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
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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!

 

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It’s your mum’s fault!

 

First published on: Dec 14, 2015

Another Ghost Story! The Pedestrian

Another Ghost Story! The Pedestrian

Dear Boys,

Here is another ghost story that your dad’s friend told him some time ago. It appears to be a true story as it is personally told to me by my friend, Sam.

He was serving his in-camp training, and when he got a nights off, he went out for a drink with his friend, who had a motorcycle. On their way back to camp after their drink, while riding down this road, back to camp; Sam as the pillion rider, told his friend over his shoulder to look out for the lady in front.

His friend tilted his head back, and gave him a weird look, but said nothing, and continue the journey until they were safely back in camp.

It was only then his friend asked him ‘What lady?!’

Sam said there was a lady crossing the road ahead just now, and he told his friend to slow down and be careful.

His friend said that there was no one on the road.

Sam came to the realisation…

And fell sick with fever for the next 2 weeks.

He told me he was quite shock as he could clearly see the lady crossing the road; and he was having a few light drinks with his friend, he justified, nothing too much to impair his sense. He claim that he can hold his alcohol. (This I believed him as he is a known drinker, he stocks his fridge at home with beer.) He also said that he meant well, and came with a good intent, so that his friend notice the ‘pedestrian’ and not knock her down.

Anyway, this is a REAL story, told to me by your dad’s friend, the thing about it which I do not understand, is many times when you listen to a ghost story, many of these human ‘victims’ of such sightings will typically succumb to a long bout of ailment, as with the case of Sam, he was ill for about 2 weeks. which makes me wonder if there is any truths to such myth, and of course there’s no way for us to find out!

(Speaking of myths, do look out for my next post, boys, where I will list a few parenting myths and taboos my friends shared with me, some of which are quite original!)

My other ghost story:

https://thisisyourfather.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/ghost-story/

First published: Dec 15, 2015 @ 00:00

Jason Chee, the True Singaporean Hero

Jason Chee picture 1
The People’s Champion

Dear boys,

This is a person worth mentioning, because he is simply too inspiring not to.

Well, to begin with, Jason Chee was a ‘nobody’. Or he was someone who would have been perfectly happy with his job and carry on working, just like anyone of us. I’m sure he has his fair share of happiness, sadness, anger, and all those healthy emotions any healthy human beings would have. Being a sailor with the Republic of Singapore Navy, he would have his fair share of the Sun, the Sand and the Sea. He is one of the many countless headcounts in the RSN numbers, and with his looks, he wouldn’t even qualify to be a Navy poster boy!

Jason Chee picture
Once a sailor, always a sailor.

Well, his life took a turn for a cruel twist when he was a victim of a very tragic accident at sea. His appendages and left arm was severed when he was operating a winch which has apparently malfunctioned. That was back in 2012.

His story gripped the nation, out of sympathy and angst. He is a sailor, serving his duties on board a ship, how can something so horrible could have happened to him? What went wrong? Who can we blame?

Road to Recovery.

The loss of his limbs and left hand is permanent, the RSN decided to keep him on active duty, albeit desk bound duty, as he still wants to serve. I was thinking, of course the Navy would keep him, he is the son of RSN. We never abandon our men, as long as you’re in uniform, in service, you’ll be taken care of. But I can’t help but spare a thought of sympathy and pity. Perhaps the RSN kept him because of that. They owe him that much, as a token of apology.

He didn’t take it sitting down (pun intended). Now at 1.3m in height, from his standing 1.67m (he went from taller than your dad, to shorter than your dad), he rose to the challenge and focused on sports. He choose Table Tennis (he has been playing since 5) and trains hard in it. I was still thinking, ‘Yeah, sure, sports will help him rehabilitate, and get his mind off the horrific past.’ It a good sport for him to heal and recuperate. And thought nothing of it.

He wanted to participate in the Asean Para Games, and play competitively. I was thinking, ‘Yeah sure, what chances does a (Ex) Navy guy got against younger, better trained opponents?’ Yeah, getting him to compete is another way he can channel his energy into something worthwhile. (No, I didn’t think he’d win, not bronze, not silver, much less gold!)

I WAS WRONG.

No I don’t know him, but right now I’d love to. He made me eat the skeptic in me. He proved me wrong. He won gold, and beaten a younger opponent. He wasn’t doing this to ‘pass time’ or ‘feel better’ about his lousy self. He didn’t do it, so that he can let the world take pity on him. He did it to win

Life’s a big bad irony

To think of it, boys, had he not met with that accident, he would have still been a Navy guy, the whole nation (now the entire ASEAN) will not know about him. I don’t think he would have been a person who craves attention. He’d probably be a quiet professional, doing his duties earnestly and see the job is done.

Now that life has taken away what most of us will die if we were to lose them, 75% of our mobility. 2 legs and and arm. The irony for him is that, he rose to fame, because of his loss. Its a twisted fate.You don’t go through that pain and horror, you cannot rise to your epitome of his life, he will never become an ASEAN Para Games Table Tennis Champ.

Jason Chee in action with his team mate Aaron Yeo

Or he could have taken another path.

He could have gotten angry, gotten the best lawyer and sue the Navy for negligence, for putting him this predicament. He might win, he might have gotten untold amount of damages. What happens after that? He can play the blame game, no one would blame him if he did. He didn’t.

He showed gratitude instead, for the Navy, for taking care of him despite of being so critically maimed, by a ‘faulty’ Navy equipment. He talked about the support they have rendered him, the family they are to him. He used all of that to rise, and bring glory to himself, and his country.

He used the time given to him (perhaps out of sympathy) to train. He could have used the same free time to wallow in self pity, and cash in on the sympathy around him, get donations, get people to crowd fund him, milk the charity. He didn’t. He trained and trained, so that he can self actualise his goals, he got there, all by himself.

Now he has personally written a chapter in the history books, he can be proud that he did it, and no one can take that away from him. He set an example for all to see, able and disabled alike. Life can take away all your endowments, but life cannot take away your ability to choose. Life
is cruel, but we can choose to respond with love and kindness. He got where is is with love and kindness, and with that he is destined for greater heights!

Related links

http://www.straitstimes.com/sport/asean-para-games-chee-delivers-on-promise

http://www.todayonline.com/daily-focus/people/navy-mans-167m-dream

http://yourhealth.asiaone.com/content/inspiring-story-jason-chee-who-lost-his-legs-will-play-spore

http://lifestyle.www.ns.sg/ns-media/ns-news/ndp-everyday-heroes-jason-chee#about:blank

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/asean-para-games-jason/2264656.html

(pictures sourced from internet. click picture to follow to link)

First published :Dec 7, 2015 10:08 PM

TRX-Your dad’s new toy.

TRX-Your dad’s new toy.
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TRX Force, entire package.

Dear Boys,

To begin with, I’m not paid by TRX to do this. I am a consumer, dad, and blogger. This particular item I bought for use is absolutely bad-ass and I want you boys to know that in my time there is something as awesome as TRX.

The original TRX is black and yellow in colour, this variation also from TRX is called Force. It is a tad lighter compared to the original version and is specially tailored for military use, which explains the muted colours.

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Hanging at the playground downstairs
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Hanging on my door
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Another view of it hanging from the playground. My speed rope is next to it

What is TRX

Well, go to youtube and you’ll find so many videos on it. Anyway here is their website: https://www.trxtraining.com/.

What is TRX to me

It is one awesome fitness device that helps your dad keeps fit. The catch phrase is ‘suspension training’. You hang the TRX straps some where, at the playground, fitness corner, or using their special door stop strap, you can hang it on your door and do your training.

TRX Style Bench Press
TRX Style Bench Press

Why is it so special?

It is using your body weight to do all sorts of crazy moves, instead of dumb bells and bar bells. And because you are only using your body weight, your body will adjust to the resistance. To add more resistance, incline more, add more gravity to the workout!

There are plenty of moves you can do on the TRX, and the good thing is, most of the moves are impact free, unless you want to do some crazy burpees or star jumps.

The other good thing is if you use it carefully, you are unlikely to injure yourself, I mean no barbells dropping on you, and machine failures. It is a simple, safe and effective fitness system.

And as a dad, this is a fitness system I can introduce the both of you to. It is really really simple to use.

What’s not so good about it.

SUSPENSION SYSTEM.

That means you need to hang this somewhere for it to work. if you want to be really fanatical, you can drill a hole on your ceiling and hang it there. of course the door stop thing helps to make things a little more convenient for lazy bums like me, I do worry that the metal buckles on the TRX will scratch my bedroom door and leave unsightly marks on it.

Nonethless, the pros outweights the cons. I’m currently combining this with skipping and that really amps up the workout!

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Published on: Dec 22, 2015 @ 00:00