The Real or Actual Father's Day in Singapore on 15th June 2014
To be continued....
Following are post dated developments :
As father's day approached and went by I had only shared the above pics and videos with some brief captions. I felt I needed more time to share my deeper thoughts which were a bit muddled for reasons better explained from here onwards.
Friday 20th June 2014
As late as July this year, when Han returned from his mission and we had our BIG Familylane reunion, my thoughts were rekindled again about raising Y generation kids from a chance meeting with a Singaporean father. A puncture of my front left tyre caused me to meet the owner of a tyre shop in Singapore who while physically changing my tyre for me at our resident car park area began to share his sadness about the death of his son that happened not too long ago. He had 3 children, two boys and a girl and his second son at age 20 had taken his own life! He related the story of his son with tears and hearing his story and lamentation of the frustrations he encountered with the tight bureaucratic system in the country brought tears in my eyes too.
Fear came to me too for our youngest two teenage boys who had spent more time growing up under the Singapore education system at the primary level compared to their two older brothers who came when they were already in a Malaysian secondary school. Han the oldest had to repeat 2 years again for his O levels preparation as his form 4 and 5 years in Malaysia were not recognized. Fear came to me because the side effects of a rigid system described by this father on his children seem similar to what I had observed in our two younger boys. Their lack of initiative in their life style was something I had been concerned about for a long while. Before and after their mother was alive, I found it difficult to take them for an extended holiday back in Malaysia where I thought a different scenario of space, hills and the natural landscape of the country would freshen their outlook. However they seem to always have some activity/responsibility in school that they could not get away from during the holiday season where they would be penalized if they were absent. Can a concerned father like me go against the system to give his children a short break away from curriculum and computers?
On the academic performance of the children in Singapore, this father claimed that making it to the university was today not seen as a sign of a smart student any more but something that is simply 'normal'. Therefore a child that doesn't make it to the university is regarded as 'abnormal'. Such was the stress of a student in Singapore I suppose.
(Post development discovery : The link above the photo for the statistical report by SOS seems unavailable at this point of writing, after the reference link was given at an earlier date. Alternative sources still available are from The Sunday Times , Wikipedia and the SOS webpage where the figure of 467 suicidal deaths in the year 2012 is shown in their pdf file. The original link is left on this post in case the owners of the website SOS would fix the broken link problem.)
On the next day in the afternoon, my immediate inspiration was to go out with another Father, who had lost his son by suicide quite some time ago, to visit this father at his tyre shop who had just lost his son recently and seem to still be in a state of trauma. I told my good friend, the other father, the plan of visiting this father and shared my thinking that we may not save the world with all its problems but as fathers in this advanced country of the world, we could at least be a friend to another father in distress on the island. In short, "We cannot save the world but we can be a friend to a neighbor!"