Sunday, January 29, 2006


Our shop house was purchased in 2002. It underwent renovations for over a year and we moved in 2004. This was our dream home. We would never move.

Back in 2003, our contractor showed us the hand “I give you five years. In all my experience, Singaporeans always want to move”. His five fingers shook at us as if to make a point.

By the middle finger, we started to fulfil the prophecy which was that hand.

“Hey, look city apartment near town! If we only sold our place for X dollars and bought a place there, we wouldn’t need to drive to go shopping in town.”

“This is the plan. We save for down payment, sell our house and move near SCGS so that Alix can study there.”

We start to find all sorts of reasons to live elsewhere.

We focus on the current shortcomings.

We forget how lucky we are.

We lose the innocence.

14 moons ago, our meeting place was at the roof deck of my father’s apartment. In a place which wasn’t our own and with no roof above our heads, we celebrated our good luck. We made a secret garden. We didn’t need a key to enter. We found our way there independently of money, society and the approval of others.

All we had was a polyester army poncho. When it rained, we made a made-shift tent out of the poncho and sheltered underneath it. When it was cold, we used the poncho as a blanket. When we needed to rest our tired heads, we rolled up the poncho and used it as a pillow.

7 moons passed. Before we became working adults, we made a pact in the way that couples in Singapore do. Let’s buy a flat. We’ll turn our lives inward in the cheapest HDB flat and say F you to the rest of the world.

14 moons later, in all that we have; the rooms which outnumber our needs, the car which has replaced our walks and the working incomes which have increased but never seems enough, it is funny, how it seems we have lost our way.

So we retrace our steps backwards. We steal precious moments for walks at night. Leaving the covering which is our house, we look for the moon overhead. In her gentle glow and wise illumination, we find once again, that clockless world, that roof deck where we should have never strayed.

Happy lunar new year. Moon.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Love, big bad boss

Dearest Shane

When I was young, I was told what to do ALOT. Being bossed never felt nice. Till this day, I dislike being bossed. Like you, I have a big problem with accepting authority.

So when I tell you
“switch off the tv”
“stop pushing your mei mei”
“keep your toys”

I know how that sucks - being restricted from doing the things you feel like doing. One day, you’ll tell me to keep quiet and to stop telling you how to run your life.

I probably will keep telling you what you should do.

I might even maintain silence, but that won’t stop me from feeling responsible for the way you turn out.

I have a confession. Many times, I feel like shirking this responsibility.

Just after you started to walk by yourself, I brought you to Parkway Parade and let go of your hands so that you could walk down the shopping aisles yourself.

You started to grab all the stuffed toys at the Looney Tunes store. You upset the whole basket of Winnie the Poohs and Eeyores. I couldn’t stop you. It was embarrassing. When I tried to pull you away you started to cry and scream. You know what I did? I walked away, a safe distance so that I wouldn’t be associated as your mother. Immediately, I felt better. That isn’t my child. Where is his mom I wonder?

Your grandma bought me 2 canes. Spare the rod and spoil the child she said. I kept them in the shoe cupboard unsure whether I would ever use it until one day, when you whacked your baby sis. I took out the canes from the cupboard. I wielded it and smacked the floor. Hear that? How would you like that on your butt?

You, who had never felt the pain of the cane on your virgin butt, laughed out loud. You thought it was funny. I started to laugh too. I laughed for my son’s lack of fear for the cane. I laughed for my 7 year old self who locked herself in the toilet to avoid the cane.

Haha cane! You have no power over us now!

Lately, the humour has started to run out when you do naughty things. You have started to defy me. You have started pleading with me in preference to your papa who is stern with you. Before it gets too late, I have to start disciplining you before you get too spoilt.

So, I say this under my breath as generations of parents have said before (and despite how cute you look when you are defying orders)

“Much as I hate to, I have to do this.”

As a child being punished, I never got that.

In this divide between us, between what you understand and feel like doing vs the rules which are necessary, I stand as your big bad boss and very beloved asshole mom.

As for the cane, I've thrown it out of the house. Don't tell grandma.