Happy Father's Day

So this was how Father's Day felt like.

Father's Day has always been under-hyped as compared to Mother's Day, not that it really matters. After all, most fathers probably don't give a shit to this kind of thing. The celebration I mean, not fatherhood. Fatherhood is big big deal. It is just that kind of thing that cannot be imagined or described in words until you experience it yourself.

The little baby has been cranky during sleep time at night of late but outside that, she is an absolute gem. It is like I'm in love again. Images of her which occasionally ran through my mind during work made me smile like an idiot, only to realise my alarmed colleagues were looking. Everyday, I look forward to knocking off from work. Fortunately the rather long drive home was usually smooth, allowing me to drive at 100km/h without missing a beat for most of the distance. My mood remains calmAlbany tends to smile without fail once she sees me at home after work. She would stop crying whenever I let her cling close to my chest and I would hold her there for long periods despite whenever pains I had to endure on my ailing back.

I could recall that I had doubts about fatherhood even days before Albany's expected due date. I still have doubts I can be a good father but I am dead sure I am enjoying every minute of fatherhood so far. Albany makes me happy, very happy. Every single day is simply joy since her birth, especially so since AD 03/12. (After Departure of Mother-in-law).

It is ironic how parents wish their babies are normal when they are young but expect them to be abnormal when they are older. When our children are babies, all we hope is that they can see, hear and feed like most babies do. Then we hope they'll learn to flip, crawl and walk like anyone else's baby. Finally, all we ask for will be the toddler to have a normal learning ability, normal speech and communication ability, the most common range of colours identification etc. In short, we just wish our children to be healthy and could perform basic but crucial abilities we took for granted.

After that, we Singaporean parents really go overboard. We expect our children to have super-human abilities the moment they established their 5 senses. Suddenly, normal isn't good enough, being average doesn't warm the hearts of our Singaporean parents. There is no need to explain why, we know why we subjected our kids through scientific educational methods even as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. All of us just want our children to be outstanding, to have a better life when they grow up. That - to us, is fulfilling our responsibilities as parents. Or is it really?

There is a thin line that divides wanting  to give the best to our children and wanting to live our dreams through our children. I'll get slated for sure. First, I'm at the infant stage of parenthood so experienced parents will brush me off with that "you will do it when it's your turn" thing will be used on me. I am mere human, I will be lying if I said I am immune to peer pressure. 

That happens in my subconsciousness but when I know what I want to do, I don't succumb to it.  When that happens, stubborn is the word used on me. I grew to like that word and whenever I hear that, I knew I was doing something right. One example was that I was supposed to buy a one-carat diamond ring or whatever I could afford to show my love to my love when I made my marriage proposal. Much as warned not to do it without a 'minimal size or brand' proposal ring, I focussed and did what I think my prospective wife really wanted and what was the best for both of us. The same went for our simple wedding, which happened slightly less than 1 month after my proposal.

What I am trying to express is not that it is bad to splurge resources on the well-being of our children but we have to think carefully what kind of messages are we sending the kids when we chauffeur them around in luxurious cars, sending them to the best tuition centres and dressing them in branded apparels. In my days, we had to fight to convince our parents to send us for extra curricular courses such as martial arts or music classes. I lost in each and every of my fights. Till today, I am convinced learning to cope with losing in early life made me a better person. At the very least, I learnt to appreciate trivialities and modest luxuries.

The young could not see as far and what older folks like us needs to do is to show them the big picture as it is, the good the bad and the ugly. They should be allow to make certain decisions for themselves to a safe limit. In doing so, they could understand the real meaning of a consequence as early as they could and not just being able to spell and explain the word in perfect English. The life map should be shown to them unshaded instead of what we want them to see - with a spot lighted path with the rest of the map clouded. If we do a Straits Times on them, they may end up as good as exam-smart one track machines. Well, mind you, that's not exactly a bad thing if you are in Singapore. If one of your kids are genius in this kind of thing and could possibly be the next Lim Swee Say, why not? Go for it. However, if he or she isn't cut out to be, you may be cutting out your child's true calling.

"Poor Albany." I can hear them already. They used to say, "Poor Jen."


  1. i have no idea how pressured cooked kids will turn out to be.

    but if it were up to me, there's no way i'll allow a child of my own to grow up in sg. absolutely no f--king way.

    one economic robot is one too many.

  2. Welcome to the continuing adventure of fatherhood!
    Many more surprises and lessons up ahead!
    And with the continuing positive anticipation, they can eventually be pleasant ones indeed.

    Before I was surprised and then grateful that I could finally be getting married, I thought I would never have that honour and privilege.
    After all, no self-respecting young woman will even get near an obese weirdo like me, right?

    Wrong. These people didn't teach me that there are so many other areas lovable about me.
    I still don't think so of myself, but I am told so by my close ones, so I humbly, gratefully accept so.

    Then because of my 'condemned' physique and age, it was a shaking of heads over my fertility, and the chances of our ever having babies.
    Ten years of silent struggle.
    Two boys.

    I have always loved to regard those younger than me, such as my brother and the students I taught, as equal fellow human beings.
    I still strive to do the same for our children too.

    So today I must be a disappointment to all those over-achieving, over-stressed parents here
    Have I no ambitions for my children?
    How are we all going to survive in Singapore in the present and future?

    Remember, unlike many of you out there, we have no chance of currently leaving this island.
    We were never given the option not to be marooned here.
    So we do whatever is possible to build a cosy, warm-hearted niche, just like any good Robinson Crusoe would.

    I like the way both boys are turning out.
    They look very strange standing amongst kids of their age, since they behave so naturally that others may want to frown and disapprove — but wonder how to.
    Maybe many of us here pine for the lost sincerity of childhood.

    But then, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are strange.
    Or you'd call them international successes?