My First Job

My First Job

Dear Boys,

Your dad has a checkered past, not in a sleazy way but he left school when he was 15 years old because he wanted to learn Japanese language to become a tour guide and travel the world. Look at what the world has become of him!

All this means that I must have my parent’s support to leave school, and have money to go and learn Japanese language and then become a tour guide. There wasn’t much thought put into this and my parents wasn’t the best in parenting, so the gave in and I left school to study Japanese.

Or so I thought.

Along the way, my ‘businessman’ dad, hinted to me: “What happens if he is no longer able to support me?”

That was a sign that I need to find my own work, make my own money, and without a trace of resentment or angst, I looked around and I’m not sure how it happened but someone I knew (or most likely my parents) recommended a job for me to work as a sales staff in Changi Airport.

1991- Changi Airport Terminal 2

With my colleague Josephine.

Working in the airport has a very special vibe to it, back then there was only 2 terminals, in fact, only one, since terminal 2 wasn’t officially opened yet, and the airport community was very small. I never forget the Airport Policeman’s name, Rudy, who said that I was probably the youngest person to ever work in the Departure hall, when I was at the Airport Police Station processing my Airport Security pass.

me tinkering with cameras

Sound Electric Centre

My employer was Sound Electric Centre (last I check ACRA, the company is still around! Incorporated 13 March 1975!), they have shops in Terminal 2 as well as Terminal 1, selling all sorts of audio, video, camera, electronic games, CD players, binoculars, you name it. They also used to have a shop in Far East Plaza down in Orchard Road, and in their hey days, they were quite reputable.

with Jun Jie, not sure what we were laughing about.

So I worked in Terminal 2 selling cameras and photographic equipment to customers, as a retail staff. This also started my life-long love for photography, albeit an expensive hobby to really keep up with. It wasn’t backbreaking work, but it taught me a lot about managing people, and how the working life is. There’s a lot of stories of our colleagues getting into physical scuffles over some childish antics (both got fired), theft of a large scale, love affair, legit and illicit and of course many life lessons along the way.

Selling camera also meant that there was a bit of technicalities involved, customers wants to know certain features and you will need to explain it to them, both as novice to even professionals. I learned how to handle Single Lens Reflex (SLRs) cameras, brands such as Nikon, Canon, defunct Rollei, Chinon, Minox, Yashica, expensive stuffs like Leica, Contax and other brands.

I also learned some sales tricks to boost our sales, such as selling camera cases when it actually came free with the camera, and selling additional batteries, or mark up film prices when we gave discounts on the camera.

Celebrities

Working in the restricted area of the Airport means that when the superstars came to town, we are the ones who have the first cut in seeing them, and welcoming them to Singapore, I remembered the whole place was so swoon over Alan Tam, Aaron Kwok when they came. I wasn’t a big fan of theirs but I heard they were swamped by Airport staff first before they were swamped by their fans in the general public area in the Arrival Hall.

Jon Bon Jovi

This guy, I remembered vividly serving him, I think it was an early weekend morning, and there wasn’t a crowd, and I read in the news they were in town for a 2 night exclusive concert, in and out just over the weekend. So I was just starting shop, and this Ang Moh with a wild shock of hair came in, and looked at some camera, I recognized him, but I served him as a customer, somehow not fazed or impressed by his presence.

He was very low-key, very human. The choice of camera was the bestest, most expensive one. He was one down to earth, pragmatic superstar. He was looking for a simple point-and-shoot, so I recommend him an Olympus Mju 2, one of the low range, dummy camera. He looked at it, liked it and bought it, whipping out his platinum Amex Charge card. Of course there was no question his card purchase would get approved. He didn’t want the box so I packed the camera up, thrown in a free roll of film and off he go.

He will always remain one of my fav celebrity whom I can say I’ve rubbed shoulders with and he has never made anyone felt a need to serve him in his superstar status. Just an awesome plain and simple human being.

The Queen came

I was there, too when Queen Elizabeth II came to Singapore, I think it was back in 1992/93. Back then, we knew that Changi Airport is one of the places in Singapore that is never closed. But they closed it for the Queen.

Security was really tight, but we still opened our shop as usual, I didn’t get a close glance at her, just a back view from about 25 m away. While they didn’t close the airport for the whole day, they did it enough for her to tour the place and soon it was back in business.

Changi Terminal 2 today

Due to Covid19, the Singapore Government took the opportunity to close Terminal 2 for a whole sale renovations. It was quite a nostalgic sight and feeling for me to walk the deserted grounds, the usually bright and welcoming Airport Hall, now dark cavernous and empty.

I’m sure by the time COVID 19 becomes a distant memory, Changi Airport Terminal 2 will be up and running even better than before.

How Relationships Breaks Apart

How Relationships Breaks Apart

Dear Boys,

Last weekend I happened to ‘walk’ into one of those moments where you both were arguing about something. I asked tersely: ” What is going on?!” There tension in the air and 弟弟 is looking the way he looked downcast when there is certain accusations flying around, and the 哥哥 has a hard tone, and walked out, telling me to ask the 弟弟 instead.

I did and of course, I will not get the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, all I got from Wayne was snippets of “I said something, and kor kor is not happy with what I said and…”

It’s typical for anyone, not just you, Wayne to hide the truth about what has actually happened, especially when the person in question is the perpetrator.

I called Ian in and hears from him: “Wayne was saying that he sometimes feels like a dog and simply follows his feelings and moods.” ” I cannot take it anymore and so I told him off.”

Pushing People Away

Sometimes the reality is too much for us to handle, we can get overwhelmed and suddenly we say ‘Enough is Enough!’ Negativity can be infectious, and brings the collective mood down, granted that 弟弟 says such a downer statement on 哥哥’s birthday, can add to rain to the parade.

So we start to push people away in a bid to protect and collect what little optimism we got left, or we got so hung up and focused in our work, we shove people away, people who needed our help. It happens when resources is scarce and we are left fighting for ourselves. We often want to find a hole, jump in and disappear from the world’s problem. We want to tell people:

“GO AWAY!” “LEAVE ME ALONE!” “HAVEN’T I GOT ENOUGH PROBLEMS ALREADY?!”

The Consequences of Pushing 弟弟 Away

The issue here is, that person you pushed away, is your 弟弟, he confides in you, and you only. Everyday when he comes home earlier than you (more often than not), he will look out of the window, constantly waiting and eager for you to come home. You are the only one he share little nonsense with, the inside brothers jokes, chit chats, and things as a parent wouldn’t understand.

He will confide in you, good and bad, and sometimes the bad can be a little irritating, I know 弟弟 is still young and learning, and in the process he can be whiny and clingy, emotional and self-depreciating. So if he don’t confides in you, who else can he go to? Me, or your mum? Sure, but we have a different vibe, we are his parents, dad and mum, you are his brother. It is not the same talking to us, talking to you.

Don’t Tit for Tat

Not forgetting that you will confide in him sometimes during your times of need and share your brotherly bonding time, and sure enough, you wouldn’t want him to push you away and say he have enough of your Bulls**t and negativity?

You are his only brother and if he don’t confide in you, would you he rather confide in his friends and end up joining teen gang because they appear to care more about him than you do?

Pushing him away now may look insignificant, but doing this often enough to form a habitual response, will build a rift so far apart in future, that you will eventually forget what you guys are fighting about, and just simply fight because that’s all the strong emotional response you both can remember. Small cracks sinks big ships.

I know because that’s what happened between my elder brother and me.

Properly Expressing Yourself

Ian, you are just coming 16, you cannot solve the world’s problem, you cannot shoulder your 弟弟’s problem; you don’t have to, we are around, you can refer your little brother to us, if you are up to your neck with issues. Instead of blowing up and shoo your brother away, and leaving him to fend for himself, and deal with his own sh**ty emotions, you can ask him to come to us.

We are your parents, and we have been there, done that, and here to help you with your problems, escalate to us and we can come together with a solution. There is nothing we cannot figure out as a family. So instead of saying:

“I don’t want to deal with your problems, you negative, whiny little boy!”

try saying

“Frankly, I’m kinda not in the mood to handle this, I think we can talk to papa or mummy, and maybe they can help you.”

or

I’m kinda not able to take in what you are feeling now, because I’m swamped myself, can I come back to you when I am better?”

As you grow up, you will need to learn how to use such coping phrases to help you stave off certain onslaught of strong emotions, we cannot deal with everything and anything that comes our way so learning to better express ourselves can help people understand that we have limitations too.

Lean on each other

Unfortunately, the elder brother is the elder brother, Ian, there is no way around it, you will have to have the strength to save your little brother’s ass again and again, never failing him. He will always look up to you as the elder brother he can depend on and emulate. Ian, you become a leader because you are in a place to be one, Wayne you will become a leader because you learn from your elder brother how to be one.

So learn to lean on each other, I will be tell the both of you again and again, and there will be times where both of you have nothing left except each other, so instead of pushing each other, with ignorance, hate and defensiveness, hold on to each other and your world will be all right.

No off-days

No off-days

Garfield hate Mondays, just like many of us.  and when we reach TGIF, we all know what that means.

We all also know what it means when the holidays are here, birthdays, anniversaries, and all those special days.

Erm, wait…

Excellence and quality has no desire for a holiday. If you are good, you are good 365/24/7. There is simply no day offs for quality. If you think your life suck and you want the weekend to come quickly so that you can escape the weekday doldrums, then well, you are in for a jolly fool of a time.

I used to think that there is a ‘plateau effect’ in our learning curve. Sometimes when I was training, I will hit this feeling of flat-line, as if my learning is not getting anywhere. Or things seem to be turning into ‘SOS’, Same Old Shit’ mentality.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

There is no such thing as a plateau, flat line or whatever you call that. There is simply no off-days, if you are good, you will continue to be good, whether you like it or not. If you are bad, and you continue to train diligently, you will become good, at something you used to be bad at.

Hell, even if you are piss poor lousy with something, there is no off-days too! So since there is no off-days whatsoever, good or bad, keep going at it, like it or not. do not give yourself, the delusion of an ‘off-day’. No one has a holiday, even when you are on a holiday, you will continue to do what you are doing, your life never takes a day off. you will continue to carry yourself to wherever you are going, wherever you are heading to, so don’t lie to yourself, and give yourself a break. there is no such thing.

You only rest, truly rest, when you are  dead. As long as you are alive, continue to live, work on your bad, better your good.

Posted on November 13, 2012

病从口入,祸从口出

病从口入,祸从口出

Dear Boys,

If there is any life skills that is pertinent and you have to constantly learn and relearn, this is it.

病从口入,祸从口出

It means that illness goes in from the mouth, trouble comes out from the mouth, literally speaking.

Kids says the Darndest Things

image from Google

Back in the late nineties, there’s this very popular American variety show called Kids Say the Darndest Things. This was hosted by Bill Cosby, who is convicted of sex offences and child abuse offences.

In the show, people watch it for a good laugh over some of the things the kids says, through their naivety, innocence and often out of context statements. It was a very popular show because kids often do say the darndest things and their response are quite comedic and can evoke a sense of awe, and ga-ga by the adults.

These kids, says it not knowing the kind of context as well as the consequences of their saying. I mean who can blame them? People are not hurt by what these kids said, they are after all, kids right?

1998 to 2021

Let’s say that back in the first season in 1998, a kid in that era filmed for the show at say…6 years old, fast forward 23 years, that cute kid who said that darndest thing is now… 29 years old. Would this 29 year old person, saying the same darn thing, have the same comedic effect? Would it even be considered ‘cute’? Probably cringey at best!

What you say have Consequences

As you both grow up, the line for you both to say the ‘darndest things’ and get away with a simple laugh, is thinning. As kiddos, you can say anything and we can understand that it is quite out of immaturity, and forgivable. Lies you both tell, are also understandably accept, and corrected. We try to talk to both of you about how the reality doesn’t correspond with your version of truth. At a young age, and lacking cognitive maturity, coupled with a narrow range of vocabulary to express yourself, you might say a certain things but don’t mean it the way you say it. We know, it’s a kid thing.

Things are going to be different as you grow up; you simply cannot go around cracking a wise-ass joke as expect to get away with it. There will be consequences when your version of your truth vary widely from reality or societal norms. Always think before you say anything, as much as it is practicable, as things you say can be taken out of context and hijacked for the wrong arguments and reasons, and it will be too late for you to correct what you say and goes ‘I mean, I mean…’.

One prime example, try to jokingly say ‘bomb’ in an airplane, that wouldn’t have been a very ‘ha ha ha’ moment.

Badge Lady and The Glynn

image from Google
image from Google

These 2 individuals are amongst the many that has been publicly and socially crucified for their lack of ability to understand how the norm at large is demanding a homogeneous response to a global pandemic. They say things that made them famous for the wrong reasons and of course, getting into the wrong side of the law. Of course in their own world, and perhaps in another universe, they’d be kings, but unfortunately, back down on planet Earth, what they did are criminal, no ifs and buts about it, and there is no way for them to explain what they did under any and all reasonable circumstances.

Let’s not go into the specifics about what they did, but these 2 are examples about what you say and/or do can get you into serious trouble, and in a COVID-19 situation, the virus certainly does enter your body through… your facial orifices, ala 病从口入.

Me against the World

Sure, if you would like to make a statement for yourself and go against the world because you are empowered to carry out an act, and expression. You feel that you have what it takes to change the world, don’t let me or anyone stop you. That is the learning point, the skill and art of getting things done your way without causing too much trouble. There is a constructive way to change the world and there is a destructive way, you decide what kind of impact you want to have on the world.

You want to change the world. rock the boat, people will be unhappy with you, troubles will find you, and you will face difficulties, and insurmountable challenges. These are inevitable part and parcel of being a pioneer, an innovator, an original. But please don’t go out of your way to antagonize people, say things to make people unhappy in the spur of the moment. Once you carelessly say something and is heard, and hurt someone, there s no taking it back.

Always make a point to think through what you want to say, and when you are not sure, always make a note to admit what you don’t know. This is where the skill and art which we will take our lifetime to master.

The Truth is out there

The Truth is out there

Singapore is gripped by elections fever. There is so much being said and said about the sayings that it can get annoying at times. Thankfully, the politicians here are still rather civil and stick with war of words, verbal accusations, telling lies after lies, there are no political assassinations, overt political blackmails, and other more severe and darker forms of politics.

There is one thing that is going on though, the ‘Truth’. Well, it’s commonly known that truth is very different from facts. and what politicians like to do is merge the two so as to make facts and truths favors them more than it favors their opponent.

We, the general public, the very folks these politicians are trying to romance will be swayed here, there everywhere, by the truths and facts as spoken by politicians. Well, my personal opinion is that there is no honest politicians there as much as there are still Tasmanian Tigers roaming around in Tasmania.

So it interests me by certain comments and remarks posted in Facebook or some other public domain by politicians and common folks alike, cussing or clamoring the deeds and duties done and discharged for and by politicians. Politics is a dirty and complex domain, and it takes more than us layperson to understand and make sense of the underlying agendas these politicians have. Surely it takes more than fervent and fiery rhetoric for a person to fully understand the effects of politics on the general public.

Admittedly I am politically ‘atheistic’, if I may borrow the term, as I know that politics are well out of reach of my grey matter. All my training and orientations align me to the path of least resistance. the easiest of the easy way out. I can never work hard for the people, and I can never get people to vote for me, I’m not smart, neither am I handsome, so I can never win the popularity race to begin with. My policies and ideals mattered only to me and me alone. I am out to make my own life good, irrespective of the political climate. if the policy works against me, I’d find another way around it, or find another method. So it doesn’t matter who I vote for, I vote for my own effectiveness and ingenuity. The choice I make is the true spirit of democracy, if there is ever such a thing.

Plainly, politicians are nothing more than glorified washing machine sales people, and liars to the boot, it doesn’t matter which ‘brand’ they peddle, as long as they cannot get to the truths, there are a level of lying applied. I am as good a liar as any, so I don’t need to lie to myself by voting for a bunch of liars.

More fundamentally, I know for sure that the truths and facts spoken are much much more complex than what is being ‘sold’ by these politicians. Their policies will benefit no one else other than themselves, first, then whoever is left standing, thereafter. Everyone and everywhere works like that. And politics is the art of lying at its best.

Posted on April 26, 2011

The Human Race is good for nothing!

The Human Race is good for nothing!

Dear boys,

Think about it, What is a single human being good for? What is the human race good for?

We all live such purposeful lives and we as your parents train you, educate you and hope that you boys can be of some use.

Some use for what? To do what?

Taking a quote from Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi when she visited Singapore 24 September 2013:

Speaking to reporters at a press conference later in the evening, Ms Suu Kyi recounted her visit to ITE College East, where she made a remark to Singapore officials that “education in Singapore, as in many other countries, seems to be workforce oriented”.

“That made me think … what is the purpose of a workforce … of work … of material wealth? Is that the ultimate aim of human beings, is that what we all want? In a sense, I want to probe more into successes of Singapore and to find out what we can achieve beyond that.”

(Source: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/myanmar-should-not-seek-recreate-spores-policies)

Really?

What is all these education for? What is our purpose? To be successful? To do something? To do what? A whole chunk of the human races has evolved and we are no closer to answering the most basic question. “Who am I?” Education didn’t help, sure as hell the Theory of Relativity didn’t do squat to answer that question. (perhaps, you dad is being too naïve to have an answer to that part.)

And all that we do, is in hope that we can hedge our pittance of a life against Death.

I had a chat with Steven and we talked about business and life. There is always a thing to be done in life, there is always some form of time, and if you die before you are supposed to do what you are supposed to do, then… that’s it!

No one really knows what is a human being good for, and perhaps those who knew, only learned about it on their last twitch of life. We are, really, really never going to find out what we are here for, No one knows and no one will ever find out. The purpose of life.

So can we make something positive out of life? Sure, but does it matter?

Can we face the challenges in life with gusto, sure? Then when Death, the great leveler comes, what makes of our effort?

I wish I could give you a short and sweet answer, but if I did, I’d probably be lying, because honest to goodness, you dad, is still struggling in life. Sometimes, he does gets a brief epiphany of insight, but more often than not, he is kind of wasting his life away.

But if life is not meant to be wasted away, then what is, life, good for? Go figure it out, boys.

Posted October 25, 2013

Apologizing- Wayne’s version

Apologizing- Wayne’s version

Dear Wayne,

In my earlier Q&A (Quarrel and Arguments) post, I asked you to apologize to 哥哥 because you started the argument first.

As the youngest member in our family, you will invariably do more apologizing than the rest of us. Cognitively you are still developing and learning the social ropes in the family, there are still rules and protocols that you might not be familiar with. In conversation, you sometimes forget to take turns in talking and interrupt at the wrong time. There are also life skills, concepts and ideas that are too mature for you to learn and you will offend us, or upset us ever so often.

Bad about Feeling Bad

You can’t be help it but feel kinda crappy at times, being the ‘loser’ who have to say sorry more often than us. Sometimes your 12 year-old perception of things simply doesn’t bode well for your argument and your reasoning sometimes is just…unreasonable.

I remembered vividly when you were much younger, we have to force you to admit that you are wrong and apologize. You did apologize, but I can tell you were going through the motion, as you are still unsure what you did wrong and why you are apologizing for.

You will feel bad, and I can accept that, but I don’t want you to stop trying, testing and pushing your arguments. While many a times it is outright wrong; sometimes, you got it right, and gave us a fresh new perspective on how things should be handled.

Growing Pains

So keep trying, because you are the smallest in the family, everyone and everything looks larger than life, you want to puff yourself up and felt measured, you want to be counted, as part of the ‘big people club’, making mistakes and pissing people off. Your best intentions often leads to unintended consequences.

My brother & I

This is part of being the newest kid in the block. I was also the youngest in my family and I too have such challenges, although I wasn’t able to figure it out until I was much, much older. It can be tough being the youngest because we always feel a constant need to fight for attention, fight for our voices to be heard.

There are times where my opinions are not take seriously, because people thinks that because I am the youngest, my opinions will not be considered. Or people will say things like: ‘Kids, be seen, not heard!’ I’m sure you felt that to many times, and I hope our efforts to reason and argue with you, make you see the flaws of your own arguments, help you build better premises and assumption.

You are the only one who got this Award

You are not Stupid

Apologizing more often don’t mean that you are stupid, an self depreciating assumption you make about yourself, thinking that everyone is smarter than you. It’s stupid to feel that you are stupid when you are not stupid. You are still learning from trial and error, our feedback and reasoning to build better and stronger reasoning, in the end of it, you will become the smarter of all of us, because your learning curve is steeper, you have to swim faster to catch up with us.

Right now, your brother is already somewhat completed his ‘O’ levels, his knows physics, chemistry and all those secondary school things. You don’t and you always look up to him and marveled at his level of knowledge, thinking how smart your 哥哥 is; you are also smart, just not as smart as a 16 year old.

You fail to take reference to your younger peers, are they as smart as you?

We are not asking you to compare, although you always try to measure up to your nearest competitor, your 哥哥. It’s pointless, we keep saying to you, just be the best version of yourself and we love you just as much. You are original and authentic in your own way. You have a take-no-prisoners, don’t give a rat’s ass attitude, which is unique to you. That is fine, that will also means you will offend people, which is fine, just learn from it apologize and reconcile with the hurt you sometimes unwittingly caused.

Dakota Crescent in Pictures

Dakota Crescent in Pictures

Dear Boys,

This is a throwback to our visit to Dakota Crescent before it was torn down. Our visit was inspired by a 2016 MediaCorp TV Series Hero (大英雄), it was quite an enjoyable show, and we want to capture some sights before it is gone forever.

The Main Lawn of Dakota Crescent

Recently there was another article by Channel News Asia that reported the fate of the old residents of Dakota Crescent and how they are doing in their new flat and many of them missed the good old (pun intended) days where time literally stood still in their neighbourhood.

You can read more about the article in this link:

In 2016, Dakota Crescent residents were moved to new flats. Some paid an intangible price.

Blk 12

We climbed to the second floor of Blk12 and marveled at the greenery protruding out from the corridor, the uncle was really a passionate green finger, and from the photo, you can see the myriad of greens protruding from the railings

Blk 12
The other side of Blk 12
The iconic ‘TIAN KEE & CO.’ of Blk 12

The Schindler Lift

Man that is real old school, we took it up to the level 6, and while it was very rickety, it did it’s job, creaking and squeaking from more than 5 decades of use and abuse. It’s arthritic old but it still worked!

I felt that it was really a rare privilege to take that lift, knowing that we will never get a chance to do so any more, and back then, having 5 people in the lift is already a technological marvel.

Waiting for the lift
in the Schindler Lift

The View from the Top

From some of the top floors, we caught some views, as well as peeped into some of the unit’s interior.

The view was actually not very spectacular since the flats are not high rise, but the feeling of standing of these long gone monuments gives us good memories to tell stories about.

We were quite surprised that despite of the place being vacated and vacant, it was pleasantly clean and neat. There is still a sense of order, as well as nostalgia when the occupants left their old abode. You can feel a quiet dignity in the air, knowing that these buildings stood the test of time, built homes, laughter, sweat and tears, families, friends, memories and played a very integral part of Singapore’s nation building.

Street Directory 2007

Thankfully I managed to save a Mighty Mind 2007 Street Directory which I can pull out a map of the entire Dakota Crescent neighborhood, as you boys can see, back in 2007, Mountbatten MRT was still U/C (uncompleted)

You can compare this to Google Map 2019 and you can see that in 2007, Dakota Crescent stretched beyond Blk 32, as of today, the plot of land after Blk 32 has been turned into condominium, called Dakota Residences.

Blk 32
The playground behind Blk 16

Google Maps View

Google Map view dated 2019

Amazingly you can still get a very good view of the entire Dakota Crescent on Google Maps, dating back 2019, you can see a top view of the unique shape of the flats and where Blk 12, Blk 16 and the rest of the blocks are sited. Of course by then, Mountbatten MRT is already up and running.

More photos

Time and Tide

At the end of it all, boys, sometimes these places have to give way to development, and while it is unfortunate, the needs of the future will always takes precedence over the needs of the past, and while we need to carefully balance our memories, we must make sure we are not too caught up in the past, we cannot look forward and prepare for the future.

I’m really glad that we managed to capture some memories of Dakota Crescent and these are hopefully some of the highlights of your childhood.

I lost my Wedding Ring

I lost my Wedding Ring

Dear Boys,

Your dad lost his wedding ring.

You cannot imagine how pissed he was. What makes him more pissed was he remembered exactly where he lost it.

Cycling Trip

It was on a cycling trip where Andy and I were taking cover from a storm at some shophouses just in front of Commonwealth MRT, and it’s my usual practice to wear glove for wet weather conditions, and I’ll usually remove my ring when I wear my glove. So my practice was I took out my ring to wear around my neck using one of the sport necklace your dad often wears. What happened was along with the ring, I also hung my mask around the necklace. I remembered that we are about to move off after the rain receded slightly, I unclasped the necklace to keep my mask, the ring must have fallen off.

It was this spot where I lost it.

That was EXACTLY what happened, and I only realised that I lost it during our return leg, cycling somewhere near Kallang Way Park Connector (PCN) when I ran my hands around my necklace checking for my ring only to realised that it is no longer there. I’ll usually randomly do a pat-down equipment check but this time it was already too late.

I still got to give it a try, so once I got my bike home, I hailed a private hire ride to get to Commonwealth in a feeble attempt to find the ring. By then the spectacle shop whose space we occupied in the morning has already open shop, and put out their roll-out display counter. The nice Auntie helped me look around but, alas, it was gone.

Andy’s photo

around my neck
not around my neck

Andy sent me the pictures he took and I confirmed my loss. It was still on my neck at Commonwealth MRT, and by the time to took the next picture at Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) at Clementi, the ring was no longer there.

Philosophical about loss

What the F can I do? Except to self console myself about the sheer stupidity of the loss. The self reproach, self berating and mentally beating myself for being so dumb and careless, losing an item which I’ve kept so carefully with me for the past 18 years.

Of course, I came up with the ‘nothing is permanent‘ statement to console myself, and justified the decision I made 18 years ago not to get a flashy (and expen$ive) bling bling as a wedding ring, after all it is ceremonial. It was a good call, because had I lost a ring that costs me thousands of dollars, the level of self hatred for me will be relative or many times more of that amount! While the ring is just an extrinsic material, it still makes me angry that I wasn’t able to keep it with me, due to my carelessness.

What Facebook said

I wasn’t ready to write about this, as I was still quite sore over the loss, until I saw this in Steven’s Facebook post, and what best way to live this experience that to really lose something you had for such a long time. What the hell, get over it, and get to greater things in life, and stop whining over the proverbial spilled milk.

The loss eats into me, because I am usually a very careful person, that said, I think generally the same can be said for most people, except that I really, really, really, do take care of things and I take a certain level of pride in that, and to lose my wedding ring, is a huge bruise to my ego. On top of that, I was half expecting your mum to lose hers before I lost mine. ha ha, jokes on me.

Your mum’s reaction

Part of the reason why I was super pissed was because the ring really symbolizes my marriage, and I was mostly expecting your mum to be pissed with me.

She wasn’t

She treasured the marriage more than the ring, while the loss affected her, I’m sure, but she didn’t lose the husband, only the ring. And it matters to her that she still matters to me, and that’s all it mattered to her. There is no point having and wearing a wedding ring, if the love, commitment and marriage is no longer there. The ring would be just hypocritical lip service if we as a couple no longer find a meaning in being husband and wife.

It was a huge relief for me, but deep down inside while I loath my loss, I also knew that I can always get another ring, expensive as hell to get as a symbol, still bearing the same risk of losing it again, sooner or later.

John Travolta to the Rescue

Many years ago, I read somewhere that the actor kept a box full of his wedding rings, he had it made copies of it, because he was prone to losing them, taking them off to play a certain character in his acting career. While I am not as rich to buy a chestful of rings, I should learn from his attitude towards marriage, after all he stayed married to Kelly Preston from 1991 to 2020, where she died of breast cancer. Wedding rings can be lost and replaced, but he kept only one marriage, till death do they part.

How to Avoid Q & A (Quarrels & Arguments)

How to Avoid Q & A (Quarrels & Arguments)

Dear boys,

Yesterday, you both started an argument, when 弟弟 wanted to concentrate on his Math assessment and he needed the 哥哥 volume down his music in his earphones, while in the study room.

I didn’t came to know what happened, I found your mum talking to the both of you sternly, the air in the room tensed with accusations and simmering anger.

So I thought of sharing my best tried and tested number one method of winning at Q&A (Quarrels & Arguments)…

DON’T START ONE.

Well, easier said than done, I agree, like many things in life, it’s the execution, actions and behavior that matters more than rhetoric. Until you both mature to better understand the nuances and tensions that runs in life, I’ll have to talk the walk, while you both learn to walk to talk as you grow.

Gold Coast Sea World 2018

Don’t Start One

Many times in life, you’ll walk into a situation you didn’t plan to walk into, and suddenly you find yourself difficult to walk out of it.

Sometimes we are ‘caught’ with a perspective and because of the ensuing conversations and exchanges of idea, you unwittingly felt attacked or felt a need to defend your view. Sometimes such a conversation build up over time and the tension stacks on one differences after another, and it can spontaneously combust into an all out argument, which gets everyone pissed off.

Don’t start one requires you to be very sensitive to the trigger points which leads to exposing a person’s insecurities. Avoid those trigger points, avoid people’s insecurities. Many times we felt a need to ‘help’ others with their insecurities, DON’T. Their insecurities are there long before you get to know them and will be there still, long after the world is dead and gone. If there’s anything, anyone can do about a person’s insecurities, it is the owner of that specific insecurities. You deal with your own demons, and they deal with theirs.

Fix You

Of course you’ll get people trying fix you, thinking that they can help you with your insecurities, and they can’t, since the road to hell is paved with good intentions, learn to look out for pseudo-Samaritans who wants to help you exorcise your demons so that they can avoid facing theirs. The world is full of such people. When you meet one of these many goody-two-shoes…

WALK AWAY

Thank them and walk away, there is nothing for them to fix, and I’ve come to a point in life which I learned to deal with my own s**t. There is usually not many people in this world who can help you the way you can help yourself. Sometimes all these helping can lead to frustrations which leads to Q & A.

They can never see your point of view the way you do, and sometimes words fail you when you try your best to explain and you don’t succeed. Those who are truly able to help you, will sit with you, leave you alone, or listen to you with no judgments.

Don’t make me cry.

Q & A between brothers

You both are going to get into a lot of Q&A in future, for sure. In fact, the both of you are testing grounds to thrash out opinions and perspectives. There will be opinions which both of you argue to stalemate, or simply cannot agreed upon. So what to do?

Always remember, the both of you are brothers, and long after your parents are dead, it will be the both of you, back to back, against the world. While you both can argue, you both must lean on each other, and never let anything, anyone tear you both apart.

Let’s go, Let it go

Nothing in this world is worth the bond you both have as brothers. Never let an argument break that brotherhood. It’s really not worth it. Like your argument over 哥哥’s noisy music with 弟弟 studying, if you let that simmer and fester, the ill will unresolved will eat into the good you both have build and years after this innocuous incident, you’ll both drift apart not know what happened. Just think about it, is it worth it? Arguing and keeping scores over a small tiff?

There’s a Chinese saying which will be helpful here:

忍一时风平浪静 退一步海阔天空

Forbearance in the short term, helps you see ease in the wave, forbearance in life helps you see the entire ocean of calm. In short, back off, each belligerent take step back, give some space.

I’m not asking you both to endure the s**t you throw at each other, that would be lip service, but as you grow in life, you’ll know what to bear with, what to give in and what you both can argue about and comes to a good outcome.

Q&A solution to a Q&A problem

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

The best way to get out of a Q&A is Q&A, Quit (arguing) & Apologize.

Between brothers, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, who started it, who escalated it. Between you both, deconflict by saying ‘sorry’, give in and give way, then the healing can start. Sometimes there is no resolution that you can achieve even after a heat argument, once either one cooled down, please apologize first. Never let small puny differences put a wedge in between your brotherhood, if that happens, you both will swallowed by the waves and drown in the ocean.

Brothers Forever