The organised chaos

Bullying is a crime

My beloved seven-year-old nephew has been a victim of bullying in his primary school.

It started early this year, when Dylan borrowed a pencil sharpener from the boy who sits next to him. Somehow, he dropped the sharpener onto the floor and spoilt it and the Bully made a big fuss about it. The matter was brought to the teacher’s attention, who duly reported it to Dylan’s mother. She paid the Bully some money to get a replacement and we thought that was it.

As the months went on, the Bully started extorting money from my darling boy. He would, under the pretext of complaining to the teacher about some non-existent misdeed, force Dylan to buy lunch and snacks for him during recess using Dylan’s money. Last night, puzzled by Dylan’s vague answers as to where he had spent the $8 she had given him to buy socks, my aunt (his grandmother) started peeling the layers off Dylan’s world. That was when he confessed that he had been coerced into buying lunch everyday for the nasty little cretin. Who is a bully at seven. I still cannot handle the truth.

Now, this is a boy who is usually chatty and full of drama. For him to hide a secret for so long must have been traumatizing for a child who is not yet seven. What disturbs me even more is that this has been happening under the teacher’s nose for a good seven months in a school that’s renowned and prestigious (it’s in Punggol, take a guess). His parents, too, should be questioning how something like this could have slipped off their radar.

Needless to say, this has caused a huge uproar in the family. My mother is puzzled at how bullying can occur in a place that’s deemed to be a nurturing institution. And because depression is an ailment that runs in the family, she has, surprisingly, been advising my aunt to send my darling boy to a psychologist.

Which shows how far a journey my mother has come along. Because when I had spoken to her years ago about how I had suffered emotional abuse under the hands of a teacher, she would only say that I had probably exaggerated the entire episode and that the teacher was doing her best to teach me. Had I dreamt up those days of needless taunts and cruel jibes which had caused me to think about suicide almost every single day of my life? I don’t think so.

Now, my main concern is my nephew. I don’t want him to grow up as messed up as we did simply because our parents didn’t understand how painful incidents like these can scar someone emotionally for the rest of his life. I want him to embrace everyday as if it’s an adventure and not a road to be feared. I want him to be a happy child, a child whom we love to bits because of his precociousness.

I have told my cousins (his parents) that they need to go down to the school and speak to his teacher. Remove Dylan from the Bully and put him in a class far, far away from that boy, who ought to be prescribed counselling. If things don’t improve, we will lodge formal complaints to the Ministry of Education and create a stink, if necessary. This is a child’s life we are talking about – his future is yet to be mapped and this should not be a defining factor. He may be a helpless victim, but as adults, we have the power to change things and we should.

Bullying must not be condoned.

Friends, Wedding March

Of gratitude

Many, many years from now, I will look back upon these days with much fondness and reminiscence.

I haven’t been sleeping well for the past week so my energy level is threadbare at this moment. But I just want to note all these down before I ever forget.

Thank you my friends, the first few whom I had texted a “save the date” message to today. Your cheery replies made me smile and feel grateful for your companionship on the most important day of my life. I haven’t made the effort to reach out to you as much as I should and I feel embarrassed about it. But do know that I value your presence because I value you as a friend.

Thank you to those who have been listening to my laments over the past few weeks. It probably is a drag to hear someone gripe about the same problems over and over again, but you all have shown me nothing but empathy and patience. In the face of such unhappiness, that’s exactly the tonic that I need.

And to you, the man I will be marrying in 44 days – thank you for being you. Even though we had the following conversation today:

Me: So, do I look pregnant in this dress then?
Him: Yeah!
Me: What?
Him: Yah! Very!
Me: You think I look pregnant?!
Him: Oh!! I thought you asked if you looked nice.

You know, if it had been another girl, she might have socked you. But instead, I laughed. And you know what that means? We are probably made for each other because we share the same lame humour. Like how we both eavesdrop on others’ conversations and then exchange a look that says exactly the same thing. Like how when I told you by marrying you, I would be giving up all rights to ever touch a six-pack, you raised your eyebrows and said you would be giving up all rights to something else too and we chuckled like a pair of crazy hyenas.

It’s been a very, very good journey and I couldn’t have done it without you.


I wanna grow old with you