Your Father’s 39th Birthday

Your Father’s 39th Birthday

Dear Boys,

This 39th birthday I truly understand the meaning of family. It is simply because I felt a sense of abandonment from my mom and brother. I heard from my mother’s sister, my aunt, that my mother and elder brother has moved, she invited her sister to her house for some kind of house warming but she didn’t inform me. Given the kind of relationship I have with my brother, I can understand why she didn’t invite me, at the very least, tell me where they’ve moved to.

That is quite a psychological reality check for me, I guess I should have seen it coming, things hadn’t been the warmest between me and my brother and mother, but I still would think of them as family. The signs are there when I visited them one Chinese New Year and me at the gate, roused my brother from his slumber, only to hear him said, ‘Brother? I don’t have a brother.’ That was when I greeted him and asked him where is mum, and I’m his brother!

So now they’ve move, and without an address the cut is complete, and absolute. Perhaps is better this way, boys, I don’t know, things are always happening in future tense that leave us with little preparation in the present. The reality is that, I felt the loneliness in a deep and profound way.

So this birthday, it was a very small family affair, just your mum, and the 2 of you, there’s really no one else left who will remember my birthday, not to mention the mere celebrating the day. When I die, if anytime sooner, my wife will have her parents and little brother to remember her birth and celebrate with her, she has the both of you, that kind of birthday song, would sound a little louder.

For me, this 39th birthday for me, looking at the 3 of you, singing the song, made me really, really wish, and I want to hold true to that wish, ‘I wish that the 3 of you, sitting before me, will be by my side for as long as I live

Posted February 23, 2015

Stop at Success

Stop at Success

Dear Sons,

Your mum baked butter cakes yesterday. Twice.

For the first round, the 2 of you tried to help in the process, In measurements and cutting of the butter, it was good to have involved the 2 of you, even though you boys monkeyed around more than being helpful.

The cake wasn’t very well made, it rise in the beginning but the cake collapsed towards the later part of its time in the oven. Of course your mum, was dejected, it was a failure. The texture of the cake was too light, and it felled apart when we cut it and when we ate it, even thought it tasted good, but it wasn’t a ‘cake’.

I saw the opportunity and told her “Let’s bake another one!” I wanted to drive this point home, Do not stop at failure, stop only when you are successful. Later that afternoon, I went out and bought another bunch of ingredients and we tried at it again, and this time the cake turned out alright.

You see, boys, the difference is that if we stop at the first bake, what would have locked into our minds? The end process of it was ‘failure’. And if we do not correct that immediately, the feeling, the mood and the psyche of having failed at baking, would have sunken in, gotten locked into our sub consciousness, and the next time we bake, may be next week, next month, we will go to our sub conscious file and access the last time we tried, which was locked in ‘failure’. What a way to starting making something as beautiful and delicious as a cake! Will our next attempt fail again? I don’t know, but I’d rather start a new endeavor , with a past history and memory of success rather than having a last records of failure.

We also did something different the second time we bake, we wrote down every bit of the process, step by step. For the second time around, you boys were playing in the living room and had no part in the baking process, maybe the absence of you 2 monkeys would help in your mum’s concentration as well?

We wrote down every writable details of the baking, so that if we fail, again, we will know, more than less, how we can adjust our process.

The second time was a success!

And what a difference it made for your mum! From dejected, deflated talk of failure in baking the first round, she is now beaming with joy knowing that the second bake was a success. This is what I want to have locked into her psyche, that she can bake and baking is a process of success. And with the formula on hand, now she can bake and repeat the same success.

So boys, when you do fail in future, quickly dust yourself off and try again. Do not stop, never stop until you have successfully achieve your given tasks. Failure and success is nothing more than a state of mind, be careful at which state of mind you decide to take a rest, for it will affect you and your next course of action. so when you fail, do not stop, keep going, stop only when you are successful.

Posted August 12, 2013

How we spent our Deepavali-Istana Visit

How we spent our Deepavali-Istana Visit

Dear Boys,

I decided to give your mum a ‘me time’ for the hardwork she put in helping you, Ian with your exams. So I took you boys out so that your mum can go for her nail message, compliments of Auntie Chai Ping.

Where can we go, 3 male members of the Lim family? The Istana was hosting an open house and it is free entry for Singaporeans, so why not? We packed up and headed out, looking forward to spending some time at the official residence of our President. After all, it is free entry and its been a long time since I’ve step foot in the Istana for a visit.

We reached the place and found it to be raining a little, and got heavier as we approached the Main Building. the compound is really a nice place to visit, with the sprawling greenery, and magnificent lawn. Once we passed the tight security, the first sight that draws us towards was the Swan pond.

Swan Pond. Admiring the Swan

The both of you were fascinated with the single white swan there and snapped pictures like it was the last living White Swan on earth. Thankfully the turf on the Istana ground is quite well maintained, despite of the rain, and wet grounds didn’t translate into a muddy quagmire, despite of the heavy trampling by the large crowds.

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As we walked up and towards the slight gradient, the both of you chatted that this was where they saw on television the funeral procession of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and wondered where is the Sri Temasek.

The Sri Temasek

The premises was out of bounds and we can only stop to appreciate the diminutive building, where so much of our country’s history has happened there. While we watch, our minds played the mental image of Mr Lee’s cortege rolled out from the place, in a wet day no different from the day we visited Istana.

The Main Building

We had to seek refuge there along with many ‘un-umbrella’ folks, as the sky decided to open up on us. We learned from a Scout there, that we can actually buy a ticket to go into Istana for a house tour. With nothing better to do, I decided to leave the 2 of you with the Scout and headed out in the downpour to get the tickets. There is no photo taking allowed inside so we have to keep our pictures in our head.

The interior is a grand place, which is of course, as we have to host our nation’s guests there. There is an air of importance as well as decorum, you can’t help but feel the importance of such a place to us ordinary Singaporeans. it is important that we host our country’s guests in the highest pristine so that we get the respect and voice in the global community.

The Gun Terrace

This is certainly the highlight for the both of you as you boys take turns to take pictures of it, walk around it and explore this World War 2 relic.

The Military Guardroom

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We did a few fun shots there with a few ornamental mini cannons, your little brother, as usual, is such a pain when it comes to making him look at the camera and do a decent pose!

Our signature childhood photo

This is the kind of photograph where we can look back, decades from now and relish the memories. I am sure many of us and our parents out there has a photo like that taken with a soldier standing at attention. This will certainly be a journey I hope the 2 of you can cherish and remember fondly.

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Posted November 19, 2015

The “Bastard” Story

The “Bastard” Story

Dear Ian,

You have been acquainted to the word ‘Bastard”. No thanks to some kid in your school.

Well, this might be something we forget years from now, but it is one of those things that we would like to pen down.

You came home yesterday and asked your mum, “What is the meaning of Bastard?” Your mum, shocked to even hear you mention the word, told you in a reactive rebuke, it is of course, a ‘bad’ word. And she asked you if you’ve used it. And you obviously said ‘no’.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

What we learned from you was that someone in school used the ‘B’ word on you during your basketball training, and it was, in your account, perhaps the senior boys, in Primary 4, 5 or 6. who scolded you and added the ‘B’ word.

On top of that, there is this kid who smacked you head with Colin’s from behind. And someone threw a ball at your face. Those rough and tough stuffs you can rough it out, tough it out.

The twist of the story came this morning, when Colin’s mum got a call from school from the teacher to tell her about what happened. Long story short. The teacher mentioned that you used the word ‘bastard’ in school. and Colin also said you did.

Your mum knew now, you used it, but you learned it from someone, and the teacher only caught you using it, but she is not aware that you learned it from someone else in the basketball lesson.

To set the records straight, your mum went to the teacher after class and clarified the matter. Not in your defense but to make sure that the facts are set right. You used the word, which you should aptly be punished. But you didn’t bring the word into the class, someone did, and you were caught using it. That doesn’t make you less ‘wrong’ but it matters that the teacher sees the situation from another angle.

So the point is this, Ian, you have to let us know what is going on in school, even if you are punished for some reason, or you did something wrong, please let us know. Because you could have been contextually right in the wrong content and vice versa.

Had we not set the records straight, you would have been branded the boy who brought the ‘bastard’ to school. We do not want such stereotypes on you, not like this.

Posted January 28, 2014

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:

“GO AWAY!” “LEAVE ME ALONE!” “HAVEN’T I GOT ENOUGH PROBLEMS ALREADY?!”

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.”

or

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.

病从口入,祸从口出

病从口入,祸从口出

Dear Boys,

If there is any life skills that is pertinent and you have to constantly learn and relearn, this is it.

病从口入,祸从口出

It means that illness goes in from the mouth, trouble comes out from the mouth, literally speaking.

Kids says the Darndest Things

image from Google

Back in the late nineties, there’s this very popular American variety show called Kids Say the Darndest Things. This was hosted by Bill Cosby, who is convicted of sex offences and child abuse offences.

In the show, people watch it for a good laugh over some of the things the kids says, through their naivety, innocence and often out of context statements. It was a very popular show because kids often do say the darndest things and their response are quite comedic and can evoke a sense of awe, and ga-ga by the adults.

These kids, says it not knowing the kind of context as well as the consequences of their saying. I mean who can blame them? People are not hurt by what these kids said, they are after all, kids right?

1998 to 2021

Let’s say that back in the first season in 1998, a kid in that era filmed for the show at say…6 years old, fast forward 23 years, that cute kid who said that darndest thing is now… 29 years old. Would this 29 year old person, saying the same darn thing, have the same comedic effect? Would it even be considered ‘cute’? Probably cringey at best!

What you say have Consequences

As you both grow up, the line for you both to say the ‘darndest things’ and get away with a simple laugh, is thinning. As kiddos, you can say anything and we can understand that it is quite out of immaturity, and forgivable. Lies you both tell, are also understandably accept, and corrected. We try to talk to both of you about how the reality doesn’t correspond with your version of truth. At a young age, and lacking cognitive maturity, coupled with a narrow range of vocabulary to express yourself, you might say a certain things but don’t mean it the way you say it. We know, it’s a kid thing.

Things are going to be different as you grow up; you simply cannot go around cracking a wise-ass joke as expect to get away with it. There will be consequences when your version of your truth vary widely from reality or societal norms. Always think before you say anything, as much as it is practicable, as things you say can be taken out of context and hijacked for the wrong arguments and reasons, and it will be too late for you to correct what you say and goes ‘I mean, I mean…’.

One prime example, try to jokingly say ‘bomb’ in an airplane, that wouldn’t have been a very ‘ha ha ha’ moment.

Badge Lady and The Glynn

image from Google
image from Google

These 2 individuals are amongst the many that has been publicly and socially crucified for their lack of ability to understand how the norm at large is demanding a homogeneous response to a global pandemic. They say things that made them famous for the wrong reasons and of course, getting into the wrong side of the law. Of course in their own world, and perhaps in another universe, they’d be kings, but unfortunately, back down on planet Earth, what they did are criminal, no ifs and buts about it, and there is no way for them to explain what they did under any and all reasonable circumstances.

Let’s not go into the specifics about what they did, but these 2 are examples about what you say and/or do can get you into serious trouble, and in a COVID-19 situation, the virus certainly does enter your body through… your facial orifices, ala 病从口入.

Me against the World

Sure, if you would like to make a statement for yourself and go against the world because you are empowered to carry out an act, and expression. You feel that you have what it takes to change the world, don’t let me or anyone stop you. That is the learning point, the skill and art of getting things done your way without causing too much trouble. There is a constructive way to change the world and there is a destructive way, you decide what kind of impact you want to have on the world.

You want to change the world. rock the boat, people will be unhappy with you, troubles will find you, and you will face difficulties, and insurmountable challenges. These are inevitable part and parcel of being a pioneer, an innovator, an original. But please don’t go out of your way to antagonize people, say things to make people unhappy in the spur of the moment. Once you carelessly say something and is heard, and hurt someone, there s no taking it back.

Always make a point to think through what you want to say, and when you are not sure, always make a note to admit what you don’t know. This is where the skill and art which we will take our lifetime to master.

Collective Idiocy-Army story

bus buttons
picture sourced from google

Dear Boys,

I want to share a story about ‘collective idiocy’ that involved your father.

When I was an Army recruit, my training camp was back in Pulau Tekong and when it was time for us to book in, we have to find our own way back to Commando Jetty. So when it was time for us to book in, it is no surprise that you will see many botak (bald-headed) recruits on the same bus, since we are all booking in at the same time.

So this fateful night, we were on the bus, and heading towards a common destination, we all have to alight at the same bus-stop and of course we need to press the bell so that the bus driver will know there are passengers who were alighting.

A 2021 version of The RPL- Ramp Powered Launch-that takes us to Tekong

What happened was a matter of group-think towards collective stupidity.

We all, the recruits in the bus, knew we are all alighting at the same stop, and we all waited for one of us to press the bell, and anyone of us can, but no one did!

So we looked wide eyed as the bus zipped past our stop and everyone started pressing the bell in frantic. Too late, the bus driver simply ignored us, and take it that the bell we pressed was for the next stop.

So the bus alighted at the next stop and the whole group of us has to dumb,  dumb walk back to the earlier bus stop and towards Commando Jetty. No one said a thing about the incident, we didn’t have to, we all made a fool out of ourselves, and now thinking back more than 21 years later, the whole incident seems petty hilarious.

Posted June 18, 2015

Apologizing- Wayne’s version

Apologizing- Wayne’s version

Dear Wayne,

In my earlier Q&A (Quarrel and Arguments) post, I asked you to apologize to 哥哥 because you started the argument first.

As the youngest member in our family, you will invariably do more apologizing than the rest of us. Cognitively you are still developing and learning the social ropes in the family, there are still rules and protocols that you might not be familiar with. In conversation, you sometimes forget to take turns in talking and interrupt at the wrong time. There are also life skills, concepts and ideas that are too mature for you to learn and you will offend us, or upset us ever so often.

Bad about Feeling Bad

You can’t be help it but feel kinda crappy at times, being the ‘loser’ who have to say sorry more often than us. Sometimes your 12 year-old perception of things simply doesn’t bode well for your argument and your reasoning sometimes is just…unreasonable.

I remembered vividly when you were much younger, we have to force you to admit that you are wrong and apologize. You did apologize, but I can tell you were going through the motion, as you are still unsure what you did wrong and why you are apologizing for.

You will feel bad, and I can accept that, but I don’t want you to stop trying, testing and pushing your arguments. While many a times it is outright wrong; sometimes, you got it right, and gave us a fresh new perspective on how things should be handled.

Growing Pains

So keep trying, because you are the smallest in the family, everyone and everything looks larger than life, you want to puff yourself up and felt measured, you want to be counted, as part of the ‘big people club’, making mistakes and pissing people off. Your best intentions often leads to unintended consequences.

My brother & I

This is part of being the newest kid in the block. I was also the youngest in my family and I too have such challenges, although I wasn’t able to figure it out until I was much, much older. It can be tough being the youngest because we always feel a constant need to fight for attention, fight for our voices to be heard.

There are times where my opinions are not take seriously, because people thinks that because I am the youngest, my opinions will not be considered. Or people will say things like: ‘Kids, be seen, not heard!’ I’m sure you felt that to many times, and I hope our efforts to reason and argue with you, make you see the flaws of your own arguments, help you build better premises and assumption.

You are the only one who got this Award

You are not Stupid

Apologizing more often don’t mean that you are stupid, an self depreciating assumption you make about yourself, thinking that everyone is smarter than you. It’s stupid to feel that you are stupid when you are not stupid. You are still learning from trial and error, our feedback and reasoning to build better and stronger reasoning, in the end of it, you will become the smarter of all of us, because your learning curve is steeper, you have to swim faster to catch up with us.

Right now, your brother is already somewhat completed his ‘O’ levels, his knows physics, chemistry and all those secondary school things. You don’t and you always look up to him and marveled at his level of knowledge, thinking how smart your 哥哥 is; you are also smart, just not as smart as a 16 year old.

You fail to take reference to your younger peers, are they as smart as you?

We are not asking you to compare, although you always try to measure up to your nearest competitor, your 哥哥. It’s pointless, we keep saying to you, just be the best version of yourself and we love you just as much. You are original and authentic in your own way. You have a take-no-prisoners, don’t give a rat’s ass attitude, which is unique to you. That is fine, that will also means you will offend people, which is fine, just learn from it apologize and reconcile with the hurt you sometimes unwittingly caused.

How to Avoid Q & A (Quarrels & Arguments)

How to Avoid Q & A (Quarrels & Arguments)

Dear boys,

Yesterday, you both started an argument, when 弟弟 wanted to concentrate on his Math assessment and he needed the 哥哥 volume down his music in his earphones, while in the study room.

I didn’t came to know what happened, I found your mum talking to the both of you sternly, the air in the room tensed with accusations and simmering anger.

So I thought of sharing my best tried and tested number one method of winning at Q&A (Quarrels & Arguments)…

DON’T START ONE.

Well, easier said than done, I agree, like many things in life, it’s the execution, actions and behavior that matters more than rhetoric. Until you both mature to better understand the nuances and tensions that runs in life, I’ll have to talk the walk, while you both learn to walk to talk as you grow.

Gold Coast Sea World 2018

Don’t Start One

Many times in life, you’ll walk into a situation you didn’t plan to walk into, and suddenly you find yourself difficult to walk out of it.

Sometimes we are ‘caught’ with a perspective and because of the ensuing conversations and exchanges of idea, you unwittingly felt attacked or felt a need to defend your view. Sometimes such a conversation build up over time and the tension stacks on one differences after another, and it can spontaneously combust into an all out argument, which gets everyone pissed off.

Don’t start one requires you to be very sensitive to the trigger points which leads to exposing a person’s insecurities. Avoid those trigger points, avoid people’s insecurities. Many times we felt a need to ‘help’ others with their insecurities, DON’T. Their insecurities are there long before you get to know them and will be there still, long after the world is dead and gone. If there’s anything, anyone can do about a person’s insecurities, it is the owner of that specific insecurities. You deal with your own demons, and they deal with theirs.

Fix You

Of course you’ll get people trying fix you, thinking that they can help you with your insecurities, and they can’t, since the road to hell is paved with good intentions, learn to look out for pseudo-Samaritans who wants to help you exorcise your demons so that they can avoid facing theirs. The world is full of such people. When you meet one of these many goody-two-shoes…

WALK AWAY

Thank them and walk away, there is nothing for them to fix, and I’ve come to a point in life which I learned to deal with my own s**t. There is usually not many people in this world who can help you the way you can help yourself. Sometimes all these helping can lead to frustrations which leads to Q & A.

They can never see your point of view the way you do, and sometimes words fail you when you try your best to explain and you don’t succeed. Those who are truly able to help you, will sit with you, leave you alone, or listen to you with no judgments.

Don’t make me cry.

Q & A between brothers

You both are going to get into a lot of Q&A in future, for sure. In fact, the both of you are testing grounds to thrash out opinions and perspectives. There will be opinions which both of you argue to stalemate, or simply cannot agreed upon. So what to do?

Always remember, the both of you are brothers, and long after your parents are dead, it will be the both of you, back to back, against the world. While you both can argue, you both must lean on each other, and never let anything, anyone tear you both apart.

Let’s go, Let it go

Nothing in this world is worth the bond you both have as brothers. Never let an argument break that brotherhood. It’s really not worth it. Like your argument over 哥哥’s noisy music with 弟弟 studying, if you let that simmer and fester, the ill will unresolved will eat into the good you both have build and years after this innocuous incident, you’ll both drift apart not know what happened. Just think about it, is it worth it? Arguing and keeping scores over a small tiff?

There’s a Chinese saying which will be helpful here:

忍一时风平浪静 退一步海阔天空

Forbearance in the short term, helps you see ease in the wave, forbearance in life helps you see the entire ocean of calm. In short, back off, each belligerent take step back, give some space.

I’m not asking you both to endure the s**t you throw at each other, that would be lip service, but as you grow in life, you’ll know what to bear with, what to give in and what you both can argue about and comes to a good outcome.

Q&A solution to a Q&A problem

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

The best way to get out of a Q&A is Q&A, Quit (arguing) & Apologize.

Between brothers, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, who started it, who escalated it. Between you both, deconflict by saying ‘sorry’, give in and give way, then the healing can start. Sometimes there is no resolution that you can achieve even after a heat argument, once either one cooled down, please apologize first. Never let small puny differences put a wedge in between your brotherhood, if that happens, you both will swallowed by the waves and drown in the ocean.

Brothers Forever

Cycling-The Most Adult Thing to Do

Cycling-The Most Adult Thing to Do

Dear Boys,

As you both know by now from my previous post that your dad has been cycling for a long time, all terrain cycling (except water and air!), especially mountain biking!

at the Green Corridor

Well, I guess when you put your feet to the pedal, it is one of the most liberating thing to do as an individual, there is no place you cannot go on a bicycle. Since I took this Marin back in 2018, I’ve been many places in Singapore, and still not bored of it.

Liberating Freedom

In our tech and digital world, this is one of the things I consider to be analogue, humanistic. Sure you can run, but at that speed, you can’t go very far in a daylight, without getting too tired. On a bike, you get speed and you get the view. That relationship with your environment is spontaneous and real, it engages all your senses, and you cannot totally switch off while you’re riding without getting into serious hurt!

Freedom comes with Responsibilities

Whether you’re cycling alone or in a group, you take care of your own s**t, that’s one thing I learn Mountain Biking, because in the ‘swapah’ where you bash through the bushes, you have to fix your own problems, and issues. Chain break, fix it, puncture fix it, so I has taught me from a very young age to prepare and be ready for any and all situations that might arises during the trip. You really have to own that situation you get yourself into, dig your way out of it, cos no one is coming to rescue you.

So it has become a habit for me to pack well, balancing needs and wants on a 2 wheels, water, tool kit, first aid, and other little luxuries for wet weather. And whatever happened on the road, it is all you, your responsibilities. There’s often a lot of bad calls you have to make, and you just have to suck it up and do it.

Green Corridor trails. Photo by https://sengkangbabies.com/

Adulting The Adult Thing

Adulting is quite a new word, and it basically means:

“the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” (from Google)

I guess that would means a kind of a sarcasm perhaps, but I think that’s what cycling is to me, in a good way. It’s really not a big deal as a cyclist to anyone on the road, but to the cyclist, me, every place I explored gives me that life experience full on, and I can randomly go places and explore new roads, on an MTB, I can even spontaneously go off road and check out where the trail goes. It is an accomplishment that is quite mundane to others but very intrinsically satisfying for me. So while it might sound mundane, it adds to my world perspective and gives my life background and stories to tell, myself and you boys.

Zen and The Art of Cycling

Dec 2000, with my Yamaha LC125 F7339X

A long time ago, your dad used to ride a motorbike and this was one of the book he read that is closest to the subject matter. Now that your dad is no longer on a motorcycle, cycling is the next best thing (and safest) for me to experience life on the road.

Unlike a motorbike, you need a level of fitness to cycle, since you are the engine, passenger and mule all rolled in one, you have to be fit to go the distance. It is not only about physical fitness but a level of mental resilience as well. Mental resilience on a bicycle don’t come from being tough, but knowing when to be tough, when to accept fatigue and when to enjoy the ride.

Enjoying the ride often means getting into a cruising speed, and listening to the sound made by the wheels rolling on the ground. Feeling that wind, or even sometimes the rain! Night time riding can bring about a different sensory experience as well!

Going the Distance

As I do the distance, my on-the-road experience evolve and takes a different relationship. I often have to take the same road but every time I roll past the same spot, the feeling is always different. It is as if the road is your old friend, patiently waiting for you to pass by again. If you have a specific memory, self conversation, incident or flashback on that same spot, it helps to trigger a familiar feeling in you, so that inconspicuous spot to others, is actually a special meeting spot for you.

As Singapore is constantly changing and evolving, some of the same old spots might not exist anymore, so by going on the road, you get your internal map ‘upgraded’ with new topographical details. New park connectors are being build all the time and there are new connectivity across the island that can bring us to more places on a bike. What better way to know this island home of ours?

Ready for the next roll!