Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Time for reflections

It's 9 day into the fasting month, and all seems ok. In my last post, I mentioned about 2 of my friends having marital problems. Well, one has just started her divorce proceeding while the other seems to have taken my advice and is working hard on her marriage. Well, I sincerely hope and pray that whatever happens.it's for the best.

It's also National Day today. A day we celebrate our independence. A month we fly our flags with pride and partake in the festivities of the National Day Parade. Or do we?

For one, I've never hung the National Flag outside my house. secondly, I've never watched the National Day Parade live except on TV. Lastly, most years, I'm on holiday away from Singapore, invariably, KL. My parents, always cynical about the government, always said that it's just a PR excercise replete with the chest-thumping and cheering.

Frankly, I couldn't care less.

Why the apathy? I love my country tho, just that I detest the way it's been run over the years. Yes, some said do not mix national pride with political alignment. Really? Then, why do I see a PAP contingent at every National Day Parade?

Over the years, the influx of foreigners has been a major sticking point. And it hit raw nerves everytime I read abt the foreigners making it look like this is their country. I have, at times, clenched my fist and take deep breaths in trying not to blow my top and spout expletives towards them.

Disillusioned, defnitely. Till we have a democratic society based on justice and equality, I'll probably never have that much pride in National Day.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Captain Invisible and the weight of the world on his shoulders......

Some things just don't change do they. It's tiring and trying.

For the longest time, I've had to deal with this. It's like trying to pull a strand of hair from a pile of flour without making a mess or breaking that hair. Difficult? I think it's much easier than having to go thru this.

Thing is, I still don't get any respect from my in-laws' family. They hardly ever talk to me. They hardly ever ask me for help even though it is my help that they need. They never say thanks to me. And if they need my help, they ask of it through my wife. So what does that make me? The President of Singapore? A rubber stamp?

The whole issue is my FIL has had a stomach operation about a month ago. The diagnosis, in the end was colorectal cancer, I think. I've never really gotten along with my BILs, 10 years after first meeting them. And that is not about to change anytime soon. Thing is, my dealings with them over these last few weeks only reinforces that.

How could a son actually suggested putting his father in a nursing home while he recovers from an operation?
How could a son pass the buck and ask his younger sister to take care of his father? Am I invisible here? There's no need to ask the head of your sister's family?
How could a son ask his sister to thank his wife for taking care of his father? Is not enough that you thank your wife?

It's bad, but I still can take it. My wife, being a dutiful daughter sought my permission to bring her father to a sinseh or Chinese Traditional Medicine Practitioner to get medicine for him when he already has the chemo medication which costs $800. I said no. Told her to wait till Saturday. Told her in no uncertain terms that her father and brother asked for her help, not mine.

What pissed me off was my wife asking me to take leave to bring her dad to the sinseh despite my having told her to wait till Saturday, I was being bugged to take time off when I simply can't.

It gets old. Here I am, 3 kids and 5 years on from when this problem first surfaced back in 2006, still facing the same problems. Still Captain Invisible with the weight of the world on my shoulders........

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The need to spread my seeds..........

A friend confided in me about her marital problems. Seems like after all these years, the impression I've left on her is one of a trustworthy friend. I'm honored.

It all started cos a mutual friend is going through a stick patch, what with her husband publicly changing his status from being married to his wife to being in a relationship with his girlfriend. Guess still waters runs deep, I guess. All this while, they were a picture perfect family. Always doing things together. Or, so I thought. But I'm not gonna speculate.

The question my friend asked me is why betray her trust and has all her sacrifices for the family for naught?

It's kinda hard isn't it? To try and make sense of the nonsensical. When news break of such betrayals, it makes it even harder. It's hard to try rationalising why such things happen, but the fact of the matter is, it does. No matter how we gloss over the facts, it's there, like a bad zit that just wun go away.

I told her, quite simply, I can't judge her husband or her, simply because I do not know their relationship and the dynamics of it although I know both of them personally. The thing about guys is, we do not equate love with sex while women do. Using the analogy of cars, I told her that a guy will test drive a few cars before he settles for one. Even then, he will still test drive other cars just to get a feel of it. Women, on the other hand, buys the car and feels contented as long as the car does its job.

Man is weak. He needs no invitations to vice. In fact, he'll seek it out just to see how far he can go. And go he will. Plain and simple.

I'm not saying that cheating is tolerable and to be expected cos once you've signed that document, you are committing your life to that once person. But in reality, it's much more easier to say than to actually commit to it. The question that needs to be answered is whether one can forgive their spouse and whether or not they can live with past transgressions.

Assuming the answer is yes, the road ahead is rocky and full of potholes, but if one makes it through, the results might just be that much more gratifying.

If the answer is no, then there's not much else to say, is there?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catch-22

Sigh.

Some friends I have huh. None actually messaged me to ask what happened to my account. Best part is , I actually SMSed one of my supposed close friends a happy birthday and not a word of thanks, nada! This just confirms my thoughts that if I really kicked it in, no one would know.

Question is, is it their fault or mine? Well, I'd leave it at that. I dun really feel lonely. I dun have that need to let everyone know I passed some test or I ate a this fancy restaurant or I bought my wife an expensive gift. Different strokes I guess.

Over the weekend, I was faced with the dilemma most parents face - letting their kids go. In my case, it's the perpetual tug-of-war for time with the kids between the parents and grandparents. Yeah, mundane, but you see, in my case, it can be more difficult than running across the PIE without getting run over. The problem that my wife and I face is the fact that my parents tend to be a little irreverent when it comes to time with my kids.

Honestly, I've never had a problem when my parents wanted to bring my kids out. I'm more than happy because it gives my wife and I a little time to ourselves. However, my daughter can be a handful, and being daddy's little girl, she's much more emotionally attached to me than anyone else. My son, equally a handful, is mommy's boy. So, taking them away from us requires a little bit of tact.

The problem came when my parents decided, at the last minute, after our late-lunch-cum-early-dinner, to take my daughter out "to a special place" and refused to tell us where it was. I relented, as I always do, even though it was 6pm and the next day was a school day, with the proviso that she does not come home late as she has homework to do. So, the 3 of us went home while my daughter followed my parents.

Fast forward to 9.30, I had finished my class and was getting worried that my daughter is not home yet. As it turned out, my parents also brought along our niece, who was sleeping earlier, and had to be woken up. My sister-in-law messaged my wife to ask if we knew where the kids were, and we didn't. I called my mom and, lo and behold, I heard an overseas ringing tone. That's not right, I thought. When my mom picked up the phone, she straightaway said that they were caught in an unexpected jam.

An unexpected jam on the causeway??? At almost 10pm on a Sunday night????? I was peeved to say the least. Why on earth did they venture across the causeway at 6pm on a Sunday in the first place????

Deciding not to wait around, I told my maid to get my son to sleep while my wife and I made our way to my brother's house where my parents would drop my niece first before sending my daughter home. In any case, I wanted to pass my nephew his belated 1st birthday present. So, we went, and we waited, the four of us sitting around feeling all frustrated.

All the while, lamenting the fact that if we didn't allow our parents to bring their grandkids out, we'd have an earful of their comments, especially my mom, and my younger sis. And when we do relent, this is the kind of things that happen. Frustrating is an understatement.

And now they want to bring our kids to Hong Kong at year's end. Should I let my kids go with them??????

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

About respect and hope for the future

2nd day of my FB acct deactivation, and yes, I'm suffering some withdrawal symptoms but not enough for me to reactivate it. For one, it's much less painful not to know that some "friends" are blocking you and some "friends" don't really care. So, for now I will not be tempted to reactivate the account.

There so much to talk about nowadays: the tsunami hitting Japan (my condolences to all who lost their lives), the nuclear plant in Fukushima being close to another Three Mile Island or Chernobyl incident ( my respects to those workers risking their lives so that others may live) and the upcoming GE. Life sure is interesting - much more interesting than proclaiming one's passing of a simple driving theory test and the chest thumping that followed.

I was reading an article about how the Japanese were reacting to this calamity, and I'm in awe. The calmness, orderliness and dignity with which life went on even at ground zero is beyond commendable. It really serves as a great example to us here in Singapore where even giving up one's seat on the MRT to someone who needs it more is a big deal for most of us. And what about the Fukushima 50 as the media calls them. I'm sure there are more than just the 50 who deserves special mention.

To risk your life and risk suffering unimaginable pain from radiation sickness is testament to the Japanese people's strength and courage. I am reminded of the nuclear accident aboard the Soviet nuclear submarine, K-19 in 1961 where the actions of a handful of men, some of whom gave their lives, were responsible in averting a nuclear disaster. The major difference is the level of preparedness that the Japanese had and that allowed them to react positively in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Some time ago, there was talk of Singapore building our own nuclear plant to supplement the existing energy plants currently in operation. In light of the events of Fukushima, I hope that plan gets canned permanently. While other countries has the land mass to cope with such a disaster, where are we to go if an accident ala Three Mile Island or Chernobyl were to happen. Like they say, accidents happen.

Talking about accidents, is it me or is the recent "generous" budget announcements came at such a time to coincide with the upcoming GE? A sweetener to entice our votes perhaps. To some, $600 or $800 they are getting are a reprieve. But do these people really care about politics or are they more concerned with the daily grind of everyday life? Does one really think that the cash handout will make a difference, economically or socially?

They way I see it, the people who need it aren't concerned with the politics. The people who are concerned with the politics dun need it as much. To the poor, $600 or $800 makes a whole lot of difference. To the rich folks with a Bentley, Merc and 2 Lambos in their driveway, that $200 isn't even enough to cover their manicure sessions monthly, not like they need it in the first place.

Those who know me will testify that I'm a very vocal person. I like to speak my mind. I like to debate though I may not be as eloquent as some of my contemporaries. Hence, this GE is a very exciting one for me, since the last time I voted, we were not faced with issues such as million-dollar pay for our ministers who keep extolling "cheaper, better, faster", high income disparity, perpetually rising costs of living, higher housing prices and stagnating salaries. The last GE, my constituency had a walkover - what a bummer.

So, I await the start of the campaigning with bated breath. No guesses where my vote will go tho.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back with a whimper.....

Damn!! It's been 2 years since I last posted something here. I dunno, maybe I'm getting too old? Then again, I wouldn't be too far off if I said that I neglected my post mainly due to the fact that I got addicted to Facebook.....

What is it about Facebook, I'll just shorten it to FB from here on for all intent and purpose, that makes it so addictive? Then again, the same could be said of Friendster, Multiply and other iterations of social media before FB. So what is it?

Personally, I thought it would have been a fun way to reconnect with old friends. Friends whom I have lost touch with since we parted ways in Primary School, Secondary School and Pre-U. Heck, I even tried looking up my buddy from BMT, whom I have since lost touch with. Truth be told, I even searched for my ex-es, though I never contemplated adding them as friends, that would have been awkward for me, especially considering how some of the relationships ended.

I did question myself what I was doing in FB. I posted some funny comments, some witty ones, some provocative ones and some mundane ones too. But I came to realise that FB was a good way to gauge your popularity. It showed how many real friends you have, how many people actually read your posts and who really cared.

Truth be told, I've never had 1 best friend who stuck with me through the years. 1 best friend who'd call me every now and then to ask how I was, to ask me out, to spend time in a cafe drinking coffee. Heck, I've never had a group of friends who were constantly with me. It's always a different group through each phase. And they never hung ard after each phase.

My best friend in Primary School are not close to me at all, more like acquaintances.
My best buddy in Secondary School has kindof disappeared from my life totally.
My best friends from Pre-U are now in-laws to each other and spend more time with their family.
And then there are the friends from Secondary School who seem to go out of their way not to include me in their clique, by disabling me to see their posts, much less put a comment on their wall......oh well, we've never liked each other since we met I guess. Why, I never knew......and content to leave it that way anyway.

No, I'm not sore or anything. Why should I? I guess that's just how life is. Sure, I'll freely admit that I do feel left out when I see posts from my so-called friends about outings, celebrations or just gatherings I wasn't invited to. I mean, who wouldn't when you are told that it's a family affair only to see other friends being invited. Says a lot, doesn't it?

Well, back to FB. I have concluded that FB, as a social media works wonders. It allows you to reconnect with long lost friends and keep up to date with your friends' lives. But at the same time, it also opens up your eyes who your friends really are. On the other hand, it also shows how friendless you really are if, like me, you've disabled your FB profile and no one messages you to ask what happened to your profile.

So much for having 200+ friends on my FB.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Donkey Brained

I read with utter disgust the newspaper report about the Malay women being used as drug mules with one lady going so far to marry the man she thought she loved. It seems these Africans target plump Malay women. I'll touch on that later.

Love blinds. No disputing that.

When I was working in my first job, my then trainer made a comment about plump Malay girls who like to dress up, party and have fun and the African guys who go out with some of them. He said that the Africans go out with these girls because no other local guys would give them a second look. While I try not to be so direct, there is some truth in that statement. And while I do agree that not all African men are like that, too many black sheep make in unavoidable to treat all of them with myopic thoughts.

The African men, some being Muslim, will almost always play the religion card to work their way into the hearts and mind of their prey. Showered with 'love' and 'affection', these girls are easy meat. I mean, give any guy a choice between a pretty young thing and a plump girl, the choice is just too obvious right? Add to that, our preoccupation with having a family of our own, it makes our women easy prey, especially to the smooth-talkers.

Now, it may be easy to target these women, but I have to ask, are our women that stooopid to be used in that manner? Can't they see the tell-tale signs of drug trafficking? Is there really such a thing as easy money? Why are they paying thousands for you to go on a trip?

Personally, I don't feel an ounce of sympathy for these women. God gave you a brain to think, weigh things over and decide for a reason. So that we know what's right and what's wrong.

You know that pre-marital sex is forbidden, yet, you do it with these men.
You know that it makes no sense for you to be paid to take a short holiday.
You know that drug trafficking is a serious offense in many countries, with punishment including death.

Then, why do you put yourself in such a situation?
Love may be blind, but if you are that stupid, you deserve to be called a mule.