Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tomorrow, my dad would have been dead for two years. I still miss him. Below are two articles that I have written about him.

This picture was taken in 2000 Chinese New Year.

A simple. humble man who always stand by his friends and family.

We are the fruit of his labour.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Will You Leave Behind?

MY FATHER did not die a rich man. He did not leave us a big house or an assortment of stocks and shares. One might say, he almost died a pauper.

Yet, he left us a living legacy neither fame nor fortune could buy.

At his wake, I finally met his boss — a Mr Gourley, whom I had heard my father talk about but whom I had never met. I thanked him for giving my father a job that enabled him to see my sibling and me through tertiary education.

Mr Gourley said he had done so because of an incident that occurred when they were working together. A company had shipped an extra 500 boxes of goods that were not listed on the invoice. My father reported this to him.

My father was made a laughing stock by co-workers who said he could have pocketed the goods, and no one would have been any the wiser. But Mr Gourley judged my father an honest man.

Motivational speakers and marketers these days like to encourage us to leave a legacy behind. Often, a legacy is defined as physical gifts of money or other personal property.

Insurance salesmen will stress that we have to leave some money behind for our children in case death comes unexpectedly. And yes, it is good to plan ahead and make sure our children are well taken care off.

But how many of us have taken the time to examine our lives and see what other kind of legacy we are leaving behind? How do we treat our colleagues, neighbours, spouse and parents? What is our attitude towards money, leisure and material goods?

What about our relations with people from different races? How do we handle adversity? Do we give our children a life of comfort, or do we ensure they are able to handle failure and fear?

As an educator, I have seen parents lose control of their children because they did not establish a good relationship with them when they were young. I have seen how these youngsters' friends have a greater say in what they do, say and wear than their parents have.

I met parents who work from before their children wake up until well after the kids' bedtime. In one case, a rebellious teenage boy proudly proclaimed to me that he had been brought up by the maid as his parents were too busy earning money.

I can understand the need to work hard as the cost of living in Singapore is high. My father had to work three jobs to earn enough to send us to university. Yet, in his own quiet, uncommunicative way, he ensured that values like honesty and diligence were instilled in us.

Once, I asked a student why he was not concerned with doing well for the O levels. He told me bluntly that his father's business would see him provided for through to old age, so he did not see the need to work or to have an education.

I asked him what would happen if his father's business failed? He confidently replied that this would not happen. One can only infer that he was so used to a life of luxury that he could not foresee any other scenario.

In our drive to provide our children and ourselves with a comfortable, stress-free life, have we produced a generation of children who have lost their drive?

That hunger in the belly which the pre-1960s generation had, that helped transform Singapore into what she is today? That sense of mission and purpose we had when independence was thrust upon us?

There is a Chinese saying: A family inheritance will not survive the third generation. The first generation of Singaporeans gained independence, while the second have performed an economic miracle. Will the third and current generation squander the wealth away?

That will depend on the kind of legacy we leave for our children — just as our children are a living legacy to how we live our lives.

This article first appeared in TODAY on 13th December 2006


Last Monday, my dad died peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital.

He was admitted on Aug 24; four days later, we were informed that he had end-stage kidney failure. We were given two options.

If we took no action, he would most probably die in a few weeks. But if he went for dialysis treatment, this might kill him immediately as his heart was only partially functioning.

As his children, we wanted to do all we could to save our father's life. We found it difficult to accept that this handsome, once-strong man was going to leave us so soon.

But we still had one last lesson to learn from him: To respect his wish.

The doctor had asked him if he wanted dialysis and he had said, "no". And we asked him ourselves and explained to him the consequence of his decision.

He chose to die with dignity.

We discovered that he had had kidney failure for the past three years but each time he was asked if he wanted dialysis, he had said, "no".

He hid this fact from us. We can only speculate why he did not tell us.

Perhaps, he was afraid of wasting our money, as dialysis is costly.

Or perhaps he was afraid of the process itself after seeing many patients visit the National Kidney Foundation Dialysis Centre near his home.

But most probably, he did not want to be a burden to my mother, as she would have had to take care of him.

By making his wish known to his doctor, he made it easier for his children to respect his wish not to prolong his life, which would also have made him suffer unnecessarily.

He had not known about the existence of the Advance Medical Directive (AMD) but if he had, we believe that he would have signed it.

What is an AMD?

It is a legal document you sign in advance to inform the doctor treating you that in the event you become terminally ill or unconscious, you choose not to have any extraordinary life sustaining treatment to prolong your life.

This is a voluntary decision. It is a criminal offence for anyone to force or coerce you to make an AMD against your will. It is not a popular document and not many have signed one since it was implemented in 1996.

Most of us seldom think about death, about what happens after we die, or how we should die. Many of us think it is bad luck to think about such a morbid subject.

However, new progress in medical knowledge and technology present new options for patients, healthcare givers and family members.

And some of these options will raise new predicaments and dilemmas in the area of ethics and law.

One problem that our family faced was that modern technology could technically prolong my father's life in the final stage of his terminal illness.

When he was at that stage, we came to understand that medical technology could not arrest the dying process, difficult as it was for us to accept it.

Did we commit euthanasia or mercy killing? No, we did not take any action to deliberately end my father's life through unnatural means, such as the administration of lethal chemicals.

His wish was to let the dying process take its natural course.

My father's death made us think: Are we prepared for death?

The family would like to thank the nurses of Ward 64, Room 14 for taking care of Uncle William on his last journey to Singapore General Hospital.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A reader posted the comments below. We took sometime to answer her question because we do not want any one to misunderstand us. We do apologise if the language used is explicit

hello mother of six!
I am happy to read your post. I have a question, its been running in my mind since I am already engaged.

We are answering some questionnaires so that we will be ready in family situations and family life.
We are both Catholic and would like to follow the Catholic faith.

My question is, does "married couples" engage in oral sex and mutual masturbation?

I am totally against it. I don't know if he was right and I am wrong. I don't know if my perception of it is wrong.

Honestly I have some fears or may be worries about the honeymoon. I don't know if this is common for women who's getting married too.

My conscience want to ask a priest about it and of course consult a practicing Catholic couples. yours truly,confused.

Posted by Anonymous to Mother of Six at 2:54 PM

I have invited Mr. Ess, father of six to answer as he has the ability to express our values much more clearly then ever I can .

hello confused,

yes, married couples do engage in oral sex and mutual masturbation. Even Catholic couples (married by definition) do so but it is not allowed by the Catholic Church.

But when you ask such a question, you must distinguish between what the world calls sex and what the church calls sex.

This world, as circumscribed by pop culture and its propaganda machines, define sex as orgasm.

So it follows that oral sex is orgasm in the mouth, anal sex is orgasm in the anus, sex (by which they mean vaginal sex) is orgasm in the vagina and masturbation is orgasm in the hand. These are, of course, simplified explanations and great variety exists.

I could go on but my point is sufficiently made.

To understand how the church defines the union that we conveniently call sex, we must ask who is present. The answer ought not to surprise you - it's a manage-a-tois (my metaphor) between a husband, his wife and God.

Cheeky to think that the Roman Catholic Church, since the time of her founder, has required of us, the exclusive practice of manage-a-tois. Cheeky but true!

If we remove God from the union, we have pre marital sex. If we remove any two partners, we have masturbation - yes, for the wits reading this, that would mean that God masturbates but I am not even going to bother to answer such moronisity.

If a husband and his wife indulge in masturbation with each other as company, we have mutual masturbation. Mutual masturbation is practiced via two methods - masturbation of self and masturbation of partner.

Both methods may be effected consecutively or concurrently. Coming back to menage-a-tois, what do the three partners contribute towards the covenantal union?

The man - a penis, the woman - a vagina and God - blessings beyond our wildest fantasies. Following this thought, we realise that Catholic sex occurs when a man ejaculates into a woman's vagina and this occurs during the bonds of matrimony.

Any other definition of sex is not tolerated by the Catholic church. Therefore, as long as you and your betrothed practice only vaginal sex (ejaculation into the vagina) from the time of your honeymoon onwards..., you're both ok!

Understand that there is nothing wrong with the following: penis in anus, penis in mouth and touching, caressing, kissing, licking any part of your partner's/lover's/spouse's body provided his orgasm (ejaculation of sperm) occurs within your vagina.

A final thought, Pope John Paul 2 encouraged husbands to ensure their wives orgasms before their own!!!

father of six!

There is a lot of reading to choose from if you want to learn a bit.

Start with:a: Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1639, 1647,1642 and
Pope John Paul 2's Theology of the Body (select your interests).b: CCC 1646, 1652 and

the document Humanae Vitae (find a synopsis).c: CCC 2336 and the CCC sections on the fifth and sixth commandments.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Mushi

With the current debate on encouraging more woman to give birth in Singapore, I cannot help but put in my two cents worth.

I gave birth to Anicius when I was 42. Being the sixth child, I do not get any incentive from the government. No baby bonus, no paid 3 months leaves. Three weeks after I gave birth I went back to school. He was in ICU for 21 days and it cost us close to $15 000. We were in serious debts. My mum wanted me to sell him away to coevr cost and make my life easier.

How much is a baby worth?

Look at him now. He is three years old today.

He brings so much joy and laught into the family that no amount of money, baby bonus can replace. To those who whine and bitch about needing more help from the government and employer, my suggestion is not to giev birth at all.

If you really love a child, money is not in the equation.


Monday, August 11, 2008

It's the little things ....

Thank to "old cow" who helped to produce this video. Apologies for not getting the copyright of the photo images. It is too good to keep it in my computer. Only those above 35 will understand the song.

Happy Birthday Singapore.

Forty Four years. That was how long my parents had been married. Over the years, they have made many mistake, quarreled and fought over many issues. But it is the little things that they shared that stays in my mind.

One of the last thing my father asked me to do before he died was to buy a gold bracelet for my mum's birthday.

From my mum, I learnt how to obey and honour our husband. My father has a fiery temper and was known to share his opinions loudly. He has hurt her sometimes yet she never reproached him but was there to listen to him and support his ideas.

She always listen to him first before expressing her opinions. She was never a door mat for him to step on and she can be as stubborn as a mule.(She was born in the year of the ox). But she was willing to hold her tongue and build a solid marriage over the years. She ensures that his needs are well taken care.

Till today, even though he has been dead for two years, she still keeps a daily communion with him. Last year, we went to Penang the place where they spent their honeymoon. She brough along a small picture of him.

Till death do us part?