Boy’s Weakness

Boy’s Weakness

A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,”the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sense replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.

He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

Moral: Sometimes we feel that we have certain weaknesses and we blame our creator, the circumstances or ourselves for it but we never know that our weaknesses can become our strengths one day. Each of us is special and important, so never think you have any weakness, never think of pride or pain, just live your life to its fullest and extract the best out of it!

(source: https://www.facebook.com/yellowribbonproj)

 

first posted: Apr 1, 2014 10:47 AM

No straight lines

No straight lines

Nothing on Earth travels in a straight line, everything has a curvature, even a seemingly ‘straight’ line. Take any given ‘straight’ line, magnify it 500x, and you’ll see features and landscape that ebb and flow like any other terrain, magnify it yet another 500x, your straight lines will vanish into microscopic images.

Point in case, my eldest son asked me a very, very good question.

Son: “Pa”

Me: “Yes?”

Son: “The Earth is round right?”

Me: “Yes, of course.”

Son: Why don’t the people staying at the lower parts of the earth feels as if they are upside down?” (While I’m sure there is a perfectly sound,  scientific explanation for that, but it struck me as a pretty darn good question!)

Life is always delusional, and it will always be a horizon. we can see the horizon as a straight line, but we all know by now, beyond that ‘straight’ line, is the curve of the Earth.

When you think Aikido, it is precisely that, a straight curve line. It is grounded in a spherical nature because that is ultimately, how thing, in nature is, a curve, a circle. Sometimes, the circle is small,very, very small, sometimes it is very big, as in 365 days orbit-ally big. Some times even larger, many lifetimes larger.

So we need to see things in a bigger light. Aikido, to many, appears on the surface as a straight line, we look at the technicalities of it, the effectiveness, and the this-versus-that argument, well that is all straight line talk. Aikido is a curve ball no one can see coming, and yet it has no secrets, all you need to do is endure the travel of the curve, and the teachings will always reveal itself, just round the curve.

first posted: Jan 24, 2015 1:54 AM

Our Road Trip to Coney Island

Dear Boys,

Coney Island is Singapore’s latest island open to public. How ironic it sounds as Singapore by itself is an island too!

Coney Island first visit
Coney Island first visit 11 Oct 2015

I made a visit myself on the second day of opening and found it a haven island, left rustic the way it is. The beach was the thing that took my breath away. Of course the beach is not white sandy beach, Maldives equivalent, but it was good enough for me, there is the sea, sand and shore. There is very minimal human presence such as a BBQ pit, signage (Singaporeans loves signage!) or lighting. It was kept this way by the NParks . Kudos to them for doing a great job!

So I had to bring you both there, and since the exams is over, and you boys are raring for a road trip, we borrowed our neighbor’s (its great to have great neighbors!) adult bikes and off we go!

Lorong Halus Way

We took the Lorong Halus way as it is the one closer to our house, we just have to cross the bridge linking Punggol to Lorong Halus wetland. From there is was a vehicular road and I took the lead, Ian following, Wayne the third and your mother covering the back. I can hear the constant yell from your mother to tell the both of you to ‘KEEP LEFT!!!’

East Gate, entering through Lorong Halus.

We used the East entrance to enter and cycled the inner trail, the one closer to the beach, so that I can show you boys how the beach looked like.

There were threats and news of Sand-flies, and people falling victim to these insects, thankfully, we didn’t encoThe Beach at Coney Islandunter any of those! We continue to take the trail and Ian you, having your mountain bike, surely finds no trouble handling the terrain, your little brother Wayne, with his little BMX, took the trail with gusto, falling innumerable times, getting up, and falling down and getting up again.

We cycled a little further to the heading towards the west side of the island and we could see clearly another larger island, Pulau Ubin. We can clearly see the jetty used by Outward Bound Singapore and was wondering to ourselves if the distance was actually swim-able. Which all of us agreed, it is!

Outward bound Jetty @ Pulau Ubin, as seen from the beach

We carried on with our cycling, and both Ian and I have to slow down and stop occasionally so that your gritty little brother could catch up. We found the sign for Coney Island and your mother asked a Malay couple cycling behind us to help us with the pictures, and we in turn helped them snapped theirs. It’s always nice to be nice to other people.

A family shot at a now-ought-to-be-famous photo spot.
A family shot at a now-ought-to-be-famous photo spot.

We left the Island via the West entrance and was feeling hungry, we didn’t settle for the usual palate at Punggol Settlement, and we decided to brave on and cycle further up, towards SengKang, and finally ended up at Seletar Mall to have our meal. thankfully, although the dark clouds loomed, rain didn’t happened as we cycled back, the same way we came, and by the end of everything we realized that we have clocked over 20km of cycling in total! The amazing things is, having being bitten by the cycling bug, you boys pounced on the idea of a night cycling, which your mum and I think, you both will be too tired to continue, so we told you both to sleep, when we reached home, which was about 6pm? and if you both can wake up by 10pm, we can go. And of course, without having to mention it, you both slept like a log! through the night!

The total distance we took to cycle.
By the time we reached Seletar Mall, we have covered 14km

Other helpful links

http://www.ladyironchef.com/2015/10/coney-island-park-singapore/

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/coney-island-park-opens-to-the-public

http://www.littledayout.com/article/ten-things-you-need-to-know-before-visiting-coney-island.html

First published: Nov 16, 2015 11:42 PM

New Year’s Eve, The Movie

New Year’s Eve, The Movie

happy new year

Dear Boys,

I was never a person who believes in festivities, much less a ‘Happy New Year!’ which in reality, just another day, another number on a calendar. Well, me, pragmatic to the core. Or so I thought, until I saw the movie New Year’s Eve.

All things end, before any new beginnings can start.

I can still remember vividly catching this film with your mum, in December 2011, at Shaw Orchard. We were on a date, and we wanted to catch a movie, not to sure what to catch we looked at the posters and I felt that New Year’s Eve is a safe bet, as it has Robert De Niro, and other star-studded casts, Hilary Swank, Jessica Biel, Zac Efron, etc, etc.

The film was so good, it changed my mind about New Year’s Day. It still does. In fact, I just caught it again with Ian for 2016’s New Year’s Day movie, when they showed this movie on TV.

So what’s so good about the movie?

Well, the movie was set at 2010’s New Year Eve’s celebration at New York, and what happened to a bunch of really hot, good looking people on the turn of midnight. There are many many events happening, all weaved into the movie. I like it because, all these seemingly independent events, comes together eventually at the end of everything.

It tells a story about all these people, who internally have some emotional knots, unsettled business, some of them want to crawl into their abode, and let the New Year pass, somehow they were dragged out of their negativity and the larger scheme of things caught them and changed them.

It is also about regret. All of us has it, we want things to be better, but we cannot changed the past, we have to look forward, but our past drags us down, we cannot shake it off, when an event like the New Year comes along, it metaphorically tugs at us to let go of those bad vibes, leave them in the old year. Let the regret stays there.

More importantly, it is about taking a chance to take action. The New Year motivates us to take a chance. Take a chance with people whom has hurt us before, give them another chance to change. The New Year gives us courage to charge forward, some in foolhardiness, others with gusto.

How it has changed me?

Like I said it, I’m not a big believer of ‘New Year’ when everything is still the same, people die, plane crash, sun rise, moon set. The dreary daily mundane things goes on.

After watching the movie, I felt that there is a meaning for festivities, especially for something as big as the New Year. Celebrating it (or not) gives our lives meaning, texture, an event.

Like it or not, it will come, like Christmas, Like the impending Chinese New Year. These events, are larger than us, and calls for a celebration no matter what.

No matter what, meant that we have to look beyond our troubles, woes, warts and all. We have to look up, we are forced to, by these events, to look back, and reflect. There is no hole you can dig that is deep enough for you to escape any celebrations. Your birthdays are a celebration. Yay!

We have to celebrate

No matter how bad life is, how terrible a condition we find ourselves in, we will celebrate, invent a season for celebration. Because we humans live and thrive on joy, happiness, and all that irony. I read that even in the darkest days of the Sarajevo Siege back in the early 1990s, the folks would find any form of reason for celebrate. One resident even called for a celebration, and the reason for the celebration? Losing 10 deutschmarks.

Closure

All things end, before any new beginnings can start. The New Year is a time where we can find our closures, make peace and move on. The year may be bad, but having a calendar meant that no matter how bad, it will end. It has to, the sun will set, a year will end. We really need to take stock of our efforts and time, and look into the future, the New Year. It can also be a dreary thing, looking in petrification what bad things is going to happen. But like I said it, we humans live on hopes and dreams, not doom and fear.

Stay positive, the New Year is here

So sons, when you think that life is bad, and you want to skip a celebration, think of it deeper. An event is something abstract, you cannot hold it, nor touch it, yet it will come and everybody will celebrate like crazy, forget all their troubles and hatred for once, drop everything and celebrate! If you have nothing much to celebrate everyday, then these are dates on a calendar you can mark, to celebrate, lose yourself, and let the large scheme of the New Year Celebrations take over you for once!

First published: Feb 4, 2016 12:00 AM

Everything is protected

Dear boys,

I saw this signage when I was hiking at Bukit Timah hills yesterday. “Everything is protected.”

It was an epiphany for me because, when you think about it, isn’t that obvious?

But before we get to that, let’s talk about the word in question here. ‘Protect’, what does it mean? Well, loosely speaking it sort of means, a kind of ‘shield’ against something untoward. To keep away from hurt, harm, injury and other nasty stuffs.

Well, in reality, can you? Will you NEVER get hurt, injured, maimed, scratched, scolded, insulted, beaten up, scalded and other nasty things? Can you protect yourself from all that?

If you cannot, then what is the meaning of ‘Everything is Protected.’ then? If there is no point since ‘Nothing can be protected, fully.’ Reality sucks huh.

Think deeper, Why isn’t it obvious that everything is protected?

Nature and evolution has a way to handle the adversity that comes our way. Sure, we can never fully accommodate every possible calamity that  is thrown at us. There is a lot of life ending methods out there, we can die from disease, from ballistic trauma, lighting strike, choke on Churros, die from insult. or die for no reason. On the other side of the coin, how many inspiring stories are out there, where life continues despite of being shot at, spat at, maimed, injured. insulted?

There is a level of protection built into everything. Even a cell has its own protective design! Against a reasonable amount of threat, in which the protection is designed to work against, the protection will work. But if you overwhelm the protection, failure is assured,

That is on a mechanistic, and rather scientific prediction.

But this is life we are talking about, and life has its own quirks and some surprising ability to scale the insurmountable. So what it means ‘Everything is protected’ it means that everything has a protective design built into it. We as humans, on the other hand must ‘Protect Everything.’ Protecting everything means that we use, and not abuse things. thing will surely fail when abused. To protect is to use sensibly.

Even when injured or hurt, the protective mechanism is still in place and active. We are constantly protected and will continuously receive protection and we must make sure that we know that and use our protection. One way of protecting ourselves, is to protect others, and through mutual protection, we strengthen our ability to resist adversity.

So while everything is protected, we must make sure we protect everything.

 First published: Oct 14, 2013 9:17 PM

Ceremonial Parents

Parenting is not cool.

Dear Boys,

I noticed a new classification of parents.

Consistent with our ability to pay and outsource almost everything we do in life, many parents have found ways to outsource their roles as parents. Perhaps we humans, living in this era of busyness, are stretched a little too thin, wearing too many hats at one go, we have to forsake and get others to handle the ‘non-core’ functions in our lives.

Parenting is a very time consuming, life consuming role, with little material gratifications. Sometimes, parenting can clash with people’s self image, lifestyle. People want to look cool, being parents it is very hard to look good with a wailing child in your harness, it is very hard to look suave when you have to change diapers, in the hot sun, in the middle of a park. You cannot look Angelina Jolie-chic when you have to pin your kid down just to get them to take a sip of water. Parenting is not cool.

So a lot of parents, with cash to spare, little time to care, have their dirty jobs done by others. In Singapore, the main parenting workhorse is the ubiquitous domestic maid, typically hailing from countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar and other neighboring countries.

But that is not what I’m talking about.

To really qualify as a Ceremonial Parent, you have to make yourself scarce in your child’s life, turn up only at glam events, like your kid’s birthday bash, significant events, like when your kiddos need to attend other kiddos’ birthday bash. Well, ceremonial events.

Ceremonial Parents can pay for day to day duties to be handled by anyone else other than the parents themselves; domestic maids, the maternal Grands, the paternal Grands, childcare centers, the neighbor downstairs, the family pet dog, whoever and whatever has the time to do these mundane, unimportant stuffs.  The caretakers will pat the kiddos to sleep, feed them, medicate them when they are sick, cajole them when they are scared, clean them up when they are dirty. Well, the mundane stuffs.

While ceremonial, glamorous duties only occur like, every now and then, and the mundane duties taking up bulk of a kiddo’s life, already outsourced, doing so actually free up a lot of time for the Ceremonial Parents. Which is very effective time management!

What can Ceremonial Parents do with all these free time?

  • Look as if they are busy;
  • Focus on their job;
  • Make more money;
  • Socialise with their friends, drink party, be merry;
  • Live an image of a childless couple, and go home late after a party, wake up late after a party;
  • They are free to travel, for weeks on end, as a couple to exotic places, and experience ‘life’!

Ceremonial Parents are never tied down, never bothered by their kiddos sleep regime, diet regime, diaper regime, medical regime. When the Ceremonial Parents will return home from their crusades, they will come back bearing presents and bath their kiddos with gifts from faraway land, adorn them with apparatus bought home from their trip.

So why the gripe? Looks like a good life, win/win for all!

As a parent, there is no ‘non-core’ function, everything and every little time I can spare to spend with you makes me a father, upgrades my skills, trains me to be a better one, for you both. You boys taught me so much, everyday, to be a better human being than the one moments ago. While I lament not able to spend more time with you both, and it makes me wonder how Ceremonial Parents can spend so little time with their kiddos, and still qualifies them to be their kiddos’ parents.

And boys, just so you know, it is those ‘mundane’ times I spent with the both of you, that makes me qualifies to be your father, and no one else. Through the doldrums, I learned your character, idiosyncrasies, things you like, don’t like, have an opinion over or not. Through diaper changes, I see your butt grow. Feeding you, I know your diet. And call the both of you my sons.

I dare to call the shots for you because of all the times I’ve spent with you both, 24/7/365. Nobody can boss you both around the way I boss you both around, because I call you both my brood.

I cannot be there only for your good times, and absent for the bad.

Ceremonial Parenting don’t work for me, because it does not build trusts between me and you; it does not bond a biological relationship. Calling me ‘papa’ and me calling you both ‘sons’, are only words. There is a lot of work, time, and effort spent in action to make that bond, bond. I cannot be there only for your good times, and absent for the bad. Doing this while the both of you are young, under the impression that you both are too young to know anything, is telling myself a big parenting lie. What matters, is that my job as a father starts the moment you both are born, and does not end even when I’m long dead.

Ceremonial Parenting also sets a precedence, once you teach your kiddos that is how parenting works, they will learn to do that when they have kids. They will throw their kids back to the parents, now the grand parents, repeating the whole vicious process. It is detrimental, especially the kids, as they are left to be shuttled around, like cattle from one touch points to another. They will never have a chance to enjoy and experience the postive effects of being love, touch, embraced by their parent.  This is not how childhood is supposed to be.

There is no magic in parenting, being a father; it is hard work, action, and a lot of being present for the both of you, through good times and the bad.

I hope when you boys have your own brood, you both do not turn into Ceremonial Parents yourself, because children of Ceremonial Parents are worse than orphans, having parents and not having them there.

First published Dec 10, 2015 12:00 AM

How your parents bond

How your parents bond
image2
we are currently at level 203

Dear boys,

There are many ways couples can bond, and make their relationship interesting. Some do yoga together, some have similar interests, others have their own ways to weave interesting activities into the fabric of their relationship.

For your mum and dad, we are no strangers to online games (at our age and time, who is?) Personally, I do not like playing with them other than to kill time. But of late we have found an interesting ways to use these games to bond.

Play Farm Heroes Saga together.

Strictly speaking, these games are ‘single’ player games. One player, goes through the stages and these are often tied to a Facebook account. you get certain networkability, when you buzz you Facebook friends for ‘lives’ and other stuffs.

Your mum and I played the game the same way, but we played it together. We will tackle the puzzle together and find all those matching fruits and vegetables and tackling them stage by stage usually after our dinner or before bed.

We have our own terms, when we see ‘four-in-a-row’-we called it a ‘fourble’ or a ‘fiveble’ for obvious reasons. We get upset when the rabbit came up and eat the carrots. We get upset when the chicken flew and eat up some of the vegetables. sometimes the water will splash onto some of our vegetables and we get upset. We also get upset when some of the vegetables turn rotten.

Rabbit
Bad rabbit!!!

farm hero carrot

But when we clear a stage together, we celebrate and give each other hi-fives. We do ‘compete’ to see who gets to the ‘fourbles’ or ‘fivebles’ first and brag to each other when your mum, or me did the last move that helps to complete the game and move us to the next stage. I’ll usually tell her ‘You’re welcome!’ much to a scoff on her face.

Overall, she is a much better player than me, having experience in playing Candy Crush Saga. I just play along so that we can do something as a couple together, in a easy, no stress manner. We win, we celebrate and go to the next stage. We lose? we blame each other for making stupid moves, and also blame the game for getting too ‘personal’ with us. Hey, we just want to win and get on to the next stage!

 

image3
It’s your mum’s fault!

 

First published on: Dec 14, 2015