Two Memoirs

Despite being in the middle of never ending cleaning frenzy, playing all day with my toddler, cooking, and feeding her, I was finally able to force myself finish two books that I wanted to read for a while, where both are memoirs incidentally. The first one is Hillbilly Elegy, a book written by JD Vance that I grabbed from my younger brother's study desk at our mother's house that he left before he flew back to UK last year. Before I got a chance to read it, I thought it would be some kind of heavy book with politics and socio-economics stuffs that explained why American people trust Trump, but surprisingly I was wrong. It's a flowing story of a family from Appalachia that —though I couldn't relate because I didn't experience the same circumstances— has taught me a lot about tough love in raising children and one's personal responsibility to change for the better. I'm glad I have the chance to read this book earlier.

This is my most favourite lines quoting Vance's Mamaw (grandmother):
Life was a struggle, though the odds were a bit longer for people like them, that fact didn't excuse failure. Never be like those fucking losers who think the deck is stacked against them, you can do anything you want to.


Another thing that I learnt after reading this book is that this thing called Adverse childhood experiences (ACE), stressful or traumatic events, including abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. ACEs are strongly related to having contribution to long term health, social, and behavioral consequences throughout a person’s lifespan, starting in adolescence and continuing into adulthood (Felitti et al., 1998). Some of the most common ACES usually had faced these following events of feelings —as written in the book— including:
  • being sworn at, insulted, or humiliated by parents
  • being pushed, grabbed, or having something thrown at you
  • feeling that your family didn't support each other
  • having parents who were separated or divorced
  • living with an alcoholic or a drug user
  • living with someone who was depressed or attempted suicide
  • watching a loved one be physically abused

I checked with my husband whether he had ever faced any of the points above, but he said no. It's the same with me fortunately. Even though my parents were not a romantic couple, I never saw them fighting and yelling in front of their children. Thankfully, drugs, alcohol, and physical abuse were never happened in both of our childhoods. Having known that, it becomes our concern and biggest homework to provide the same (or even better) environment for our kid(s) for them to grow up healthy physically and mentally.

The second book I've read last month is Battle Hym of the Tiger Mother written by Amy Chua, who was JD Vance's professor while he was in Yale Law School. I've tried to read this book together with some other books including Bringing Up Bebe during my pregnancy time. But because of some reasons I didn't get the chance to finish this one. So it was only right to give it a try again, and I was a bit disappointed to the fact that I didn't read this sooner. Reading this book is surely a must for a new clueless mother like me.  



This is one of my favourite parts from this book:

... Western parents worry a lot about their children's self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child's self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there's nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn't.
There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids' true interests. For their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who seem perfectly content to let their children turn out badly. I think it's a misunderstanding on both sides. All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. The Chinese just have a totallyu different idea of how to do that.
Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they're capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away. 


Well, I am not going to say what kind of parenting style — Western or Chinese— I am about to apply to raise our child. But as my husband said, we need to be open to all kind of methods and try to take the good and leave the bad. 


Reference: 
Felitti et al., 1998 - V.J. Felitti, R.F. Anda, D. Nordenberg, D.F. Williamson, A.M. Spitz, V. Edwards, M.P. Koss, J.S. Marks Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14 (1998), pp. 245-258

Our Responsibility

It's a bit embarrassing to admit this though, but I can't deny the fact that so far I have lived my life in my own bubble. As a housewife who stay at home most of the time with a toddler, my real problems are mere struggling with everyday's chores and sometimes drowning with my own thoughts about fears and life's uncertainty, albeit conveniently in our small apartment, without really knowing what's going on with the world, what's trending right now, and what people are talking about at the moment. Even though news can be widely spread out  by the growth of social media usage in this so called digital era, I still found myself have very limited amount of information about the world out there. It's only a fingertips away, but haven't I told you I live in a bubble?

I refused to read local news portals since the end of 2014 because the articles written there made me cringe. Until they wrote the details of an innocent girl's murder in Bali. It made me sick, I couldn't take it anymore.  I also decided to leave Facebook by deleting all people on my friend list and deactivating my account, because my Facebook feeds at that time were all hatred, 'wars', hoaxes, satire statuses, and all. It made me dizzy, I couldn't take it anymore. We don't subscribe TV cables in our apartment because we just don't want. I don't have dedicated time to watch TV anyway so it is not necessary to have cable after all. The only source of information is coming from the browser of my mobile phone. But again, as someone who live in a bubble, I only read news about things I want to know and leave the things I don't want to know behind.

But it was me yesterday, I want it to be just in the past. It's not right and I have to change, I need to open my eyes and see what's out there, because why? Because I am a mother whose daughter to be brought up and prepared to face the world well. How could I raise an agile and tough child if I don't know what kind of place she would be standing on her own at when I need to step aside later as she'll become an independent individual? How would I know what kind of strength and skills she'll need later to respond to the challenges of life if I don't even have any idea about the adversity and difficult circumstance happening in the world? 

I know that I won't be able to completely protect my children from the stress and hardship throughout her life, but I believe at least I should provide them with right tools to cope and deal with it. Well, in order to do that job properly as a mother, I need to be aware of my surroundings, our daily life, and whatever kind of things happen in world we live now. It's time to wake up.

2018

New year, new month, new week. 
It's all the same brand new day where all of us should stop making excuse and start living the life we've been given responsibly. 

Little Good Time

It was very nice for me to be able to meet a good friend and have a little talk about everything, this and that, just like the old times. It seemed like that it's already been a long time since I had a friend to whom I can talk to that physically in front of me. Face to face. I really felt good. Because honestly I don't really have many close friends living here right now. 

This is T.P, one of my best friends from Master's class. I really thanked her the time we spent on her short visit to Singapore and for the stories shared when we went sightseeing to GbtB. It made really kind of feel good, for still having good friends, though not so many. 

Biking to Bedok Reservoir

After went biking to Gardens by the Bay two weeks ago as my first trial to bike with  mobike, a bicycle sharing platform. Last Sunday my husband and I biked to Bedok Reservoir using two mobike bicycles for each of us, while our daughter was carried by my husband using baby carrier for the whole entire time. 





Now I think about it, there's a lot of perks of living in Singapore that I wouldn't be able to find in another place, and this is just one of them. We had a lot of things to do for the weekend, without going to the malls so much. 

Read Again


It's kinda of ironic that when I strongly encourage my child to engage with books as an important part of her daily activities at home, I don't even give myself a some time to read any books. I love reading so much when I was still single that my money was spent mostly in buying books, despite the fact that I had a very demanding work and school life. 

Well, I think it's time to start giving myself a chance to have a good time to read books. After doing some reflection to the past, I know that there's no such excuse for not being able to read because of the hustle and bustle of life. 

Toilet Training pt. 2

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This is a second attempt of toilet training for my daughter S after our first trial back in July after we came back from our travel and short stay in Indonesia. At first, it was very stressful for me as she still couldn't control her bladder yet, but now everything is just getting better day by day, as we're only have one or two accidents a day as we are about to enter the third week. I am confident that she'll be toilet-trained sooner than I expected. We just need to give her a little bit of time.