Forgiveness- Asking and Giving

Forgiveness- Asking and Giving

Dear Boys,

As you both know, I don’t have a family past which I can be proud of. My parents, and my elder brother, well…they’re difficult to manage, they have never been in my life, for the good times, and they’re always there in my memories when I think of the bad. That’s a fact.

The Letter-it’s not that bad…

The story of my life is one of waiting, for the dreaded. When it finally came, well… it didn’t feel so bad. So…moot point, nothing in reality is as bad as you imagine it to be. Whatever happens, you can deal with it.

The letter was from the government, sent when my mum went to them to get money from me. My dad did that to me about 7 years ago. I’ll go into the details later in future, but the gist of it was both my parents think of me as a kind of ‘gold mine’ where they can milk money out from. This leaves me in a bad mental state, and oh let’s not talk about my elder brother.

Wishin’ and Hopin’

Celebrating my elder brother’s birthday, circa 2000

So I carry them as my ‘family history’ as a burden on my shoulders, always gnarly and bitter about not having a more supportive and loving parents. Well I guess I am always kind of wishing for something better, the wishin’ and hopin’ was actually not doing anything good for me. There’s really nothing nice I can say or mention about them, they are not my source of pride and joy.

Whoever or whatever they are or were, they are literally poisoning my personality and reality without even being there. The best part was I was allowing them to do so, lurking in the fringe of my mind and psyche.

Turning the bad to good

The relationship is so aloof with them that they’ve never found a good reason to contact me, and this caused me to develop a doubt over the good things that has happened in my life. That cynical person in me (usually my mum), who is always suspicious over a positive turn of events. ‘Cannot be! There must be a catch!’ ‘How can it be so good! You just watch it, it’ll always turns bad!’ And things always do.

While I was thinking about the bad stuff they’ve caused me, bad personalities they’ve endowed me with, twisted stories my mum (especially my mum) and dad has told me; a silent voice in me grew louder of late, whispering softly to me that they also did left me with something good. I just need to find out what that is, while my dad was a failed businessman, who was probably a bankrupt, he was after all an entrepreneur. My mum was at times a good judge of character, she has a wonderful smile in better days. Even if all they left me was something bad, I didn’t turn out bad, I learned from the bad things they left me with. The trap was I was learning so much, I was slowly turning bad. I was learning to avoid the poison, by eating them to get rid of them, not very smart right?


From what it seems, they’ve very much unwittingly done me wrong and left me a little twisted. If we were to move on, forgiveness is a mental closure for everyone to heal and become a better person. Sometimes our perpetrators might be self vindicated, to think they are right and you are wrong. and you are the one who have hurt them, therefore they hold the ‘key’ to your forgiveness, and they’ll punish you and hold you psychologically hostage, by not forgiving you for the hurt you did to them.

Relationship is always a 2-way street and for my case, I don’t think I can get them to forgive me, and I don’t think they will ask for my forgiveness, after all, I cause them the hurt, didn’t I?

I forgive them

My mum

I forgive them anyway, never mind that they’ll never know I did, ignorant to the reality that they have left a son, a younger brother alone, lonely and a little bitter almond seed in my heart.

I forgive them anyway, as I have to accept the judgement they’ve passed to me. I’ll never be the good son, or little brother in their lives. I’ve punished myself enough to try and live up to that fantasy, and the reality is, I am a good husband, decent dad, and okay guy.

I forgive them as I need to forgive myself, for being unfilial, for ditching them, and for being the bad guy in their narrative. I don’t live in their narrative, I live in my reality. I have to forgive myself for playing this sad sorry tune in my head for the longest time.

Always give and quit asking for it

An old polaroid photo of my dad and my elder brother. My only photo of my dad.

Don’t beg

If you are waiting for people to give you their forgiveness, you’ll always be begging. While in a healthy and balanced relationship, you can ask the person whom you’ve hurt; for forgiveness, and it’ll heal faster for both the victim and the instigator, when you give forgiveness, ask for forgiveness and gets it. Nonetheless, if you ask and you’re not given, it’s okay, forgive them for not forgiving you and move on, some things are never meant to be solved and some sour relationships are meant to be sour, no matter how hard we try to better it.

Don’t do what your dad did for the past 20 odd years, waiting in vain for my history to better. History is history, no matter how hard we try to rewrite it. What has happened is not something we can understand, I can never fully understand why my elder brother is the a**hole, he still is, why my mum tells lies to everyone about everyone. People are people, they’ll change to their whims and conveniences, a lot of us live like this and will be like this for as long as we live, you boys can be better, and start being better by learning to forgive yourself, and forgive those who have hurt you.

And boys, if I’ve hurt you, please forgive me, I forgive you for any and all the hurt you’ve caused me.

Our Road Trip to Coney Island

Dear Boys,

Coney Island is Singapore’s latest island open to public. How ironic it sounds as Singapore by itself is an island too!

Coney Island first visit
Coney Island first visit 11 Oct 2015

I made a visit myself on the second day of opening and found it a haven island, left rustic the way it is. The beach was the thing that took my breath away. Of course the beach is not white sandy beach, Maldives equivalent, but it was good enough for me, there is the sea, sand and shore. There is very minimal human presence such as a BBQ pit, signage (Singaporeans loves signage!) or lighting. It was kept this way by the NParks . Kudos to them for doing a great job!

So I had to bring you both there, and since the exams is over, and you boys are raring for a road trip, we borrowed our neighbor’s (its great to have great neighbors!) adult bikes and off we go!

Lorong Halus Way

We took the Lorong Halus way as it is the one closer to our house, we just have to cross the bridge linking Punggol to Lorong Halus wetland. From there is was a vehicular road and I took the lead, Ian following, Wayne the third and your mother covering the back. I can hear the constant yell from your mother to tell the both of you to ‘KEEP LEFT!!!’

East Gate, entering through Lorong Halus.

We used the East entrance to enter and cycled the inner trail, the one closer to the beach, so that I can show you boys how the beach looked like.

There were threats and news of Sand-flies, and people falling victim to these insects, thankfully, we didn’t encoThe Beach at Coney Islandunter any of those! We continue to take the trail and Ian you, having your mountain bike, surely finds no trouble handling the terrain, your little brother Wayne, with his little BMX, took the trail with gusto, falling innumerable times, getting up, and falling down and getting up again.

We cycled a little further to the heading towards the west side of the island and we could see clearly another larger island, Pulau Ubin. We can clearly see the jetty used by Outward Bound Singapore and was wondering to ourselves if the distance was actually swim-able. Which all of us agreed, it is!

Outward bound Jetty @ Pulau Ubin, as seen from the beach

We carried on with our cycling, and both Ian and I have to slow down and stop occasionally so that your gritty little brother could catch up. We found the sign for Coney Island and your mother asked a Malay couple cycling behind us to help us with the pictures, and we in turn helped them snapped theirs. It’s always nice to be nice to other people.

A family shot at a now-ought-to-be-famous photo spot.
A family shot at a now-ought-to-be-famous photo spot.

We left the Island via the West entrance and was feeling hungry, we didn’t settle for the usual palate at Punggol Settlement, and we decided to brave on and cycle further up, towards SengKang, and finally ended up at Seletar Mall to have our meal. thankfully, although the dark clouds loomed, rain didn’t happened as we cycled back, the same way we came, and by the end of everything we realized that we have clocked over 20km of cycling in total! The amazing things is, having being bitten by the cycling bug, you boys pounced on the idea of a night cycling, which your mum and I think, you both will be too tired to continue, so we told you both to sleep, when we reached home, which was about 6pm? and if you both can wake up by 10pm, we can go. And of course, without having to mention it, you both slept like a log! through the night!

The total distance we took to cycle.
By the time we reached Seletar Mall, we have covered 14km

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First published: Nov 16, 2015 11:42 PM

Why we Pray

Why we Pray

Fo Guang Shan (Singapore)

Dear boys,

Everybody prays, one way or another. For someone who is areligious, it is quite difficult for me to really explain this ‘pray’ thing we humans do in detail.

But yes, I do pray, and your mum do pray too. I don’t know if you boys would pray and who or what you’ll pray to, but I’ll give my 2 cents worth.

Kuan Im Tng Temple (Joo Chiat )
Kuan Im Tng Temple (如切观音堂)

Firstly let’s look at a practical example. When your mother had a very difficult boss in the earlier days of her working life, she dread going to work. But she has to, so she seek solace in prayers when she visits the Kuan Im Tng Temple (如切观音堂) at Tembling Road. She did that almost every weekend and not long after that, her boss began to treat her nicer, and her days in the office seems to have improved. I don’t know what you can attribute it to the efficacy of her prayers or you can attribute it to things getting smoother, and she was experiencing some teething, new job jitters.

But I think there is some psychological positive effects of prayers. Religious people pray to their gods, buddhas, deities, saints, and other items or characters of higher powers. I prefer to appeal to my spiritual side, and the idea of a prayer is like sending your silent scream out into the cosmos, and seek strengths that you find lacking within.

Pray for good things, seek good conversations with yourself through prayers.

I don’t know if prayer works for me. Personally, I’m a Buddhist kind of person so I do go to a Buddhist temple, burn 3 joss sticks and usually in three bow, pray for 3 things that I want from the divine to have happen in my life. Don’t ask me why the ‘trinity’ of things. It’s not something I have an explanation for, when I do, I’ll share with you.

Prayers are a very, personal and intimate things; so it is really up to the both of you to decide if you want to believe it or not. But I think the human psyche is such that the more you think, belief, the more you will act on it to manifest it in reality. Prayers are something like that, you want something to happen, you pray for it, be it in a temple, in the quiet of your bedroom, in the depths of a psychological dungeon, you utter a prayer, to yourself, to seek strengths, to calm yourself down, and perhaps, the prayer you utter will connect you to the great scheme of the universe. And when you seek help, help will come.

Prayers are not answers

Please remember one thing though, prayers are prayers, you can pray, but if you do not act on your prayers, nothing will happen. You still need to work, even if you pray to strike a 1 million dollar lottery, you will not win, if you do not get your ass off the couch to buy the lottery ticket. Nobody wins a lottery they don’t buy. Prayer works best when you commit to action. Sometimes, when the going gets tough, and action seems to be waning, a little prayer is like a kick booster, gives you that little internal strength to continue. With a little prayer, you will breakthrough.


Prayers are a form of internal conversation

When you pray, who do you talk to? Some talk to god, buddhas and other characters they believed to be true, more importantly, prayers are an internal conversation you have with yourself. Even when you talk to god, god doesn’t really talk back (for those who’s gods talks back, needs to see a really good shrink). The whole idea of using prayer as a form of internal conversation with yourself is to help you reach into yourself, into places where you normally won’t reach, to find strengths to do things you normally won’t do. That’s what prayers do.

Prayers are positive energy

Nobody prays for their negative things. Everybody wants to pray for good things. Sometimes, people do pray for bad things to happen to other people, that is not a prayer, that is a curse, a hex, you are trying to ask the cosmos to hurt someone else out there. Please don’t do that. If you want to seek divine power to help you, use the universal energy for good, for positivity, not to see that someone gets hurt.

Pray for good things, seek good conversations with yourself through prayers. Then you’ll be ready and open to accept and receive good things. You cannot protect yourself from bad things from happening to you, but if you have a good conversation with yourself through prayer, then the bad will quickly pass. Always seek positivity.

It is not the best answer for this rather abstract and highly personal topic, and I am not a fervent advocate of praying. I do drop by our nearby temple to pray. It makes me feel good, burn 3 joss sticks, offer 3 bows. I really don’t know what happens beyond what I can’t see, but I walk away from every prayers a little stronger, a little bit more positive, that things will turn out well. And if they still don’t; well, makes me wonder if I should pray more.

The most important room in a home

The most important room in a home


Dear Boys,

Which is the most important room at home?

A- Living Room

B- Study Room

C- Bed Room

D- Kitchen

In my opinion, the Kitchen.


It is a place of many wonders, When it is well controlled, it is a place of healing, substance, sustenance, peace, experimentation, exploration, cleansing, and more.

Primarily, it is a place of culinary activity, but from this activity, members at home get fed. Without a filled stomach, there will be no energy for anything else. And the saying goes that the best way to a man’s heart to through the stomach (no you don’t gut a man to get there!) and for that, your mum has always been able to achieve that.

But more than that, she has many failures in the kitchen, trial and error, She damaged the oven when she ‘over roast’ the pork and smoked the entire kitchen! But more important she is able to learn through an acceptance of trial and error, and with experimentation and exploration.


You, Ian had your share of exploration, when you learned to make your own cookies some time back.  So it was a place for you to learn your math, and of volume and matrices.

It is a healing place, as that is where we store all our meds., and the kids’ meds has to be refrigerated. And the fridge is where the kitchen is.

We do our laundry in the kitchen too, our washing machine is there,  all the vomits and soiled clothing get their fair share of cleaning.

Our kitchen is a place of peace, everyone comes in with something agreeable. Then again, it is not always so, as there are times we have to fight you boys to feed you boys meds, especially you, Wayne, eating your meds is always one of our greatest challenges.

So there you have it, my take on the most important room at home.

Original version posted 1 March 2014