Softer and softer

Softer and softer

Dear boys,

The world is getting softer. There is some truth when the older generations before us, told us they had it tougher, and our lives are much better than theirs. They can reminiscent their good old days, and they might be right about it.

Machines and automation

The Industrial Revolution can be blamed for starting the long spiral down. While I am no historian, we started making machines to help us do more, and build greater things. There is nothing wrong with that, being lazy in this instance is a good trait. Don’t forget though, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.industrial-revolution-in-great-britain-1-638

When automation comes along, things when slippery down; quickly, while machines helps us make things easier, and reduces our work, automation comes along, and attempts to make things the easiest, and takes away all of our work.

Without work, what is humans?

What is work?

As a martial artist, work to me means a reasonable amount of sweat, effort and physical strain. There is no way to automate martial arts, you can create a martial arts robot, but that does not make a human who created the robot a martial artist.

Sure a machine, in the near future might be able to beat a human in a karate kumite, but the robot cannot justify its own existence. Humans can. It is because we put work, into work. There is an effort in it, and a satisfaction out of it.

Softer martial arts

Even martial arts is getting softer. It cannot be helped as the general over-riding trend is less physical activity, and for some, martial arts is perhaps the only activity one does, other than walking to the subway or an occasional dash for the bus.

We as human beings no longer exert our physicality. There are escalators, elevators, automatic doors, automatic windows, automatic cars and all sorts of machines that helps takes work out of effort.

This cannot be all that good.

While it is good to have years of peace and peace brings about prosperity, it also brings about a skewed sense of existence and reality. Everyone has soften, life has gotten good, nobody knows how to do the hard stuff anymore, nobody wants to do the hard stuff anymore. And when someone is doing the ‘hard stuff’ it is deemed to be something derogatory, or dirty.

It’s been the same for me, I have never gotten into an actual, dirty, messy fight, never got caught in crazy violence, but I’ve never been deluded that violence has become extinct. Violence, death and hatred can sprung up anytime, I’m always prepared and ready, as much as I can. I too, can get lulled in by how nice peace is and peace is here to stay and violence has died, the world will never see violence again. That cannot be further from the truth.


People getting fatter and fatter, lives longer and longer

We are indeed heading the way of Wall-E, the 2008 animation film about us humans many hundreds of years from now. All fat, fed by machines, and nothing else to do, and doing nothing much, we live off a massive spaceship that keeps us alive, the machina sentinel who reports to the fat captain, but is actually doing all the work for us. Heck, the central character of the show is a machine! Wall-E!

It is an endearing film, but it is a telling prediction, we cannot escape from. People are getting fatter, and lazier, and there is no-one else to blame except us.

Humans- the Original Swiss Army Knife


Humans are the original Swiss Army knife, we are build for a great many things. My exposure to Aikido, lead me to running, swimming, hiking and other physical stuffs. Humans were never made for a single, specialist role, and while automation helps us do a great deal of other things, the whole purpose is to free us from the great deal of other things, to do things that actually means a great deal more to us.

Let’s get physical!

So boys, please expand your physicality, when you pick up an activity you love, do it, and do it well. get physical, get moving, don’t get stuck behind a desk for too long, let yourself have one core physical activity. for you dad it is Aikido, from Aikido, your dad expands to other physical stuffs. The learning never stops, humans are learning creatures, and we best learn when we are physically able to, so never allow yourself to become disabled, physically.

Do the difficult things first

Dear boys,

We are human beings, and as an organic instruments of nature, we need to make sure we master the more difficult humanistic skills first. Simply put it, be a decent person of character and values.

But humans are lazy creatures, we often take short cut and find the easiest thing to do. We resisted that, and this shows in our digital policy. We are not introducing mobile phones, tablets and all those addictive things, because they are easy to pick up.

Mobile devices are easy to use.

This is the boon of the digital landscape, the diffusion of innovation is leaking into younger humans. Technology is getting easier and easier for us to adopt at an every younger age. It is in fact a bane for parenting.

This is so prevalent everywhere, we see last evening, at Manhatten Fish Market, a family eating dinner, 2 kids, each of them ate their meals, fed by a maid, both with a tablet in front of them, watching a cartoon while they eat.
Child as young as the age of 3 are able to use a mobile device, swipe left, to unlock it, find their favourite program on YouTube. It makes them sound and appear so smart, but it is the easiest things to do. The software tech guys made these devices so easy to use, simply because they want to make a lot of money out of their products, and they are winning, by a tonne loads of money.

Everyone is on it!

Pick up tech later, hit the beach first

It is never too late for the both of you to pick up tech at the later age, since it is so easy to use, we can leave this easy things to do till a later age. We want you to focus on ethics, values and treating people right. There is a lot of work to do in this department, and it is a constant never-ending struggle. But this is the challenge of parenting, making sure we raise good people.

Besides, we want you boys to be children, that means doing children things, play sand, enjoy the beach.

Do the tactile things, enjoy nature, understand the more humanistic problems. Understand that while we are at the beach, it rains, while we are in the water, there are temperature changes. (As we get deeper into the water, the water gets colder!)

It is an inconvenient thing to do, going to the beach, there will be grimy sand, salty water, dirt, germs and all. It is a heck a lot easier to play with a mobile phone, get on an online game, whatsapp your friends, chit chat on nothing. But who would we have raised?


You see, as adult, your dad and mum, used mobile devices a lot, and Singapore has one of the highest numbers of smartphone users, do we want to see the both of you adopting our tech so at your youth? Why would we want to make you mini-me? Tech can wait, your childhood comes first.

Why would I want to turn the both of you into mini adults, and get you to adopt what adults use way before you boys need to?

Raising good adults

Being on the mobile phone, isolates you from human to human interaction. While you can make a conversation through messaging apps, nothing beats talking, person to person. Laughing and the usual banter. This is the best way to learn how to be a good person.

It also helps the both of you read body language, and develop effective emotional skills and relate to people. But one thing I can tell the both of you, the people you will be relating to in future, will not be a bunch of people friendly people, because everyone will be on their mobile phones!