theaikidad

Aikido, Parenting and Everything in Between

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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A Mirror with No Reflections

A Mirror with No Reflections

I was hit with an epiphany 2 days back.

What if you can take a picture of a mirror, standing right in front of it, and; there is no reflection of yourself?

We have all heard about this popular metaphor.

When you disturb the surface of a pond, you will not be able to see a clear reflection of yourself. But when the water is still, you can see your own reflection.

Hence, the inference to a ‘still mind’.

We need to delve deeper than that, agree that though a still mind reflects, it takes more than that to project.

If you are an angry person, a still mind will reflect that anger, yes. that reflection might bring about an awareness to the realization of anger, but it does not necessarily bring about the cessation of that anger. It might not attend to the cause of the anger. See the reflection of an angry face, might even exacerbate the anger. All you need to do is to YouTube the phrase “animals looking in mirror” and you can see a variety of animal reactions to mirrors. Of course you can argue that humans behave otherwise, but do we really?

A still mind, might not be a peaceful mind. A robber, sitting still, is no peaceful mind. There is no action of a robbery, but the intent is there. The stillness cannot be misinterpreted as a solace refuge.

Therefore, we need to be more than a still pond, simply reflecting off whatever that comes along. We have to be a pond of peace. We have to project the inner-ness of the pond, the fishes swimming serenely in the pond. the peaceful sway of the seaweeds, the entire ecology of the pond, giving life, giving peace. When an angry person look at the pond, the angry person can see beyond the reflection, they can see the peace within the pond, and that perhaps calm the anger. Perhaps, the angry person lost something valuable, something the person might have dropped into the pond, a precious gold ring. So the clarity of the pond can allow the person to look into the pond and see the ring lying in the bottom of the pond, and reach out into the pond to retrieve the lost ring, and reunite what is lost with the one finding.

Similarly, we must see past our angry partners. Sometimes, we are the source of their anger, we are angry first, and when we are not conscious, we think that others are angry first, when truth to the matter, we are ‘patient zero’. But when that happens, we need all of our training and wisdom to see past that reflection of anger. To see that our partners have good, have value, and we can find our lost gold ring in them. And they also have lost gold rings in our ponds.

So it is pointless, to have a surface calm, to be still, and reflect. A still and calm pond is pretty much useless, if, the waters are murky and muddy and hides the contents in it. If you cannot see into the water, a reflection is, merely a reflection.

First Published on: Apr 21, 2014

Life changing events-end of PSLE

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Dear Wayne

Your big brother’s Primary School Leaving Examination(PSLE) is over, that means that he will be going over to a new environment, a secondary school.

You will no longer have a big brother in your school.

While we can reminiscence over the ‘good ‘ol days’ a few years from now, the immediate impact is you both will be lonelier in school. But that is life, we all have our own paths to walk.

As your dad, walking you both to school, I will miss the banter as well, some of the nonsense stuffs you both had, while walking to school. Now it will be just me and you. Your brother will have to go to school on his own, he will learn to become a big boy soon.

I will certain miss the crisp morning walking that 8 minutes, holding your hands, and sometimes you both will quarrel a quick quarrel, and I have to explain why and mediate. Bonds are made during times like these and while your big brother no longer walks with you to school, the bond building cannot stop.

As for school, I think you will feel it that somehow, there is no more ‘kor kor’ in school, where you can go to if you need help. Your big brother sometimes finds you during recess so that he can munch a meal with you. you both have each other when your friends decides to be otherwise.

While it had been only 2 years for the both of you to bond as school mates- I hope it has been memorable. School is a whole new ecosystem with its own fun and peril, your big brother paves the way going into your primary school first, then you, he helped you fend off the bigger boys trying to push their weight around you. He has been there for you when you needed help, or company. Now you have to be on your own.

While I have often preached that you can’t count on friends much, in the new school term, you have to learn to socialise more.  Take the new year positively and challenge yourself to be independent, while there is no more kor kor in school, you still have friend’s whom have been with you for the past 2 years, it is time to deepen your relationship with them so that you can have an opportunity to build new bonds.

I hope you don’t feel lonely, and look at 2018 with new stride and a spring in your step. While your big brother moves into a new environment, he has left you in an environment where you can grow and make new friends confidently.

Aikido can save your life

Dear Boys,

Your dad’s Aikido skills wasn’t meant for fighting, like what Harry sensei said recently, how often are we expected to get into a fight and actually use our skills?

And by the way, martial arts, is not fighting and fighting is certainly not martial arts.

So what is it good for?

Life saver scene one.

This happen when I was still quite new into Aikido, because I can remember it happened during my younger years riding mountain bikes. Back then I was still staying at Woodlands, and too poor to buy a helmet, and yet I want to go mountain biking.

picture taken off google, this is the exact Marin I had, same colour even!

I’m not sure what was the occasion, but it I was riding my Marin Bobcat Trail, and I was daring myself to ride as close to the pillars around the Woodlands MRT area. So as I pass each pillar, I try to go closer and closer, and true enough, I struck the second last pillar.

My right handle bar went too close to the pillar, and knock into it, knocking me off my bike.

Obviously I fell and thanks to my Aikido, I did a backward roll and got up immediately. There wasn’t any thought process made, it was instinctive and the body just took over. I rolled and got up, unscathed. I picked up the bike hopped on it and continue riding.

Life saver scene two.

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I rode a bike like this in my younger days the plate as Y7339X!

This was a little more serious, than the first, as I was on my motorcycle. I remembered riding down down Stamford Road one evening and the right lane, for whatever reason, was clear, I wasn’t travelling fast, as it was city riding, there is no way to go fast.

So one car, seeing that the right lane is free, decided to turn, perhaps he checked his blind spot or he didn’t, he hit me, from the left.

Things happened so fast, all I did when I saw was to beep my feeble horn, and it was already too late. Since the impact came from the left, I was thrown to the right. I did a roll, not one of those forward Aikido rolls, it was a sausage roll, and I got up.

The driver, a Japanese man got out, he was stunned, shocked beyond words. His face was drained white, hands shaking, speechless. Instead of him asking me, I asked him: “Are you alright?” Twice.

The lady in the car, was more composed. Seeing that there is nothing with me, except for my broken clutch handle, there was really no need for any police to be involve, I was unscathed (so I thought) I took a S$50 (can’t remembered if I asked for it or he gave to me) so that I can repair the little damage he did to my bike.

We parted ways, he drove off. I had a hard time operating my bike as the clutch handle was broken, but I could still manage.

Applied aikido

So every time I go to class, I am qualified to say that the best technique in Aikido to learn is rolling. Learn to roll properly, and protect the most important jewel of the human anatomy, the head, not that head but the one that sits between your shoulders!

The 5 year plan

5 year

Dear Boys,

Your dad is an unromantic, despite of being a Piscean. It was your mum who said she liked me first, which of course, gave me the definite signal that, we can be together. I was a little insecure, and well, despite of all the signals I gave, the interest in her, I can never be sure if she is attached or not. Well, she said she liked me, and that is certainly a definite that she hadn’t have a beau, until I came along!

Anyway, of course we dated, and found our own idiosyncrasies, we have to live with each other’s opinions and try to see the murky future together.

5 year plan

It is unfortunate that I didn’t keep the hand written plan, which I wrote on a big piece of paper, it has grids on it, and the years, further broken down into months. I remembered, one of our favorite haunts was the Burger King at Amara Hotel, we can hang out there, study (usually me) and she will just sit with me. So one evening we went there, and I showed her the plan.

I cannot remember the exactly timeline, but it ran for 5 years. Within that 5 years, a lot of things is going to happen. marriage was on the menu, your uncle, my Brother-in-Law to be, will be enlisted and when he will be out. When we plan to get married, apply for our flat, which will available within the 5 year plan.

The bottom-line is,  I told my then-girlfriend, that this relationship will end up with something, us getting hitched. There is a certainty with me and I am literally not fooling around. And as a dare, if she is fooling around, and she is not yet ready, then we need to work harder.

Acid Test

It was perhaps the most unromantic thing to do, but I think your mum loved it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this blog today. Ha, ha.

It was an acid test as well, because, I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I am going to get from her; she might freak out, she might think that this shit is too real and she is not ready for it. But it has to have a certain sense of direction for me, for us, as I can’t see myself just dating and dating, with no end in sight. Somehow, I have the good sense in me to know that a relationship has to develop to something.

Perhaps, I was being selfish, as I don’t want to waste time on a person, who at the end of the day, is just there for the body warmth, which I don’t mind providing. But I would like to have more than body warmth in exchange. I have limited resources and time as well, and I would like to start something with a person, and build a constructive relationship, I can play too, if that is what the other party wants, but ultimately, we all have to pay for the play.

I am predictable

More importantly, I want to be predictable, and make things happen together. I gave your mum a certainty, that we can make things happen. We can concentrate our effort together, and iron out any issues that might cross our path. While we focus on a common goal, and differences has to be attended to. We have to start saving, work out our career direction, get our focus right, and work towards a goal.

I also need to kill whatever ‘competition’ I have that I perhaps didn’t know about. I am committed and with a timeline, I will do whatever it takes to make it with your mum. No matter what, we will make our plan a reality. And we did.

 

CHC- Your Dad’s Opinion

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Dear boys,

One of the longest court case in recent times is the CHC case. To sum it up in a nutshell, 6 senior leaders of City Harvest Church was hauled to court for misusing church fund for as much as $50 Million. They were found guilty, and has been sentence to jail. Part of the scandal was Khong Hee’s wife, a superstar wannabe, Sun ‘The Geisha’ Ho. I used to confuse her with Stephanie Sun, who is the real deal, who really can sing one, and don’t need to prance around in undies to get attention. Sorry Steph, I know its insulting to get mistaken for that cheap Sun.

Anyway, while the case ebb and flow with legal technicalities complex enough to ground even the best legal eagle, your dad is not here to tell you boys about the virtues about the case, I want to tell you boys the virtues of Religion, from my perspective.

Your dad has been to CHC

Yes, I was there once when they still had their session in this old ‘Hollywood’ Cinema, in Joo Chiat area. I was invited by a friend, when I was still serving my National Service. And Yes, it was held like a rock concert, everyone was highly energetic, ecstatic, and enthusiastic. All the right ingredients for fanaticism. With emotions running so high, they basically bypass your logic and rationale. You cannot think reasonably, you want to feel the high, and you will give whatever you have, to feel the love of God. You want to come back to this place to get the high again, and you’ll pay, and any amount of money is well worth it, in fact, for God, you forgot about money. So while I left that place generally quite pumped up by the copious does of positivism, and good feeling, it didn’t stick with me. Perhaps, I was poor then, and money was more important to me than any God. To be honest, back then I wasn’t sure if there is really such a thing call ‘God’, I wasn’t sure then, I’m nowhere near as sure now!

Spirituality and Religion

I have never considered myself a religious person, spiritual, yes, religious, no. My opinion? Religions are generally shams, no apologies there; why am I so skewed? Well, religion is never about religion, truth to be told, it is always about people, the gathering of people, and when you have a group of people, coming together, you’ll have to deal with 2 inevitable, Money and Politics. When you gather enough people, you will need to feed them, organize them, and all these activities need money and leadership, and politics is part and parcel of leadership.

Spirituality on the other hand is you, your existence, and your relationship with the immediate and not-so-immediate surrounding. Highly spiritual people can understand and relate to God, and you don’t have to have a religion, or be religious to know god.

Let’s be realistic, what do you need to know God? Time, not money.

What do you need to pray? Time, not money.

Religion, attachment to money, and politics, is in fact an impediment to anyone’s journey to get closer to the divine.

So how did money get involved, to such a large and dirty state?

It again, goes back to the gathering of people, when enough people gathered together to want to know a specific type of god, they will build a structure to host these ‘Gods’, Temples, Churches, Mosques, and these buildings need to be maintained, and it cannot be maintained for free. So you need money to pay people to come and fix things in these buildings. When things breaks down, you want to buy replacements, and heck, since you are getting replacements, might as well get the bestest ones, how can the house of god be subject to sub-par, second hand stuffs? So there we go, the spiral goes up and up, and you’ll end up with mega churches, adorned with air-con comforts, rock star stage, lightning and sound system that would have made Bon Jovi proud. Money, more money is need to maintain these places, and how do you get more money? Get more people to join! And the loop goes on. Make hype, stir emotions, build publicity, so that more people will come, this sham is even better than the best MLM sorcery! You cannot go wrong selling faith!

Tithing

I think this is the basis of how a good deed gone really bad. When you have a building to maintain, everyone must chip in, put in some money to support the upkeep of the building, that’s all. I don’t think money, spare money should be spent, making a specific Sun Ho dress so little and have everyone else use their body parts to touch Sun Ho’s exposed body parts in a  thinly vile attempt to cover these body parts and keep her warm. Tithing is important as a form of personal sacrifice and giving for good faith (pun intended) and to make a stupid, tasteless video like China Wine is absolutely horrendous bad faith!Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 6.50.56 PM.png

If there is spare money from tithing, then it can be put to other uses, but of course, there are other ideas once you have lots of spare cash, we can all get creative! We can all get corrupted!

Its just greed.

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To know God, any god is simple, just search within yourself, and if you have to, pray. Sorry, I don’t have an academic approach to praying. No one has, praying is something unique to us, and special to us, If you believe in God, a prayer is your own personal intimate conversation with god. You don’t need money, nor give people money to know god. And you don’t need anyone to help you pray, you pray, for yourself, and if you love someone deep enough, you’ll pray for that other person, really, it is just that simple.

I’m going to hell, see you there!

So boys, while I am skeptical about religion, you are free to choose whichever religion you want, as long as these endeavors are religiously realistic. Please stay away from people who are too fanatical or fervent. Be careful when these religious folks start saying things like, “If you don’t join us, you will go to hell!” F**k ’em, your dad has a one way ticket to hell, and when I see these shallow, greedy bastards there, they’ll get a personal tutelage from me on what hell really is.

Links:

http://mothership.sg/2017/04/chc-put-up-an-11-qn-faq-on-the-still-guilty-outcome-heres-our-verdict-on-it/

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/legal-costs-may-run-up-to-record-15m-for-criminal-trial

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/in-depth/city-harvest-trial