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.
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.
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.
“And if this misunderstanding sinks in, it will become a bitter reality for you two when you become adults.”
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.
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.
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.
At the onset the school is already risking alienating themselves from the local heartland population.
There is a new kid on the block in the junior college (JC) industry. The new JC will be called Eunoia JC.
There are 18 other JCs in Singapore are simply called;
Anderson JC, Anglo Chinese JC, Catholic JC, Hwa Chong Institution JC, Innova JC, Jurong JC, Meridian JC, Nanyang JC, National JC, Pioneer JC, Raffles JC, Serangoon JC, St Andrew’s JC, Tampines JC, Temasek JC, Victoria JC, Yishun JC.
Some of these JCs have a heritage to their names, some are very established and has a long history, some are new, some choose to tie their name to the specific geography where the school is located, Yishun JC is located in Yishun, and so is Serangoon JC (well, sort of). There is some logic towards naming these schools. There were another 2 new JCs which was opened at the turn of the 21st century, Innova (in Woodlands) and Meridian (in Pasir Ris).
By the way, Eunoia JC is not even going to be sited anywhere near to ‘Eunos’, the next most rhyming Singapore word.
Even these 2 schools, which names sounds a bit more contemporary, was spared the limelight the way Eunoia JC is in right now.
Well, I can live with Meridian, or even Innova, which sounds a little cheesy, too pushy toward inspiring, but yes, Innova loosely equates ‘innovation’; well, we do openly harbour hopes and desires we have for our future generations, to be innovative.
(Even MS Words and WordPress spellchecker flagged it red!) It’s Greek loosely meaning ‘goodwill’ and some ethical human foundations. One of the many flak it received was it’s too difficult to pronounce, and Greek? Sounds a bit too far from Singapore, geographically speaking. On top of the economic situation they are in? Not the best example of a nation state in the current free world.
According to the incumbent principal Mrs Wong, there was a selection process and Eunoia was chosen over 199 other suggestions, this was based on an online suggestions from stakeholders like parents, students, then there was ‘brain storming’ (what a cliche!) and consultation which took them 6 months to choose Eunoia. It was revealed that, these processes are documented and recorded, as in any bureaucratic government sanctioned work. I’m sure they also document and record as to how they came about with other names for other JCs.
K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Gen Z JC
So maybe, based on their records, they tried out ‘Meridian’ in 2003, no one really bat an eyelid, ‘Innova’ was up in 2005, well, didn’t create much of a buzz either. So base on their past experiences perhaps, no one really bothered with the names, so they were probably embolden to try something different… hence Eunoia (I’m still trying to get used to typing this Greeky word); and it hit a media storm.
Since this is the newest kid on the block, I wondered, why did they choose a name that is from an old. long dead civilization? Is Eunoia going to teach Greek philosophy? Mythology? How is Greek culture related to ours anyway? Will there be statues of Greek gods in the schools? How far will they take the Greek theme to?
And I wonder how will our young, tech-addicted, literally-glued-to-the-smartphone generation (Gen Z) take to the name? Does it even inspire them to higher Greek aspirations? I’m not sure if I am.
In my own small pragmatic way, the way to name names is a 4 word-acronym… K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple, Stupid.
As we all can see, this is not as simple and stupid as it seems. Even big, smart organizations like MOE can trip on it. Process upon process, brain storming and consultation, group thinking will not work. Logic and sensibility will always prevails, a good name sticks quickly, has a good vibe and helps bring in the right crowd, is Eunoia trying to target a Greek audience?
No local wise cracks?
Why do we need to travel to Greece to get a name? We have plenty of smart, wise people in Singapore. All our state Presidents, past and current are great people, why not Benjamin Sheares JC? Yusof Ishak JC? They bring a sense of Singaporean-ness to the JC, students can relate and entrench to that. They can read up on these great men and also aspire great things, for Singapore, not Greece. These names are closer to home, and gives our school a local identity. Oh, why not name the JC after a great Singapore woman? Joaquim JC would be a simple one, easy to mouth as well.
Stay grounded, MOE
Most schools in Singapore are meritocratic, which means we are going to have heartlanders aunties and uncles sending their kids to this strange sounding school for their education. These folks will know nuts about Greek, and mouth something as ‘cheem‘(deep), profound and greeky as Eunoia; all they want for their kiddos is to have a good education. As much as the Eunoia JC’s principal defending the school as not wanting to sound ‘high class’ but wanting to provide ‘world-class’ education. But in this naming gaffe, people are already thinking the former, even before you can prove to deliver the latter. At the onset the school is already risking alienating themselves from the local heartland population.
It was 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We reached the hotel like about 9.40pm. tired after a day’s worth of running, flight delays and; our holiday hadn’t officially begun!
So at the front lobby of Kuta Station Hotel, we began the process of checking in, with all the documentation.
Thanks to the internet, we’ve already check out the hotel grounds, the reviews and the pictures, we liked what we saw on the net, and it was exactly that when we reached the place. The service was great, and the bellboy was a great help and extended his services to great lengths. They gave us room 3101, everything was fine except the smell.
It was an intense sewage smell that seeps out from the toilet, And there is no way we can escape that, we called the room service who came and sprayed some kind of deodorizer which neutralized the bad smell, it was a tactical move, and not long after the smell returned, the next day.
Too tired from the day’s adventure, we decide to called their room service and had our dinner outside our room, the food was great, I ordered a pizza and it tasted good! Everything was done clean, and the food was wrapped in cling film, we had no issues with the food.
We woke up rather late and had our first breakfast at the hotel, but before all that we called the room service due to the smell and they came, again with the spray. Your mum took ownership of the can and we used it liberally. Really, really liberally.
We took the streets after a quick breakfast, for our destination fascination, Water Bom! We choose Kuta Station Hotel simply because it was just a scan 5 minutes stroll from Water Bom. Security was tight in Water Bom, as there was a compulsory bag check, which was done by a very freindly security guard.
Needless to say, you boys are very, very excited about it. We got through quickly with the admissions and headed off to fun! Out of instinct, we headed to the kiddy area, which is not a bad idea. We wanted a gazebo, and we were worried that ALL of it will be taken.
The very friendly staff at the locker area helped us with our woes, luckily, there are still gazebos available (actually a lot of them are not taken up) and we took her suggestion ‘number 26’ which is in my opinion, THE BEST GAZEBO IN WATER BOM. Firstly, it overlooked the entire Funtastic kiddy pool play area, and just next to us, a life guard, so it is like having a security guard for our gazebo. And it is the only lone gazebo there, the rest are clustered near the toilet and other places. The breeze is good for number 26 and all other amenities, food, top up counter, locker, toilet are all nearby. Location, Location, Location…
We played with everything our family can play, that means some slides that Wayne’s too short to go for, we have to omit, which is the boomerang, that ride needs at least 1.2m of height for entry.
Wayne, you’re most game for Twin Racer, and made no hesitation. For Ian, you were rather apprehensive, but after seeing you little didi went for the ride, you decided to join the fun. Your mum called it the ‘Aladdin’s ride’ as you have to use a blue foam mat for the ride, which looks something like Aladdin’s magic carpet.
I tried the ‘toilet bowl flush’ ride and that is one of the most exhilarating ride ever!!! You step into a capsule and the bottom is a transparent piece of plastic, which acts like a trap door, it opens and you drop, near vertical down the tube, and slide, screaming down all the way. Wonderful adrenaline rush!
The only family ride we took together was the Python where all 4 of us can squeeze into the dinghy for an exciting, white water rafting style sliding down a dark tunnel, we all screamed all the way down!
‘toilet bowl flush’ ride … is one of the most exhilarating ride ever!!!
We also tried the pipeline, another ride that the little Wayne can take without hesitation, I have a feeling that you are going to grow up to become an adrenaline junkie.
And I have a feeling we will be returning to Water Bom, because there are some rides that is too high for Wayne, and we will come back and finish our unfinished ride.
The money we paid are well worth it, the food is good, your mum ordered an apple crumble and chocolate brownie, and cheese fries for you boys, it was delivered to the gazebo and they will return to collect the empty plates.
Overall, we loved Water Bom, it is fun safe and very thrilling. Very convenient, we walk out we can find food, and convenience. It is so vibrant and they really made us feel very welcomed.
We ended the day around 6pm, the time the water park closes for the day. After trudging back to the hotel, we bath and cleaned up a bit, before heading out again to get dinner at Coco Bistro, at Discovery Mall. Consistent to the spirit of Balinese hospitality, we had a hearty meal whilst enjoying the good service. By then, Wayne is beyond tired and we head back to the hotel to grab our night’s rest.
We can choose our trip, but we can’t choose our adventures.
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…
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.
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.
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???!
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!”
Aikido is a close combat art. It works best when you are closest to your partner. And the paradox is that in order for you to get close to your partner, you need to expand.
What is ‘expand’? Some calls it ‘extension’, or using your ‘ki’. Simply put it, it is putting your thought in a sphere which is rotating round and round, out and out. When you expand, your energy is perpetual, when you contracts, your energy will diminish.
Expanding energy is not a linear propulsion. Nothing works in a straight line, everything as a rotational and spherical phenomenon. You need to see beyond the lines to see the circular energy in action. And all positive circular energy radiates outwards.
An attacking energy can be loosely classified as ‘negative’. There is an intent and once that intent is fixed, it is closed, and concentrated. To effectively deal with a fixed, closed and concentrated intent is a long, open and dissipated trajectory.
You bring your attacker out and round and round, ever expanding. The more you expand, the harder your attacker will try to hold onto the fixed, closed and concentrated intent. But as long as you are travelling and expanding, your attacker’s original intent will be lost. Plainly speaking, he is point A, attacking your point B, but you bring him to ‘C’, ‘D’ ‘E’ and ‘F’ then back to ‘B’. By then the point of origin will no longer hold relevance in the attack or the energy of the attack will be exhausted by the round, long circular movement. It will capitulate at its own peril.
Expanding will also allow you to see a bigger picture than the attacker. It allows you to check your blind spot, check your back, check for other attackers. Expansion also allows you to dissipate your own anger, your own doubt and your own closed perception. Expanding is opening a massive gate in which both you and your attacker can enter with ease. When you close, you will struggle in a phenomenon of scarcity only which one will prevail. Aikido is an art for all to prevail. The best way to do so is to expand your energy.
All I really learned from Aikido was to be nice to myself and to be nice to other people. That means you do not take advantage of people when they are down, or injured.
It is probably the only martial arts that does that. You really have to treat your partner with respect and preserve your partner’s well being so as to make sure he or she turns up for training the next time!
Those who are movie buffs would have remembered the climax scene from both the original as well as the latest version of The Karate Kid. In both movies, we have the bad guys fighting Ralph Macchio or Jaden Smith. Both of them were severely injured no thanks to the bad guys and, the bad guys capitalised on the injuries.
Well, that is life, you can put it that way, survival of the fittest.
If you are in a Kumite and it is the championship round, you know your opponent is probably nursing a cracked rib from his previous bout, would you have decide to not to attack his cracked rib, or you would go specifically for the wounded area, so as to incapacitate him and win the bout?
As far as where I am practicing, when my partner is injured, or I have knowledge that there are some injuries, I’d be mindful not to further aggravate that injury. It is not me being noble, it is something I see happening in Aikido; your partner will take care of you, if you need to train when you are injured. There is a genuine level of care, we want our partners to be well.
I think we all go to our dojo, ‘wounded’ one way or another, and if we are conditioned to compete for a win, foresaking our opponent’s vulnerability, we are also foresaking our own vulnerabilities. If we cannot help our partners heal their wound, we cannot open ourselves to help from others, to help us heal our wound.
I’d like to go to a dojo, knowing that I can be myself, that my fellow students will take care of me. instead of going to a dojo with a brave front, hiding my injuries, so that I will not be taken advantage of. It is a lot harder for me to learn in such an environment.
Ian bellowed across the supermarket aisle at the frozen section.
Sometimes it is not the best way to tell people about your serendipitous wealth.
The Law of Finder’s Keepers.
Your mum told me about something like this when she was about 5, your little brother’s age. She was with her mum, on a Sunday going to the market, her mum was walking in front, when your mum was blocked by a $50 note lying on the ground in front of her.
She too shouted for her mum. This time she said: “There’s a $50 on the ground!” repeatedly, whilst her mum was gesturing repeatedly at her to pick it up and shut her gap.
She did, pick up the wet note and her mum took it away from her.
That was her.
For us, I saw the lonely $2 on the floor, unbelievably, no one saw it, and it is not as if the aisle is vacated. I walked a pick it up and kept it, of course. But not without Ian telling the whole world your dad’s keeps.
Well, boys, it isn’t the easiest thing to do as to explain the law of such finds. I mean, what is someone walks up and say, hey that is my $2! What can I say? What can you say?
This is one of life’s grey area, there is no right no wrong to it, but you cannot simply just leave the $2 buck on the floor! If you don’t pick it up, someone else would and guess what, finders, keepers!