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 InvestorĀ 
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.