Thursday, 26 December 2013

A different Christmas Eve.

On Christmas day, 2013.

小tz: "Mummy, I hide your Christmas present. You will not be able to find your present." 

yt: "Can I vacuum the floor first before I find my present?"

小tz: "Can mummy, but don't vacuum under the sofa please."

yt: "... ... ..."

me: "Hahaha... ... ..."

小tz: "Mummy, daddy is so naughty. We keep his present and give it to him on next Christmas, only if he is good then. Ok?"

me: "... ... ..." 

The night before we had a very different Christmas Eve. 

When I was young, I only got to celebrate Chinese New Year. Christmas Eve and Christmas day to me was just another day.

Fun on Christmas Eve started when I got my first pay. BBQ at the beach, attending friends Christmas party, countdown at pub and disco. Then, with the arrival of 小tz, Christmas Eve mostly started with a simple dinner and a night out to Esplanade Outdoor Theatre.

This Christmas Eve, we had it in a different way. I brought yt and 小tz to attend a Christmas Eve BBQ celebration with a group of adults with intellectual disability at SAF Changi Seaview Resort. The intention is to expose 小tz to others who are less fortunate, and understand how fortunate she is when compared to their limited choices and restrictive lifestyle in an institution. I am also hoping to build up her compassion and empathy for others.

I think I did not succeed.

Talking to her on Christmas day, the first thing she recalled was how happy she was when we allowed her to barbecue her own food at the BBQ pit. Anyway, that must be an entire new experience to her. #Fainted#

Fortunately, relating the life of people staying in an institution, she did understand how fortunate she is and insisted that she doesn't want to stay in an institution. That's 50% success rate for my intention, I hope.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Life is a practice, not a perfection.

Life is a practice, not a perfection.

We just love to be perfect. From wanting to be the top in everything, to finding that perfect partner, having that perfect wedding, giving enrichment classes to our young ones, planning the life of our children and making decision on their behalf. All of us wanted that perfection some times in some parts of our life, didn't we?

Are we happy in the the process of looking for that perfection?

No, we are not!

We regretted not doing better, not putting that extra effort, not trying hard enough, not insisting what we intended to do and not achieving it in perfection. We get frustrated with our own performance, if not immediately, then likely some time later in life when we compared our performance with others who is much better than us.

This happened to me last Friday when I was told to stand-in to give an opening speech for a party. 

There were tons of thoughts running through me the moment before my speech. Should I make a statement on the behalf of that person I am standing in? Will the poor AV system affect my speech? Will the audience like what I am going to talk? Will nervousness affect the quality of my speech?

In the end, I did not talk about my last blog post which I earlier planned. It is just some festive wishing and with that, we started the party. Oh man, I am so so so disappointed with my performance. 

Fortunately, I snapped back into reality very quickly. It's the team's party, not mine. So why am I so concerned with my performance in the first place, which isn't the focus of the night.

I really enjoyed the party. Look! There are FOOD, you know, food!!! If not for the earlier buffet I ate in another invited event, I would have eaten more. Oops... I meant to say I didn't eat a lot because I have exceeded my daily calories intake that day. Haha...

Then the elaborated beauty pageant, completed with the grand introductory dance, the sections including the test for the ladies' intelligence and talent. The performance in between showing the talents of the team filled with the different nationality, race and style. Everybody put in so much effort and were pretty well-dressed. I feel so under-dressed when compared. 

Thanks for the invitation and great party that night. I had my share of laughter, fun and of course the FOOD. Oh, thanks too for making me dance that night... yes, don't ever post that picture. Pleasessss..... 

In life, it is not about achieving perfection. It's the journey, the fun, the experience and the practice we received through the many opportunities given to us. Let's not be bothered by being perfect during this festive season and immerse ourselves into the fun and laughters. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Picture: Christmas art work by 小tz.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The little India riot on Sunday, 8 Dec 2013 at 9:23pm.

The little India riot on Sunday, 8 Dec 2013 at 9:23pm.
Yes, it is old news by now. Nevertheless, it is still an important incident happening in Singapore that is worth recording. After all, how often do we see a riot involving 400 people, injuring at least 12 officers, damaging (burning, flipping and banging) 9 vehicles consisting of police cars, ambulances, Red Rhino and Fire Engine?
I am not a sadist, I must say.
It’s sad to see such incident unfolding and it is important for 小tz to know about this.
This is likely the peak of the anti-foreigners situations happening in Singapore, I hope. I really don’t wish to see more of this happening. The SMRT incident was bad enough, isn’t it?
Before anything else, I felt a strong need to clarify myself on the stand of so call foreigners against born Singaporeans. Am I against foreigners? No, I am not or else, I would have been stoned to death by now. Haha…
However, I am not going to be a hypocrite to tell you that I treat everybody, regardless of their relationship with me, race, nationality and religion equally. To hell with it, else I would be treating all of you as my daughter and wife. I cannot imagine... ...
So yes, yt is Chinese and I hope my future son-in-law would also be a Chinese. Err… ya, ya, ya… still many more years to go, I know. That’s my preference and it is very much affected by my race, origin and upbringing. However, if my daughter so decide to marry a non Chinese, I would have to accept the gentleman and treat him as part of my family. The same goes to my working life. As long as the person is in the team, the race, religion and nationality is not important. I will be more concern about how this person is able to integrate into the team and develop that team spirit much needed to tackle the issues we faced at work.
Personally, I felt the great tension were result of the disparity in income and culture of the many people (citizens and non citizens) staying in Singapore. In Chinese, there is a saying “江山易改, 本性难移", meaning that it’s very difficult to change one’s character. Think about it… how difficult it is for us to stay with our spouse after marriage (Initially, not forever before yt hit me.  ;P), the conflicts we have with our in-laws, the quarrels among siblings and the unhappiness with our colleagues and friends at times. However, those tend to disappeared with times when both parties respected each other's right, attempted to understand each other and developed a willingness to compromise.
When I joined the deaf community as a volunteer many years back, I did not feel comfortable. I felt out of place and alienated as I cannot understand their mode of communication and unable to catch up with their conversation. With time, with the community's  understanding and respect, I get better in sign language and started to understand the community better. It helps too that the community is willing to accept me and have patient with my poor ability to communicate in sign language. It is a 2 directional process and took years before I became more comfortable. Now, I am back to the starting point, I have not been practicing my signing and that’s another story altogether.
The points I wish to put across are (1) we need time, (2) understanding, (3) respect for each other, (4) willingness to accommodate, (5) patient and (6) a slow transition to encourage the integration of different group or individuals. Be it at home, with friends or at work, it is the same.
Oh, I am still talking about disparity in culture, character, upbringing, race, nationality and religion. I have yet touch on disparity in income, if you noticed.
Anyway, I am writing to share what I have learned with 小tz and hope it will help her later in her life. I have no interest in politics, I do not wish that this be circulated or used for purpose not intended by me. We each have our roles in life and in this society. For the smaller me, I will continue to provide for yt and 小tz financially, physically and emotionally. For the bigger me, I just wanted to focus on my work to support people who are less fortunate than I am.
Other than circulating oxygenated blood to the various parts of our body, the heart is also there to guide us in our daily life. If the decision that we are going to make is not going to benefit everyone involved and may even hurt others, may I suggest that we rather not act on it.


Sunday, 1 December 2013

22 Nov 2013, our first family dinner.

"Daddy, this is our first dinner together at home. You know?"

I didn’t expect that. All along, I thought I tried my best to be with 小tz, whenever possible.
We have our outings, fun and meals together when I was on leave or during weekends when I was not working. I brought her to library, lunch, Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, and many many more places either just the 2 of us, or together with yt.

But then… …

As hard as I tried to recall, 小tz is correct. That night, 22nd November 2013, is the first night that we (小tz, yt and I) had dinner together at home just like everybody else does. Is it usual for other families to not to have dinner together at home? I am not sure. But for us, it’s our first night.
I finished work at 7:13pm that night after visiting a client at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. yt asked if I want to come back for dinner since our little princess was still sleeping, recovering from her fantastic, and wonderful, non-stop buffet biscuit/Milo eating campfire starting from the day before. Although the travelling will at least take me 1.5 hours, I thought I might still be in time to reach home before the sleeping beauty wake up.

Well… wrong.

小tz woke up and started eating at 8pm when I am still stuck in the train. yt asked if she wanted to eat her dinner first, she said no and insisted to just eat a little so that she can eat together with me when I come home later.

Later was 9pm when I set foot at home. The table was already set and小tz was folding the serviette nicely into a sail boat for yt and herself. Mine was a lump of don’t know what she said. Always bully her daddy. Sigh~

I felt bad having my 6 years old daughter telling me that for the past 6 years, I never once came home to have dinner with her after work.

That’s sad.

Told yt that I will attempt to be back at least once a week after work to have dinner with her and 小tz . It’s not going to be easy with the nature of my work and the travelling distance. But, how can I disappoint my sweet princess further.

Hey, the next time if you see me rushing to go home, please understand that I have a date with my 2 darlings at home.