Knowing and labeling your medication

Knowing and labeling your medication


Dear Boys,

You need to know your meds when you grow up. A lot of people I know, colleagues, friends and families do not know their meds. Some only know piriton as the ‘little yellow pill that makes you drowsy’. Others only know Panadol, or Ponstan as pain killers, and other generic association to medicine.

If you boys are adults and you are self medicating, then that is fine, the probability of ‘OD’ or overdosing yourself is quite minimal with over the counter (OTC) medicines. But if you have your own kids and you are medicating them, then it is important to know your meds and what you are giving the children.

I don’t remember how we started this, but since Ian’s time we have a habit of writing down a couple of things:

1-The type of meds

2-The time we gave the meds

3-The dosage

4- The temperature, if you boys are running a fever

An example of an entry in our medical diary

This helps us keep track of the types of meds we have to give and the timing. We also knew that you can mix a certain kind of ‘fever’ medicine. For example, when your boys have high fever, we can give the slower acting Nurofen which will only take into effect after an hour’s time, we can also give Panadol, which is another class of painkiller, about 2 hours after we have given Nurofen. So with a book we can track what was given and if the temperature went down.


Knowing your meds.

You need to know your meds, and what works best for you and what doesn’t. At our age and time it is impossible for you not to know your meds, all you need to do is go on Google and you can find out what this meds does and the potential side effect. Of course not everything you read on the net is real, so we usually cross check it with a couple of medicine site, and of course, Wikipedia.

It also helps to know your meds and engages your doctor when you go to the clinic, so don’t just be a patient, be an educated patient and get to know your medicine well.

Getting educated in medicine is part and parcel of becoming a parent. It is our responsibility to feed you boys the meds so that the both of you gets well. We take this healer role very seriously and sometimes it can be a challenge feed the both of you, and when you were babies, there were vomits to clean and we have to handle some side effects of the meds.

Promethazine causes soft stools!

Medication when travelling

We will always, always bring the necessary medication when we go abroad. And your dad is usually the ‘medic’ of the family, who carries the meds. It is important that we have your meds ready, well, at least the more common ones for allergies, cold and fever.

Penang Hives

The Anti-Histamine came in useful one afternoon during our trip to Penang 2 yeas ago. We were out walking in the afternoon, and for no reason, Wayne had hives and we need to get back to the hotel quickly to get medication. While the rest of the afternoon was spent in the hotel room for the medication to work, and Wayne to get some rest, it was a good testament of packing our meds for the trip.img20170531152309.jpg

At the end of the day, this is part of parenting, and we are used to it, taking medications as adults can be a no brainer, but we wouldn’t want to take a chance when it comes to giving medicine to kids, as the slightest wrong does can be a very big problem for children. It is better that we educate and arm ourselves with the right information so that when we need it, we will know what to do.


Saving water

Dear Boys,


I decided to put a pail of water for the both of you to bathe. Each of you, a pail of water; well as for Wayne, he gets about 80% filled, since his body mass is so little!

You boys took to it with novelty, and I was worried that you both might be resistant to it.

You see, water is a very precious resource, and once you turn on the tap, those water flowing out, cannot be recovered. (Well, you can, actually, but it does comes with a cost.) What I am trying to drive at is, we all have some bad habits; bathing is one of them. It cannot be helped when water is so readily available. You turn the tap on, clean, drinkable water flows. We never really took it to heart about those save water campaign thing.

Our PUB- Public Utilities Board, constant nagged at us to save water, but do we really? I too have been nagging at the both of you to stop taking long baths, but to no avail. I think this is a common problem in every household unannounced.

So I am glad that you boys like the pail bath idea.

This is nothing new, and people has been bathing like this for ages. And this primitive method works, as long as you stick to one pail, and not top it up after you emptied it.

Sometimes old school ways works and I hope the both of you can remember these ways, and use them constantly to make sure we keep our water usage in check.

The Secret Super-hero Aikido Ah Gong

The Secret Super-hero Aikido Ah Gong

img_2040.jpgWe chatted about his life as an Aikidoka, and while he has more than 50 years under his belt, and me less than half of that, but we pretty much faced similar issues; almost none of our loved ones really know what we do when we don our gi and hakama.

It is almost like we put on a super-hero cape and become an alter-ego Batman, or Spider-man. except that we don’t have a hidden identity, nor do we really save the world from bad guys.

Not me, perhaps, but Harry sensei, maybe.

So let me write this for Harry sensei’s grand kids.

NUS Kokyu ho Harry sensei 2.jpg

Dear Grand children of Harry sensei,

You may not know me, but your grandfather(Ah Gong) is my Aikido sensei, and he has been my teacher for the past 20 years.

You may know him as your grandfather, and I know him as my sensei. There are things you know much more about him than I do, but there are things about him as an Aikidoka, you probably didn’t know about.

As his grandchildren, you know; he is a perfectionist, as an Aikidoka, he demanded the best out of us. More importantly, he made himself an example, by training much harder than his students. When he was younger, he trained everyday and even some visiting Japanese sensei found his skills of remarkably high standards, perhaps even higher than some Japanese sensei!

While we can all marveled at his skills, it was his leadership that helped pave and grow Aikido to what it is today. When he took the helm over from his sensei, there was a lot of struggle to keep Aikido training going. He has to rush from work to class and back, Typically his days don’t end until 12am, at the earliest, everyday. That was his commitment to make sure that Aikido continues until today, where it is widely accepted and classes are run in many community centres. In short, he saved Aikido from going down a deep dark path of oblivion.

His Aikido greatness comes at a great price. He did expressed regrets that he didn’t spend enough time with his children, your parents; all he did was to sign report cards from school. You parents were fast asleep by the time he got back, and gone to school by the time he woke. The fault is his to bear, but as an Aikidoka I can never thank him enough or repay the lessons he has imparted to me.

Your Ah gong teaches me more than Aikido. He taught me life and how to balance it. He taught me how to be a husband, and not to neglect my wife. He taught me what I can achieve if I put my mind, heart and soul to an endeavour. While he is nearing 80, he continues to inspire me, by turning up for Aikido, never calling it quits, never say die.


You, as his grandchildren has to be proud of him, you carry his bloodline and good genes. But it is his quiet Aikido legacy that you, as his grand children never get to see. He never told you all, but Aikido is very central part of him. Harry sensei has always been a quiet kind of teacher who never bragged about his contributions. He just quietly chugged along, and not a lot of Aikidoka in Singapore these days knows about your granddad, and what he and his peers did back in those formative years. Under his leadership, Aikido in Singapore flourished.

So the next time you hear about someone in Singapore training as an Aikidoka, you can be assured that some part of what that Aikidoka learned, came from your granddad. The entire Singapore Aikido community owes it to your Ah Gong for going above and beyond the extra mile. All Aikidokas in Singapore, past, present and future, all stand tall, on the frail slender shoulders of your 公公 and his peers.

If he has been a stern Granddad to you, let me tell you that he speaks very fondly of his grand children. He glows when he told me his grand daughters traveled the world, and still remembers to buy a little something for the 公公.  He is a simple man, who only needs simple love and affection.

Sometimes it is not easy for us to understand what our elder generations went through as they usually likes to keep these memories to themselves. We get confused by that silence, so we came up with our own insecure conclusions about how things happened. He love his family as much as he loves Aikido, and as his grand children, he loves you all a lot, and while he is thinking of winding down his days as an Aikidoka, he will never stop being your 公公. It is a matter of eventuality, I will lose my sensei, but you must never lose him as your 公公. Please spend time with him as much as you can, and love him for all he has done as your 公公 and for what he has sacrificed for Aikido in Singapore. He is the hero Singapore Aikido needs and you will always carry that proud legacy with you. Your 公公’s Aikido story is remarkable, and pivotal, so don’t let anyone else tells you otherwise. In my eyes, your 公公 is the greatest Aikidoka Singapore will never see for a long, long time to come.


My sensei teaches more than Aikido

My sensei teaches more than Aikido

This is the view for me for the past 20-odd years. The irony of my life is that I know my Aikido sensei more than I know my father.

My parents divorced when I was 15. I started Aikido when I was nineteen-ish, and just like that, I’ve spent more than 20 years in Aikido, even longer than I know my wife.

I was never Harry sensei’s ‘favorite’ student. When you trained long enough with him, you know the kind of students he like; and by the virtue of my physique, I’m not his uke by choice. I got to where I am, because I hung around long enough, longer than those ‘better’ students. I got here by attrition, you can say that.

Along the way, I learned quite a few things from my sensei, and without him, I have no Aikido, and no such blog. My mind will not be open, the way he did, gently and patiently. Without his quiet guidance, I won’t be the person I am today.

Loyalty and commitment

It is Harry sensei’s bragging rights. He trained incessantly, 50 years, Mondays to Fridays; these days. Back in those days, he trained 7 days a week, 4 hours. These days who can say they did what he has done, 50 years and counting? He mentioned in his soft voice, he only stopped Aikido twice, once for his mother’s death, for a month, the other time he did, I didn’t catch what he said.

While many people can and like to mention lineage, to soup up their own dojo’s marketing prowess, mentioning that they trained under who and who and which and which Japanese Shihan, Harry sensei simply mentioned that his sensei is the late Teddy Lee sensei, He took the helm from his sensei, and continue to practice Aikido, the way his sensei taught him.

I’ve never heard him trained under anyone else, perhaps with Nakazono sensei, who first brought Aikido to Singapore. More importantly he has never failed to mention his sensei, he has never forgotten his sensei and the teachings. That is his loyalty, and he don’t give a f**k about winning the popularity contest.

He is committed to Aikido, and still comes to class, rain, shine, good health or otherwise. He just mentioned today he had a bout of shingles. Had he not mentioned, we wouldn’t have known, he is still as fit and ki still flows from his fingers. He is committed to teaching and it doesn’t matter if one student turns up or none. Of course he will berate us for being absent, but he knows our commitments and he never asks more from us, but he continuously gives us his commitment, more than we can ever accept.

Family and Sacrifice

The world is fair, there is only 24 hours, Harry sensei is no exception. While he devoted his time to Aikido, his wife has to suffer, his children has to suffer. He will miss their important dates, significant milestones. All for Aikido. He was never there for them in the evening, by the time he got home after training, his kids would have been asleep, the next day, he would have to go to work.

After 50 years, there is no way to reclaim them back. he has to choose, and he sacrificed his family time.

Harry sensei got to become Harry sensei, because he did what he did. His success showed me how not to be a whole person. My family needs me, just as much as I need my Aikido. It is never an easy decision, and I learned to follow my heart.

Sometimes I have to sacrifice Aikido for my family, and Harry sensei would understand where my priorities are.

Regret and Fate

Time has been spent, it cannot be recovered. We spoke briefly, and Harry sensei agreed he was very ‘lucky’, his children and wife stuck by him, although he did mention that his wife is getting even with him these days, after so many years of neglect.

Call it fate or luck his wife didn’t leave him and took his children along. His children are still filial to him. His grandchildren still buys things for him, when they travel overseas. Things could have gone awry for him, his children could have rebelled, as technically speaking, he wasn’t really clocking his time as a dad. As a dad myself, I know had I done what Harry sensei did, my wife would have to pick things up in my absence, and double hat my role.

As a dad myself, I have my moments of regrets, when I missed some of my children’s significant moments. As a sensei, he would have missed more, much, much more.

Photo courtesy of Vincent Asjenwi, Kiryokukai Indonesia

Aikido is good Karma

Let’s not get superstitious here, I’m using ‘karma’ as a generic term. Loosely speaking, Harry sensei did good. While he hadn’t been much of a dad in the evenings, his practice and commitment to Aikido, showed his family and loved ones, that he is truly and purely a good person, doing good stuff with Aikido. His only flaw is; his undying love for Aikido.


Beautiful Bandung

Beautiful Bandung

Dear boys,

I took a short trip to Bandung last week, and there was a couple of firsts for me.

It was my first trip, taking a plane all by myself. yes, you heard it. Your dad’s a big boy now!

It was my first time to Bandung.

It was my first time staying in a Hilton.

It was my first time I had a picture taken with Harry sensei, only. (More on that later)

Why Bandung?

Our Aikido friends, Kiryokukai Indonesia (KI) invited Harry sensei over for a seminar, which my sensei gladly obliged, more about the seminar in my following post.IMG-20180326-WA0001

Why Bandung is also due to the fact that Bandung is relatively near Singapore, a scant 1.5 hours flight, cost is also affordable. As much as I would like to have an adventure for myself, I cannot break the bank as I have you boys to feed.


I’d gladly take a budget airline, since it was just a short flight, on top of that, I can also keep the cost down. Your mum will have none of that, she insisted on Silkair, as it was operated by Singapore Airlines, I’m travelling alone, and she would want to pay more for my safety.

Well, my argument is that a flight is a flight is a flight. Anything can happen to any aircraft. But your mum insisted, and since she already relented to let me go, I’d just shut up and let her choose the better airline.

I love your mum.

Touchdown, bad luck

The first sign of trouble was the tourist SIM card didn’t work. I had no data, and I panicked. Without data, I am anonymous, it was a scary thought. No one in Bandung speak a decent level of English.

Hoards of Taxi drivers came at me, while I was already flustered not able to get my SIM card to work, not able to get data, and totally lost.

This guy, I don’t know his name obviously,  had a tag ’50’ so I reckoned he is taxi driver number 50. He pestered me, tailed me and I had to get into a cafe, just to break his tail. I got myself a croissant like bread, and sat down for a munch, and just people watch, and also watch ’50’. When I am more settled, I walked out, tapped ’50’ on his shoulder and told him ‘let’s go.’

He took me to my hotel, for 250,000 rupiah, that is S$25. Had I seen the Grab counter, or had I have data, a Grab taxi would have taken me to Hilton in 12,000, S$1.20. Very novice of me.

Hilton Bandung

Well, what can I say about Hilton? N-I-C-E

And it wasn’t too expensive as well. I got a good room on the ninth floor over looking the railway track, watching countless of trains worm their way in and out of the station.

2 queen beds for a single bloke
View from the room
The railroad and trains

The service is expected, impeccable and I chose the Hilton as Harry sensei and my sempais, James, Nasheer and his wife stays there for the trip as well. So it would be easier to get around if I stayed there with them, at one spot.

My other Aikido friends Edna and Tri stayed at Zest hotel, about 2 km down the street, and Radek stayed at Four Point by the Sheraton. but Hilton was ‘5 bintang’, 5 star in ’50’s opinion.

Getting my Data

It was kind of imperative. I need a data, so I asked the concierge about the nearest shop to get a SIM card, he told me a shop down the street, and there is a big shopping mall called Paskal 23, the newest one.

So I trudge out of the hotel to find my precious SIM card.

 Horrible traffic beautifully alive!

The traffic in Bandung is typical, horrible.


But I saw it with my Singapore’s eye. It was terrifying. The motorcycle streams in continuum, the cars, buses and people, all uses the same space. The chaos was so evolved, so packed and yet no one gets hurt. Everyone gives in to everyone, in an unrehearsed river of traffic.

The whole environment is so existentialistic. You either move, or get out of the way. So I followed a lady’s stride and move in bold, purposeful steps, It worked to calm myself and as I observed, there is a method in chaos, people still managed to cross the streets, mini buses still stopped, hawkers still managed to sell food, people managed to eat food. Everything didn’t stop to smell Randy’s fear and solace. There is no time for that.

I found the shop selling SIM card and a 6Gb card costs 55,000 rupiah. Not a bad deal, they didn’t check my passport or identity. The SIM card worked as they check it, I pay and got out. I have data!

First thing I did was to texted home, so that your mum knows I am okay. I already did that when I got into the hotel and used the wifi there to update her on my status, now I can be reached on the go, with the SIM card.

While technology frees us, it also chains us to technology.

Bandung is safe

Despite of all the unfamiliarity, in a foreign land, Bandung is a very safe place. It wasn’t as well lit as Singapore, nor the foot path as well maintained, people still goes on with their business and while I was paranoid about getting mugged at every given corner, what I observed was a level safety for girls to walk the streets, eyes glues to the phone. Kids playing and everyone going about their business. Sure I bumped into a couple of teen gangs, but which country doesn’t have that? Even Singapore have our fair share of Ah Bengs and gangs.

One way I gauge the safety in town was the type of gates shops uses, which is a typical roller shutter gates, which can be easily broken into. In fact, shops in Penang were more fortified with heavy duty reinforced locks that firmly secure the shutters to the ground. When we are in our vehicles, there was no ‘mandate’ to lock the doors. Pedestrians were everywhere.

Oh, most toilets I went to, were clean and smell free.

Linking up

At Aviator Coffee Camp
Ketut sensei and Vincent Sensei to the right

With data, I managed to hook up with James and our Bandung Host, Ketut sensei has decided to pick all of us up for a trip uphill for dinner.

The traffic was typical still, bad, but it got less congested as we head up to Aviator Coffee Camp for the cool weather and great food.


Food! Glorious food!

The weather for that night was a nice chilly 19 degrees, and we all got together to eat. Vincent sensei joined us later for dinner and we had a good time with the hearty food and of course the fantastic weather. Thankfully, your dad can still take that chill with a tee shirt and shorts, and colder, I would have been frozen.

Saturday was training day, so we took a quick but sumptuous meal for breakfast, complements of James. The Hilton breakfast spread is nothing less than the best. It was a good breakfast worthy of a 5 star lodge.

On Sunday

The flight back to Singapore was 10.10am, so I hadn’t have much time to do much, but I wanted to trudge the streets of Bandung one last time, and also enjoy the cool 19 degrees morning.


Right outside the hotel gates, I caught a picture of this lady balancing 2 bags of crackers on a pole to sell. It was a good sign to head out and just enjoy Bandung on foot.

Joggers + Motorbikers

The streets, as I understood on my day 3, is really a shared space between joggers, pedestrians, motorbikers, cars, cyclists, horse drawn carts, tricycles and all sorts of other things.

DSC_0116There is a certain kind of peace in the buzz. Of course there are ‘inconsiderate’ motorists who wouldn’t stop for walkers, but everyone just make do. No one was honking excessively, although there was honking now and then, it is what it is, everyone using a share space, and giving everyone a space. No one was hoarding ‘my right of way’, and insisting that because their cars are bigger, others have to give way. It was quite an amazingly alive spectacle and you can get drawn into watching traffic whole day.

Of course as a tourist, I can afford to sit back and enjoy the methodical melee, I’m sure the local Bandung folks can get quite impatient and irritated with the jams, delays. It was a hard place to be punctual, for sure.



It was a no frills affair, Vincent Sensei wanted to send us off, but i opted for a Grab, so that I can give the rest a bit more space for luggage. Anyway a Grab is just…12,000 rupiah.

The traffic was light for a Sunday 8am, and I tipped the Grab driver and that certainly made his day.

Military Brass

Flying off was a wait and while we waited we witnessed an Indonesian Air force Airbus AS365 Dauphin brought a military big shot to the airport. The drill is the same with all military in the world, the lower ranking officers will lined up and salute the big shot and then they will all walked to where they need to go. And of course, there will always be, a photographer.

The flight was a non event and I got back home safe, back to being a dad.

One thing for sure, Bandung is a place I will sure bring you boys and your mum for a trip. There is still so much more to explore!


Dear Ian,

On your PSLE ‘graduation’ you got your certificates and there were some performances as well. Back in my days, there weren’t such fanfare, but I guess over the years, we have learned a couple of things along the way in encouraging our children and developing a healthy self concept in a child. Well, I am not a qualified child psychologist, so I won’t go into that kind of mumbo-jumbo.

Usually with every graduation, there will always be a continuum of recipients, this case long line of Primary Sixers going up the stage, and while the line snake, the claps from parents waned, with ups and downs like the sound of a never ending rain.

One thing that caught my attention was on the big screen, flashed each individual kid’s ‘asiprations’, from what I gather, a lot of kids, still wants to be doctors, lawyers and engineers.

There were also some who wants to be arty, and aspire to become a singer, I guess this is no thanks to those reality TV singing shoes, like the American Idol, and UK’s got Talent. It is nice to see some deviant amongst the mainstream.

And yes, Ian, you wanted to be a film-maker. We’ll see about that.

You protested that it wasn’t your initial choice, but what was flashed there, serves as a testament.

'I aspire to be a Filmmaker'
‘I aspire to be a Filmmaker’

There is nothing wrong aspiring to be that, and certainly nothing wrong either if you fail to become one. Life is fill with success, as just much as it is filled with failures, they are both impostors of the same thing, experiences.

Other Aspirants

A Doctor
A Doctor and an Investor 
Tennis Player and Computer Engineer
Philanthropist and Teacher
Engineer and Doctor
Lawyer and Teacher

Pardon the natural born skeptic in me, who happens to double up as a parent.

We all know there is noting wrong with aspirations, but does the kids knows how to get there? What steps to take? And sometimes, being a Lawyer isn’t as big-shot as one thinks, life as a Lawyer is T-O-U-G-H, sames goes for doctors. Life is never one sided, the good side, you have to roll with the punches, taking the bad as well. Just saying it here, for everyone to see does nothing constructive for the children.

There is a lot of hot air

It is a shallow affair, and our culture as become such. We all want our children to become somebody, and being a nobody is a terrible existentialistic problem. From young, we ask our kids “What do you want to be?” There were the usual policemen, doctors, soldiers, and other roles.

While we grow our kids, we need to understand that the children just needs to be children, that’s all. If you have a dream to take to the sky, we can work on your Aeronautical Aspirations. We can push you to do that, and you are motivated to become one. Film-Making? Not yet. Not even close.

So why did the kids say what they say?

We all need to fit into roles in society, and we start that young. Singapore is small, I have yet to see a kiddo’s aspirations being flashed as “ I aspire to bum around. LOL.” That would have been entirely unacceptable and brings shame to the parents.

Don’t ask me how I will react if you put that up, I guess I would laugh it off, and I guess you would have told me before you do such an ‘audacious’ thing.

But it is perfectly alright to bum around, my policy for you boys is the same. You can be a minnow food hawker and earns a decent living. The only thing that will make me come for your blood is when you cheat, lie and steal, becomes a sociopath, becomes a thug of society. That I cannot condone, it is not so much about throwing away my face, it is more about you being a responsible person, and even if you cannot be a responsible person, you do not turn into an irresponsible one.

Life is not always about doing

While aspirations is a lot about doing, it is also a lot about dreaming. By all means bum around. Your aeronautics dream might be work in progress, while you are at it, it is okay not to be at it. Sometimes not chasing your aspirations could be the best blessing, so that your aspirations can catch up, or other dormant aspirations can surface.

One sided affair

The crux of this is, these are just labels, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and all. Doctors are medical engineers, and Lawyers need to diagnose a case. It is all word play, and being fixated to the singular role and title, will makes us a very narrow-minded, task oriented organism, no different from machines. We’re better than machines, and learn to realise that we are unique because while we aspire to be one, we can actualize to become many.

So learn to cross-aspire. You can become an Aeronautical Film-Maker, and shoot films in the sky, in places airborne. Learn multiple skills and do many things, sticking with one is fine, just don’t lose sight of the bigger life.