How Relationships Breaks Apart

How Relationships Breaks Apart

Dear Boys,

Last weekend I happened to ‘walk’ into one of those moments where you both were arguing about something. I asked tersely: ” What is going on?!” There tension in the air and 弟弟 is looking the way he looked downcast when there is certain accusations flying around, and the 哥哥 has a hard tone, and walked out, telling me to ask the 弟弟 instead.

I did and of course, I will not get the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, all I got from Wayne was snippets of “I said something, and kor kor is not happy with what I said and…”

It’s typical for anyone, not just you, Wayne to hide the truth about what has actually happened, especially when the person in question is the perpetrator.

I called Ian in and hears from him: “Wayne was saying that he sometimes feels like a dog and simply follows his feelings and moods.” ” I cannot take it anymore and so I told him off.”

Pushing People Away

Sometimes the reality is too much for us to handle, we can get overwhelmed and suddenly we say ‘Enough is Enough!’ Negativity can be infectious, and brings the collective mood down, granted that 弟弟 says such a downer statement on 哥哥’s birthday, can add to rain to the parade.

So we start to push people away in a bid to protect and collect what little optimism we got left, or we got so hung up and focused in our work, we shove people away, people who needed our help. It happens when resources is scarce and we are left fighting for ourselves. We often want to find a hole, jump in and disappear from the world’s problem. We want to tell people:


The Consequences of Pushing 弟弟 Away

The issue here is, that person you pushed away, is your 弟弟, he confides in you, and you only. Everyday when he comes home earlier than you (more often than not), he will look out of the window, constantly waiting and eager for you to come home. You are the only one he share little nonsense with, the inside brothers jokes, chit chats, and things as a parent wouldn’t understand.

He will confide in you, good and bad, and sometimes the bad can be a little irritating, I know 弟弟 is still young and learning, and in the process he can be whiny and clingy, emotional and self-depreciating. So if he don’t confides in you, who else can he go to? Me, or your mum? Sure, but we have a different vibe, we are his parents, dad and mum, you are his brother. It is not the same talking to us, talking to you.

Don’t Tit for Tat

Not forgetting that you will confide in him sometimes during your times of need and share your brotherly bonding time, and sure enough, you wouldn’t want him to push you away and say he have enough of your Bulls**t and negativity?

You are his only brother and if he don’t confide in you, would you he rather confide in his friends and end up joining teen gang because they appear to care more about him than you do?

Pushing him away now may look insignificant, but doing this often enough to form a habitual response, will build a rift so far apart in future, that you will eventually forget what you guys are fighting about, and just simply fight because that’s all the strong emotional response you both can remember. Small cracks sinks big ships.

I know because that’s what happened between my elder brother and me.

Properly Expressing Yourself

Ian, you are just coming 16, you cannot solve the world’s problem, you cannot shoulder your 弟弟’s problem; you don’t have to, we are around, you can refer your little brother to us, if you are up to your neck with issues. Instead of blowing up and shoo your brother away, and leaving him to fend for himself, and deal with his own sh**ty emotions, you can ask him to come to us.

We are your parents, and we have been there, done that, and here to help you with your problems, escalate to us and we can come together with a solution. There is nothing we cannot figure out as a family. So instead of saying:

“I don’t want to deal with your problems, you negative, whiny little boy!”

try saying

“Frankly, I’m kinda not in the mood to handle this, I think we can talk to papa or mummy, and maybe they can help you.”


I’m kinda not able to take in what you are feeling now, because I’m swamped myself, can I come back to you when I am better?”

As you grow up, you will need to learn how to use such coping phrases to help you stave off certain onslaught of strong emotions, we cannot deal with everything and anything that comes our way so learning to better express ourselves can help people understand that we have limitations too.

Lean on each other

Unfortunately, the elder brother is the elder brother, Ian, there is no way around it, you will have to have the strength to save your little brother’s ass again and again, never failing him. He will always look up to you as the elder brother he can depend on and emulate. Ian, you become a leader because you are in a place to be one, Wayne you will become a leader because you learn from your elder brother how to be one.

So learn to lean on each other, I will be tell the both of you again and again, and there will be times where both of you have nothing left except each other, so instead of pushing each other, with ignorance, hate and defensiveness, hold on to each other and your world will be all right.

Dating and companionship

Dating and companionship

Dear Boys,

It was on the news lately that Singaporeans between the age of 21 to 35 years of age are not actively dating, or have not seriously been in a relationship before. I felt a little sad, but there is a lot of truth on the ground. I know of many good friends in that age group who are wonderful people, and would make a great life partner. They are single, most likely not dating.

One and only

I think had I not met your mum, I would have fallen into that category as well. I’m a ‘metrovert’, (I invent this term now), since I was neither introverted nor extroverted. And because I have my natural quirks, it makes me a little bit of an oddball. Besides, when I met your mum, I was a secondary 2 drop-out. Her parents voiced concerns about my background, but since then I’ve gotten my due in education (which is no big deal). In short, I’m odd, and given the current socio-eco climate, people has become so ego-centric, they have no time for others, other than themselves. And I don’t think I’ll stand out that great, there are other younger, taller, richer more suave guys out there, I don’t stand a chance getting a mate, right now; so thank you, Wife.

Your mum was my first girlfriend and that’s that, I hadn’t dated anyone, called anyone else ‘girlfriend’ other than her. I went out briefly with a girl called ‘Chris’, she was a tad older than me, practised Tae Kwon Do (not that well, too be honest), a staunch vegetarian, for a fanatical religious reasons. I went out with her a couple of times, and by and large we came to a conclusion we are better off as friends, toasted on it, and moved on. It wasn’t a relationship per se, since we never got pass the ‘testing’ and ‘feeling’ phase. It was a good call.

I’m quite an unromantic, given that I lay down my ‘terms and conditions’ in my 5 year plan and my then girlfriend, your mum, loved it. In that sense, I was lucky.

Love in 2017

It bothered me a little, as I think about the people around me, when I take the train, eat in foodcourt, and the colleagues I worked with, there are a lot of good people out there, and they deserved to be in a relationship with other good people. What complicates the matter is all about ‘ego’. Men are too proud, women are too beautiful. And both men and women are too smart.

It takes us away from the crux of relationship, being together, for the better or worse of things. But if everyone puts the outcome in front and wants certain, certain criteria, then the bond between human will not happen. Women wants to be the proverbial ‘tai tai’, the men wants trophy wife. Then nothing happens from there.

Relationship is about getting together. It was never about marriage, even though it will end up as such. I met your mum, not looking for a wife, I think she is a great person to be with, she cares about me, and allows me to care about her. She is a smart person and is often sensitive to the needs of others. She is still, after all a woman, and is terribly afraid of cockroaches and other creepies. I hate them too, and would get a restraining order against them if I can; but I am often tasked to catch them, and kill them. A Man’s Job.

I wouldn’t want to go that far as to tell you boys, what she sees in me, that will borders bragging, but I think as a man, her lifelong companion, I’m doing okay. Perhaps I am someone she can bear with for the rest of her life. That is good enough for me.

No Time.

This is the number one excuse, people are busy, busy, busy, these days, trying to pay bills, meet KPIs, and other work stuffs. Even where there are free time, we busy ourselves with Facebook, phone games, Korean dramas, and other self indulging activities. Even when we go on a social event, we are still so stuck on trying to find a person for ‘me’ instead of thinking the other way around, trying to figure out how ‘me’ can be suitable for the someone else out there.

The ironic thing about Facebook and other social media, is the pun., ‘Social Media’, it is supposed to bring people together, and it did, virtually. Now people no longer have that need to be social, on a physical, face to face, sit down and dine, get-to-know-you-in-person kind of social. Everything we need to know about a person, we go into Facebook, twitter, Instagram to find and learn about them. There is no need for us to go out and meet people anymore. And while we are on a social media CSI, we quickly turn to our Candy Crush and make sure we hit a new personal level. With so much to do in social media, it is no wonder we cannot find time to get to know other people better!

So all the time we have, the equivocal 24 hours, is mostly spent on ‘me’. There is no time of other, so how can we be in a seriously dating others, when we are so deep in dating ourselves?

The Remedy?

There is no quick remedy. People always lament that the life in Singapore is always so fast paced, its work, work, and work. The competition is intense. There are always this excuse of foreigners taking away our jobs. We have parents to feed, bills to pay, and ooh, I have dragon boat training, and then there are medicure, and pedicure appointments. The list goes on.

The only way through that hubbub is to listen to your deep needs, pick these pointers and listen to them:

  • There are friends out there who is in need of a company.
  • Pick up the phone and call someone, instead of just sending a text, or worse, an emoticon.
  • Be sincere, be funny, be vulnerable.
  • Let people know how you feel, instead of what you think.
  • Stay away from religion, politics, gender and racial issues until you both are very  much comfortable.
  • Don’t think of a date as a date, think of it as meeting a good friend and getting to know that person over and over again.
  • Learn to accept others as they are.
  • Don’t be intimidated if your partner is holding a more senior post professionally, earns more than you, smarter than you, or prettier than you (This is for the men!)
  • Always be there for the person, make you the go-to person for this friend’s needs, whatever it may be.
  • Drop whatever you are doing, especially that damned smart phone, and pay attention to your friend. 100% in-person attention is so rare nowadays, that when you do that, you immediately rise above the crowded crowd.
  • Don’t attempt a bullshit on your partner, no sweet talk, no cheeky remarks, no wise-ass jokes, that might come off as corny, lame or roll-eyes, unless you are really a genuine sweet talker, cheeky wise-ass, corny kind of person.
  • It doesn’t always have to be the guys first. Your mum, made the first move. She took the bait. LOL

The Good News

The news article says that Singleton Singaporeans are thinking of marriage, which is good, but that is too much of an outcome. A lot of things can happen, and marriages can end up in the dreaded ‘D’, divorce. So while we thinking wedding bells, we need to get out more, find a life companion, regardless if it ends up in marriage. While I was prepared to get married, the back of my head, I was prepared more for companionship, and marriage is just a formality. Without a good companion, there is no marriage. So go out there and find a good companion, get to know people, love life, and what it brings, and please, get the damn smart-phone out of the way. It is a human to human thing.



Friends and Family

Friends and Family

Dear Boys,

Your dad, for the most part of his life, has been a ‘friend’ guy. Especially when he has been working since 15 years old, depending on colleagues and friends to learn the ropes of life. You dad’s parents was virtually non-existent and your dad’s elder brother, even less so.

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The nature of how I ended up working my first job full-time at fifteen years of age, instead of studying, is another story for another day. The gist of a boy, past fifteen, working in a retail sales job in Changi Airport. It is an environment, where I believe I was the youngest worker there, barely legal.

We need a pass to get into the restricted area in the Departure and Arrival Hall in Changi Airport’s Terminal 2. While my permanent pass will take about 2 weeks to process, I have to make my way to the Airport Police Station to get my temporary pass changed. I never forgotten the policeman’s name, Rudy. He was the one who told me, I was probably the youngest Perm Pass holder in the airport. What a record. I think what he meant was, any younger, I wouldn’t have been granted the pass.

Anyway, working at fifteen, you are really at the mercy of the societal ecosystem. I am lucky to have bumped into really decent colleagues who eventually became friends. Sebastian was one of them, he introduced me to reading, how to carry myself well, and of course, ethos and friendship. I’ll tell you boys more about him later.

More importantly, I grew up molded by friends, being young and nubile, their opinion shaped me, their maturity lead me, I learn to lean on these friends as a source of opinion, and it works for me, These colleagues, who later became friends, were indeed my extended family. So friends are important to your dad, more than family, since friends justify your dad’s existence.


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Your mum, on the other hand, grew up in a more restricted, mainstream environment, where family takes precedence. She often regales how she and her younger brother plays, and how she played with her cousins. Her parents are more cautious about her making friends outside and while she do have friends, family come first.

Friends vs Family

When we met, this apparently became one of our relationship ‘issues’, not really a big one, but it was one that we do have talks over, up until now. This was more pronounced during courtship as we are 2 individuals, coming together as a couple, integrating 2 sides of our lives, which is all our family and friends.

Friends being friends

While we were younger, we hang out together, and we also hang out with each other’s friends. Me, being more socially savvy, has a wider pool of friends; I can mingle with quite a good range of people. Furthermore, being in Aikido, I do get to know new friends, all sorts. I’ve German friends, American, Scot, Thai, Filipinos, you name it, locals and foreigners. Your mum’s first few close interaction with Caucasians in her social circle was with my friends.

It is those closer friends that is a source of discontent and discussion. You see, closer friends of mine, are closer because I knew them long, some longer than I know your mum, back in my National Service days when I was nineteen, I met your mum in my mid 20s. So some of these friends have a longer track record with me, than me with your mum.

The problem starts when I go with them, more than I go with your mum, or more specifically, with your mum in tow.

She’s a great gal (that’s why I marry her!), and she is great because she let her feelings show. Whilst she is not jealous in anyway, my relationship with my friends affected her, since sometimes, friends don’t really treat friends very well. She couldn’t understand back then, why I treat my friends nicer, than sometimes I treated her. She sees my friends from an angle of family, since she has a more of a family orientation, by and large, I’m beginning to look more like ‘family’ to her. Back then I couldn’t understand this, as I was a ‘friend first, family later’ kinda of policy, and she was vice versa. She was trying to determine, if this boy-‘friend’ of her is worthy of a conversion to a family. For my part, I couldn’t understand why she has issues with my friends.

Friends and family comes and go

I didn’t understand the importance of having a family first policy, and since your dad is pretty much a loner, and y parents and my elder brother was virtually non-existent, because of that, my extended family don’t count for much, and friends to a large extent, is of inexhaustible supply (6 billion people on Earth?). So why hinge your happiness and existence on a limited pool of people called relatives and families, when it is more fun having friends?

This was a problem for me, sometimes even until now. But your mum has been steadfast, she knew how a family worked and sometimes fought with the ideas in my head, that family is first, then friends, even though both will come and go, but more often than not family will usually stay, long after all the friends (6 billion of them!) are long dead and gone. she stood by me, and proved that she is family, you boys are family. And that ought to be the first order of the day.

Hindsight is perfect.

Now as couples, we do look back at those days where we hung out with friends, many of them are long gone, started their own families and are often more busy with their own family than to still hang out with friends. There is nothing wrong with with that, it is the nature of life. We will have a mix of friends with families, and more often than not, it is always the family that stays, long after the allure of friendship, that came and went.