Fighting to teach you fighting

Dear Boys,

You know your dad is into martial arts, specifically, Aikido. And for any martial arts dad, I naturally would like to impart some of that to you boys. No, I try to resist that. I want to resist putting my opinions on you boys, and instead I would like you guys to develop your own interest. If it happens to be martial arts, then okay, that’s great, if it is not, then that’s okay too.

Yes, I bought a junior kiddo gi for Ian many years back, so much so that you have outgrown it and handed it down to your little brother. It was more of a ‘costume’ thingy than it was a proper martial arts regime.

Life sometimes is a matter of Jekyll and Hyde.

I did try to teach you fundamentals of karate kata, but you didn’t catch on. And now with your little brother coming of age, I think it is time for me try and start something like this again. more on the fighting part, less of the martial arts part.

Martial arts is one thing, but fighting is another thing altogether. I would like to teach you boys how to fight. And I’ve been slowly putting that thought in motion.

At 11 years old, Ian, I think you are robust and mature suffice to reason and keep a focus. You will need to know, with a bit more depth on basic striking, kicking and more importantly, taking punches and kicks and learn to get injured, and fight back.

At your age, learning how to fight properly, is like teaching you how to use a rifle properly, so that you are not tempted to use it out of bravado, but out of an educated, skilled mind. If you need to use your skills to fight, to get out of a fight, in a better condition than your assailant(s), then I have achieved my aim. The Martial Arts part can come later.

Of course, there are simple rules of engagements (ROE), you boys, do not go out there to start a fight, but if you got yourself into one, you get out of it, all means necessary. Sometimes in fighting, you have no time for ethics, you just have to protect yourself and your loved ones, if you have to pummel the belligerent to dust, then do it. If it comes down to you or your attacker(s), I’d rather your attacker(s) grounded and pounded, than you. We can wax lyrical about right and wrong later. But of course, do not start the fight.

And now that your little brother is in the same school as you, he will come to you for help if he gets bullied, and you might need to stand up for him. So you might get into a fight because of him, and I want you to win the fight.

The world is a nice place, I want my boys to be confident in their abilities to see the good in the world, but it is also my duty as your dad to make sure you boys are reality-ready. If things takes a turn for the nasty, you boys can get out of nasty with your own nasty dosage of nasty. We must always be ready to be nice, and the only way to be genuine in our niceties, and pleasantries, is to be fully trained and capable in our ability to be nasty and unpleasant. Life sometimes is a matter of Jekyll and Hyde.


The Perth Dolphins

The Perth Dolphins

For all of our holidays, we never could, wake up early. Perth was no exception, even though we need to be at Mandurah by 11.30am to catch the boat out to see the dolphins we fly almost 4,000 km from Singapore to see.

Our Hotel

You see, we woke up late. And then we were delayed when we realised the kind of beautiful landscape that is outside of our hotel room. you see, our hotel is called The Vines Resort & Country Club. It is a couple of nice things put together, One; the hotel, accommodation, Two; a vineyard theme, which means there are some grapes kind of hanging on some vineyard thing. Actually not a big deal to us, but it does adds to the ambiance. Three; the golf course, afterall, it is a country club!

I don’t think the concept is anything new, as we have such offerings in Singapore, The Orchid Country Club, is one. but the Vines is special, as there are some residents staying at the golf course green… KANGAROOS!!!!!


Lots of them!

So close we can almost touch them! (Of course we didn’t, these are wild Kangas and we don’t know how they would react. They instinctively kept their distance and we did our part to respect the gap.)


They were just minding their own business, lying there, without a care in the world, and we Singaporeans, going crazy over every single one of them like they were this week’s ToTo winning ticket. But hey, how often do we get to go so up close and personal with these Kangas?

Hit the road Jack!

After our gaga over the Kangas, we hit the road, mindful that we need to be at a certain place by a certain time. Again we relied on the GPS to take us from The Vines to Mandurah, some 100 kilometers away, a good one hour’s drive. Today is yet going to be another first, your dad driving the longest at any given time! I know to some this is no big deal, but for your dad, it is any and every reason to celebrate!

So off we go!

We are on high spirits, for many reasons, we felt really, really happy to be able to come to Australia together, drive in such a wonderful weather. Being in the small i20 is great as we can all bond over the road trip and us parents listen to you kiddos’ usual banter and occasional quarrels. And you kiddos listen to us parents talk about adults stuffs.

We don’t drive nor have a car in Singapore, so driving in Australia gives us a rare intimacy, putting a family in a car can give. It is nice knowing that we don’t own the car and will return it once our trip is over.

There are many things in Australia we can see that is not in Singapore. And one of them is…


These are HUGE trucks that has not only just pull one wagon, but up to 3 wagons! These are powerful trucks that ply the entire Australia, delivering vital supplies and goods. They are a part of the Australian traffic and every time we see one on the road, I’d scream out ROADTRAIN! You boys picked it up and soon the whole car is screaming ROADTRAIN! This did not please your mum.

And your mum, snapping tonnes of photographs, simply didn’t snap any decent roadtrain photographs. Well, that gives us a reason to head back to Perth in the near future to snap these pictures!

The Animal Farm

We see animals of all sorts, horses, cows, sheep, dogs, chickens and of course, Kangas…they are everywhere! That said, I know the probability of a road kill is real, so everyone is belted up for the just-in-case.

There is also a lot of greenery and wide and wild open plains. It is a very refreshing change from the usual brick and mortar landscape we have in Singapore.

The Open Plains

Well, the road condition in Perth is really good and we get good signal from the GPS all the way to Mandurah, Traffic was light and we really enjoyed the road. It was quite stress-free, the drivers there are generally more courteous, and possess better road ethics. Sure there are some speeders and some clowns who don’t signal when they lane change, but generally, I drive like I’m driving, and not in a defensive manner, half the time expecting something bad to happen or some crazy nut cutting into my lane. It was a pleasant drive I would not have enjoyed if I am in Singapore.


Dolphins, then and now

We reached Mandurah and for Ian, your mum and me, it was a revisit. We came here almost 10 years ago. Now we are back, looking back at some of the old photos, little has changed in Mandurah, other than a couple more condos up, and more developments and crowd, it is still a pleasant place to be.

The Han’s cafe was there in 2007, and it is still there. Reading Cinema was there and is still there. but I don’t really see a cinema crowd and I wonder how does it stay profitable? Mandurah seems too laid back for any business to stay profitable and given a competitive landscape in Singapore, they would have turned Reading Cinema into something more profitable and Han’s cafe might have been long gone, due to the changes in rental. But is is nice to be in Mandurah, knowing that somethings don’t change. That give a very familiar nostalgic feeling.

Collage_Fotor han's cafe

We are not really in a rush but we are kind of hungry, so we ate what tourists comes to Mandurah to eat. Cicerellos!

@ Mandurah Cicerellos

Honestly, eating in Australia is what eats up our money. One meal can be as much as AUD15 bucks, something equivalent in Singapore would have cost S$5. A single meal for the 4 of us can easily set us back at least AUD 50 plus dollars. Nonetheless we are there to enjoy as tourists and we are quite willing to spend.

We had our meals in a jiffy so that we can catch our boat to see the dolphins. For

Dolphin Cruise
Dolphin Cruise

the cruise, they also have meals included, Fish and Chips (what else?), but we already have our fill and politely declined.

There are 2 decks on the boat and the top deck can take only 11 people, an Indian family of 6 has already take the better part of the top deck, and with the 4 of us, we fill up the space nicely. It was a good decision to take the top deck.

We started the cruise easy, all excited about the potential marine mammals we flew so far over to Australia to meet. We were thankful our captain was very experienced with the waters around Mandurah, much more experienced compare to the 3 girls ( I called them Charlie’s Angels) who commandeered our boat trip back in 2007, our maiden trip to Mandurah.

It didn’t take us long to spot the Dolphins, swimming in the shallow waters hiding amongst the many boats parked along the Mandurah waterway. The Captain (who had more than 20 years of boating experience) skilfully maneuvered the large boat around, kicking up mud from the shallow water bed. It was our first sightings, and we almost certainly thought it was our last.Collage_Fotor dolphins

We head out to the waterways and cruise on in our bid to find more of these elusive dolphins. We went up as far as our 1 hour boat ride can take us, and we went under the Mandurah Estuary Bridge, before turning back, with an ominous feeling that that is all the dolphins we get to see.

We went back the same way we came and the Captain’s keen eye spotted some break in the water, hinting a pair of dolphins. We eagerly looked out and thanks to our vantage point and being just next to the Captain, we were able to get his views spontaneously. for the folks seated downstairs, they can only hear him if he used his microphone, and sometimes, he didn’t as he was basically thinking out loud.

The elusive pair disappeared again and we sailed on, going back to port. Then it all happened….

Collage_Fotor dolphin 2

Collage_Fotor dolphins 1

The family of four swam right next to our boat and everyone on board was ecstatic about the sightings and how close they came next to the boat. For whatever speed we did, the dolphins swam easy, without much effort, making a few jumps as well. It really made our day and we felt that our trip was very much completed.

This was certainly the highlights of our trip and we came to see dolphins, we get to see dolphins. IMG_1564

We went back to Cicerellos again to grab our lunch and this time spend anotherIMG_1577bomb, ordering their famous, DSC_0106 but oily fish and chips, milk shake, and waffles. The chilly weather makes us burn up our energy real quickly and we were hungry, wolfing them down. Enjoying every bits of it.

After that we went exploring the vicinity of Mandurah, just walking and we came across this dog just lazing there, I think it’s a Labrador and friendly enough, I patted it and soon, both you boys followed the dad and started patting the dog. Bad move for Wayne.Collage_Fotor Boat and bike

The dog moved quickly and bit off one of your gloves, with no intention of giving it back to you, it will be its new play toy! The mutt’s owner was nowhere in sight and I had to half coax and half pull/drag the slob, wet mitten out of the dog’s mouth. thankfully, it decided to relent and let go. We all had a good laugh right there, and this certainly adds to the experience at Mandurah.

Our Family Photo at Mandurah, Wayne without his mittens

We ended our fruitful day with another long drive back to The Vines, by now, you boys are dead tired and we were thankful we had the car as the both of you konk off almost immediately when we drove off.

IMG_1463 IMG_1467

IMG_1603 IMG_1606

Dinner was fast food, we ordered drive through from Red Rooster, and went through the junk food without much fan fare.


With that quick meal to fill our stomach, we hit the sack quickly, knowing that the next day will be filled with much excitement!

Road map to mandurah


Benefit of the Doubt

Benefit of the Doubt

Dear Boys,

Sometimes the best things in life lies in the gray area we like to call ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ or for the sake of this discussion, ‘BOTD’.

I’m a Piscean and I believe that there is always a certain level of abstract in everything. You cannot live in an absolute world, and you’ll die stressed trying to get to the bottom of everything, fact is you’ll get to the bottom of your grave sooner than you can get to the bottom of anything!

So to think BOTD is to help us understand the fabric of life, how things interweave in such a complex and mulit-dimensional manner, that there is always more than one way to see the truth to things. If I may loosely quote Einstein puts it ‘Everything is relative.’

So if you’re looking at a matter from one angle, and thinks that that is how the situation should be seen, think again, you might have missed the whole crux of the matter by being too mypoic about being too anal over your angle. BOTD allows you to take a step back and give yourself that mental space to rethink a difficult situation, and that mental space and gap will enable you to re-calibrate your cognitive wheel to spin perhaps counter-clockwise so as to get your eureka moment.

…there is always more than one way to see the truth to things.

BOTD also allows a meaningful relationships with our friends and loved ones. If they are late for an appointment with us, or they did something to hurt us, we will have an explanation of why we are hurt, that will not and never correspond with the explanation from the person/ people who have hurt us. They might not know, they might have done so for other reasons which was never meant to cause you harm or distress. While you may never understand it from their point of view, you can understand it from yours. BOTD gives you your grace to understand and forgive others for their misdeeds.

But it is not an excuse for you to do badly in life. When we are tasked to do something, we must do our best, find out what we can, treat others with integrity and give those who love us our best. Remember, BOTD is an caveat, last resort when you did your black and white, and what is left behind are the gray. neither black, not white, then that is the reasonable Benefit of the Doubt.

While I urge you to chase the truth and find out whatever facts you can about life, based on the evidences you have gathered, please bear in mind, you can never get absolute truth, there will always be a doubt, and there are benefits in the doubt which will allows you to life a happier, more forgiving life.

Yesterday is always better/worse

Yesterday is always better/worse

Your future and my past is very different

Dear Boys,

In your lifetime, you will certainly hear this from other people, and it usually goes something like:

“Back in those days…” or “In my time, things were a lot tougher! easier! better! worse!” Or “compare to our times…”You youngsters had it easy!”

Well, your dad, will probably pull the same script on you from time to time and I have been told umpteenth times by folks from all walks of life, young and old, the same thing.

People will always try to compare things. And when they compare, there will only be 2 outcomes that will influence their decision making;

1- things were better in the past, so if currently things are worse off I’d better do something.

2- if things were worse in the past, and we have it better now, we’d better do something.

We all have to do something, irrespective of how well or bad things were in the past. You job, as the future, is to make things the best you can, with your resources at your given specific time and space. Sure people like to reminiscence things, tell you things of their good ‘ol days, don’t be fooled into thinking that you had it better, you will not. Neither did you had it worse, you didn’t.

‘In my days’, when I was in national service, I wore helmets dating back to the Vietnam War, Kevlar helmets was considered a luxury, and our instructors used that as a motivation for us to do well in our obstacle course, saying we get to wear ‘Air-con’ helmets, owing to its more cooling design. Nowadays, all helmets in the Armed forces are Kevlar, and the newer ones are even better than the ones I had. I’m telling you boys this, is not to tell you that you are going to have it better. Well that is a given, but the task at hand is still very much a challenging one. It never has been any better.

So the point is, don’t envy, if someone had it better in their heydays, don’t gloat if someone’s worse off than you. That was that, this is now. Your future and my past is very different, I will tell you boys stories, my experiences, do some of these “in my days things’ but please understand it from your context, not mine. Use my experiences as lessons, understand that problems then were different, solutions to those problems are different too. You will have your own set of problems and requires the solutions that is only appropriate at your time. Take away one thing though, the spirit, attitude to problem solving is the same, you must apply the same tenacity, dedication and focus to solving them, the problems you have now and the problems you will have in future. And when you tell you children and the newer generation your ‘In my days’ story, please remember, that was in your days, not theirs! So give them a break!

First published June 15, 2015

Tips from a Taxi Driver

Tips from a Taxi Driver

IMG_0187Dear Boys,

Taxi rides can be some of the most interesting life lessons you can learn. Some of the Taxi Drivers are a chatty lot and they are most willing to catch up with you on what their life has been, their grapevines, nuggets of their taxi story.

We took a cab home one night after visiting your Uncle U-Wei for Chinese New Year and we had to hail a cab home. We got a cab and I took the ‘shotgun’ seat next to the driver and the three  of you (mum included) climbed into the backseat.

Conversations in Taxi are usually serendipitous, it is not all the time you get to chat them up, some Taxi Uncles are not chatty by nature, so you’ll play by ears, sometimes you are too tired, and don’t want to strike up a conversation, the taxi uncle will sense that and leave you alone. But my chat with this taxi uncle was good.

2 daughters

He has been driving long since his 2 daughters were born and based on what he said, that should be more than 20 years of driving experiences. I remembered that I just told you boys something about work; sometimes, you just have to be frugal and work, even when you are earning the lowest of income, you can still send your kids to university. Many taxi drivers and other hardworking ‘blue collar’ workers does exactly that, so work hard, spend little and you can raise a generation.

Anyway, he told me that both his kiddos has completed tertiary education and the youngest one has just recently gotten her Bachelor’s degree and will be going off to Japan with her friends on a 1 month free and easy. At that point, in my mind was going stereotypical, she must have used her parents’ hard-earned money to go and have her fun. That I was wrong, his youngest daughter has an entrepreneurial spirit and has been selling cosplay items and collectibles online, and she has been making a tidy sum, enough to self fund her $5000 trip to Japan. Not bad.



Both daughters are into cosplay, and the younger daughter even met her boyfriend in cosplay, and has been in a steady relationship for about 5 years now. Well, I’m not exactly a big fan of cosplay, but here I am sitting with a taxi driver dad, who has 2 daughters doing that! He was being pretty open about it, and said that the kids are grown up and there is nothing much he can do as a parent to influence them, they are independent and has their own thinking.


Taxi driving tips and techniques

As a taxi driver, he has his ways to earn his money. For Chinese New Year, he drove on the first day to make sure he covers the cost for the taxi for both the first and second day of the New Year; his taxi rental is $130 per day, so in order for him to go out for his Chinese New Year fun and not drive on the second day (初二) he has to earn about $300 buck for the first day.

He also has his maths done. I asked him about the new car which comes with a higher rental (most gripes of taxi drivers), he said while the rental is more, it used to be $100, but the new cab is more fuel efficient. The same cab for a 400km trip, needs about 40liters worth of full tank, the new cab is about 32 liters, and not taking into consideration that it used to be $1 per liter and now it is at 70cents. So the new cab do help him save a bit.

Long trip versus short trip

He said that he prefers to pick passengers with short trip, rather than long trip. For his statistics, he prefers to pick more trips, short trips to longer trips. The fare increment for short trips gives him a better advantage over long trips. He would like to cover more short trips with fares about $5-$8 which will be over in about 5-10 minutes than to take a long cross island trip that cost $20-$30 which will take more time. He has his sums done up.

Lunch time crowd versus night time crowd

He also shared that lunch time crowds are better for short trips. There are office workers going from Shenton Way to Suntec City for lunch; four people will hail a cab instead of taking their own car, and for a far of $5-$8, splitting it between 4 people, helps them saves time and hassle of MRT trip.

Nightime, however, he will pick up more long trip passengers. who perhaps goes from one side of the island to another. Perhaps late night drinkers going from their watering hole at Clark Quay back to home at Pasir Ris?

Its nice to talk to him about his life in such candid manner, being a taxi driver is a tough life and I’m glad I, as his customer was able to let him have an easy drive

It was a nice experience talking to this Taxi Uncle and not only was my chemistry with him good, his road sense was impeccable. It is seldom come across a Taxi driver who knows where I stay down to the carpark. when I told him our address, he clarified it down to our block number and took us home, without me telling him much about how to get there.

It certainly made my day with such a pleasurable ride!

The Day You were Born- 21st August, 2005, Sunday

The Day You were Born- 21st August, 2005, Sunday


Dear Ian,

This is rather belated, but I can still relate to this experience as if it only happened yesterday, The Day you were born, almost eight years ago.

You came to us in moments of ‘crisis’. Your mother was admitted to the hospital on schedule for your delivery, and we waited in the waiting room for your arrival and in the week hours of your birthday, the nurse came into the waiting room and hurriedly wheeled your mother off to the ‘OT’, the Operating Theater. Which I learned from one of the nurses that your heart beat has fallen and there was fetal distress. They didn’t know why but they know that there was a level of danger. Which warrants a Cesarian delivery.

I later learned that when our Gynecologist took you out, the umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck, of course suffocation will follow. Till this day, the joke is that you were playing with your umbilical cord, and that is how it got wrapped around your neck.

When they wheeled you out of the OT, in a clear plastic tub, it wasn’t like how the Hollywood dramatised it. There was no drama, I didn’t feel any sense of a Fatherhood Feeling, whatever that might means. In fact it was rather anti-climatic, I didn’t feel much more than a sense of ambivalence! No overwhelming sense of joy, love and all that stereotypical stuff, just a ‘Okay, now what?’

 DSC01832_FotorThe nurse was all business, she showed the ‘dad’ (me) that you have ten fingers, ten toes, weighed you, measured your height. You were already wailing a little, and you wailed differently from the rest of the newbies in the Baby Room. Your mum and I can pick out that distinct wail from the rest of your colleagues in the Baby Room.

After the ‘Okay, now what?’ feeling, I realised that there is a lot of work for me to do, between us, your mother already had a head start, she had you in the most intimate way possible, carrying you for 9 months, the dad? All i could to was care for you by proxy, I cared for your mum, so that she can in turn care for you.

Now that you are out, you and me have a lot to work on, building this father/son bond. Being a dad to me is a on-the-job thingy. It has been challenging and it is still challenging for me.


First posted on Apr 22, 2013

Our Chat-Integrity, Mistakes and Corrections


Dear Ian,

We had a bit of a spelling test a couple of days back and you wanted to check your own work on your own. Unbeknownst to me, you have decided to take it upon yourself to check your own work but I took your work over and check, and as your father, you protested, I ignored.

And not only did I go through your current spelling work, I went through your previous week’s spelling work too. And that too you protested. I can see that it was also ‘self marked’ and you marked everything as correct. That is where I knew it was an opportunity for a parenting lesson.

While I dig into your past week’s work, I found more spelling mistakes from those you marked with a ‘tick’. Some words are obviously wrong. ‘intolarable‘, ‘whimppered‘, ‘inauidible‘, which you marked as correct. There was also problems with your dictation, some sentences are missing entirely.

…trust yourself by not trusting yourself

You started to cry, and I wondered why? There was a huge egotistical defense mechanism coming up from you. You couldn’t really tell me why you cried and actually do not want me to check on your past week’s work. Your explanation was that it is already over, so we don’t have to go back to it to check.

That is a mindset I needed to address.

I brought to your attention why there is a need to let others check your work, and be brave to own up to your mistakes, present or past. I told you that we cannot hide from our mistakes, especially those that we put pen to paper. We have to have the courage to go back into the past to fix them, correct them, so that they will not come back to haunt us in the future. And we need to fix those mistakes, because mistakes not fixed in the past will eventually become the ‘truth’ we take as real in the future. One example was ‘harvsack’, you wrote that once in your dictation, and you didn’t pick it up as a mistake, it turned up on your second dictation as, guess what? ‘harvsack’. A wrong is a wrong, and too many wrongs will cause one to assumed it to be right, and I’m sure you are not out to change the word ‘haversack’ to ‘harvsack’ right? If you are on that quest, then good luck to you.


More importantly, through our conversation, you said that you knew that some of the word is wrong and you have ‘mentally corrected them’. And you put a ‘tick’ over it.

That is where I pointed out to you the value of integrity. You need to be honest to yourself, a tick means right, a cross means wrong, and if you put a tick over a wrong, but mentally corrected the wrong, who is to know that you’ve actually corrected the wrong? And 2 years later, when we look back at the same page, will we still remember that you actually ‘mentally corrected it’? On top of that you put ’15/15′ when it should be ’12/15′ irrespective the ‘mental corrections’, a wrong means a wrong.

Your school have 4 ‘houses’ R.I.C.E- Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Excellence

It gave me a good opportunity to tell you about ‘integrity’. Which means you need to be brutally honest with yourself and when you found yourself with a ‘wrong’, you must do what is right and make a wrong, wrong. Only then the corrections can start and have a meaning.

Smart people seek help

Like I said it, always look for people to help you with your work, with your marking. it is an irony, trust yourself by not trusting yourself. Always knows that we humans are prone to errors. I also pointed out to you in so many of the ‘Air Crash Investigations‘ documentary we watch on TV, so many of the Pilots and their First Officers, failed to check on one another and resulted in deadly, tragic events. The problem is, even after one crash, after all the investigations and corrective, improvements made, decades later, similar crashes still happen. And even with 2 very smart, competent people, such errors still happen, so for us, we need to check and double check, enlist the help of others so that we can be doubly sure.

Always look to work with people smarter than you, so that you can learn. Never mind that some of these smart people might belittle you, mock you. Then  just walk away, with a lesson learned that some smart people you’ve approached are actually not that smart. Keep looking to challenge yourself by working with smart people, getting smart people to check your work.

Not looking back

And if you have given your all, your 110%, you would not need to worry about people checking back on you. You do not need to look over your shoulders. You can let people check your work from Primary 1 to now, and you’d be satisfied that you’ve done your best. Then you will no fear of the past, no fear of regrets. You are only 11, you’ll go 20, 30, 40 and more, doing many, many things that will come back and bite you if you are not giving your all.

I hope you can learn from this as this is a very important lesson in getting the right attitude in life, and I’m glad I was at home to talk to you about this.

The Burden of Being Right

The Truth Monkey

Dear Ian,

You came home yesterday and told me that Caelan grabbed your shirt and pushed you from behind, resulting in you banging into 2 younger kids in school. You even go on to say that you have your friends as witnesses. I decided to let your mum talk to Caelan’s mum to clarify the matter.

What auntie Eliz (Caelan’s mum) told us was her son said you poked him with your water bottle, which he respond pushing you to the boys. Only then, you told me you were playing with him, using the bottle as a light saber.

What bothers us was that you didn’t tell us (you claimed that you did) that you did that to Caelan. You were quite adamant to tears that you did told me, and you did tell you mum, when she came home. Both of us never heard you said that. Never mind, given the benefit of the doubt, we will take it that you did, and we didn’t hear it.

The next matter is, I’ve already told you the cardinal rule, if you want to get into a fight, I’d better find out that you did not start it. And if you did, woe to you when you come home. Frankly what happened between you and Caelan wasn’t amounting to any ‘fight’ per se, but the point is you started it. Had you not poked Caelan with the bottle, he will not pushed you. You ‘whitewashed’ the ‘you started it’ part and made it look as if you were the victim and you were right.

The Right might not be True, and the Truth might not be Right.

We decided to punish you, for starting it the whole thing, as well as a lie you told me in the morning, which I decided not to pursue, but you mum did. Smacking you on your hand with a ruler as a punishment brought tears to your eyes. But I can tell the lesson hadn’t sunk in. You walked away feeling the pain on your hand but not learning the values and the responsibilities of telling what actually happened, instead of feeding us your story of you being right. It did not sink in.

The 7.5kg Truth Monkey

So I devised a sinister punishment. I have weights, I have chains. I took a 5kg weight, put it on chain and sling it around your neck. You have to carry that until you learn your lesson.

You didn’t and decided to sulk.

So I added a 1.25kg ‘sulking’ weight.

You struggled with it, obviously. And for the later part of the day, I changed the weight from a total of 6.25kg to 7.5kg, and put it on a longer chain. It is long enough for you to alternative between the shoulders, yet not long enough to rest your weights on the floor.

Tell the truth

This give you a physical burden of wanting to be right. To experience how difficult it can be, weighing the Truth and the Right.  We all yearn to be right, and sometimes, at the expense of telling the truth.  There is a difference between the Right and the Truth. The Right might not be True, and the Truth might not be right. This is the lesson I want you to learn carrying 7.5kg weight and chain. You want to be right or you want to be truthful. The burden is very real and for your case, no longer metaphorical, the weight on your shoulders is real, you have to think, critically, what you want to say, and what you want others to hear.

You came to me a few times, dragging that physical burden trying to explain it. You said your account of what happened might cause some strain between us and Caelan’s parents. To which I told you, ‘Don’t worry about that, we have a good level of trust between the parents. No damage.’

With that burden getting heavier by the minute, I could have just told you what we wanted you to tell us, but I want you to think on your feet, (literally as you are not allowed to sit down) what you did and how can we work our way around that. It is also a way of stress testing you, to make you think and work under a terribly uncomfortable situation to see if you break or not.

Truth will set you free

If you tell the truth, there is no fear of you being right, chances are you probably are. But if you are focused in telling what is right, for you, then you might miss the truth. You see, there are things you might not be sure of, your job is to investigate them, find out the truth. The truth can be relative, so your job is to twist it, turn it, look at it analyze it, upside, downside, inside out, outside in, 360 degrees, test the truth and no matter how you test it, if the conclusion is still the same, you probably have come closer to the truth than anyone else.

And if you tell the truth, people will fear you, respect you and follow you. Many people want to be right, but not many people can handle the truth. Not many people wants to tell the truth. They only want to tell their version of the truth, which is what they think is the Right. Chances are, the truth might proved that you are wrong. If you are relentless in pursuing the truth, you will not care if you’re wrong. You can be wrong about something, but at least you’re truthful about it and will naturally find the courage to act and correct your mistakes.

Chasing the truth will indeed set you free. You do not need to construct the story, and let your ego be in the centre of your drama. The Truth, and those who pursue it will be very courageous, humble without the need for limelight.

But if you are focused in telling what is right, for you, then you might miss the truth.

People will die for you

You have to understand the gravity (pun intended) of the matter on hand, DO NOT LIE TO US. DO NOT LIE TO YOURSELF, just so that you can be right. If the whole world accuses you of being a thief, when you stole so that someone can be saved; you are still wrong, but you knew the true reason for that, we will back you up and ignore all others who thought you were wrong. You need to face that stress, the burden of responsibility of telling nothing else but the truth. And as long as I can look into your eyes and you are telling the truth, we will back you up to the end of the world, against all odds, just as long as you are true to yourself.

There are people who love you unconditionally and will come to your aid, no matter what; they are your grandparents. They will do whatever it takes to protect both you and your little brother, and the last thing I want you to have on your life is that they are sacrificed just so for you to be right. I do not want that on your conscience.

Eventually, I want you to see that you have to feel and have that etched in your mind, have to courage to face the reality of things, find out the truth, tell the truth and indeed, the truth will set you free, otherwise, you will be burdened by the weight of always wanting to be right.