The Brave One

The Brave One

Dear Ian,

There is always a point in time where you decided

to take charge and decide for yourself. That defining moment came to me when we visited Sentosa Adventure Cove ( last weekend.

It was one of those water theme parks, we have all been to Wild Wild Wet(, you’ve been to the water slides and the river-like float.

These are the things we did and my proudest moment was when we went to the Rainbow Reef, it’s a large fish tank where the simulate a snorkeling environment.

I have never snorkel, ever. All I can relate to is pictures of people snorkeling, and I didn’t know the reality of it. First thing that hit me, and you I’m sure was how cold the water was. While we played at the wave pool and the River, the water was warm, well at least warmer than that of the Rainbow Reef. The next thing that hit me, was the unfamiliar equipment, I didn’t know that a snorkel mask covers the nose, cView from underwater completely. Now that I’ve worn one, I can understand the logic, since you are breathing through a tube, with your mouth, it made sense to shut out the nose.

I didn’t now that. And I didn’t know how to prepare you for it as well. Oh, didn’t I mention the tank was 2.9 metres deep?

It was difficult for you, I can tell, firstly, you are not that great a swimmer, yet. and the mask was giving you a problem, I’d wanted to play it safe and count your effort to try was commendable, but you decided to hang on, also against the better judgement of the Chinese life guard.Ian surfacing

He thought you didn’t dare as well, and for safety sake, I would agree with him. You don’t even date to straighten out your legs. when we move off the ledge. Twice I have to pull you back to the ledge and adjust the mask for you. You didn’t seem to understand the concept of the snorkel, and you have to breath through that.

Ian in his first time snorkeling

I wanted to call it quits. But you said to try one more time.

This time, with the lifeguard’s suggestion, I lay you face down, leg straightened and let the buoyancy of the life vest float you. Once you look comfortable face down, breathing through the snorkel, I took you off the ledge!

If there is any highlights this year of being a dad, this would count as one of them, because there I was, your dad, the only person you can count on, in the pool, holding me while you simply enjoyed yourself with the experience. Nothing could replace that feeling, where you know your son is holding onto you, in his own innocent world, enjoying the fishes, trying to talk through his snorkel, while the dad, does the propulsion. It is a feeling of certain measurement of trust, between a father and his son.

the base of the 2.9m pool

Your mum is just as proud of you as I did, and really, that was the defining moment, where you made a big step out of the little Ian and into a slightly larger, more responsible Ian. There was a certain level of confidence you had, when you said to try it again. I can tell you are not forcing it, there was not uncertainty, you knew you could do this and you did, and I’m glad you did.

First published in May 21, 2013

Why we spring clean

Dear boys,

We usually do an annual spring cleaning, when the days edges closer towards Chinese New Year.

I mean, we all know what Spring Cleaning is all about, its about getting rid of the old so as to welcome the new, “旧迎新”. This annual exercise takes a whole new meaning when you have kids.

Its not about growing, its about getting out of the way

The old and the new is something like a metaphorical duality. What is ‘new’? and what is ‘old’? when does the ‘new’ becomes ‘old’? in a day, in a year? This year, we decided to clear the storeroom (YIKES!) There is certainly a lot of junk in there, old stuffs, momentos and other knick knacks. Old books, souvenirs from places we have been, some other keepsake, notes and letters I wrote to your mum (You mother seldom writes to me…)

As we sift through those stuffs, going through the same ‘keep’/’throw’ decision train, we realise that we ate throwing away more of ‘our stuffs, and your stuffs are growing in the ‘keep’ list.

More of your ‘keep’ stuffs are some of the baby drawings you boys did, for Ian, stuffs you did in Brightkids as well as in PCF Kindergarten convocation pictures, some of your Primary School medals, works. For Wayne, your kindergarten stuffs, drawings and of course your convocation pictures.

Space, being limited, means that we can only keep so much of everything, something’s gotta give. And we the parents, your previous generation, has to go. Our stuffs has to go, so that you have more space for your stuffs. Your toys are already a big headache for years already. We decided to clear a majority of them so that we can make space for more toys. This is a surety.

So this is the meaning of spring cleaning, things we kept, decades ago, no longer relevant except for the memories it brings, has to go. If we hoard our stuffs, you will have no place for yours, and before long, you will find new spaces outside to keep your stuffs your memories.

This is your home, as much as it is mine. As you dad, I have to be the referee not only for you but also for myself. If I keep too much of mine, you will have no space for yours, I also want to keep some of my stuffs as memories, but it will come a point it time when these memories is no longer relevant. What happens then?

That is why we spring clean, we proactively get rid of those stuffs, leave as little physical, and material baggage for you boys, when the time comes for your parents to become nothing but your memories.

We didn’t bring it with us when we first got here, and we sure as hell can’t bring it with us, when we finally depart. So as much as your mum and I treasure those stuffs, we will slowly get rid of them so that you boys will have more space to grow. Like I said, we have to get out of your way, eventually so that you boys can grow and flourish.

 Published 7 Jan 2016