Take A Bite At This Singaporean Hotpot

Earlier in the morning, my folks and I were having breakfast at Changi Village. Dad ordered Nasi Campur while mom got herself Lotong. I went for Mee Rebus. It dawned upon me how natural it was for us to order food of different ethnicity.

Since young, many of us were exposed, slowly introduced and got accustomed to all sorts of cuisines such as the Indian’s Roti Prata, Nasi Biryani and Fish Head Curry, Malay’s Mee Siam, Mee Goreng and Nasi Lemak, and Chinese’s Hokkien Mee, Chai Tao Kway and Chicken Rice, though many dispute that they are more Singaporean than they are of their original heritage. Ordering Roti Prata or Mee Siam (both my favorites) is like second nature for me (and I trust that it is as well for many who share my sentiments).

How wonderful it is that the cultures of different races can integrate, blend in so well and complement the other in this cultural hotspot known as Singapore!

We need to preserve this ‘Uniquely Singaporean’ culture as with the delicate balance of race, language and religion. It would be quite sad if the children of the next generation only knows hamburgers, steaks and McDonald’s.

Short Story: Unfailing Love

Even before memory could be captured, mother cradled blood-stained Chester onto her bosom mumbling “I love you everyday” to him while being rolled out of the operating room. It did not matter that the young divorcee endured nine months and one final push, for the joy that set in supersedes the pain.

Mother whose once-beautiful hands are now all wrinkled up due to the hours put into hard labor struggled to make ends meet but always strive to give her precious Chester the best – the most meaty part of the chicken for dinner, the filling portion of the mud pie, his favorite storybook even if it meant not getting herself a replacement for her old clothes which were wearing out due to excessive use.

Like all boys, Chester was rowdy, played soccer, skipped classes and fought with other boys. Exchanges were made, blood was spat, principal was informed, phone calls were made. Mother apologized profusely and begged for Chester to not be kicked out of school. Walking home, Chester finally broke his silence and asked, “Mother, do you still love me?” Mother with tears in her eyes picked young Chester up and gave him the tightest bear hug and replied, “I love you everyday.”

Chester grew up in height and weight but that was not to be in stature. Falling into wrong company, Chester learned the ways of the street, got into more fights, arrived home drunk than sober more often than not, peddled drugs, woke up with a different woman by his side each time. His actions broke mother’s heart but her heart cannot deny itself for it speaks only of the language of love for her precious.

Chester was subsequently arrested, scheduled to stand trial. Mother visited, the two seek solace but was separated by a 5 centimeter see-through glass that stretched across the room. The broken Chester asked “Mother do you still love me?” Mother replied, “I love you everyday.”

Chester vowed to turn over a new leaf but change was not easy. Released on parole, Chester took up a decent job but fell back to his old ways not long after. Mother, the only person now to visit Chester continues to make routine visits to the prison Chester was confined in. While making one such visit, mother crossed the road too early and a fatal knock leaves her battling for her life, battling to see her precious for the last time.

Taking hesitant steps forward, the handcuffed Chester approached mother’s side in the hospital. Like birth pangs, that fades away upon the arrival of a baby, mother brightened up when she sees her precious Chester. Inconsolable, sorry Chester asked “Mother, it was me who caused you to be in this state.. Do you still love me after all that I have done?” With one last and final breath she could muster, mother replied, “Don’t be silly, I love you everyday.”

There is a saying “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” As Hill Churchill said, “There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.”

Parents to play integral part in child’s life

I was reading a recent news on Straits Times a few days back and was saddened to read about this news that had shocked the nation islandwide. It tells of a story about a maid who had sex with a 12-year old boy.

As much as many were angry and upset over the maid’s brazen misdeed and the overall image of Indonesian or Filipino maids, I feel that parents played a very big part [in a child’s life] as well.

The fact is, we all come from a dysfunctional family one way or another, no one is spared from this cruel truth. For my dad, going out into the marketplace to earn money and putting food on the table is called ‘loving’ me. Therefore, he makes little or no effort to bridge the generation gap or makes no attempt to be involved in my life. He physically hits me alot in the past so that I would be disciplined and that was his way of ‘loving’ me, all which I don’t blame him, because older generations are raised this way but sadly, their method of loving no longer has effect (more of adverse effect!) on our generation, or the Gen-Ys. (They are all very one-kind, haha)

Thank God, I came to a local church and today I no longer harbor any resentment towards my dad!

Anyway, I feel that as we become more and more busy due to the modernity of age and time, we are faced with a similar problem.

Parents in their purest intentions,
– would spend hours doing community work or donating money so that they can enroll their children in the best primary schools (which explains the level of competition during every start of the year)
– send their children to as many piano/music/art/ballet/drama classes so that their children can become multi-talented
– put their children in tons of tuition classes hoping that they can enter the best secondary or junior colleges
– work their butt off to earn lots of money so that their children can have money to buy whatever they want, from iphones to laptops and what not
-Work OTs and come home after midnight daily so that they can raise enough money for the children’s university education in the future
– hire a maid to take of all their needs so that they can be well-fed and taken care of

And they do so much, spend so much time on all these matters rather than spend actual time with the kids. They work 8, 9, 10 hour shifts, OTs so that they can earn $$ and let the maid take care of everything at home.  They do all that so that their kids can be ‘happy’. Or so, they think. But is the kid truly happy? Being a kid before, I know that is clearly not what a kid wants. Yes, the parents can do all the gimmicks, hoping to raise their children to become future Elites of society but focusing on all these is a recipe for disaster! When the kids are bullied, all they say is, ignore them and study hard. When the kids are happy, the parents are not around to celebrate with them. When the kids are sad, they are not around to cheer them up. And we wonder why our kids prefer to spend time with their PSPs, iPods, laptops than with us, or why they become rebellious and totally out of control?

Kids today or 10 years ago, all need one and only one thing to be crystal clear to them, and that is love (which translates to quality time). So what if you can give them all the money for their university education, their tuition fees, hiring of maid, putting them in all the music classes, buying all the toys or latest gadgets? If that is the case, for these kids in the future, working OTs will be more important than spending time with you when you’re an old hag and you wonder “Why they don’t want to spend time with me?” Perhaps they will just get you a maid to accompany you!

For the kids, your time is more than sufficient for them. They don’t need all the things you have prepared for them, honestly. Those stuff can come later in life. But what matters is the quality time spent with their daddy and mummy. What matters is hearing encouragements and being bear-hugged by daddy and mummy.

So don’t waste your time focusing on secondary matters but focus on what is of more importance and bear lasting results. Replace the OTs with family time with wife and children. Replace some of the business trips with family holidays, undisturbed by work.

That way, many of the troubled teenager news we see on tv could be solved in the future without interventions that bear little result.

Perhaps what happened to the 12 year old boy could have been prevented if there was constant communication between the boy and parents?

Though I may not have come from a very loving family, I do not resent them, but I strive to become a better husband and father for the next generation. We may not be able to right the wrong in our current family but what we can do is to prevent it from happening for our own future families and to become better fathers or mothers in the future. I hope this article has been helpful to anyone. Thanks for reading!

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene.

Link: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_525596.html