Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Work

I woke up early today at about 4am. I could not sleep and thought about the impending transfer. My thoughts where on my eldest son who is reluctant to move. He has already has some close friends and likes the life here in Singapore. But the rest of the family is keen on moving. I thought that he would do something foolish that will jeopardize the transfer. In the early morning hours, I realized that this would be the main obstacle in our move. My son spoke to me day ago in the Philippines when he said the he has decided and wants to stay. I feel a coolness in my neck as I realized that this is the first time my son and I faced a difficult decision affecting his life. I pray that it will not impact him for the rest of his life on the decision we take.

I realized at this point that this is what it finally means to be father. I was always aloof and flippant about my responsibilities towards my children. I always relied on my wife especially as she is a housewife while I am out working. But it's an unfair thought because I need to carry my share of responsibility. I felt that I have never provided the hard headed guidance that puts discipline into my children. Instead it was my wife who has instilled into them more sense and inspired discipline. On the other hand, I played the happy-go-lucky guy travelling abroad and doing projects because I was not required on the home front. Now my decision to move will affect the life of my sons at a significant point in their lives.

It is only now that I realize the extent or impact of my decision. So I got up from bed at about 5:30 am and started to work on my visa application. I wanted to complete the form weeks ago but I never had a chance. So tried to complete it as well as locate the needed documents to be sent with the application. I wasn't able to complete the form today but have done most of it. I will still need to scan the papers into a color scanner and convert to PDF as requested by the relocation staff. In fact I spent most of yesterday trying to fix the scanner in my son's computer. I also spent the weekend fixing my DVD movies for the impending shipment. Today I also was looking for a free tool to convert image files into PDF format because my scanner only creates image files. So most of my time since I got back is finally working on the completing the documentation.

After the return from our vacation, I started to think seriously of the move. I had thoughts on my possible colleagues, imagined encounters during future meetings and projects as well as thinking about my former colleagues who are now there. It will be a big change for me and I feel that it is best that one should not think about it. Instead one should just move forward and just do it instinctively. This will probably be one of the remaining lucky opportunities that I cannot miss in my life. I guess I am moving away again from my comfort zone although in the same job. As I filled the visa application form, I also reviewed my past job and responsibilities. As always, I again compared it to my previous colleague as a gauge if I am better qualified or not. I see that this is a pattern in my thinking: to imagine these silly episodes and try to second guess everything.

But I realize that life will be much simpler and without pretension. It will be an ideal life without the cynicism and decadence of modern city life. My challenge is to stay down to earth but also to keep our new life exciting to my children. I hope that they both can drive so they spend time exploring the place. This will be my goal to develop my kids: to increase their independence by increasing their skills in driving. I realize that I need to play a significant role in this stage. To be the more dominant player now instead of my wife. Yesterday I did this role again by bringing them to a new place in Singapore - the Marina Barrage. It was a nice place where we all had a chance to enjoy the outdoors and learn something new in the exhibit. I saw my sons speak a lot away from my wife and I. I suspect they were talking about the transfer and I think that my eldest son is trying to convince my younger son not to agree in the transfer.

In the evening, we had dinner at an old well-known restaurant that served Russian. We have Shashkli (or skewer) of chicken and lamb, hard-boiled eggs with bacon, borst soup and desserts of ice cream flambe with wine and orange liqueur and crepes cooked in wine and liqueur as well. It was a filling dinner and I think my family enjoyed the food. My eldest son left early to meet his friend in a party. I think I should not have asked the opinion of my son and instead should have lay down the law and said no discussions on the move. But I think it was important to ask his opinion and feelings, to give respect to his views. I hope I did the right thing because my wife and my dad feels that I may have made a mistake by raising the possibility that he can stay. I have crossed a threshold and realize that this is where the true difficulty will lie.

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