Lesson one: Be independent

This particular blog post goes out to Jude only. But of course, Jacob, if you are reading this, there is something for you to learn here too.

Jude, yesterday was your second day in primary school. After we picked you up from school, while on our way home on the bus, you told me in a very soft voice that you were starting to learn to manage without us being there. I told you that I was glad to hear that, then I had to look away to hold back my tears. Don’t worry, it was mostly the tears of joy, plus a bit of sadness, I’ll admit.

Sad as I imagined as you grow older, you will become more and more capable of taking care of yourself; before we know it, we can only communicate with you via text messages, emails or whatever technology is going to bring as you might become so caught up with your world that you will have little time to sit down with us for a chat. But don’t worry, that’s just the selfish part of me speaking.

Now let’s talk about the joy part. I was obviously too happy to hear you said something like that, it was really comforting, as much as I was also prepared to hear you say “school sucks!”

I definitely know for sure that you said what you said to stop us from worrying about you. Seriously son, for a 6-year-old to say something like that, there could be only one reason — because you are my son 😛

You have the traits of an independent person in you. If I were to give you enough of push, I’m almost certain you can do many things without us. I have stopped taking money from your grandparents since I was 13. I grabbed every opportunity and took up part-time jobs at various places to earn my own pocket money — from petrol kiosk to Chinese restaurant, from t-shirt factory to supermarket. The only exception was I had to borrow RM1,500 from 奶奶 to buy my first motorbike when I was 17 (fully paid for and beyond, hor!)

I take a lot of pride in that, for being able to take care of myself from very young age. Deep inside, I hope you will become like me too. I don’t expect you to start working at 13 — Singapore government will not allow that anyway. But for as soon as you are old enough to understand things better, I will start to impart my knowledge to you, on how to become self-sufficient and be a better person. Oh, wait! What am I talking about? I have already started!

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