I recently embarked on a 10-day trip to England with a group of students. We were on the road quite a fair bit and on those long-distance bus rides, I would write. The next few entries are from those journeys.
We are in the coach, rolling our way towards Leeds. When we arrived, it was a gloomy, rainy and grey Manchester that greeted us. Today, it was a gloriously sunny Manchester that we bade farewell to – a Manchester that had brilliant cerulean sky, voluminous cotton candy clouds and a sun that was puffing up its chest with pride.
It’s a long ride, an hour or so. And yet I refuse to close my eyes and sleep. I feel as if I have to stay awake, to absorb the lush greenery that is rolling past my window. I want to commit it to memory and remember it forever. I love this landscape, this sight of the bare fir trees standing tall and undulating slopes.
My last trip to Europe was well over 10 years ago. And in this time, I have forgotten just how much I love being here, especially here in England. I love how elegantly aged the buildings are, how they are so charming in the haphazard way that they are standing. I love how they have embraced their heritage in their buildings and not buried it in their quest to keep up with the times. I love the cold crisp air, though there are moments when I feel as if my nose is about to drop off. I love the brownstone houses, the white window lattices, the smoke chuffing out of the chimneys. I love the spacious parks.
Mostly, though, I love the space. There is no sense of claustrophobia here. I can breathe. I can move calmly with a sense of purpose. There are no tall buildings crowding my steps, my life, my thoughts from all corners.
I don’t know when we will have the chance to come here again. One day, soon enough, I hope. I can’t wait to explore the cobbled streets with my boys.
I’ve been meaning to pen my thoughts on my little one’s first birthday but a horrible, horrible illness on three out of the four of us (me and my littles) took away my strength and energy for the better part of two weeks.
No matter, we are all well now and I’ll just put it down as extremely bad luck (and bad hygiene on the caregiver’s part, urghs). I still have the photos to sort out and all so that’s not going to be posted anytime soon. Hopefully before he turns 13 months old, heh.
Something’s been brewing in my mind for the past couple of days though and I really need to get it out of my system. I’m not particularly eloquent or articulate, especially with the lack of uninterrupted sleep, so forgive my ramblings here (you may scoot off, of course, and just ignore me completely haha). Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have known that the Supreme Court in the US recently ruled in favour of marriage equality, ensuring that same-sex marriages are legal in the country. Theoretically, it should not concern me because the chances of such a ruling being put in place in Singapore in my lifetime is as good as zilch. But it does matter to me – I am beyond thrilled. I think it’s criminal that we deny gays and lesbians the same right that heterosexual couples have enjoyed all this while.
Someone once said to me, that it’s odd that I should be so supportive of same-sex unions, being a mother and all in a Confucian society. Ironically, though, it’s precisely because I am a mother that I am even more supportive of equal marital rights to all, regardless of sexual orientation. I always think, what if one day my child were to tell me that he is gay? How would/should I react? The way I see it, my love for him is unconditional. And I should accept him for who he loves (unless he marries some crazy ass bitch, in which case Tiger Mum emerges, hah!). I would very much rather welcome a third son into my family than to lose my son.
Beyond personal ideals, however, I simply believe that everyone should have the right to marry whom he or she loves. Period. Religion should not matter here, this is a question of equality among humans. And frankly speaking, I don’t give a rat’s ass what your God thinks. If this is not a God who advocates love above all things, then it’s not a God that matters to me. Also, I do not see why society sees a need to condone the actions of the gay community. Who are we to sit in glass houses and cast stones?
While I accept that there will always be others who do not share the same views as I do, it makes me sad to see them post articles, words that “justify” their rejection of the ruling. I cannot fathom why they do not see that at the heart of it all, it’s about love, and inclusivity and equality. That it’s about redefining the traditional concept of family and enlarging it to include the different permutations.
Maybe I am dense but I just don’t get it: why would people think that this ruling destabilises families and society? Why is it a sad thing?
Never mind. Like I said, I just needed to get it off my chest, incoherence and all. Anyway, there’s too much hatred and negativity in this world already. Let’s celebrate love, people. Love and Pride. (And I dare you to watch the following video with dry eyes. Okay, I couldn’t. I was bawling.)
I watched this video with Aidan the other day and he was fascinated. He waved to the people in the video and then asked to repeat it again and again. As we watched, my eyes swelled up with tears (postpartum hormones, uh-hmm) and I explained to him that we must accept everyone, no matter their shapes and sizes, colour, gender and sexuality.
I am not entirely sure the two-year-old fully understood what I was saying though. Although that Coldplay song (“uncle star song” to him) is currently his favourite tune.
Yes, we are the sort of parents who will take our kids to Pink Dot and show them videos of Pride Parade. It’s not really a big deal to us but to some of our, say, more conventional friends who are parents, we are sort of odd.
Actually, strike that. It IS a big deal to us. I think Mr Thick and I are of the agreement that we want our kids to grow up understanding that there are all kinds of individuals and families out there in our society. We want them to grow up in an inclusive society, one that celebrates the freedom to love.
As a mother, my yardstick is always this: if either of my boys tells me that he is gay, what would I do? My love for my children is unconditional, and it should remain unconditional.
The world is so full of war and conflict and hatred, we need more love, not hate.
(PS: Isn’t the video really, really cool? It makes me want to get a job at Apple and move to California. Actually, no, it makes me hope that my dear Apple fanatic of a husband is able to get a job there and make his lifelong dream come true.)
We took a quick holiday in Bali over the past week and, man, hauling around a toddler is an exhausting thing to do. There were times when he just pushed all the wrong (or right, depending on which side you are looking at) buttons and drove us absolutely nuts.
Thankfully, we took turns getting mad and were able to defuse the situation quickly. Ah, parenthood is really a partnership. And I feel like I need a holiday to recover from the holiday.
Having said that, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The OMGHEISDRIVINGMEINSANE moments were far and few, and there was plenty of good fun too. There are good stories to tell but right now, I need to edit my photos and I’ll leave you with this gem of a tale.
So there we were, at the top of some rice paddy fields in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the sun to set and our organic food to arrive. How we got there is a story worthy to be told on its own so I’ll leave it for another day.
Anyway, yes. Picture this. We were sitting in some rustic “restaurant” that’s really a hut. Over in the far horizon, the sun was slowly setting. The adults – me, Mr Thick, my mum and my Cousin Ching – were all hot and sweaty from the hike up to the “restaurant”. Aidan was in his element, yelling and attempting to run all over the place, refusing to settle. Mr Thick was at the point of eruption. He plonked A onto the chair and delivered a grim and firm ultimatum: “SIT!”
In a bid to divert Aidan’s attention, my cousin started to talk to him.
Cousin Ching: Oh look, Aidan! Look at the sunset!
Aidan: (stops whinging and looks up with a WOAH expression) Oh! (pause) My god!