Category Archives: Reflections

Stuff that I’ve given some thought to.

Motherhood

In the time and space that has passed, I have become a mother. There is a lot to be said. But the general crux is, that no one could have prepared me for it. The induction, the labour, the post-labour, the tenacity and permanence of this new life.

My child is a little girl with bright eyes and animated hands. She warbles a lot. Has a quick temper. Doesn’t like being forced to do what she doesn’t want to do.

Sounds a lot like me.

Yesterday was my 34th birthday. It is also the first birthday that I couldn’t give a damn about. Things that usually excited and brought joy to me just didn’t register. The day came and went like a dull lull. My mind was still preoccupied with taking care of the little one. With things that needed to be done. With the invisible clock that ticks in my head and rings every 3 hours.

I haven’t slept more than a 3-hour stretch since I left the hospital. That is one thing no one told me about.

And when I do sleep in the day because someone else is taking care of her – I feel guilty. I feel judged. I feel like I shouldn’t be getting this shut-eye, because something might happen to her. I have this ridiculous, absurd fear that she might suddenly fall very sick or die if I turned my back for a moment.

Am I being too hard on myself? I think that’s what people will tell me when they read this. Take it easy, they will say. Well. I can’t.

I guess this is one of the so-called instincts that come with being a mother. Although I didn’t instantly feel that overpowering overwhelming love for her when she was born – something no one else told me about.

People said it will come naturally. Things will just fall into place. People said that there will be an inextricable bond between me and her – that she will recognise me and love me because I breastfeed her. Well, no. It didn’t work like that. Still hasn’t.

For countless times I’ve thought to write digital letters, and/or posts to her. Telling her how I feel – which are usually tender thoughts and emotions. I haven’t got to it. Mainly because I haven’t had the luxury of time for anything self-indulgent.

The closest are spurts of reading, and occasionally running chores or going out to eat with my husband. I always come back within 3 hours. Need to pump I say. But more so, I have a fear of leaving home. That this semblance of order that I have woven around this new life will crumble and I will risk my child to some unforeseen danger I haven’t anticipated.

It isn’t paranoia. I’m just really ill prepared. Was. Maybe is.

so what are you going to do with the money?

It used to be about the paper chase. Grades at PSLE, ‘O’ Levels, ‘A’ Levels, and the GPA you were getting out of classes in the university. But as I grew up, I realised that there was more to this obsession with grades – it wasn’t just about competing with your friend on who got the A+ or the Dean’s list, it wasn’t just about acquiring more knowledge to make better sense of the world around us, it wasn’t just about graduating valedictorian so you could have your 15 minutes of fame before the entire school.

There was a different kind of education going on, a more insidious kind, conditioning us to be competitive, to be selfish, to have more than the person next to you. And at the core of all this was money. Money, money, money. The more the better. The easier the merrier.

And what do we do with all this money? We spend it on ourselves, of course! To purchase status symbols, to eat at the better restaurant, to go on more and more luxurious holidays – so we can show our friends, family and peers that “I am better than you“. That is how our world today defines success. A never-ending comparison of me versus them. And then, we die.

And nothing goes with us.

 

A Story A Day

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For those of you wondering what’s this all about – no it’s not a new project I have.

Stories will all be kept confidential (unless you specifically say you would like for me to share it), and I would just like to know the people around me more.

Because even though I may not be able to help you, I can at least listen to you.

That’s all there is to it. The email is astoryaday@yahoo.com – and meanwhile I’m working on a story, long due. I hope to be able to share it with you soon.

Olympic Xenophobia

Can’t say I have been proud of Singaporeans lately.

I’ve been thinking about the xenophobic reactions regarding Feng Tianwei’s win and I feel quite bad for her. The extent to which some people go to put her down is disgraceful, and is cyber bullying on a national level.

She won, representing us. The Singapore flag rose at a Olympic ceremony. So we are upset about that because?

If you don’t think it’s right, you have an issue with the sports body who made the call to send her as our representative, not the individual.

You have the right to not watch her games or support her. But to hurl insults, calling her names, and even going to the extent of rooting for her opponents (just to spite her) is a bit over the top.

I personally have my own reservations about China-Chinese. But making a sweeping judgement against anyone from China who decides to come to Singapore to carve out a living is a bit unreasonable – there are bound to be good and bad ones. Just like taxi drivers.

And how does all that cruel criticism make us look to the rest of the world? Is that the so-called national identity that we are afraid to lose, or trying to protect from these ‘immigrants’?

Unsettling.