The Australian Boy - A Simple Observation

Erwin, born in Australia, the Young Master of the house is merely 3 years 9 months old yet you can feel his powerful aura when he questioned Jen for one instance, "Ah yi, why did you put this on MY table?" He was referring to the common dining table which Jen put her lunch on.

His mum and us always laughed it off his overbearingness as innocence. Other than behaving like a normal child who fears the monster under the bed, whines for ice cream, pisses his elder sister off and wail during punishments for naughty acts, the little boy does perform actions to back his big boy talks.

For instance, he will be the capable assistant to his dad during the installation of the new mosquito net in the window of his room, the gardener who waters the vegetables on the family's garden patch, the weeder who chomps at any plants, weeds or not, that he find displeasing to his young eyes. He can also take you to the residences of certain insects you want to find in his garden be in under a brick, a log or bush. He used to own a huge lizard as a pet and catches bugs and spiders for his amusement.

I reckon it's not exaggerating to claim he will be doing some serious work like plumbing, car servicing and painting by the time he is 10 years old. That probably will not raise any eyebrows here in Australia where you see the way kids cook up a storm in Junior Master Chef.

When I pointed the boy's little skills, Eugene dismissed it casually, "As a man living in Australia, you've got to do everything." I nodded without saying anything but I have to agree. A man living anywhere got to do everything, in fact. 

I know this is contrary to the Singapore culture. That was probably another small reason why I felt left out from society. I had been laughed at countless times for suggesting doing something myself be it cooking a delicacy or perhaps making a shelf. "Please lah, pay some money and get someone to do it," would be the likely response.

Regrettably, I have never been the strong minded guy people think I am, after reading my blog. Friends will know I am the typical insecure Singaporean man who only gains courage in a herd. I would give myself the excuse that I wanted company and felt bored learning in attempting new things, such as a DIY car servicing. In reality, I needed support, courage and determination doing things together. I was too weak to pursue my own interests. I should have pursued them myself.

Fortunately I have a few good friends who tried their best to 'entertain' me. At least we go as far as doing manual car polishing and waxing and even some minor paint repairs ourselves. It would be great if we had more common interests and go "Let's do it" at many more 'crazy' things and try them before I left Singapore. It would have been great fun, just like the car detailing days. I am considered lucky to have these friends. I guess it is still okay for 'old folks' of my generation. My friend, Mrs Maggie Tan attempted to change a lightbulb all by herself recently. Though the bulb burst, I'm still very proud of her. 

I wonder about the future generations in Singapore. "Zhng their iPhones X" is probably as far as they'll get?

He carries his bag at home if he wants it
He snips weeds if he wants it

He snips Rosemary stalks off the bush, but does not use the herb

He destroys cactus if he feels like it 

The team leader gives instructions to....himself

He cuts holes in hedges in his spare time

He sits on the rice sack of his tenants for fun


  1. Hey Chin,

    This is another good one. Indeed actually teenagers in recent time just hardly put their hands on to DIY things. I wonder, is it the way of the Asian culture v.s. Western Culture? Kids and teenagers in recent time in Singapore, probably also in Malaysia, would just like to play with their iPad, iPhone, PSP or perhaps laptop...I wonder why.. Eye sticking on the electronic gadgets, is it that fun?

  2. Perhaps you have made the best choose for your daughter... At least she is ahead at least not surrounded by the eletronic gadgets, and have more natural environement during her childhool just like Erwin being amused by everything.....

    She will be able to know how is the duck look before and after... Apple, orange and lemon from tree.... Grape from vineyard... Perhaps the very blue sky with unlimitless , unblockable view of the sea....

  3. The car detailing days lived on in your absence. We have a new member by the name of Mr Quek, who joined us at telok blangah fortnightly to clean and wax our cars. He has an impressive arsenal of cleaning equipment and liquids. That includes a 50mm rubber hose!

  4. @The running robot: If Mr Quek doesn't have a good spray jet at the end of that hose I'll buy a couple at Bunnings and give u guys so that you will be able to spray the cars clean quick and feel like a pro :)

  5. @Penying: This is not really western culture vs chinese culture. It's just a different mindset between 2 countries. Australia is more skilled oriented while Singapore is more knowledge oriented. That's not to say which is better or worse, just pointing out a very clear difference I have observed so far.

    Well regarding harmonising with nature, I do agree it'd be nice for kids to be able to do a bit of these in their childhood instead of burying themselves in books and the internet all the time.

  6. Just curious, did that boy's mom explain to him not to sit on other people's thing (especially food)??


  7. Chin,

    Ya. Agree with the culture difference. May be just the mindset of Traditional Chinese Parents v.s. Modern Western Style Parents. Whatever....?

    Childhood is definitely need more than just knowledge and internet. Children need to know some common sense before buried themselves with tonnes of books and internet. Is it sound boring with just that 2 things?

  8. well, this is the thing that children nowadays have to do to grow up healthily.

  9. @running robot: sure thing!

    @Peyning: Im not a pro in parenting but I'll not push the kid that much. I'll just focus on their character building. Hopefully I can make her a better person than I am.

    @Ellis' luv: i'm not sure about that. I've never been a parent before. But kids have to get some exercises, that's for sure.

  10. When the australian boy grow up some day, he will be very grateful to his parents for the life he live now. Whereas in Singapore, you started schooling and competition from as young as 7yo right up to.....,as LKY put it, you should not retire. End of the day, Singapore children are just economic digit to support PAP, whereas Australian children will have their life well-lived. We have only one life, the choice is ours to choose and not for the ruling party to choose for us.

  11. @Fruitfly: "We have only one life." That really send a point through. To be honest, that was one of my thoughts when I was hesitant to leave. That probably broke the chain.