Save the earth-the cognitive dissonance

Save the earth-the cognitive dissonance

Dear Boys,

The human race has been trying to save the earth for the longest time. And I was reminded again last evening by my friend, Siew Chin, that we can only save ourselves, the Earth will continue with or without us.

An we are doing such a piss poor job trying to save ourselves.

We have all sort of data, statistics and experts telling us the scarcity of our resources. How much fuel we are consuming and we are not sustainable at the rate we are sucking up the earth’s limited resources. Species are going extinct, forests are wiped out, greenery are gone, chemicals and harm are everywhere and we need to take care of the environment, and all that yadah yadah yadah, motherhood statements.

Single use plastics 

In recent years, there are more talk about trying to reduce single use plastics as these are very harmful to the environment, and we need to reduce the usage. It is spreading all over the world and there are plastic wastes in the ocean the size of dunno which country.

In the depths of the ocean there re plastics, where ever we go, we see plastics being branded the poster child of an environment killer. We need to stop using plastics to save the environment. And we have limited time left to do so.

Well, take a look at this picture.

 Cheap, cheap plastics, as far as your eyes can see.

Another picture

food shortage? what food shortage?

How do we get the message across to people to tell them to treasure our limited resources, when the fact is all they see in supermarkets are unlimited resources of food, consumables, plastics and other supposedly Earth harming produce?

You cannot educate people on the scarcity of resources when all they need to do is to head to the nearest minimart to prove that they are right, nevermind you are wrong or not.

The bottom line is, people don’t care, or they care little for the world they live in. And as long as they care about their little world, there will be a massive faceless company providing that care, offering that care. While people care about their little world, and get that gratification doing so, they will not care about the world at large.

We can’t extend that care to those Elephants going extinct in the African Savannah, Giraffes are dying off, but who cares? We can still see them in a zoo. Polar bears are an important part of the arctic ecosystem, so in order to spread awareness, let’s make more soft cuddly Polar Bear plushes in PLASTIC, so that we can tell people how poor thing these polar bears is.

Meanwhile, let’s head to our supermarket…

brush and floss till your teeth drop, and still brush and floss some more.

Plastics, as far as your eyes can see, and mind you, one of these bottles might float and find their way to the ice caps, our dear polar bear friends might pick one of these up and eat it, killing them in the process, but who cares? We’ve got a softtoy to remember that we need to save these big white bears. Such is the hypocrisy of humans.

Who to do next?

Don’t ask me, I only have ideals for extreme, extremely unpopular methods. Being a realist, I don’t quite care about the individual needs, for us to really save ourselves, we need to ban plastic, and make people bring their own containers, make them understand the long tail of cause and effect. The entire value chain. No one seem to understand, especially the manufacturers, that once you make something, that something has an end date.

Typical of human nearsightedness, we only care about growth, and produce more and more, but no one thought about how to end the product’s life cycle nicely. Everyone wants to build and sell nice cars, but no a lot of people wants to take back old, used cars. So used stuffs will accumulate and build up to such a degree no one wants to look at them.

There is no end

Unfortunately, because of humans’ resourcefulness, there will be no end to this production and consumer led consumption of resources, organic or otherwise. People will find ways to continue this type of lifestyle, and it will be too late to realise that the abundance we see everyday is nothing but a veil of an impending destruction.

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No Permanent Friends, No Permanent Enemies

Dear boys,

Humans are the strangest creatures, making friends one moment, and enemies the next.

Your Grandma’s experience

Last week, while we are at your Grands’ house, for our usual Saturday get-together, your grandma revealed an unhappy episode she had when she was in Secondary 2. She mentioned that the senior Sec 3 girls would pass their past year materials to their junior Sec 2 girls to copy, so that the juniors can have some advantage into their tests. Your grandma also ‘enjoyed’ such a privilege, until one day her friends turned on her. Her group of friend started avoiding her like she was a plague.

She couldn’t understand why, given no reason, she was perplexed. Eventually she managed to find out from her best friend, who somewhat sheepishly told her that their Sec 3 senior girls, told the rest of them not to share these materials with Kan Tee (Your grandma) as she didn’t want to go to church with them.

Your grandma was no pushover. To hell with that, she studied on her own. And during the good times, they will all walk to school together, and now, whilst they still walk the same way, it was a frosty walk, no one would talk to your grandma, and she kept to herself as well.

Eventually, the girls failed their test, and your grandma passed it. We jokingly say that Grandma’s Guanyin, is more powerful than the girls’ God.

It is not about the religion, but about the people who likes to group together. It is a common in-group and out-group phenomenon.

Your dad and mum’s experience

We too encountered our own share of relationship woes, with friends and colleagues. Both your parents encountered wonderful and lovely people as colleagues, folks we felt close and have that great friendship with. We talked to these friends and colleagues about everything, and some, even invited to our houses and vice versa.

All can fall apart the next day.

No given reason or revelations.

When we were younger, it hurts us in some ways. We like to think we have a healthy ego and we can socialise quite well, we can make friends take care of them, and them take care of us. That is a great feeling to know that we can build on these friendships to count on years later.

It was not, never meant to be.

It has been quite a few years ago and it happened to me more than twice, the hurt is no longer there, but it was replaced with a immense sense of curiosity. Why? Why did these seemingly good friendly folks turn? Colleagues who lunched and laugh at your silly jokes, you laughing at theirs, suddenly stop asking you out for lunch, buys everyone coffee except for you, no longer small talk, chit chat with you, no longer asks you ‘How’s you day?’ They just stopped caring about you and aiming to effectively wiped away your existence, socially.

I felt quite lousy, insignificant and somewhat indignant back then.

Not so much these days.

It made a difference I have your mum, and you mum have me. With the both of us, we pretty don’t quite give a f**k about what happened at work. Your mum is my pillar, and she came from a more complete family, she has her family to fall back on, no matter what friends and colleagues does to her. I relied more of my social circles to give me my sense of worth, and this kind of ‘sudden relationship winter’ hit me hard. But your mum has always been there for me, and it took me some time to accept her as my solace.

But that’s that. We are all much older now and I have grown not to take these kind of cliffhanger relationships personally anymore.

In the latest spat, I learned that some things was said about me, in my absence, and people started distancing themselves from me, typical signs of a drop coming. I’ve seen it all happen before.

Not to be affected, I continue with my work. People chit chat and joked around me, not involving me in their conversation, when I am clearly, physically in the room. I hear all the banter going on, and people asking each other about their personal lives, weaving care and concern all around. I just have this cold, hard shell, and continue plowing into my work. Keeping myself busy at work, helps you keep away from all these subtle insidious  negative attacks. The aim of making you invisible is to make you feel bad, and them feel good.

I felt nothing, no good no bad, its a job, do it well and go home. I only feel bad if I don’t do a good job.

It will be over soon

Good times like bad times always ends, no matter what. Friends always comes and go, so does your haters. No one stays at a spot forever, well, at least not let yourself be the one. Move on and find something new. After a few years, these haters will no longer know why they hated you, or did those things to you. Heck, some might need you to do something for them in future. If your haters need you to help them, help them. It is not because you need to prove them wrong, you help because you can, period.

So while at times, especially when it is happening, it might seem like it will go on forever, but it doesn’t. Always remember what happens at work stays at work, you boys have a family to come back to. At home we can heal each other from the hurt we got outside in the big bad world. And over time, it will all be buried in the past, even the hurt to appear to have will be gone.

While the world may judge you boys badly, you can always come home where no one judges you destructively. There are no enemy in our family.

 

 

 

 

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The Purpose

The Purpose

…the world feeds us and we need to give back to the world.

Dear Boys,

We all wonder what is the purpose of our existence. This is the ultimate rocket science, and not many has figured this out, but those who do, live their lives in the greatest of wonder and splendor.

My Dark Side

Of late, I am mired in a cesspool of dark thoughts that surrounded me, slowly but surely, I get stronger from this constant battle, inside of me, and through my own doubts, critical thinking and understanding of my own vulnerability, I begin to understand why I am like this, and what it is to be done with me.

A lot of good meaning people tried to help, Steve told me it is a mid life crisis thing, your mum told me it is a certain insecurity. She has her point, we will talk about that in a while. But I realized that I am mildly, depressive.

Depression

The thing about me is, I will always find an answer to my woes. There are incessant questions, issues and problems that I tussle with everyday, in my head. Somehow, I always have the intuition to come out of it, with an answer.

To that day, I was browsing through Facebook, and I came across this article ‘The Mental Health Issue Men Never Talk About‘; while I don’t believe at that time of reading, that I am ‘depressed’, I decided to try an online Depression Test, and lo and behold! The test results showed that I am ‘mildly depressive’.

It was one of those casual test, 16 questions, I did it on my phone and I wondered at the results. At this point, I need to be critical and careful about ‘branding’ myself, but I let that reality sink in a bit. Being ‘mildly depressive’ didn’t hit home, it was something else, but while I am at it, depression does feels like something I am feeling now. so I am going to deliberate on that a bit, my mind will always comes to an answer.

Sniffer Dog Mind

My brain is like that, a kind of sniffer dog, and when I let the mind wander, I will pick up vibes and nuances that resonates strongly. Sometimes, my mind will pick up a fake scent, lose a scent, or a very faint scent. Whatever it is, my sniffer dog mind will wander, and relentlessly seek out and find, whatever that is out there.

It is a process, and the mind needs to wander, you will need time for the dog to go around up and down in the most non-linear way. So I don’t stand in the dog’s way, and whenever I can, and have the luxury of time, I let the dog wander, and bring back the quarry, whatever it may be, and I think my dog is on to something.

What we are here for

The journey in my mind of late, has been perilous, and dangerous. There is a chance that I might go crazy, turn into someone completely different, and I think that is the message I am getting, I need to be someone completely different, as right now who I am, is not serving the greater purpose.

Society will challenge us, people will doubt us, so we become a fraction of ourselves so that we can fit society, and the expectations of those around us. We do all that to become accepted, but the irony, and boys, this comes from experience, the more we try to get that acceptance, and fit in, the more we get rejected. It is a lesson I learned again and again, to fit in, we need to stand out. Nobody ever fits in to anything, anywhere. When we try to do that, all we do is become a shadow, it dims the world.

Action!!!

While I am at it, one word keeps ringing out, act. Put out action. Time for deliberation is over, the time to act on things is here. As a Piscean, I over-think and over analyze things, a lot, which is good for a critical mind, and bad, when it comes to action. The first 40 years of my life has been dedicated to thought; I need to know what I know is absolutely true, robust and resolute. I need to know my intrinsic value.

Once the thinking is cleared, it is time for action, acting on life always guarantee an outcome. While the outcome might not suit what you expected, the next action you must take, is to either work harder to get the desired outcome, or adjust your expectations of the outcome. To get all these done, needs action, not thought.

Action that benefits others

The world has turned too much into a ‘Me’ world. while that is fine, to better that; the ‘me’ has to give back to the world, so that the ‘me’ can continue to be ‘me’. When what we do, does not benefit the world, and make the world a better place, the world we are in will destroy us eventually. So don’t lie to yourself to think that the ‘me’ will continue, irrespective of what the world becomes. It doesn’t, the world feeds us and we need to give back to the world.

And we can only do that in our own unique way. So boys, as your dad, you need to find you own way. I can guide, provide resources, but you have to use your own guile and cunning to make sure that you can benefit the world, and not just benefit from the world.

 

The Aikido Network- Our Gi

The next time you go to class, bring this to your awareness.

The next time you wear your Gi, think of;

the person who grew the cotton plants for the cloth;

person who harvested the cotton;

person who carried the cotton to the truck;

person who drove the truck transporting the cotton;

person to filled the truck with fuel to transport the cotton;

person who unloading the cotton;

person supervising unloading the cotton;

person who owns the factory that turn the cotton into your Gi;

person who stitch your Gi;

person who check for defects on your Gi;

Think of the person packing your Gi into plastic bags;

Think of the person who stored the plastic bags for your Gi;

person who make sure that your Gi reaches your martial arts shop;

person who opened the martial arts shop;

Think of the person who man the cashier and gave you your GI in exchange for a wad of cash;

person who designed the cash register to hold the cash you exchanged for your Gi;

person who is interested in robbing the cash register of the cash;

person who made the Law to protect us from robbery and thefts;

person being accused of robbery and theft;

Well, I can go on, but I think you get the picture, the next time let’s thing about how the mat we roll on came about.

Cheers.

First published  Jun 14, 2012 11:39 PM

Hurt or Happy?

Nobody writes a ‘self-hurt’ book and becomes a worldwide best seller. Everyone is cashing in on ‘self-help’, ways to find happiness, bliss, pleasure, and all the good stuff. It even appears that happiness is so hard to attain that you have to read a book to ‘learn’ happiness!

What about pain, hurt, hatred and all those unpleasant things?

We don’t need to learn them as it appears that we get hurt easily, we get hurt all the time, we experience pain frequently. Pain is easy, pain is commodity. Happiness is gold.

But the funny paradox is sometimes, we are driven by pain, hurt, and all those unpleasant stuff. We became masochistic, we derive pleasure out of pain! and suddenly, pain and pleasure seems all the same!

But it is not.

The other funny thing is, we delve a majority of our time justifying our hurt. We focus an inordinate amount of time getting over the hurt. When we get hurt so easily, we seem to have a problem letting go of the hurt, just as easily as we gotten them. It should be a case of ‘easy come, easy go.’ but it is not the case. We focus on the easy things, and forget to spend our time cultivating the happiness of things!

Happiness on the other hand, gets left out because we spend so much time commoditising hurt, and pain, we get so comfortable dealing with the quantitative effects of pain and hurt, we begin to think that we do not deserve the realm of happiness. We get so comfortable with pain, we are no longer comfortable with pleasure. So it become painful to be in pain, and even more painful to be happy.

First published Apr 9, 2014 9:29 PM

Corporate Parent

family-org-chartDear Boys,

In Singapore, most couples/ parents are working class; thankfully for us, we are able to make do with our finances, enough to keep your mum at home, she do not have to work. But the norm is, we have both mummies and daddies working.

I noticed that this created a problem when both mummy and daddy  comes home after work and unfortunately, brought work home. What I mean is not the ‘work’ work, but their working mindset.

Back when I was working in a bank, I have this ‘not my department’ mindset, you can’t help it; an organization as large as a bank, you cannot possibly know everything. I am in the Collections department, and if someone wants to open a business account, it is truly and purely not my department, it is someone else’s job. Closer to my job, I am a credit card collections department, my colleague may work as a car loan collections department, again, anything pertaining to car loans, not my problem again. It is not that I don’t want to be helpful, but in a work setting, sometimes, being helpful is the least helpful thing to do.

If a guy finishes his work and come home, with a ‘corporate mindset’, he can sometimes say things like, “The children’s education is not my problem. I’ll pay an education centre to take care of that.” If the Wife comes home, and forgets to take her hat off as a Human Resource Manager, will say things like, “The dishes is not my problem, he has to do the washing.”

Lines gets drawn at home, very much the same way lines are drawn at work. 

I’ve seen this kind of parenting becoming more common. And it is unfortunate.

No Good Cop/Bad Cop Routine

Sometimes I get asked, ‘So who is the bad guy at home?’ Or ‘Who is the stricter one at home?’ Or ‘Who is the disciplinarian at home?’

Boys, your mum and I have long learned that if we play the ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ role, you kids will manipulate us over the other. Kids are smart, and as we learn to be parents, we deal with the situation, not who plays the role.

If Wayne does something naughty at home, in my absence, your mother does not say things like ‘Wait till you dad comes home and I’ll tell him to discipline you!’ She will discipline you, immediately. Your  um and I are good and bad cops all rolled into one.

That’s your department not mine

It’s quite funny, from our perspective, when we talk to some parents, and we realised that the wife doesn’t know certain things about the husband, and vice versa. That is where we can safely assume that both are working professionals who are also spouses who are also parents. Sometimes,  the mother will pay for the children’s school fees, and the father’s money is used to maintain the car, that will bring the whole family out.

On the surface, it seems like there is nothing wrong, but such demarcation can only bring so much value and depth into a relationship. When the car breaks down, and the man is short of cash to pay, is he going to get a loan from the wife? Can he justifies that the wife also benefits from using the car and hence, she should start paying for some of the car’s expenses? The wife can argue that the son’s enrichment class helps with the grades which makes the father looks good and he too should look into footing some of the children’s education bills? The argument breaks down the family.

Inter-department feud becomes parenting feud

Sometimes, I will have my bad days in the office fighting other departments over work matters. It happens and within departments, there will be finger pointing and blame shifting. If I don’t clear that, and brings it home, I will start finger pointing when things at home are not going as expected.

This will become exacerbated if your mum is working and comes home with an equally bad day, fighting other departments, and she wants to impose her parental expectations. She is going to pick on the ‘daddy’ department, and the ‘daddy’ department will go up in arms and blames the ‘mummy’ department over the most mundane of things.

 What works at work, does not always work at home
Honestly, I think this happens when parents, as spouses do not communicate unconditionally, instead they communicate expectations, sometimes subliminally. Some of those expectations could have been set when they are still dating. A guy may like the girl, who happens to have a lifestyle of manicure and pedicure. Naturally, the boy will not expect the girl to do the dishes when they settle down as husband and wife. And the dishes naturally becomes the guy’s ‘department’.
There is not such thing as your department and my department at home. Everyone has to chip in as one family unit. Sure, there will be some functional demarcation, like, I will be the one doing the lifting at home, changing the light bulbs, washing the toilets and other more laborious stuffs. That said, it doesn’t mean your mum can’t do it, she can and she will if she have to.
It is more about effectiveness than efficiency
You cannot draw an Organization Chart to run a family, and it is not the same as a corporate life. In a corporate life, jobs and functions needs specializing, so that when we work, we are efficient. Lines gets drawn so that everyone gets paid to do the work we are good at. An Accountant, does nothing but accounting, and not sales. The IT guy fix IT problem, and the customer service people do not manage the warehouse. It works like this at work, and this cannot be how it work at home.
Raising kids is all about being effective, more than being efficient. We need all hands on deck, it is not a ‘your department not my department’ mindset. As parents we cannot sit, with a problem on hand, for the other department to come and fix it, simply because it is not in our job scope. As parents, we have to fix anything and everything because, that is the job scope of a parent!
So to have family success, skills and mindsets that brings us professional success needs to be tweaked. There are habits better suited at work, leave them at work, being a parent and  raising a family needs us to have a different sets of tools altogether!

Rolling is hard!

Rolling is hard!

collage_fotor-3Dear Wayne,

Your mum and I has always know you to be an independent child. More often than not, you’ll be the one up to no good, and your elder brother is the one who has to give in to you. You are the one with the mischief. But we love you so, so much!

Happily rolling along

I wanted to learn some advance Aikido rolling techniques, so I brought out these colorful mats we bought some time back, and lay it out, just for this purpose. Not long after that, you boys invaded the mat and started rolling around, I have to end up teaching you boys a thing or 2 about rolling.

You need to get out of your way, and help other people.

We went into YouTube and explore some Aikido rolling techniques and some partner practice. This particular one is something like a circle roll, personally for me it is like a ‘bowl roll’. Imagine you tilt the bowl to its side and the bowl will roll on its curve. It is a basic Aikido roll. Except that this time I have you both seated back to back, in a coordinated fashion, Ian will roll to his left, and Wayne, you will roll to your left, if done nicely, both of you will roll and recover on the opposite side, taking over the pace your partner was earlier occupying. Which is what the YouTube video shows exactly.

collage_fotor

But that was not what you boys have in mind, or specifically what you, Wayne have in mind. You couldn’t roll properly when your brother is around. You could do quite well when you’re doing it alone, but when you brother came into the picture, you have a problem working with him. Having another person in the movement seems to bother you, distracts you, and you end up rolling into and clashing with your brother.

Me, Myself and I

collage_fotor-1So it was a great opportunity to bring to your attention, your egocentric self, where you wanted the whole thing to work, but you could not work with other people to make it work. More often than not, in life, you need to work with other people, and you always have a problem working with your elder brother. He has to give in to you many, many times. Which is fine, as that is what elder brother usually do. Sometime, things will not work even if people give in to you, Wayne. You have to learn to think for other people and work with them. You cannot solve problems simply by having people give in to you every, single time. And this was a great opportunity for you to experience that

You focused for a while and in your own words, you ‘shut the noise’ out and the whole partner rolling technique worked a little. Well, you boys are doing this for the first time, so that is no fault of the both that it didn’t worked out the way as we all wanted.

But is was a good lesson point, Wayne. You need to get out of your way, and help other people.

Ian Stay!

You even wanted Ian to stay at his spot while you do your roll. That would have been impossible as your partner needs to roll away, vacating that space, which you now needs to roll in and occupy. Well, we tried as your prescribed and of course, you rolled right onto your brother’s lap!

So learn that it is not always about you. Learn to work with other people, which is right now your challenge. We know you’re a smart boy, you have ideas, but you have a problem working with other people. You can work hard, you are independent, you are tenacious, but sometimes in order for you to achieve larger goals, you need interdependence, giving up your own goals so that other people can help you get what you want in life. Because sometimes, what you want in life cannot be reached by you alone, and you need other to help you get what you want.