Weighing in on Lane Graves

I’ve posted this in the other blog Gilagolf and I usually do not double post, but this issue really affected me considerably, so here it is to my very limited amount of users on this blog.

By now, if you are on Facebook or any sort of social media, you probably heard of a few issues: In US – Orlando, specifically, you have the assassination of Christina Grimmie, a singer; the mass shooting at a gay club that killed 50+ people, and the alligator attack at Disney World’s resort on a 2 year old boy, that tragically ended in him drowning. Also, the assassination of a parliament member in UK – and in Malaysia, amidst all this, we have a runaway ostrich and yet another idiotic comment from our politicians on ransom money being donated to welfare charities. It’s pretty sad. If the entire world was a living organism, our politicians have successfully made our beautiful country the arsehole of the world where shit after shit is spewed out from. If the genie gave a wish, I’d wish these politicians can crawl back into whichever hole they slithered up from and forever disappear from the face of this universe.

But back to the Orlando news – and this has nothing to do with golf, even if the US Open is up and running and Rory is playing like crap dirt, and Jordan Spieth is cursing and Jason Day is not leading….everything suddenly seems so trivial, when you hear about a 2 year old boy being dragged and killed by an alligator while on a holiday with his parents. While in a Disney resort.

Of course, everyone have their opinions but it seems to fall into two camps, whether the parents are to blame or not. I think a lot of people made this into a racial thing, which is understandable, since a couple of weeks ago, when the gorilla vs boy story blew the internet and the gorilla had to be killed, initially the mother is being taken into questioning to be charged (which has since been rescinded). The mother of the boy in the gorilla pit is black. The family of the alligator attack is white. The problem to compare was that the boy in the gorilla pit survived, the gorilla was killed. Here, the boy is killed, and the alligator (presumably) survived.

Some of the comments blamed the parents for neglect. I was just thinking, if I was there on a holiday in a bloody DISNEY resort, the last thing I am thinking about is a damn alligator coming into 2 feet of water and killing my son. Should my son be in the water? Well, yes, boys are boys. And what’s more, this family was from NEBRASKA. If you know Nebraska, there is not a single drop of ocean or water within a thousand miles. It’s the freaking midwest. So yeah, a family comes to Disney, a 2 year old boy wants to experience the beach and water , plus it’s man made – plus it’s bloody DISNEY. So to those who says that the parents are stupid to allow their son into the water in Florida shows these guys (the commenters) are absolutely retarded. As retarded as our politicians, apparently so it seems that we are not the only arsehole of the world. Part of America is. Obviously they don’t have children of their own. Or they smoke weed for a living and comment on facebook.

While sympathy is there for the family, and of course, me being a parent, I immediately superimpose the “what if it was my family” connundrum into the situation…I cannot imagine the pain they must be going through. Sympathy is not enough. The fault is not the parent’s. The fault isnt even on the alligators. They were just doing what they were created to do by nature – and then so many alligators were killed unnecessarily.

If anyone is at fault, it should be Disney. The company.

Yes, the CEO apparently visited the family and paid his condolences. No, he shouldn’t just do that as if that was a big deal. So what? Because you are CEO the family should appreciate your time? Who cares? You are just a human, like everyone else. The fact was, Disney failed to put up a sign to state there were bloody alligators. And why are there alligators roaming around your bloody Resort? If it’s a natural lake, sure. But this is a man made lake belonging to the resort. And the sign stated ‘No Swimming’. WTF does that mean? Why not put, “No swimming because a crocodile is going to snatch up your kids”? The kid wasn’t even swimming, he was wading on the shore, looking for treasures. Just like my kid would do.

Disney just made 1 billion with their new movie Zootopia. They have a few more movies coming out that will cross that mark – Finding Dory and another one about a hawaiian princess, Moana. They make millions from their parks and endorsements and copyright.

Disney should own up on their fault here and they should pay this family at LEAST 20  million USD. The money won’t bring Lane Graves back, but the company should be punished for severe negligence on their part.

Best Animated Film Ever? Zootopia.


It’s rare that I actually would write about an animated feature film, much less like it. But I would watch them. Especially Pixar’s and Disney’s.

But Zootopia is very likely the best animated movie I have ever watched in my entire life. It’s true. And its about a bunch of animals walking and talking like humans, dressing like humans and living together in a city.

I grew up on Disney, just like any other kid who had any access to a TV. But not just any Disney movies – my all time favourite when I was a kid was this little show called The Fox and The Hound. If you have never watched it, you are not the first. It’s one of the lesser known feature film. But it really helped shaped a lot of the things that I would later come to depend on – friendship. If you haven’t watched it before, go and either read the book or catch the movie – probably you can download it somewhere since it’s so old.

But Disney sort of lost its way after a while, going to movies like Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Tarzan, Pocahontas etc. I know those were considered ‘classics’ but they were poor storylines with very little motivation in the plot. Even Pixar’s Brave was a terrible story, and Frozen was also lacking in proper story narrative. Rapunzel was probably the best of the bunch but I always wondered – you have the evil stepmother who stole Rapunzel away as a baby right? She brought her to the tower, but the next shot, she is this 16, 17 year old girl who is absolutely beautiful, articulate, smart etc. I mean, that stepmother really brought her up amazingly well. Who fed her during her 1 – 3 years? Who had to take her shit out and clean after her pee (I assume back then diapers weren’t invented). Like seriously, that evil stepmother isn’t so evil! I would say it’s the fault of the real parents who left the window open and did not even bother to really look for a tall tower in the middle of the forest and think that their daughter would be there.

Anyway – Zootopia’s storyline is far and away, better than any Disney or Pixar (Toy Story comes close), and even better than the recent Inside Out or Up. Because it deals with biasness and prejudice. It resounds so well in our culture and society because this is what many of us deal with. In fact Zootopia is like Malaysia in many ways. We are harmoniously living together, a hodgepodge of great culture, religion, race, beliefs and philosophies but hampered with a few of those in power who seek to destroy this harmony for their own gain, by instilling fear and drawing lines between people.

When I watch Zootopia, I see us – balancing in that fine line of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. It’s a story that pitches the predators against prey, and how the prey seek to sideline the ‘predators’ species. It’s a wonderful twist to an old and weary theme – that of racial inequality, (in this case, species inequality), gender biasness and racial stereotypes. All these are there in this little animated feature about a bunny and a fox. Disney guys are geniuses.

And it also helps that the animation is tremendous. The main character, Judy Hopps, I know it’s a bunny – but the way she is animated, it makes you believe that she’s totally real. The facial expressions are as real as it gets and the ‘break up’ scene between her and her partner in crime, Nick Wilde the fox, is classic…and so is the make up scene under the bridge. It’s all platonic though – I am sure they will struggle to put ‘love’ into a movie like this as this is interspecies and probably impossible. Ahem.

And the pop culture references? Tons. It’s incredibly funny for a cartoon, and it’s not the cringeworthy jokes in Shrek or other animated features – these are really, really good jokes, and great script writing to boot. The conversations and wordplay between the two main characters (a bunny and a fox) were absolutely perfect.

In fact – that word would describe it – perfect. This is actually a perfect movie, be it animated or otherwise. It had everything in it: laughter, triumph, tragedy, break up, make up and above all, a grand story to tell in a simple and easy fashion.

There is a documentary on the making of Zootopia, that is worth the visit – simply to see how the process of developing a story like this is, as well as how brave measures had to be taken to craft the perfect story – including throwing out tons of good work to reshape the story all over again. This takes courage, and it takes a lot of work – and its hats off to those 550 men and women who made Zootopia happen.


Bedtime Stories

Having two kids is very different from handling one.

With the first, my wife and I would sleep together with him in the same room.

With the arrangement now, I sleep in the next room with my first, and I sleep on the floor like a refugee and he is on this very expensive Lightning McQueen Bed.

My wife sleeps in our super king size bed with an infant.

In fact, I see my wife for a period of 6 minutes per day. Sometimes I forget that I am married and drive home to my parents for dinner.

Anyway amidst all this arrangement, my first kid (he’s a chatty fellow) – always asks me for the same story every. single. night.

Same story.

It’s not even an actual story.

It’s a made up story by me.

The story goes: Our family decides to go to a pirate ship for lunch. All of us dress up like pirates. We order our food. We eat. We order desserts. We eat. We order fruits. We eat. We get the bill. It’s expensive. We pay. We get in the car. We go home. We sleep.

That’s the plot. But it takes almost 15 – 20 minutes for the whole story to pan out because he would go into detail on the pirate dressing, he would go into detail on what food we are eating. He now states papa will eat a T bone steak, medium rare with red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, he pronounces it pretty well. He goes into details on the desserts and fruits, and even simulates the chewing and swallowing. He chews and chews like its real and it’s long. Sometimes I fall asleep to his mouth chewing.

And I always say, “1 STORY” and he agrees.

But at the end of this pirate story, he would say, “Another story!!”

By then I pretend I have been shot with a tranquilizer dart and can no longer respond.

Oh My Sleeping Child

The guy that came up with the phrase, “Sleep Like a Baby” is either drunk, or he meant to finish with “..with a tranquilizer dart in his butt’. Either way, he or she, is obviously NOT a parent.

The second kid is hitting 1.5 months now. Some great milestones include:

a) Great feeding. This is highly important, because our first kid didn’t feed good and struggled mightily, and the mum had the feared E word (Engorged). I don’t know how it feels like, but my wife has a pain threshold of a Panzer tank and if she feels pain, that means to me, it would be like someone kicking me in the nuts repeatedly for 2 days non stop. I guess.

b) Growing healthy. 2nd kid came out big, then became a little concerningly smaller, and now at 4.7kilos and 55 cm. That’s pretty ok, because the chart states that one month length should be 51.1 – 58.4cm and weight 3.4 – 5.73kg.

c) He’s a strong fler. If I get a sen everytime I hear a father say that about his own boy, I’ll be a Malaysian millionaire, which is roughly around the income of a construction labourer in Singapore. But he is. He has been lifting his head up during tummy time since 4 weeks, and he kicks like Van Damme. In his prime.

But sleeping, like every baby – is an awesome challenge. He sleeps sometimes two hours, sometimes never at all, and he just stares at you suspiciously with those wide eyes, and the moment you put him down, he bawls out like a banshee. The problem was, we thought he was such a great baby when the confinement lady was around, but the week she left, he developed this naughty habit of refusing to close his eyes.

Now I know, sleep experts tell us to shush pat and don’t walk around and leave him in the cot blah blah. But hey, I can’t. I am a lousy parent. So I pick up my kid when he is screaming for help for 5 – 10 minutes till he is hoarse. In some cases, I have to do it because mum is sleeping and she hasn’t been sleeping lately, so I just take this crying mess out and go downstairs to bait him into watching football or something. I know. Experts (meaning other mothers) will tell you it’s wrong and he needs to be discipline to understand night and day. Or that we need to put him in the crib when he is JUST about to sleep but not sleep. All theory and all good, but realistically, there are so many factors – like what if the mother is a walking zombie and needs to sleep also? What if the 1st kid decides to become spiderman and starts scaling up the staircase railings? What if your business partner from US calls to ask how is that tender preparation going, and you have to shout back due to the screaming of the kid? What if your house lights suddenly decide to black out?

So no, I think the biggest challenge right now is the sleeping. And on top of that, keeping the sanity of the mother. Now, the father – that’s me – we have an option to sleep, of course. But work being work, we only have time to do it after the 1st kid falls asleep. We put him in bed around 9 pm but he wriggles and fools around till almost 10.30 to 11 pm! He still requires a nightlight, and he still requires me to sleep with him in another bed (remember, I am a bad parent so I never practiced solo sleeping when he was a kid – plus I want to keep cost low by running only one air-cond all night). Not only that, he requires me to hold him, so my bed is much lower than his, so I have to stretch out my hand in a yoga fashion and hold in place until all blood circulation is cut off and I am almost developing gangrene, and then he nods off to sleep after talking to himself for an hour.

But then I need to start working, so around 11 pm to 2 am I am crunching on my laptop, and the other kid wakes, and I go to the other room, walk him round a little until his feeding time comes and mum gets enough shuteye, and I go back and work on stuff till 3 to 4 am and sleep and wake up at 7.30 am to get the kid to school.

I get around 4 hours of sleep and now worried about developing a stroke or heart attack due to the lack of sleep!

The Future of Godparenting

Godparents are becoming a bigger part of our culture.

My first experience in Godparenting stems from watching Don Vito and Don Michael shoot the heck out of their enemies – at some tender age when I happened to be watching TV randomly. Parents – be careful what our kids watch on TV or youtube! You don’t want them to stumble upon some porn at 4 years of age.

My second experience was growing up, we had a bunch of guys interested in a bunch of girls from our local church. However, this group of girls was protected by this older male (probably in his late 20s or something while we were around 12 – 13.) He would choose all the pretty girls in the group and become their ‘Kai – Yeh’ or god father. The non pretty ones would be dumped aside, because us boys weren’t really interested in them. Which kind of sucks actually because that created a boundary tension within the entire generation, but when you are a 12 year old kid going into puberty, who cares about class segregation? This strange Kai Yeh was weird in that sense, that if any of us were interested in his group of God daughters, he would confront and talk to us. These days, this practice is probably accepted as a form of prostitution, with him being a head pimp, and likely he would go to jail and be labelled as a seriously creepy guy with emotional issues – but back then, when everything was innocent, who cared?

I recalled he approached my dad, when my sister was older, and he wanted to ‘Kai’ (in chinese, this means to be a godparent). I remember I was with my dad, and my dad said No. I guess he was like WTF. Who the hell are you and what have you done for my family? Get the hell out of my house before I set my doberman on you, you bloody pervert! I would have done the same.

The point of this article is what role is does a Godparent have?

I spoke to an acquaintance once and she said, yes, she understood what my wife and I are going through with 2 kids. I was a little surprised since she was single and not married. So I asked her, and she said, of course she understands what a parent goes through, she has 3 god children as well.


Hate to sound self righteous, but you.Have. No. Idea.

So I asked her what she did as a godparent and she described that she had to take care of them when the parents are out, she has to take them out, watch over them and babysit them sometimes, and buy things for them and remember all their birthdays etc. She basically said she is like the substitute grandparent.

Godparents – unless you are actively taking part of raising a child, which means:

a) Cleaning out shitload of shit for years;

b) Peed on countless of times and walking around smelling like a human latrine;

c) Experience sleepless nights for weeks when the baby is screaming even after feeding, and pacing the floor at 4 am to 6 am like a zombie;

d) Having his shit explode in a restaurant all over the chair while everyone is eating their dinner;

e) Same shit exploding through the helpless diapers in the car;

f) Dragging a screaming kid to school or scolding him in public when he decides to be a human mop on a grocery store;

g) Engaged in a cold war with the spouse who thinks you are a useless bum throughout the children’s lives and basically behaving like you are the universal cause of all the problems in her life;

h) Making a complete mess everywhere, including the house walls which is now covered with drawings;

i) Did I mention, shit exploding all over the place?

j) Not engage in any adult conversation for years and only interacting via the children;

k) Forgetting what it’s like to have a quiet dinner and when we do, have no other subject to talk about and just sit there waiting for the time we can pick up the kids and return to our lives as listed above;

j) Countless other experiences that DO NOT involve the following: buying toys, going to malls, taking laughing selfies, blowing candles, clapping hands, celebrating stuff like birthdays that involve any sort of happiness, cheering, encouraging, buying more useless toys that spoilt them, buying and eating anything that is sweet and doesn’t taste like celery, showing off same selfies through facebook to show how great a godparent you are, having hashtag #greatlifeofaparent, have picture of the child all over your iphone which is not broken or cracked or fell into a pile of shit, sleeping through the night, have uninterrupted adult conversation, have uninterrupted meals, have clean and tidy halls, do not have shit all over, having clean clothes, not going insane.

So, my dear friend, you have no clue what parenting is like. With all due respects to Godparents, unless you tick the ones above, please don’t tell any parent that you have ANY IDEA what it’s like to be a parent. Some godparents may tick the above and my hats off to you. I wouldn’t do even 1% of those if that kid didn’t carry my blood. My hats off to you if you can do that for other kids. But 99.99999% godparents out there don’t, so here’s to them to once more – STOP SAYING YOU UNDERSTAND BECAUSE YOU DON’T.

I am sure godparenting have their roles, but their roles are not our roles. Instead, offer any realistic support you can provide. Like picking up the kids, like actually spending time with them so when you pick them up, they do not identify you as a possible terrorist. Most Godparents don’t spend time. They just carry the kid, give some bribe and then go off to their wonderful life of freedom and liberty without a care in the world.

So, this is not to insult godparents, but to put them in their actual place of where they are relative to real parents. I am afraid that place is VERY different from what reality parenting is like. Do they have their use? Of course, when you need a babysitter.

In fact, if godparents were more like Don Vito or Michael Corleone it would be more useful – at least I can ask them to send the fat kid bully at school to the fishes for me.

The Curious Case of the Foul Mouthed Boy

My kid is learning how to ride a bike. We bought him his first bike with training wheels and he absolutely loves it.

So we took him to the nearby community center where there is a lot of space, and together with his 1 month old brother and my wife, we spent about an hour there watching him ride his bike, fall off his bike and getting better at it as he got used to it.

Halfway through, this other family came along – a father, his daughter and his son, probably around 8 – 10 years old I think.He was a scrawny kid, but they brought along their tennis racquets and converted the badminton area to play tennis – which was fine – it just made my son’s race track smaller, but it’s a community center anyway and public use for all.

So they set up play, the 10 year old kid going to the further end and starting hitting balls to the father and daughter on our side.

Suddenly out of nowhere, when the father overhit a serve to him, the young boy shouted, “Oi, watch where you serve, you b*tch!” Without the asterix. At first, I was a little stunned and thought I probably misheard. After all he was some distance away. A few minutes later, he hollered, “Come on, you assh*le!” when the father overhit another return.

My wife was blissfully unaware, her attention being on our young biker, so I stood and walked over to the other end where this foul mouthed little boy was. And true enough, when he missed a forehand, he called out, “You overhit it, assh*le!”

The first rule of parenting is never to judge another parent. I mean, we are all in the same boat. We have instances where our kids go berserk in the grocery and start emulating a beetle by lying on his back and mopping the floor with his shirt. We have had times when our kids run away from us in the mall and we scream to them to stop and all the guards think we are stopping a terrorist bombing the crap out of the mall. We have had times when they start throwing tantrums because they first find out that going into the mall does not equate to actually buying anything. So generally, we stop judging other parents and we have this sympathetic affinity. As Victor Hugo puts it: Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.”. That great peril here is parenting and there is an unspeakable code that only parents understand.

But wait – there is always a limit.

At first I thought, no way, that guy must not be his Dad. Maybe it’s an uncle or somebody. But the foul mouthed urchin referred the a$$Hole as his ‘dad’. Maybe its a stepfather. Or maybe, the boy has an incurable condition that makes him go into fits and utter bad words randomly. Maybe he’s just misunderstood and thinks those words are terms of endearment. Or maybe he just needs a big strong smack into the face and strung upside down and paddled on his ass 50 times with a metal rod and finished with an electric cattle prod right into his head. And a full waterboarding with clorox into his mouth and forcibly remove his tongue. Maybe. I don’t know.

On a serious note, I guess this is the limit of affinity. No, I have no sympathy and I will judge this all day – that father needs to grow a spine and realise that this punk can’t talk to him that way. Once the father releases the alpha role to the kid, havoc occurs. If it was my kid, he would have been in an awful lot of trouble. I remember once I raised my voice to my mum when I was younger. My father brought me into his room and for 2 whole hours harangue me on what I have done. That 2 hours of lecture is worse than 15 minutes of pure caning or chinese water torture. 2 hours of standing and hearing your father talk, to a pre-teen is like a 10 year judgment into Siberia. I never ever raised a decibel to my mother from that day on. Ever.

I cannot imagine ANY circumstance in this reality where a son who calls his father a b*tch and an a$$hole can be justified. NEVER. I don’t care if you raise him up in a democratic household or he learnt it from his friends in an uppity international school. This punk deserves to be boxed fully in the head. I think I would have flipped if his mother was there and he started to call her names. One thing I hate more than constipation and dogshit under my shoe, are punks with no respect for their mothers. I would have approached the spineless father and said simply, “Before you teach your son how to serve and volley, teach him to shut the hell up before I ram my son’s bike down his stupid throat. And since you are spineless, I will get you to pay for my son’s bike and your son’s medical fees.”

I blame the father. This is a useless father. It sounds harsh, but if you take cheap shots from your 10 year old who calls you a bitch, you have as much spine as a plankton.  And I will continue judging this person till the end of times. There is no code when a father allows his 10 year old to run over him and kicks him in the nutsack. There is no respect. Sure, we as fathers struggle at times but we need to always remember: we are the ALPHA. The moment we cede this alpha role, we have figuratively castrated ourselves and served our balls on the platter to the dogs. You realistically are UNFIT for fatherhood. I saw a father once smacking his daughter for doing some stunt on the escalator in the mall. Whether you agree to physical smacking or not – that father is asserting his Alpha role. His is FIT for fatherhood not because of his physical punishment, but because he is willing to take responsibility and accountability, in the way he thinks best, to discipline those under his care. If this other father doesn’t have the balls do do it, then stop producing children!! We don’t need these foul mouthed Hitlers running around in our planet.

This is the reason why it’s a big deal that I get my son to sit his butt down during dinner and not have any access to iphones or ipads or TVs. Fine, he gets to play some of his cars while eating, so it shows I am not totally a nazi father and I have my weaknesses as well. Same reason why when its time to sleep it’s time to sleep, no negotiations. Same reason, why when we get him to eat his food, he has to eat his meat (he is opposite – loves his vege, hates his meat). Some people might say, it’s no big deal, everyone watches movie and eat at the same time. Every kid picks and chooses his food. Well, to some families, there are rules. And this is our rule. I am sure in your family, there is also a rule where your kids do not call you or your wife, bit*h and a$$holes.

I don’t know what sort of rule in what sort of family would allow a son to insult the father and call him names in front of the father and NOT get throttled into the dirt by the father – but whatever this family is, I can 100% guarantee it’s not the right way to bring up a kid. I don’t care if this is the new style, scandinavian psychology method or crap. Give me my Malaysian style, smack right in the mouth and put him in isolation for 2 months method until he learns how to talk properly, with respect.

As for the father, come on. Time to grow some balls, dude.


The Devaluation of Fatherhood

There is always a phase that we go through, that I term it: The devaluation period of Fatherhood.

It’s the time where the wife will generally ask: What the hell are you doing here for?

It coincides with the time that the wife is most cranky:- generally the first 2 – 3 months of a new baby, when the euphoria of having a kid is over and the nightmare of 3 hours feeding begins. In all honesty, if I were a wife, I would feel the same way as well – what the hell is the father actually doing anyway? He doesn’t carry this kid for nine months. When the kid comes out, he isn’t able to even breast feed the guy. What is the point of his existence in this planet anyway?

Therefore, throughout the entire phase (and boy, for a woman, a phase can seriously last for an eternity), nothing the father ever does is ever going to have any value – despite doing semi important things like:

a) Making sure the first kid sleeps on time

b) Making sure the first kid eats

c) Making sure the first kid gets up and go to school

d) Bearing the first kid screaming his lungs out and hanging on to your leg like a tumour in his class and begging you not to put him in this concentration camp

e) Making all sorts of haphazard arrangements at work and missing duties to make sure he can pick up the first kid

f) When the first kid is sick, sleep with him and get the sickness transferred to himself

g) Miss crucial meetings and projects that cost his business money because he was just too damn sick to do anything

h) jump in front of an ongoing truck and save the kid’s life and end up hospitalised with a broken spine and paralysed waist down

Everything that the father does at this point, including jumping in front of a truck (which is made up), will be invariably met by a scowl or a ‘meh’, or a ferocious “Think you are doing anything, man? Try breast feeding a kid!” and the story ends there.

The woman, at this phase, becomes irrational, because everything that the husband does becomes a conspiracy to put more trouble on her. So if you are sick, she invariably thinks you are pretending to be sick just to play hokey from your duties. If you are doing all sort of tai chi with your work, she will just think “Sheesh, what do you think I am doing?” – without considering that she actually has 3 months off, and the father technically has 1 day off because of how low value even society views our contribution to this whole children saga.

During this phase – and it could last a long time, maybe 6 – 9 months. I think for some couples its still ongoing after 20 years – the wife will never ever utter these words: “Sorry.” Never. It will never happen. Instead she will break into tears. You will be an outcast. A pariah. An ungrateful son of a gun who should be deported back to whichever hole you crawled out from. During this phase, you will never hear these words: “Hey dear, how is your day?” Instead every word uttered in love will be to her kids, and every word uttered in complaint will be to you – in the third party. Shining example:

“Who is the irresponsible person who left the keys in the door?” To a room consisting of only me and my 3 year old kid who is too short to reach the key hole.

“How many times must I end up washing this?” When I am 2 minutes late to washing some dishes.

The devaluation is such that it is meant to belittle the contribution of fathers at this stage. The fact is everything is being geared to the fact that the father is a nuisance, and a pest, and someone who shouldn’t be hanging around the house. But when he is not, she thinks he’s in a bar somewhere cozying up with a girl.

In this phase, God help you if you are sick. If you are sick, you are discarded like a cardboard at the side of the road. Because you are too weak to contribute (which they dont think you do anyway even when you are well, so what the heck is the point?), you become even more useless as before. Don’t expect any sympathy. You can ask “How are you dear, how is everything?” and you will get the same tiger scowl as if you just threw away her designer bags. You will never hear: “Are you better?” It’s not because she doesn’t love you. It’s because she does not care. She doesn’t. Not in this phase. There is nothing about you, your job, your life, your health that she cares about. You can come home with a new tattoo and eyeshadow and a mohawk and she will still look past you and wish you would stop leaving the damn keys in the door.

In this phase, the father NEVER wins. Because they are de-valued. It’s because the whole household is geared to the naturing of the kid through breast feeding, cleaning his shit, bathing him etc, and the father (because he is supposedly busy taking care of the first kid) is a non-contributive factor in the entire process. He is a useless cog in the machinery.

When will this phase end?

Well, it’s hard to say. Sometimes it takes a long time. It depends. Sometimes the father makes a mistake by thinking he matters. For instance, asking pertinent questions like:

“Why do you treat me like dirt?” will add another 2 months to the phase

“Can you stop acting like a bat crazy woman?” will add 2 years to the phase

“What’s the big deal with breast feeding a kid anyway, doesn’t give you the right to treat everyone like shit!” will add around 18 years to the phase, give and take.

So, Giladads, everywhere, whenever you want to open your mouth and defend your honor, take note. That honor has a price. And God, that’s a really high price, to be honest.

Fever time

Like all parents, we dread this 5 letter F-Word.

Here is the lowdown. We are all in a tropical climate, its not a matter of if, but when. We just hope that it doesn’t happen within the first six months of their lives.

3 weeks after returning from the hospital and 2 weeks into kindergarten, my first kid is now hit with his first 2016 fever.

This was courtesy of the grandma, who passed to him, and now he has passed to me. I hope it ends there because we can’t afford the baby and the mother to be down as well.

Anyways, the thing about kid’s fever is that (I think), a lot of us over-react for the simple fact that over-reaction seems more appropriate than under-reaction. The moment he has a bad night of rest (and boy, did he have a bad night), we shovel him off to the nearest clinic where the bone weary paed takes a look at him and says the SAME things she always says: “Give the fever 72 hours and lets see. Do you want some meds?” The answer is always yes, despite us having just purchased the medicines 2 months ago. So our house now is like a Guardian Pharmacy with all these medicines lying around.

I bet 90% of the revenue that the paed makes is from over-reacting parents rushing off their kids to the clinic and irrationally purchasing any meds we can get our hands on.

So anyway, having a kid with fever is bad enough. Having a kid with fever with a new born still breast feeding is double the headache. So I had to cancel important meetings and even an audit project to stay home and take care of the guy. But it is what it is, I always say: If we think we are responsible enough to have kids, then don’t shove that responsibility to someone else when the tough gets going. For every tough night, there are literally hundreds of nights where we are reminded how ridiculously awesome it is to be a parent.

And also – for those of you who didn’t know, we know the fever is breaking when his legs get very hot. This was told to me by my mother. My mother is slightly traditional – she’s probably the type that thinks ginger is the god given medicine to cure everything from headache to ebola. And she always told me when I was a kid – when your legs are warm, you are getting better.

So I decided to google and see if this is one of her old wives tale or traditional chinese superstition that has no logic.

First to understand what is Fever. Generally the moment we feel heaty, we think we have fever. Like after eating Mou Sang durian. The first stage is always this: you know you are gonna get it. It’s not sixth sense, its your white cells doing its defensive duties and looking out for the infection and where the bacteria, germs or bloody ingested durians are located.

Once located, the body kicks into gear. We always think its the infection that causes the fever. Actually its the other way round, our body is the one causing the fever to kill off the infection! So when we do get a fever, it means something is working. If we never get fever, either you are a robot or something in you isn’t working.

Look at fever as the way your body is cooking these damn germs and killing them. So if your kid has fever, congrats! His body is fighting back!

Funny thing is that we always think fever dehydrates the body. Actually, the fever is retaining the water while fighting the germs. We just feel dehydrated because it’s so damn hot. I generally drink a lot of water when I feel the fever is coming. Actually, this doesn’t make a fart of difference. Water is going to be key, but at the beginning stage, once the body has enough it just excretes the water you put in. In other words, over drinking doesn’t really help either in the beginning stage.

However, once the final stage begins, its the elimination of toxins. Our body is cleaning up, and so we are going to be pissing, crapping and sweating. Its a natural thing to sweat, that’s how we get rid of toxins. Thats why after a full night of sweating you feel like a hero the next morning. It means the fever has passed and you can once again eat durians.

So, back to my mom’s logic that if your legs are hot, that means the fever is going. This actually makes sense. According to http://sensiblegirlfriend.com/2009/05/02/evaluating-and-treating-a-childs-fever/:

“Her calves and feet will feel hot only when the fever has stopped rising and the body is actively attempting to eliminate excess heat.”

So it’s in line with the final stage of fever when the body is getting rid of all the extra toxins and heat. So next time, you know when your kid is getting better if his or her legs get pretty hot.

My mum’s a genius!!

I yelled at my kid. Bad Parent!

I have been reading all these researches about yelling at kids. “Shouting at children, according to a recent study by psychiatrists at a hospital affiliated to Harvard Medical School, can significantly and permanently alter the structure of their brains.”

Holey crap. These harvard guys have really done their research! Structure of their brains?

I have a temper, I own up, I fess up to it. When I play golf and miss an easy putt, I get pissed. When I have an easy nine iron in and shank the ball into the water, I throw my club or tomahawk it into the ground. Is it good? No, it’s not, but it’s me. That’s emotion. And I generally wear it on my sleeves.

Which comes to parenting. Now, with the second kid and my wife caught up with the feeding and 100% dedication to ensuring he gets past his first 6 months alive and well – I am left with a 3 and half year old boy whom I try to coax to go to play school every day. And everyday, he ends up yelling, screaming, crying, and negotiating. Yes. Negotiating. We would tell him he is a grown boy and no longer a baby, so he says, “I want to be a baby.”

“A baby doesn’t have any toys.”  I say.

“I want to throw away my toys. I dont want my toys”

“A baby can’t talk”

“I won’t talk anymore”

“But you are talking!”

“I won’t talk anymore!”

And bawls, struggles, kicks and fists his way, waking up the whole neighbourhood and being dragged into school like a feral wolf.

Today, I just blew it. Yes, I generally raise my voice at times, but today, I just let him have the full screaming match, which I won. He was so shocked at my yelling, he stopped. In fact I was so loud with my “HEY! WATCH IT! ENOUGH!!!” that a passerby even looked up, while I was in my car going at around 30 kmh. Of course, even in my frenzy (which felt really good actually), I was careful not to use words I would generally use to my employees if they major screwed up, or the dreaded “Shut up”. But still I yell. So I am a bad parent.

Not really. Like those jokers who published that letting your kid use the ipad will turn him into a nincompoop, these are the same clowns that write that when you yell, you destroy a child’s trust in you. In fact, my kid even said, “I don’t like you anymore, Papa”. And I went: “I am not here for you to be liked. You are going to school.” So the experts say, You are gone. Now you are no longer a competent father, and child care services will remove the child from your custody and you can spend the rest of your pathetic life in the monastery thinking about how you ruined your child’s life.

If you have yelled out at your kid(s), hey. Take it easy, 99% of the parents do. All of us have lost it. Even the best of us. I don’t care how the experts call it, I am willing to bet every single fibre of my being that there are more parents who yell than those who don’t yell. We are still great parents. Don’t lose sleep over it and tell the researchers to fly kites, or actually start a family. Like a real family and not ones consisting of cats and dogs. Their job in these so called research papers is to condemn parents to a lifetime of guilt and feeling of unworthiness at being a shitty parent. You are not. You are a hell of a parent bringing up a hell of a guy (or a girl). So stand tall and don’t let these occasional lapses bring you down. Screw Harvard and their brain structures.

Now, there is a difference between the lapse in yelling and yelling as modus operandi. I don’t need to go into that. Most of us lapse. If you are using yelling as the normal way to communicate or discipline, well, that’s your call. I don’t know the effect, neither do I care, because we don’t practice it. It might work, it might not.  This is actually true. I can see how I deal with my parents are so different from my wife. She thinks I am borderline rude, while it’s our family culture to talk to each other in a brusque way. Likewise, I think she is weird in some ways as well. Who is to say, that a family somewhere is actually using yelling and shouting as their love language? Everyone to its own, each family has its own DNA and you will find out soon enough. But lapses and occasional frenzied outburst? Hell, yeah. Tell me who hadn’t?

After school, my kid came out of the class running to me and hugged me. I took his face in my palms and said, “Look, papa is sorry for shouting ok. Papa loves you very much.” He cried a bit and hugged me and we kissed (yes I kiss my boy all the time. He is my boy. Don’t judge. ) and he dragged me to see the fishes in the school.

So much for the destruction of trust, experts. At night, we finished watching 9 minutes of youtube of “Compilation of the greatest Drift cars” and just went gaga over the drifting skills of the drivers in the video. He is 3 and a half and crazy over cars. I put him to sleep, gave a bedtime story, and laughed over some jokes of his poop and farts (boys never outgrow those). We kiss goodnight and he says, “I love you, paps”. To which I responded, Han Solo style, “I know”.

Guess what? Tomorrow, the screaming and shouting and negotiating begin again. I just have to try to not lose it again. I likely will lapse one time or another, but with every anger episode, I guess we learn more about how to keep it together.

New Year with 2 boys

Haven’t been posting in a while but with a good reason. Finally having some reprieve after the Christmas season when we welcomed our second son into the world. Just to everyone who says the second kid is easier – NO. It’s not. It’s the same thing, except now you have the additional 3.5 year old kid running up and down and causing havoc in the house and screaming he doesn’t want to go to kindergarten at 7 am in the morning. So, no. Whoever said that only has the theory, but not the practice. They. Have. No. Clue.

The second kid had a bit more issue in terms of his jaundice though, and there’s a condition that I will go through soon enough. G6PD – http://www.g6pd.org/g6pddeficiency.aspx. There is like 400 million people on earth that has this, and in fact, I understand how it happens quite well because its similar to color blindness. It’s an X gene deficiency that passes more to boys than girls. I am color blind so I am well aware on how on earth I can’t tell certain colors.

Anyway, more on that later. For now, he is feeding reasonably well. The jaundice is the big worry, so much so, we were advised to rent a phototherapy unit in the house. It sounds much worse than it is. It’s actually pretty convenience, it’s around RM500 for 4 days 3 nights, and you basically lay the kid face down for 2 – 3 hours per session (around 3 sessions or 4 per day depending on how long you feed/breastfeed). He sleeps very well like this as opposed to face up, but you need to have someone watch over him though and make sure he doesn’t block his nose or something. So the moment he moves, you should be up there and not watching football or something. We had him on a level of 270 for jaundice (bilirubin, if we need to be more exact) – but after 3 days we have gotten him down to 210, which is a safer level for 10 day old baby. We are putting him through 2 more sessions before our rent finishes. There’s this company in Kelana Jaya that does it http://www.bluelite.com.my/v2/. Its quite simple actually, in fact, the toughest part of it all would be to put the eye cover over his head and trying to turn him properly without thinking you would rupture his neck in the process.

The jaundice is higher because of the G6PD issue. Basically to cut out the scientific mumbo jumbo – G6PD is a deficiency in an enzyme that helps protect the RBC – red blood cells. Without it, or a deficiency in it (my kid has around 50% of the normal level), it might trigger RBC destruction after some food – like fava beans or smelling stuff like moth balls. Don’t ask me how – but generally we will need to live life normal and just avoid some of these. We have a few friends and even cousins who are G6PD, and they live life like everyone else, so while it is a going concern, its really not that big a deal, unless we start living like hippies and eat crap. I think the most important thing is to not create a bubble of fear around him like he is carrying some monkey disease and just treat him normal, but with a slightly more care on the things he is consuming and those damn moth balls.

Welcome to earth, my little guy.