Safe Space

Safe Space

Dear Boys,

In our constantly engaged world where Social Media rules, it is very easy for everyone to look good and sometimes even looking bad on social media is also done for the sake of looking good, milking for sympathy!

It can’t be helped that we feel judged all the time, there’s exams to pass, and failure would bring a detrimental consequences. There is a constant need for us to look good, nevermind that we often are crumbling inside, a silent scream for help, and connection.

Ma-ai (間合い)

In martial arts, or Aikido, we are very conscious about this ‘Ma-Ai (間合い)‘ thing, which basically means the distance you have with your opponent, within striking distance, kicking distance, so on and so forth, and when you wield a weapon, the stand-off distance will be adjusted accordingly. Too close to your opponent, you get hit, too far, you’ll not be able to hit your opponent, adjustment is constant, fluid and dynamic.

There is a lot of frantic processing in the head especially when there’s multiple attackers closing in and you are pressed to prioritize them quickly, before they overwhelm you. You have to work and find a space that allows you to move and weave between individual attackers and slip between them to gain a better position to navigate the attacks. So ma-ai is not just about the physical stand off distance you hold against your opponent, it is a mental and spiritual stand off distance and head-space you hold against yourself.

We are our own worst enemy

We often want the best for ourselves and the best way to get it is to be critical about ourselves, so that we push ourselves harder, blame ourselves first before anyone else does, own up to our mistakes first, because we are ‘reflective’, give ourselves a beating we can be proud of. We train ourselves harder, so that we become better than the rest. We stand independent and hold our values and virtues with integrity of a solid pillar.

C’mon! Gimme a break! So uptight for what?!

The DRILL SERGEANT

I’m not sure when I changed but when I went jogging, the old self dialogue goes like this:

“You can do it! FASTER!”

“Just a bit more, sprint you piece of ‘bad profanity!!!‘”

“pump those stubby little legs!”

Phrases that would make me a very good drill sergeant.

Me versus Me

Of late I’ve changed to a new tone, more of a talk, between more nurturing, understanding and patient Randy to a younger exercising Randy. It’s a weird concept but basically, the chill self conversation doesn’t reduce the intensity of the jog instead it removes the unnecessity of being my own unrealistic demanding jogging shadow, so the output is a greater sense of situational awareness, not just a matter of completing the jog in the most expeditious military timing, but just completing the jog, as a form of fitness and exercise.

“It’s okay, anyway it’s just 5km, and you’re almost done!”

“There’s no rush, you’ve done it before, you’ll do it again.”

“it’s okay to slow down, there’s no rush. enjoy the run, enjoy the moment.”

“No sweat.”

Let’s be real

Creating a safe space means it’s a mental and psychological space where you can be really open and non-cynical, non-judgmental to yourself. There’s no ‘Shouldda‘, ‘couldda‘, ‘wouldda‘. No hypotheticals, no imagine beating that idiot’s face into a pulp. Sometimes we want that kind of psyche and angst, but eventually the hype is short-lived.

A more sustainable way is to create that sanctuary for you to be you. No beating yourself up for your silly mistakes, no self-reprimanding, self depreciating statements. Just allow yourself to be objective, take the persona out of the personality and give space for a mature, calm self assessment and learning.

This safe space allows you to build a kind of quiet confidence that infects and affects the world around you in a positive and constructive way. Safe space allows you to think creatively and critically in the most imaginative way possible. Sometimes, we can be hurt so deeply and badly that our fragile baby steps to recovery needs that protection and safe harbour from the cruel acrid reality of the world. Be that safe harbour for yourself and when you can do that, you’ll be able to weather the worst of storms.

Be that piece of peace you are looking for…

Word Schema- ‘Always’

Word Schema- ‘Always’

Dear Boys,

Sometimes the words we use often has an impact on how we see the world and in turn how the world ‘see’ us. This is particularly important because if you don’t get this right, you’ll spend a major part of your adult life trying to fix what you have already sub-consciously conditioned yourself into thinking and acting.

‘Always’

This can be a creativity-killing-word, and using this adverb carelessly will always ensure you relinquish your decision making to a conditioned state.

‘I’m always like that what!’

‘You always never turn off the lights!’

‘He always like that one!

We all encounter such statements and make many more ourselves, all the time. We do so out of efficiency and more often than not, laziness. We make quick statements like these so that we can get to the outcome quickly. So if you forgets to bring your masks out, you can resort to ‘You’re always the forgetful one!’ which followed by a ‘hmph‘ and entertain a self depreciating thought of how you have limited memory of a mouse, you’re getting senile and then ha ha and LOL.

Such confirmation bias helps us soothes our lives small little mishaps and sometimes even cushion us from the larger ones, by assigning blame to conditions that is beyond our control. It helps us manage our lives’ daily minute ups and downs and it can be a helpful coping life skills.

Not Always So

image sourced from Google

This is a Zen saying I learned sometime back, and I’ve forgotten much of it, I think it was by Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen monk who coined this ‘famous’ phrase. The point is, it helps us untangle ourselves from our daily, often self-limiting speech-act.

We need to know that we can make decisions, life changing decisions which can helps empower us beyond our feeble inconsistencies and insecurities.

This three words is the antidote to our ‘always‘ culture, paradoxically, it includes the very word we try to untangle ourselves from.

Every time, we do something that seems like a mistake we made before, or we got lazy and left the dishes unwashed, we can blame it on laziness, we are ‘always‘ procrastinating, or we can ask ourselves, Is that always the case? Am I always like that? Not always so! We can change, reflect and make amends, fix things, grow a new habit and exercise our decision making faculty.

Nothing is Fixed, and Nothing can be Fixed, Everything is Constantly Fixing

So we need to know that while we form habits which shapes our behavior, nothing is fixed, except our decision to set it. Even that can be changed, of course there will be consequences when it comes to a fixed habit, as well as fixing a habit, but as human beings, we must constantly make decision, that will change the range of choices that leads to a wider variety of outcome.

So to me it is not the faculty of choice, it is our ability to decide, when we make a lousy decision, we can then make another decision to correct it, or we can lament that we are always making shitty choices, which leads to a downgrade of personal empowerment, and then a replay of our entire life’s mistakes, failures and boo boos. Or we can decide to make another outcome, take another route, do it again, and again, and again, so that we get it right.

Life is about making one decision after another which takes us from one outcome to another, by constantly exercising our decision making muscle, we will never be short of choices that can take us from where we are to where we want to go.

Lt Gen (ret.) Winston Choo

image source from Reddit

Our very first Chief of Defence Force Winston Choo was a farmer, who became our country’s most well known soldier. Had he maintained that mindset that he was a ‘farmer’, will be farming, and always be a farmer, he will never have risen to his full potential.

Has he always been a farmer? Not always so!

As human beings we are here to make sure we keep doing what we can to better the circumstances we are in, otherwise we will always be homo sapiens. So learn from our country’s longest serving military chief, be something more that we we have always been, never settle for always, keep questioning our being, our ability, move quickly from our mistakes, learn from them and make our problems a source of solution and experience for us to become a better me.

Decision making are the breakfast for champions

In my dictionary, there is no good choice, no bad choice, no bad decisions, nor good ones, as long as it brings you closer to your outcome then that is the decision to take, not right nor wrong. Sometimes you make a decision that seems to take you to your destination, but we end up going another route, which serendipitously enhances our learning and experiences, in turn helps us revaluate our earlier decisions. Nothing is fixed unless we decides to fix them.

We often look at achievers and think why are they always the ‘smart’ ones making all the right moves and choices? Frankly, it all lies in our decision making and our ability to correct our decision quickly, so that we avoid making the ‘always‘ self-defeating statements.

‘Tom is always so lucky!’

‘Dick always gets good grades!’

‘Harry is always getting the promotion!

So if you want to have an always, have an always striving, always learning, always getting better, always the hardworking one.

So, boys, condition yourselves to make decision, constantly evaluate your ability to make decisions, and sometimes you might make a lousy stand, don’t die with it, don’t get emotionally or personally attached to it, change, make another decision, get new information, find out and study what you are lacking that resulted in you not making a quality decision, and please don’t dwell on self limiting conversations, you are never ‘always‘ like that or like this, unless you really make a decision to be!

P.S Lt Gen (Ret.) Wiston has a book out, titled A Soldier At Heart, is published by Landmark Books and is based on 40 hours of fresh interviews, oral history transcripts, speeches and Mr Choo’s writings, said a statement from the local publisher.

The book is available for $35 (before GST) at major bookshops. It will be formally released on July 16 by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean. (Source: The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/life-of-singapores-longest-serving-military-chief-captured-in-memoir-0)

The Writer’s Block

The Writer’s Block

Dear Boys,

I hadn’t been writing for a while, due to a few reasons. And I want to start writing again, as I e-learned something from Seth Godin. He asked his friend, the great Isaac Asimov who was a prolific writer and published more than 450 books in his lifetime. How does he write so much? Seth asked him one day, to which Isaac replied that he starts the day at his manual typewriter, and type for till noon; it doesn’t matter what came out, good, bad, and ugly, there is no judgement to it. There is no such thing as a mental block, writer’s block or any kind of block, it is all in the head, and your mindset.

The epiphany didn’t happen instantaneously, it still took me a while to start again, as I need to overcome excuses and latency, and plain old laziness.

Of course with all the COVID19 that is going around, we cannot help but put a lot of our usual things on hold so that we can get a hold of ourselves and watch in trepidation as the world spins out of control and into craziness. Your dad also have to deal with personal, career issues along with other things. So it’s not easy to just continue like nothing has happened when there is so much happening around us.

It’s okay

Overtime, all the tumultuous turn of events can simply wear us down, or we can decide otherwise, while there is a lot of madness going on out there, there is also an equal amount of good and grace there has risen to the challenge. There is a greater awareness of mental health, amidst a rise in suicide cases in Singapore, people are beginning to see beyond work and school grades. There are social movements that is attempting to influence institutions and companies to look beyond profits and performance to really take care of their people and employees, my own personal take is that COVID19 is really the great leveler, no one is immune to it, CEO, Presidents, Celebrities, Rich and Poor, of course the poor suffers more but COVID19 kills all, regardless of how important you are.

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels

So it is okay, to take a break, give yourself mental head space to take a step back.

If you have a mental block? No problem, just chill.

Writer’s block? Hang up for a while.

Toxic people in your life? Walk away, even when you think you cannot.

Let’s start again, and again.

So back to writing, hopefully, I can endeavor to display more consistency in putting my thoughts for you boys, as there are a lot of things I wanna tell you all for your future and for my past. Well, let’s just put pen to paper, or for my era, keyboard to screen and see what happens from there.


Photo by Suzie Hazelwood from Pexel

Everything has changed

Everything has changed

The whole world is no longer the same. We all heard of the cliche ‘The only constant is change.’ Heraclitus said that, a long time ago. Human beings are stubborn creatures embracing homeostasis long after being stoic means to be dead.

Aikido along with all other marital arts, or contact sports, are forced to change, there is no more choosing or delaying. Change is unceremoniously gate crashing onto us. COVID-19 has made all physical contact near impossible, and as human beings it is near impossible to refrain from physical contact.

What is the new norm?

Honestly I’m not sure. Many Aikidoka suggests we do weapons training, which naturally gives us social distancing, but what about kote gaishi? What about irimi nage? From where I am in Singapore, the authorities has banned groups of more than 5 people. For an Aikido class, that means, the instructor, and 4 other students. Yay…soooo exciting. Other instructors has gone hi-tech, and holds virtual classes, and yet, these are still contactless.

  • So what happens to the rest of us who are left out?
  • What happens if we have no access to Zoom, or hates Aikido E-learning?
  • Or if we are the 6th person?…oops… too bad, next class then!

Does that means that with all my 20 odd years in Aikido is all for nothing?

I’ve been out for Aikido for the past 4 months (or more, lost count!) and many of us has more pressing bread and butter issues to deal with than to think about Aikido training. Many lost their jobs, me included, or worse, lost their loved ones to COVID19, and are constantly fighting a day to day battle to keep themselves upbeat. or just simply pay the bills. The last thing on our mind is training.

So put it plainly, Aikido, is in fact, pretty much useless in this pandemic, Ki cannot fight the corona virus, only our brave healthcare workers can help us with our fight. Honestly, even if O’sensei is alive, I bet he would be at a loss as how to handle this situation. There is simply nothing a martial art system is capable of dealing with this. It is almost like bringing a pen knife to a gun fight. so we all have to heed the advise of medical professionals, be good boys and girls, stay away from physical contact as much as possible, wear a mask, sanitize and keep good personal hygiene. Even O’sensei have to do that, if he is still alive; he is, after all, only human.

The irony is Aikido never left our psyche even when we have other pressing issues to deal with, it is a necessary luxury that keeps us going mad in this crazy time. O’sensei might not have any answer to a COVID19, but he left us with something more valuable, our humanity, in a form known as Aikido.

Practice, practice and practice

While we cannot physically practice, we can still practice the precepts and virtues of Aikido, which is peace, love and harmony. while we cannot enter a physical dojo, we have to enter the dojo in our mind, Aikido is simply an end, we have to find other means to get there.

Practice Peace

Similarly in a dojo, where we do not want to wish our uke harm, we have to engage the people around us with peaceful intent. If harm comes our way, we have to engage it constructively, tenkan (転換)-turn away to neutralise the harm, physical or verbal. Or irimi-tenkan-enter and turn, agree to disagree, allow the person to enter and then turn him or her towards a more peaceful and constructive resolution. We must try to change and convert an incendiary situation to something less destructive.

This is difficult for me to do, as I have a critically cynical mind, which I am learning to self-disarm. So I try to practice peace, even more so now when we are faced with Covidiots- who refused to wear a mask in public, and will continue to refuse, no matter what. Remember, it is the virus that’s trying to kill us, not our fellow human beings.

Practice Love

The good ol’ days back in 2016

This one is really tough, even in the dojo, when our uke attacks us, do we want to ‘love’ our uke? Not really, our constantly combative mind will want to turn even the most harmonious Aikido waza in to a man-killing, harm neutralizing technique. We constantly think that our uke is the ‘attacker’ and we need to ‘protect’ ourselves from ‘harm’ at all cost, or at least, more harm to the uke than to me? That’s what self defense is, isn’t it?

So the concept of Love in Aikido levels the playing field, the nage and uke are just elements in contact and play, and now that we cannot have contact, we can still play. Love means we need to be less spiteful to someone who do not understand, refuse to understand the seriousness of the matter. Some might even think it is fake news, and some government cockamimi to control us.

Practicing Love in Aikido mean that we look at what matters to us most. Skeptics are skeptics because they fear change, and like to keep to a constant ‘known’ where they can feel safe and secure. In some sense, as Aikidokas, we are also susceptible to becoming a skeptic, so we have to learn to love ourselves, allay that frightened little skeptic in us and find the right answers to help us learn and become more knowledgeable.

more Kokyu-Ho in future?

Harmony

We all try to maintain a harmonious aura in the dojo, which is quite easy due to the tight culture in a dojo, there is a sensei, there are senpai(先輩), there are kōhai (後輩), and there is the uniform and the martial arts curriculum, it’s a school afterall and it helps keeps us sane with a structure where we can follow.

The world right now is in a tumultuous stage, and we need all the harmony we can get, and it starts with us. We need to bring our dojo out to the world and understand that, while we learn the Way of Aiki in the dojo, we need to learn the Way of the Virus, Covido, to put a pun in it. The virus is virtually invisible, like ki, if ki is the ‘life-force’; the virus is the ‘death-force’, we can only defeat it by learning more about it. The senseis and senpais are the good people in the medical profession, saving lives while trying to find out more about the virus, and the possible cure. Our kōhai are the people less educated about COVID19, our job is to keep them safe, help them learn about COVID19, like how we are helping them learn Aikido, many of us turn up in the dojo skeptics and it is our senseis and senpais that helped changed us. We as Aikidokas, or martial arts practitioners let’s bring the harmony we practice in the dojo, out and spread it to the world, which needs it more than ever.

The General Elections is here…again

The General Elections is here…again

Dear Boys,

We are in the midst of an election season again in Singapore, and I hate elections, other than the one extra day of public holiday we get so that we can go to the polls.

Why the hate?

Its a rather strong choice of words, because that’s what elections does, polarises people. Right now in Singapore as well as around the world, we’re facing a pandemic of unprecedented scale, all hands must be on deck to fight this pandemic, save lives and of course save our country and economy. The COVID19 pandemic puts the entire world at war, and this war is far from over.

So here comes the Elections.

This is really the last thing we need right now, as the current, effective and working government is dissolved so that we can reset and choose a ‘new’ one. We don’t need a new one as the current one is already doing a stellar job, they have all the mechanism in place and everything is working well. I really like it the way Singapore is going.

So here comes the Opposition.

Let me be idealistic, and say that without the ruling PAP, all oppositions will collapse. They have nothing going for them except to oppose, whatever policies the government has come up with, never mind that the current policies in place is working well.

Listening to the Opposition, creates that desired effect, oppose, and it mostly means deconstructing what is already in place. For example, there is a lot of noise about the GST hike, the Oppositions uses this as a red herring to distracts the public, knowing that no one likes taxes (me included) but taxes is a necessary evil. Opposing eventual GST increase is a populist ideas used to stir the population to dream of a better utopia state.

Policymakers or Politicians

The other reason why I hated elections is that a lot of the PAP leaders are not better policy makers than they are politicians, the Oppositions, on the other hand, are more politicians than policymakers.

I prefer Policymakers to Politicians.

Policymakers

They are the go-to guys to fix problems, and offer solutions. They look into issues, listen to the sentiments, diagnose the issues and suggests a reasonable, actionable course of actions. They take out what might not work, and change it into something better to ensure the bigger strategy is reached. Policymakers are planners, and they take actions. They don’t blame and they will strive to execute the best possible policies to secure the best possible outcome. They don’t play politics.

Policymakers usually makes lousy politicians, because they are boring people, and take a long time to communicate their ideas as they know the full scale complexity of an issue and they have a plan to deal with it, explaining will take too much time, and they like to let their work speak for themselves.

Politicians

Many politicians makes decent policymakers, but there are many politicians, who are merely political and comes with their own personal agendas, sure they will implement policies, but policies they benefit from, first. Politicians are shrewd communicators, using their skills to break down a complex problem into bite-size pros and cons, never mind the rest of the just-as-important fine prints. Politicians often comes with the charisma, charm and eloquence to bamboozle the public, carry a baby and make a dramatic show for to polarise issues so that people will take their side and buy their arguments. They can use power to rally the people, their arguments are typically one sided ‘them and us’ and mostly assigning blame to an extrinsic entity.

Lee Kuan Yew

As far as I can remember, Mr Lee has never assigned blame during his political career (I’m sure Oppositions beg to differ!). When we ‘gain independence’ from Malaya (the truth is they kicked us out), Mr Lee’s rhetoric wasn’t to assign blame. Correct me if I’m wrong, he never openly blamed the Malaysians for kicking us out, he has bigger problems to deal with. But being dealt with a shitty card like this, it is very easy for Mr Lee to stir the hearts and minds of Singaporeans back in 1965 by saying:” They did this to us! They didn’t want us! We will make them pay and they’ll regret ever doing this to us!” Had we build the nation on those words, we would have been a very different Singapore. We would have a Singapore always looking for reason why people hates us, rejected us and we would have been a very angsty bunch of people. But Mr Lee showed us a better way, and look at where we are today!

The kind of political climate I want my children to be in

Mr Lee has said it before, PAP will not lasts forever, a better party will come along, and right now, not even in the near to far future, I see any form of better party, all I see is a bunch of Oppositions, opposing for the sake of opposing.

The New Centre of Gravity

As I age, I’m starting to understand what Mr Lee said, he knew that the policies PAP comes up with isn’t perfect, they are very, very good policies, but they have flaws. He has a vision of another political party that equals or has superior policymakers, and has an actionable plan. The new political force will have no time to assign blame, play politics, lie, oppose for the sake of opposing, and engage in selfish, narrow minded antics that just divides the population. The new political force will be an alternative centre of gravity, one that has a stronger pull, has a better vision, direction and energy, an organization even PAP will concede to.

This party will be Opposition’s Opposition, and yet it will not be another PAP. In the current ecosystem PAP is the ruling party and everyone else is an Opposition, period. The new party isn’t going to be an Opposition, not even an Alternative, it will be a whole new way of thinking how Singapore can more forward, in ways that not even PAP can fathom, when that happens, we know we will have a second coming, but until then, I will have to bear with the current bunch of Opposition and the noise they are making.

A List of Aikido Dojos in Singapore

Aikido in Singapore has evolved since the first day I joined more than 20 years ago.

For the most part, it has made the Aikido ecosystem very vibrant and multi-faceted. As there is no one fixed way to climb the Aikido mountain, these schools gives Aikido students a plethora of ways to experience the art and find the teacher that most suit their personality and timing.

The list is in no way exhaustive as there are Aikidokas giving lessons on a free-lance basis. These listed organisations has their own stable dojo, training facilities and followed a structured martial arts curriculum.

Disclaimer: These information was complied off a Google, a public domain; based on the information on the school’s respective website. Please inform me of any errors and clarifications, and I’ll correct them soonest.

Shoshin Aikikai Singapore

Aikido Shinju-Kai            

Ueishiba Aikido              

Aikido Kenshinkai          

Aikido Shudokan            

Singapore Aikido Federation    

Mumei Shudan

Makoto Aikido 

Zhen-Qi Shu Aikido       

Aikikai Singapore           

Club Aikido       

Impact Aikido   

Hitoshinkan

Living Impact Aikido      

Aikido Taishinkai            

Tendoryu Aikido (Singapore)    

Kidou Academy               

Ki-Aikido            

Renshin Budokai Singapore       

 

Three Worded Hokkien (A-Z guide)

ahbeng.jpg

Dear Boys,

I hope by the time you boys grow up, you can learn a thing or two about speaking in hokkien. It is a dialect from China and the way Singaporeans says it is so different from the way Taiwanese says it.

To start off, let’s look at some simple three worded Hokkien (TWH).

Ang Moh Lang
Chinese simplified: 红毛人 ( hóng máo rén)

  • Caucasian, or loosely speaking, in colloquial sense, ‘red hair people’, when the Chinese first bumped into Caucasian, with their red hair, the term got stuck. The more common form will drop the ‘Lang’ and simply regard Caucasians as ‘ang mohs’

Boh Kiam Lui
Chinese simplified: 不欠钱 (Bù qiàn qián)

  • It means, doesn’t owe money

Boh Lui Lang
Chinese simplified: 没钱人 (méi qián rén)

  • Poor People

Char Bor Lang
Chinese simplified: 女人 ( nǚ rén)

  • Woman. in some context, it can means The Wife

Huan Kiah Lang
Chinese simplified: 马来人 ( mǎ lái rén)

  • Malays. In the movie ‘Black Hawk Down’ the American General mispronounced them as ‘May Lay’

Inn Dor Lang
Chinese simplified: 印度人 ( yìn duó rén)

  • Indian, more specifically, people from the country of India

Jiak Liao Bee
Chinese simplified: no chinese equivalent

  • It usually means that person is good for nothing. loosely means ‘eating wasted rice’. We all eat to do something, so the rice will not be waste when eaten

Jing Kek Sim
Chinese simplified: no chinese equivalent

  • It is a ‘heart pain’ feeling. Like when you see your favourite team losing very badly, you feel that desolation. It is a feeling only express in Hokkien. ‘Kek Sim!’

Jiak Jiu Jwee
Chinese simplified: 喝醉酒 ( hē zuì jiǔ)

  • Drunk. ‘Jiak’ usually means ‘to eat’ but sometimes when you are that drunk, you wouldn’t know if you are drinking or eating your beer! ‘Lim’ should be the correct hokkien verb for ‘drink’

Keeh Si Lah
Chinese simplified: 去死拉 ( qù sǐ lā)

  • Go and die!

Kuah Si Mee
Chinese simplified: 看什么 ( kàn shén me)

  • Again, this is under a more provocative tone. An English equivalent will be ‘See what see?!’ It is usually used in a staring incident and a challenge of a stare-down

Luan Gong Way
Chinese simplified: 乱讲话 (luàn jiǎng huà)

  • It usually means that the person is talking nonsense, or trash

Mai Tu Liao
Chinese simplified 别耽误/不要等 (bié dān wù/ bù yào děng)

  • Do not delay/wait. It usually implies a sense of urgency, after a period of impatience

Mai Luan Gong
Chinese simplified: 别乱讲 ( bié luàn jiǎng )

  • Do not talk rubbish, or in Singlish term, ‘Don’t talk cock.’

Pui Chao Nuah
Chinese simplified: 吐口水 ( tǔ kǒu shuǐ)

  • Spit. This is done with a feeling of disdain, or disgust

See Beh Song
Chinese simplified: 非常爽 ( fēi cháng shuǎng)

  • Usually, it is crudely used to imply a very good sensation and feeling. Say after a hard day’s work, to kick back and enjoy an ice cool beer. ‘See Beh Song Ah!’

See Mee Sai
Chinese simplified: No Chinese Equivalent

  • It usually means crudely, ‘What the hell do you want?’ Or you can reply in annoyance “See Mee Sai???’ meaning, ‘What?! What?!’

Ta Bor Lang
Chinese simplified: 男人 ( nán rén)

  • Male, Man. in some context, it can means The Husband

Tiah Tian Way/ Gong Tian Way
Chinese simplified: 听电话/讲电话 (tīng diàn huà/ jiǎng diàn huà)

  • Answering or talking on the phone. Loosely speaking it means ‘listen to the phone’ Contextually, it means pick up the phone!

Tio Beh Pio
Chinese simplified: 中马票 ( zhòng mǎ piào )

  • Struck lottery!!!

Tau Kar Chiu
Chinese simplified: 装手脚 (zhuāng shǒu jiǎo)

  • Being helpful, offering assistance to your fellow human beings in fixing things and solving problems

Uu Lui Lang
Chinese simplified: 有钱人 ( yǒu qián rén)

  • Rich People

Helpful links

http://www.singlishdictionary.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlish_vocabulary

Posted: Nov 18, 2015

Our Neighbour- The Kwoks

Mr and Mrs Kwok

Dear Boys,

People often say that ‘Friends are the family we choose.’ There’s nothing much said about the neigbours living next door to us.

While we have many good neighbours, which is another topic that’s too long to write about, I just want to tell you both about the ‘Kwoks’ well, that’s what we call them.

Hit off at first sight

I remembered when we first got our house keys, we were of course excited about it, and from what I can recalled, The Kwoks was here first, they moved in slightly earlier than us, and has pretty much settled down.

It was quite an occasion, and we did made some noise, and left our front door open, which is typical, then The Kwoks, kind of peeped in, when they got home and we welcomed them in, that’s where we hit off.

They were genuinely very nice and we could click, just like that. It was really a rare thing that both of our families got off so well. They brought a kind of comfort and warmth into our new home that very day and both your mum and I liked them, for their down to earth, unpretentious personality. They weren’t proud or trying to act like they were superior in anyway.

Both Mrs

As both were stay at home mum, your mum and Mrs Kwok hit off. Although Mrs Kwok was a good many years older, she could communicate with your mum, and there is no generation gap whatsoever. Over the decades, both families has shared many things, and none of us kept a score. It was pure goodwill where we lend each other stuffs, cooked and shared food, and even shared purchases in this age of online shopping.

We got so close that your mum even taught Esther, their eldest daughter tuition during her primary school days and right now as I typed she has completed her ‘O’ levels, how time flies!

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Mr Kwok and Esther during Wayne’s 5th birthday

Looking out for each other

It was kind of unspoken, we were neighbours and we shared things. We even share the shoe rack outside our house. The shoe rack’s ours but we straddled it between our door and theirs so they also put their shoes on our rack. It wasn’t overbearing on both side thankfully. They didn’t hoard the rack, and they knew not to put too many shoes on it.

When we go for our respective family holidays, we will lookout for each other and help to clear any flyers stuck to our doors. Sometimes, they’d tell us when they will be away and even if they didn’t, we would know they are gone for a short trip and just clear their flyers.

When you boys were younger and your mum needed to rush off to get somethings done, and leave the both of you at home, Mrs Kwok would gladly babysit the both of you until your mum is back, and sometimes, we would tell her that you both are at home and she’d keep her door open in case you boys needed to shout out to her for help.

And of course, we do, trust her with our house keys, when we need to.

Shared values

It helps we bind at first sight and it is pure goodwill on both sides. Like everything in life, there are good and bad stuffs, even with neighbors, we are thankful there is more good stuff to share with them than the bad. We are both constantly and unconditionally helping each other, and looking out for each other, which is more than we can look for in a neighbour as awesome as The Kwoks

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LGBT- Your dad’s opinion

LGBT- Your dad’s opinion

Dear boys,

This is going to be a sensitive topic.

Well, actually it isn’t.

Maybe your dad is looking at it from a simplistic point of view.

Anyway here it goes.

I have no idea what LGBT was during my early years. All I can remember was, I was a Sales Assistant in AA Fashion, selling women’s clothing. It was just a sales job and I was 17 years old, waiting for my national service enlistment.

So it was retail sales, and this young boy, sells clothes, women clothes. What a place to be in. Anyway it was just a job, and I was doing it to kill time, waiting for my call to the Army.

My Thai ‘Female’ customer

One of our regulars was a bunch of Thais, who likes to buy our clothing in bulk. My supervisor at that time, Jessie and another senior, Sharon, knows them and usually serves them. I don’t know these Thais well, but I know them enough to see that they are transvestites. And having not understanding of them, I don’t want to have anything to do with them.

They somehow knew that, and at times can be quite cheeky about trying to get me to ‘serve’ them, or help them with packing their bulk purchases. Jessie, and Sharon will always try to be firm with them, and in a way, protect me from their ‘harassment.’

That was that, I don’t really have any opinion about it.

Well, the LGBT issues.

I don’t really care about this recent ‘repeal 377A‘ thingy, and I guess they want to sort of legalise gay marriage of sorts. Personally I think it is somewhat politicized, so let’s not go there. It is a deep dark slippery road with no end in sight.

Here’s what a Dad can says to you boys.

LGBT exists, like it or not.

You cannot hate it away, nor pretend it is not there, nor uses the law against it. It simply exists.

So what do we do about such individuals in society?

Well, I am obviously not LGBT in the truest sense, and I don’t think you boys will end up gays. But it is a conversation your mum and I still have and holds true to. Even if you boys turn out to be, we will still love you the same.

Look beyond sexual orientation and see love

I’m not interested in the men screw men part, or women beds women part, which to some can be repulsive. As long as all these sexual acts are done in the privacy of a 4 walls, with mutual consent, it is not my business to interfere, just as much as a man and a woman makes love in public, which is just as lewd and immoral.

Keep sex personal. If a couple wants to show Public Display of Affection, I have no qualms about it. Men can kiss men, women can kiss women, that’s fine. Just as much as a man can kiss his dog and a woman can kiss her pet cat. but again, if you would like to copulate your pet dog or cat, please stay indoors.

It is about relationship, and love

Perhaps it is too simplistic for me, but it is a choice I make. As long as a man loves a man, and cares for each other, for better or for worse, in sickness and good health, till death do us part, I’m fine with that commitment.

How many heterosexual couples have we seen stuck to a dead-end and sometimes abusive relationship. Men beaten by wives, and wive abused by their husbands, isn’t that more worthy of persecution than see two men in love and taking care of each other?

Maybe there is something deeper I am missing out, but now that I am older, I do see some lesbians holding hands, one woman being woman, and the other woman trying to be masculine. I’ve grown old enough to accept that. they have their lives to live, and to choose the lesser road traveled, they are already living with a tremendous identity crisis, and burden. LGBTs has been long ostracized by societies, and they get what they got, just because they are who they are. I don’t think that is quite fair. It is not easy living our ordinary lives, and to have the label LGBT hanging over LGBT doubles that difficulties.

Why we still hangs on to criminalizing LGBT 

Honestly, I don’t have a good answer, I’m not a lawyer, historian or any sort of extremely educated aristocrat, or academic, or politician. All I can think of is to protect the larger population’s equilibrium. Most of us are not LGBTs, and we are the majority, and the majority likes a constant, and flux are seen with apprehension and trepidation. LGBTs are odd, they appear to go against nature. (I’m not going to touch on the religiousness of the matter!), men simply do not have a sexual relationship with men. So people become influential and uses their influence to fight for and against such issues.

We need law to protect the general population, in the event that LGBT spreads like a plague and infect our children!

So just as much as 377A exists, so does LGBT. we cannot hate these 2 existentialistic issues away, they will be there, and we will still need to live with our lives.

Love is love

Personally I see love as universal. Irrespective of race, language, religion nor gender orientation. You just need to love a person, an animal enough to care for that being, and to a certain degree, die for that being. Love is always fair and we need to leave people alone to love themselves and the people the love.

My Thai Transvestites Customers

Thinking back sometimes, I wish I had the maturity to handle those Thai customers. I mean, they went the whole nine yards, and did the boob job and cut certain organs away to make themselves more womanly. Thailand are full of such people and they must have lived an amazing life.

Back then I was too young to make friends with them, learn from them and absorb their humanity. I’m sure just by being their friends and making them a little more accepted by me, will not turn me into a gay. Love is love, and it doesn’t turn men into gays, not women into lesbians.

I hope you boys can look at these LGBT issues with maturity and let them be in your lives, these are ordinary people living an extraordinary lives, who are always constantly under the threat of prosecution for being them. I’d let them live, just as much as they’d allowed me to be me.

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Never Bring Your Work Home

MjAxMy1mY2ZkZDg5ZWY4NDY4MDdkDear boys,

You will hear a lot of work-life advise in your life. Some say this and some will say that. It all depends on what works for you and what kind of a person you grow up to be.

You can either learn to take stress well, and be a tough guy, and be a Type A personality, that’s fine.

If you both gets married and have kids, you must make sure that you have a spouse you can talk to. Whether you choose to talk to your spouse or not, that is entirely a different matter.

Well, actually it is not that entirely different, becoming husband and wife and being in a marriage is building new habits, and the old ones evolve.

What I’m trying to say here is, at this stage of my marriage to your mum, I’ve learned to open up a lot more and tell her a lot of things. It didn’t used to be like that; in the past, I hate being on the phone, as part of my job requires me to be on the phone 6-8 hours a day. Enough of phone conversations!

These couple of years has evolved and I’ve taken to calling your mum ever-so-often, and you boys would have heard me calling home during lunch time and have a quick chat with your mum.

So what do we talk about?

Mostly work stuff, for me and also some work stuff for her and maybe somethings about you boys.

There will be people out there telling you not to bring work home, and when you leave the office, leave the work in the office. It means that you need to sort of compartmentalize some parts of your life and when you go home, you take off your ‘office manager’ hat and put on a ‘husband’ or ‘dad’ hat. Well I wish life is as simple as that!

Psychologically, it is quite impossible to draw a clear line as where your work ends and your family begins. sometimes, you get so heated up with a home argument, you are still carrying that anger into the office, and vice versa. And sometimes, our work and colleagues become our bona fide ‘relatives’, and we start to treat them as such.

What I’m saying is you need some skills to de-personalise your work and profession to be able to not bring work back.

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That’s not my practice. I have full transparency with your mum, and she does the same with me.  

It helps in our relationship as she knows what I am doing in my work. Its not so much about trust, but having someone to share your stories and also your woes. We are married and there are times where we have to fight the battles alone. For me, I sometimes fight those battles, with the full blessings from your mum.

Bringing work home also helps the “You don’t understand me!” department. While this will still sometimes occur, it is mitigated because there is a lot of banter. It’s not really a conversational technique, as it is something unique within a marriage and it differs from couple to couple. It is such casual banter that allows us to weave context into our relationships and when we misunderstood each other, we can pull out past banters ‘records’ and cross reference to help us work between the confusion and ambiguity.

That’s said, I don’t usually bring my family to work, despite of the fact that my wife and you boys are a very big part of my life. It is again a judgement call dependent on the kind of people I am working with. There are colleagues who are family oriented, because they are parents, husbands, wives who can relate to me. If such a connection can be explored, then I’ll sometimes share a bit more. But more often than not, I’d like to keep my personal, family life away from work. After all work is work, you can always find another work, but you cannot find another family.