Time and tide waits for no one



About a week or two ago, a good friend of mine messaged me on Whatsapp to catch up on things. During our conversation, he asked if I had stopped blogging as he had not seen new posts in a while. That same week, another friend asked me if I had lost my way after going to the moon or overshot and ended up going beyond it, in a reference to my last post back in July, “To moon and beyond“. A few days back, my wife wondered aloud as to what happened to my blog and if I had run out of interest with it.

I think I told all of them something along the lines of, yes, I have stopped for the time being but it is just temporary, a mere pause. It is not that I had nothing to say. On the contrary, as always I had a lot to say about any number of things. The fact is, since my last post I have been tied up with one activity or the other. I just could not set aside time in an effective manner to put my thoughts down into a post. My wife can attest to that, considering that she takes the brunt of listening to me articulating my thoughts on anything that I fancied about.

Source: Pexels

When I posted for the very first time (“Ahh…that first post“) on this site back in April, I was sure that I will post something worth reading, at least once a week. I suppose like everything else in life, on hindsight it was a nice goal to have but a difficult one to keep, what with all the things that I had committed myself to or contrived myself to be involved in. This of course is on top of trying to be a doting father, loving husband, a filial son and much more, all of which are in no particular order by the way.

So, I decided to set some time aside from what seems to have become the new daily grind for me and give my wife a respite from my thoughtfully melodious voice. I converted the energy usually expended on sound, while voicing out my thoughts, to the mostly kinetic kind with a smattering of sound, by typing out this post. As I was tapping away on the keyboard, I recalled something I learned the hard way, working as a software engineer and later on as a manager, managing deliveries. Time, is precious and more importantly finite. One had to manage time wisely, lest the project fails to be delivered as expected. Time was one thing that I will not be able to conjure in tiny amounts, let alone in abundance, to rescue my project.

Souce: Pexels

Similarly, when looking at the bigger picture of life, the one resource that we all have, regardless of how wealthy or less wealthy we are, is time. How successful or unsuccessful we end up, depends very much on how well and efficiently we use the God-given precious resource called time. Over time I realised what has been working well for me thus far, was to simply reflect on what I wanted in life, figure out what I had to do, prioritise them, determine how much of time I was going to spend on each of them and  then as Nike is fond of reminding us, just do it.

Along the way, it is absolutely important to periodically review how we are faring in order to make necessary changes. After all, what was important a few months ago, may no longer be important or the top priority, today. By not reviewing and restrategising as needed, we may be wasting the very thing that we are trying to save and use wisely, time.

It is equally important that while doing all of this, we bear in mind that we also have to juggle the various roles we play in life, from that of a child to our parents, a partner to our significant other, a parent to our child or as a Uber driver to the masses, just to name a few. As time is finite, if we don’t strive to spend it wisely, we may never get the chance to play the roles that we want to, let alone as well as we would like to. Sadly, by the time we are ready to play our role, the other party may have moved on with time.

Source: Pexels

My own journey in life over the past one to two years has been pretty interesting, from my point of view. I made certain decisions and acted upon those decisions. These are decisions and actions that I certainly would never thought I would do 10 years ago or even as recent as 5 years ago. As I mentioned above, it is very interesting how perception about what is important in life, changes over time. This is especially true when looking at it from the perspective of how precious time is and even more, when we realise that we don’t know how much more of it we have left with us.

For a start, I made a choice with regards to my career. A decision to leave what most if not all that I spoke with for advice, considered as a good job with a good MNC, to do something on my own. Along the way, what I want to do has remained the same but how I am going about achieving it has evolved. Then there was a new and important role that I found myself taking up. The role of a father to a wonderful little man with a big personality, who has changed the lives of my wife and mine, drastically but for the better. Sixteen months on, in the role of a father, I have no regrets in making the choices that allowed me to play this role as I have done thus far.

Being a parent myself, was a gentle reminder of how I may not have paid as much attention to my own relationship as a son to my parents or even as a partner in life to my wife, in recent times. The realisation that time rarely is on our side, has made me rethink and allocate how I spend time with my parents, wife and family. The arrival of my son after years of waiting was also a reminder of the amazing ways my maker is present in my life. I took it as a sign to prioritise my time to review my relationship with God and do what is needed to deepen my understanding of my faith further.

Source: Pexels

Coming back to my keyboard and post, I think it is about time I put the final touches and wrap it up. To my dear readers, especially those who had enquired over the past three months, I will definitely come up with more posts, more frequently. With so many things going on out there, there will always be something or the other that needs to be talked about. Now that I am done with this post, I better get started on the next item on my list and play whatever role is needed to accomplish it. After all, time and tide waits for no one, does it not? Oh….. and just in case you are wondering, no, I am not a Uber driver driving people to their destination, at least, not yet.

Of bullies and the bullied

One of the biggest topic of discussion in Malaysia, unrelated to politics, over the past fortnight, has been about bullying. Ever since news broke out early last week about Nhaveen’s assault and his subsequent death, there has been no end to talk and news on bullying, both in mainstream and social media. This comes on the heels of an earlier incident, resulting in the death of navy cadet Zulfarhan. These are recent incidents related to bullying, which sadly resulted in the deaths of the respective victims. There might be more incidents of intimidated people, that went unreported or did not gain as much attention as the recent incidents have.

Indeed, it is hard to make any sense of these brutal acts and if one happens to be a parent, especially of school going children or those attending tertiary level education, one can’t help but be concerned for the well-being of the child. Though my son has some years left in him before he goes to the nursery or kindergarten, my wife and I can’t help but feel anxious for him, in light of what transpired over the past few weeks. We want to protect him from being bullied and more importantly from becoming a bully himself. I am certain that my wife and I are not the only ones feeling like this. I know that my close friends and many others are on the same page here. We want to protect and equip our children with what is needed so they do not end up being a victim of bullying or the bully.

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Source: Pexels

A bully, in the context of this post, is defined as “A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. – Source: Oxford Dictionary[1]. This word most likely originated from the Middle Dutch word “boele”, back in the 16th century.  It was originally used “As a term of endearment applied to either sex; it later became a familiar form of address to a male friend. – Source: Oxford Dictionary[1]“. Ironically, another definition or use for the word bully is “Very good or excellent. Source: Oxford Dictionary[1]” and this is used in the context of expressing admiration or approval.

Now, bullying happens in various forms such as physical, verbal, social (also known as relational) and cyberspace[2][3][4]. Being aware of the many forms of bullying and the associated signs or symptoms shown by the victims, gives us the awareness that something is not right. This awareness can help us provide timely assistance and guidance to the victims, helping them deal with the situation in a better manner. Although it may not be possible to prevent bullying, there are some individuals who may be at a higher risk of being bullied. Those who have low self-esteem, behave differently and appear to be unconventional[5][6][7] among others, are at a higher risk of being bullied. It must be noted that not all those who show such traits will be victims of bullying.

On the other side of the coin, bullies don’t just appear out of nowhere. There are some common signs that bullies or potential bullies exhibit, which can be detected very early on. Among the common signs are, being overly aggressive with others, not accepting responsibility for their actions and getting into physical or verbal fights[8][9]. Again, it does not mean that if someone exhibits these signs, they are definitely bullies. Being aware of these signs allows us as parents to nip it in the bud and work with the child to address these bad behaviours. After all, regardless of whether the child is a bully or not, such bad behaviour in a child should not be condoned and left unchecked.

Source: Pexels

Looking back at my own journey in life, I recognise some incidents in which I could have been categorised as a victim of bullying. Of course, back then I had no inkling that I was being bullied. However, I was aware that the situation did not feel right and I had to do something about it as I was not comfortable with that situation. In hindsight, I was fortunate enough to have come out of those incidents with nary a scratch.


One such incident during my teenage years, occurred over an intense period of a few weeks. I was ostracised or left out from my usual social circle and targeted during games. All these happened due to a misunderstanding in which it was assumed that I was a snitch. Initially, I was not aware that I was being cast out. When someone was being aggressive towards me while playing, I took it as part and parcel of the game. When I was hardly involved in the game, I assumed that it was due to the way the game flowed, not realising that I was being left out intentionally. When very few spoke with me or kept themselves away from me, I thought it was because everybody was busy with their own studies and preparation for the exams.

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Source: Pexels

After a while, I realised that the situation was far from normal and something fishy was afoot. It was a difficult time indeed for me. Very few spoke to me during that time. Most avoided me unless it was necessary to communicate with me. I was very upset and angry with the situation and myself. I became agitated easily and took it out on my family. My momentum took a dip for a few days. I did not understand why I was in such a situation until someone from that social circle, who was willing to speak with me, told me what was going on.

There were a few things that kept me going at that time. I think the most important of them all was my faith in God. I was fortunate that my parents took the trouble to deeply implant in me, to have faith in God. As I had mentioned in prior articles (God and I – Part 1 & Part 2), speaking with God, pouring out my problems and concerns helped. I did not find resolutions to my problem immediately but it helped me find much-needed strength and patience. I calmed down slowly. My pent-up anger and frustration dissipated at a snail’s pace but dissipate it did.

Source: Pexels

I was also lucky enough that I had someone whom I trusted and could confide with, to talk to about my problems. Although this person did not resolve the problem for me, having someone listening to my situation and being available to talk to when needed, was helpful in itself. It provided me with the physical proof that I am not alone and someone has my back. Again, I was fortunate enough that my parents had encouraged me to reach out to this person as an alternative, in case I needed help with anything.

The other thing that kept me going was that I was good at something. I was very confident of my ability in accomplishing those tasks that I had to do. The end result showed me that I was still good at completing those tasks. Though my performance dipped initially, it recovered as quick as it had dipped. This, to a certain extent took my mind away from the situation. Now, although I had bouts of low self-esteem during this period of time, the confidence in being able to focus and complete those tasks, helped keep my self-esteem up. It gave me the assurance in dealing with all the other aspects of my daily life.

Source: Pexels

Eventually, someone else admitted to be the person who had provided the information that I was being held responsible for. This person also spoke to a wise man who then got the circle of friends together, spoke to us using a tale as an analogy to the situation that we were all in and at the end of it, asked us to reflect upon it. Both these actions eventually ended that situation and things returned to normal. We went on to make peace with each other and moved on from there.

I suppose that I could be considered to be lucky enough to walk away with a happy ending. However, luck was not the only thing that helped me. Someone courageous enough took the effort to overcome their own fears, to stand up to the group and admit for something that I was being blamed for. This started the end of the bullying episode. The intervention of an outsider, in the form of the wise man, also helped end the bullying episode. More importantly, his timely intervention helped in healing the whole lot of us at an emotional level. We all took something out of that incident, as lessons for life.

Source: Pexels

Personally, I felt that my deep-rooted faith in God, having someone to speak with and having something that I was really good at, helped me tide over that difficult period of time. Without these three things, it would have been absolutely challenging to continue with life as usual. I also understood that in my situation, those who bullied me, did so with the notion that they were right and I was wrong. Since, I was guilty from their perspective, there is no harm in teaching me a lesson so I do not repeat it again. Although it might be unacceptable to others, to them it was the right thing to do. Only the intervention from an outsider made them realise that their actions, no matter how well intended it might be, is simply not the right one.

As for my son, I am going to teach him what I know of his religion. I would like him to discover and learn to have faith in God, just as how my parents did for me. Faith in God is a very strong root, for the tree of life on Earth. I am going to encourage him to talk to my wife and myself about anything and everything. We will have to be there for him, setting aside time for him to talk with us and try very hard to not be his parents during that time.Of course, as he grows up, he may not feel comfortable doing so but therein lies the challenge of how we convince him that we would still be there for him no matter what, or provide him with suitable alternatives. Surely, this is way better that worrying and doing nothing.

I don’t know for sure if my wife and I would be successful in protecting and equipping our son from being bullied or becoming a bully himself.  In the unfortunate event that he ends up being bullied or become a bully, as parents we will have to be alert to his behaviour and work towards addressing them, just as how this mother responded upon discovering that her daughter was being bullied. Afterall, doing something is way better than nothing.

P.S.: Featured image was sourced from Pexels.

Babyland – Episode 2

Before my wife and I had our baby, our closest experience with babies was that of carrying and playing with the babies of our friends and cousins. They were kind enough to let us fuss over their baby when we visited or met up with them. Now for those who may not be aware, babies are absolutely cute and adorable. They are fun to play with and fuss over, at least when they are in a good mood. All fun ends when they start bawling. That is usually when we return the baby back to the sender. They always seemed to know what to do.

We learned pretty much on the very first day, that with our little baby, there is no such thing as return to sender. We are the “senders”. We had to know how to deal with him. So, just as numerous parents would have done with their baby before us, we too started our process of learning the “how to handle your baby”, on the very day that we met him. Now, we have always loved our parents all our lives and admire them for all that they have done and achieved in their lives. However, our admiration for our parents and all parents in general, went up several notches, since our baby came into our lives, now that we have a baby and are experiencing life as parents ourselves.

Image sourced from Pixabay

To start with, there is the general lack of sleep and rest, something that I had covered in “Babyland – Episode 1“. I have seen many fathers and mothers come in to work looking like they could use an hour or two of extra sleep. I felt for them and would tell them to go home early and have some good rest if they don’t have anything due urgently. They usually responded wearily with a mixed look, bordering somewhere between gratefulness and amusement. I do realise now, the folly of such advice no matter how well intended it might have been then.

Lack of good sleep and rest is generally the norm since our baby came into our lives. Good rest with uninterrupted sleep is indeed a luxury these days. We are definitely grateful for the rare occasions when baby chooses to sleep through the night or when he goes for a sleep-over with his grandparents. Thankfully, our little one is slowly getting his routine sorted out over the past few months. I suppose, he feels that his parents do need some rest at night, if they are going to play with him the next day. Then again, having observed other parents and recalling our experiences with our parents, I suppose parents just don’t get to rest until their brood has grown up. Even then, it is just ever so slightly.

Image sourced from Pixabay

Next, is the amount of worrying that creeps into the mind and dealing with it effectively. We experienced it for the first time, about two months in, when our little friend was feverish in the middle of the night, over a weekend. We had no idea why he was having fever or what we were to do at that time. My mind was racing away, imagining the worst, having heard of stories from some of our friends, about the time their baby was admitted in the hospital due to fever or an infection. Thankfully with some advice from our parents and support over Whatsapp from doctors that we knew, we managed to bring his temperature down.

Other than health, there is also the worrying about his future education. Listening to our friends talk about schools, comparing the standards between public and private schools as well as the cost associated with private schools, gives us the creeps. Then hearing from others about how expensive higher education is these days, just multiplies the worry to another level. If it is that expensive and complicated now, how would it be when it is time for him to study?

Image sourced from Pexels

Besides health and education, there is also the worry about safety of our baby, within the house and when he goes out of it. Trying to keep our baby away from the risky areas at home is in itself trying, now that he moves around at speeds nearing that of speeding bullets. There are the power points, television, edges of chairs and tables, high areas ranging from our sofa, chairs, to the television rack, kitchen drawers and cabinets, refrigerator and the balcony. Keeping him safe around these areas takes a lot of creativity and sudden bursts of energy.

Then, regular news about the weird and dangerous people out there and the things that they do to children regardless of age, can at times be overwhelming. Reading about children being kidnapped, molested, raped, abused and other such sad news, make us wonder as to the kind of society and world that we are bringing up our baby in. If it was possible, I would love to wrap our baby up in bubble wraps and keep him close but then that is not how one brings up a child, is it?

Image sourced from Pexels

Other a general lack of good rest and being worried around the clock, one other thing that increases our admiration and respect for parents in general, is the way a child is brought up. As our baby starts to become more independent, we have to figure out how we are to discourage him from doing something wrong or dangerous. We have to learn how to punish him constructively, when he does something even after being reprimanded, without limiting his ability to do things on his own, confidently. We have to recognise the balance between teaching him something against making him dependent on us to learn things rather than discovering them on his own. We have to identify how to inculcate good values in him and make him feel for it naturally instead of forcing it upon him.

We want him to learn to respect people around him and not feel that it is his right to have things his way. Being the only child, at least for now, we want him to understand that it is important to share things with others, especially when it is limited in number, rather than thinking that it belongs only to him. We want him to be helpful and mindful of others and not become a selfish person who only thinks of himself. We want him to become someone useful to the society instead of one who becomes a burden.

Image sourced from Pexels

I guess parenting may not be something that is easy to start with. The path of parenting will be full of potholes and sharp corners. We may make mistakes but more importantly we will just have to figure out how to correct it and bounce back from it. Someone, a parent himself, told me once, that no parents are ever ready to be parents. I suppose we all learn along the way and improvise as we move along. With faith in God, I believe we will be just fine. After all, we are the “senders” and in fact, we couldn’t have “received” something more precious from God, our little baby.

P.S.: Featured image is sourced from Pexels.