin, and we have to lug our own drinking water there. So yeah, no bathing for the night.

Enter the Beast

So with the enhanced logistics, encumbered by water, we decided to buy The Beast, which is essentially a 4 wheeled cart that allows me to load the camping stuff and pull it there.

This is certainly very helpful as we don’t need to walk our supplies there on our back, and it helped us bring more stuff that which gives us greater comforts. This trip do gives us feedback on how to improve our next camping trip.

Setting up

We got there early and found a hut where we can use as a additional shelter and we got to work. Now that you boys are older, it is certainly more helpful with 2 extra pair of hands.

For our ‘bed’ we tried to use airmocks, and it looked something like this, we brought 2 along and unfortunately it didn’t work out as it was hot to sleep on, and we cannot hold the air in it and it deflates itself.

Our dinner, barbeque!

Setting up the fire isn’t a big deal and we learned to us a portable battery operated fan to help speed things up. This is also another learning point for us which we will talk about later.

Played with fire, knives and sticks

It was after all the great outdoors and I brought along my SOG Seal Pup and SOG Force knives for play, and thankfully you boys handled the sharp items well and got to have fun shaping branches into ‘spears’ and other sticks for fun and play.

Jeluntong Campsite has a designated spot for us to start campfires, but we didn’t have anything large enough to burn and it was harder than it looks trying to start a fire on our own.

Things we learned

Bring a fan, a big one.

The small little USB fan was really heaven, but it had to be held by hand, and the wind wasn’t strong enough to bring enough ventilation for our hot, humid night there, we barely catch any sleep, and you mum certainly didn’t as she held the fan up throughout the night.

So now we got this bad boy which has it’s own internal battery to last a lot longer, it has it’s own legs, or we can hang it, it also come with LED lights so it is the perfect tool for our next camping trip!

Inflatable mattress

Yoga mats won’t cut it, ground sheet is a no, no. we are going to sleep with some comfort, and we are definitely getting one of these. It will be softer and keeps us off the ground, so the next time we do this, we are all going to get some sleep!

Make sure you have camping permits

Our expereince in ubin showed us how safe Singapore is, the Police still did their rounds, twice checking in on us and our permits. They were friendly enough to warned us on some of the wildlife we might encounter, such as pythons and monkeys. We did come across some hogs which are residents to Pulau Ubin.

Great fun

This was certainly a very different experience from the one we had back in 2017, as back then we camping in a larger group, and had activities set up for us to enjoy, there was also food provided, but this one we really lived on our own, having our own freedom to just enjoy the wilderness and being responsible for our own stuffs.