Stress Got the Best of Me

It has been a month since my last post. So much has been going on the past few weeks, I barely have had time for myself. As you know, I am currently juggling on a daily basis, three major responsibilities: taking care of my baby, full-time work and also full-time studies (Master’s degree). The three are already overworking me both physically and mentally.

When shared with others of my situation, I’ve been told many things. That “it doesn’t seem all that bad”. Or “I’m sure you can do it”. Or “it’ll pass”. Everyone would say something along that line. Sometimes, I’m not sure what to think of it. Are they just trying to be politically correct? Other times, I understand why they said it; simple, they just don’t understand. Rather, most of them don’t bother to try to understand. And these are people I think of as my friends and family. I find this reality really sad.

I’d rather have people tell me honestly, “I can’t imagine how tough it is for you but you can talk to me”. Or from someone who’s not close to me, “I’m sure it’s tough. Let us both keep pressing on”. What I need is not pretty words or politically correct answers. What I need is support, people who show their concern and to know that I’m not alone. I don’t think it’s that difficult in this day and age. It could be as simple as checking in on me once in a while, “how are you holding up?”. Or planning something simple, “let’s meet up this Saturday or any other day if you’re free”. Even if the plan fails, the effort goes a long way.

I lack such people in my life.

So, in hopes more could understand my situation better, this is how an average week of mine is broken down. We have 168 hours in a week. I spend an average of 48 hours at work, 12 hours in school, 12 hours (or more) on assignments (about 4 submissions weekly), 4 hours of travelling, 12 hours (or more) visiting my parents and in-laws, about 7 hours of eating (assuming my total time taken to eat a day is 1 hour) and 56 hours sleeping. That leaves me with 17 hours. Sounds like much time, right? Sure it does, THEORETICALLY. In practice, I still need to shower, I need time to change clothes, pack my bags, play with my kid, spend time with my wife, sit and do nothing and rest. Even then, I still make time to socialise; meet with friends, attend gatherings, etc. All at the expense of my limited time.

All these have caused stress to accumulate in me. Stress that I have no time and energy to deal with and manage. And one day in the past month, stress got the best of me. I contemplated giving up on my Master’s as my classmate very recently did. Thankfully, I managed to purge some of that stress away. At this time, I’m reminded of the lyrics:

“Even the best fall down sometimes”

This post could easily be seen as a complaint post. My intention is not to complain or to show off my busy and hectic schedule. My intention is to try to reach out to those in my life, to please try to understand my constraints. I will make time for you, and when I do, please do not add on to my already overflowing burden and stress. Acknowledge my presence, play games with me, talk cock with me, laugh with me, smile with me. Don’t worry about my issues, that’s for me to worry unless I’ve gone to you specifically about it.

To my friends

If you’ve read this and have my number, drop me a call or text. It would at least let me know that I’ve still got friends out there looking out for me.

Thank you for reading. Writing this allowed me to release some steam. Now, back to my assignments.


One Marriage, Two Weddings, Three Days

On this day last year, the third and final day of our wedding ended. Honestly, it was the most exciting three days in my life, filled with lots of memories and love.

It’s not very common, at least amongst the people I know, to hold weddings that are three days long. The first evening was our solemnisation, second evening was our Chinese wedding and the third was our Malay wedding.

As our marriage is interracial marriage, I thought that it was only natural that we’d invite guests from various cultures. Throughout the three days, we accommodated a total of approximately 1500 guests from different cultures and countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Myanmar, Australia and the UK).

We held our solemnisation on 22 Feb 2019 evening which lasted for two hours. It was a private event where only family and close friends of about 100 were invited to attend. The solemnisation was held in a Malay-Muslim custom. The Kadi (ROMM official), with the presence of two male Muslim witnesses, are needed to officiate the marriage. The venue was at a void deck near my parents’ HDB block. The same venue was used for our Malay wedding. The event was a first and rare experience for most of the non-Malays.

The next morning, I woke up at 7 am to prepare for day two. Day two was something new for me. I had never witnessed a Chinese wedding before. I had only known of it through videos and stories from others. We started the day with the gate crash, where I had to fetch my wife from my in-laws’ house. It wasn’t that easy though. In order to reach my wife, I, along with my groomsmen had to go through challenges a.k.a “gates”. Although it was difficult to clear the gates, we had fun. After clearing the gates, I received my wife from the room she was kept in.

Soon after, we had a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. During the ceremony, we had to offer our families tea as a formal introduction as a couple to our families, pay our respects and show gratitude. The tea ceremony ended a little past noon. We headed out for our photoshoot and ended in the evening. The venue for our photoshoot was where we first met – Changi Fire Station.

In the evening, we headed to Day’s hotel for the wedding dinner. Normally, Chinese wedding dinner in a banquet setting, with tables of ten in a ballroom or such. We held ours in the hotel’s restaurant, in a buffet setting. The wedding dinner was held for four hours, which ended at 10 pm.

On the third and final day, we had our Malay wedding. The Malay wedding was also a whole day event. The reception started at 11 am, where guests were invited to eat freely from the buffet served. I only arrived through a march-in process led by the kompang group (a group of Malay percussion), accompanied by my groomsmen and some family members. Once I’ve sat on the dias with my wife, we had performances by the kompang group and a Malay dance group. The reception was then followed by a photo-taking session with us. The session took longer than planned. I had initially set aside an hour for the photo-taking session but I think it took close to two hours, which forced us to rush through our lunch and change of costume. Our second march-in was delayed by half an hour but it did not affect the schedule much. We had another photo-taking session in our second outfits, cake cutting session and ended off with a speech.

The day did not end for us just yet. We had a sunset photoshoot in our second outfit with our groomsmen and bridesmaids till 8 pm. After which, I held a small get-together at my new house for my foreigner friends who flew all the way just to attend my wedding. I was really moved by their actions.

The three days were tiring but nevertheless, an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. The fact that we had a wedding in the customs of both Malay and Chinese culture made the experience even more unique!

If you were involved in any way for my wedding and are reading this, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for your presence and love. May God bless your souls.

P.S. Enjoy some photos from the wedding.


My First Anniversary

Today marked my first anniversary being married to my lovely wife. Time really flies. It has already been a year since my solemnisation! So much has happened in the past year. We’ve both learned so much about and from each other.

We decided to celebrate our first anniversary yesterday instead of today as I had work. My initial plan last year was to celebrate our first anniversary by going on a holiday (most likely Japan again! Haha) but well, life happens and instead, we’re given the best gift we could ever ask for! We went for a simple dinner together. Only this time, a little different. It wasn’t just the both of us but went together as a family of three!

It was really exciting to bring our little one out for the first time. He was so excited to see the outdoors. He sat so adorably in his stroller with his eyes wandering about and his occasional smiles. We can’t describe how happy we were for such a simple occasion. It’s totally different from going out as a couple.

Sitting down waiting for our dinner to be served, I surprised my wife with a gift. She read my letter and shed tears of joy. I’m not sure how to explain this but I feel really happy whenever I witness her tears of joy. My heart feels really warm. It got better. At the end of the letter, I stated that she would get a present in exchange for a kiss to both myself and our little one. She was so shy.

After which, I took out her gift. Her first reaction was laughter, thanks to the gift being wrapped in pamphlets which I recently got from a shop. I guess that speaks a lot about me. I’ve often told her I find it a waste of money to buy wrapping paper. While the shape of the gift was obviously giving away the answer, she guessed wrongly a couple of tries. When she finally opened one flap of the wrapped gift and took a peek inside, she smiled from ear to ear and squealed in excitement. That made me even happier! She was so excited to be gifted something she’s been wanting for months. She kept repeating like a broken record about how she couldn’t believe I’d actually gift it to her. Her excitement lit up her face as she tore the wrapper and held her brand new Airpods in her hands.

I would like to believe that my strategy worked as I prepped her mentally earlier not to expect much for our anniversary and that I hadn’t much prepared. She said it was fine but I could see her eyes expressing disappointment. But man, I would have really been an ass if I really had nothing prepared. For this year, I’d say I’ve accomplished my mission.

We ended the night on a very good note as we reminisced the moments we’ve had over the past year and talking about what we’d be expecting in time to come. I’m really blessed to have such a wonderful family and I pray to continue to be blessed for the rest of my life.


Don’t Expect Having a Child to Change Your Life

How much I’ve changed in a month since becoming a dad. I’m pretty sure, many like myself would have heard how life-changing being a parent would be. I didn’t realise then how vague that statement was. One thing I can tell you upfront is – don’t expect having a child to change your life.

Being vague, I definitely formed my own impressions and thoughts. I thought it’d be a huge life-changing impact. Even right now, I’m having difficulties explaining my initial thoughts. Maybe how I viewed it was that having a child would change my very purpose of being alive. I thought my life would revolve around my family. I thought my life and career goals would change. I’m pretty sure I had a stronger impression but I’m not able to put it into words. Whatever it was, it’s definitely positive, seeing how excited I was.

Exactly a month has passed since I’ve taken on the responsibility of another life. How much has my life changed? How much of my impression was right/wrong? Let’s see…

I’m still…
  • I’m still playing games
  • I’m still seeing my friends
  • I’m still working the same job
  • I’m still studying
  • I’m still spending the same amount of time at home
  • I’m still watching my dramas
  • I’m still frugal
  • I’m still stubborn
  • I’m still lazy
I’ve changed to be…
  • More emotional
  • More understanding of other parents
  • More family-oriented
  • More easily agitated
I’ve lost…
  • My alone time
  • My beauty sleep
  • My privacy
  • Part of my money set for me
I’ve gained…
  • A new family member
  • Lots of love
  • Attention
  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Wisdom
  • Sympathy

So, how much have I changed? That’s pretty subjective. My life is definitely more family-centric now. I schedule my time around them, I buy things with them in mind, I always look forward to seeing them after a long day at work, I smile when I think of them, my phone is filled with photos of my child now. Heck, even my sleep pattern is defined by them.

However, other than that, I believe I haven’t changed all that much. What I want to say here is, many expect change externally. However, it doesn’t work that way. Change in us can only start from within. External factors are just motivations to help you change.

Don’t expect having a child to change your life. Likewise, don’t use your child as an excuse for your changes.


How I’m Getting My Sleep as a Dad

I was warned by many dads that once I have a child, I can say goodbye to proper sleep. What I mean by proper sleep here is getting my eight hours of undisturbed, quality sleep at night. I took their warning lightly, thinking, “how bad could it be?”. I wasn’t too worried then about how I would be getting my sleep as a dad.

I’m pretty sure many would expect me to be facing similar experiences as they did. They told me they did not get sufficient sleep, at best, six hours and that would be considered a luxury to some. Even then, it’s not consecutive six undisturbed hours of sleep. They’d get the sleep in blocks of one to two hours, multiple times throughout the day and night.


So, I prepared myself prior to my son’s birth. First, I broke up my sleep. In the beginning, I’d sleep for four to six hours, wake up for a toilet break then sleep the remain hours until I got my eight hours. As time progressed, I shortened the intervals and wake up more times. From waking up once to two, till up to four times. Of course, when I was exhausted, I let myself sleep through. I wasn’t training myself, just giving my body an introduction of what to expect.

Secondly, I planned with my wife strategies on how we could possibly handle the situation. We would each take day or night shifts caring for our son. Or, take turns attending to him each time he needs us. This option is not my preferred option as it would lead us to be calculative. The scenario, “I did it the last round, it’s your turn”, would be inevitable. The third option is to take “shorter shifts”. For instance, she’d take 12am-4am while I’d take 4am-8am or vice versa.

Third strategy would be to play by ear. This is a weak strategy, in my opinion. In the beginning, it would seem like it’s fine but I foresee that weeks or months in, when we both start to feel more tired, we would argue about it. Just like in TV shows, the husband would nudge the wife to wake up and it would become a viscous cycle. That’s something I would want to avoid as much as possible. The kid is both ours and it should be a shared responsibility, not only a single parent’s.


It has been a little over two weeks since we’ve become parents now. I’m glad we’ve done some planning before. Currently, we’ve been toggling between our first and second strategies. On nights my wife seems tired, I would take up the night shift, while on nights that I’m tired, she’d take up the night shift. After which, I would let her sleep more in the day or vice versa. Although, it has been more practical and comfortable for us to adopt the second strategy. Neither of us has to be up all the time the entire night and we can both get sufficient sleep. She often prefers to take the first half of the night while I take the second.

In practice, we don’t decide before we sleep or ahead of time at all. It has so far come naturally to us. If she feeds and changes our son’s diapers at midnight, she would very likely take the first half of the night or the entire night shift, in the case that I wake up for the second half.

We’re both tired and need our sleep. It’s all about supporting one another and not to be calculative. I’m lucky I’ve been working shift jobs the past seven years as so far, I’m doing more night shifts. Because of that, she gets more rest at night. Even then, I’m still getting six to eight hours of sleep every day. I’m glad with how I’m getting my sleep as a dad.


I was Not Fully Prepared for Parenthood

Nine months ago, my wife and I found out we were going to be parents. It was the biggest news of 2019. Thrilled, we spent the next nine months preparing ourselves the best we could for parenthood. We read books and articles on parenthood. We even talked to other parents, new and seasoned, for their perspective and experiences.

Being first-time parents, we had many questions that needed to be answered before the arrival of our baby. Living in the time of information, our questions could easily be answered by the Internet. Also, because we’re living in the time of information, it is extremely important to use what information we’re being fed with.

Every person’s experience is different. However, that doesn’t make others’ experiences invalid to us. I always believe in listening to different stories and opinions with an open mind. I would not shut anybody’s story, instead, I would ask myself how I would approach should I be in a similar situation. To do so, I would have to verify the facts first by cross-referring. In my partnership with my wife, I’m often the one who often does the fact-checking.

I won’t be going in detail with regards to what information we acquired as it would make better sense to write another post on that separately. I will, however, share what I failed to prepare for (in my own standards).

Emotional Management

I’ve read many books and articles which described delivery to be a trigger of many strong and powerful emotions, from joy to sadness to even possibly postpartum depression. Books can describe these emotions to us well. Although, we can never truly understand it until we or our partner experience it.

As expected, my wife has shown a spectrum of emotions. I wouldn’t say it’s like her mood swings on her periods as it’s more stable. In the recent few days, she’s been expressing that she has been feeling “uncomfortable”. Unable to put her finger on exactly what is causing her to feel uncomfortable, she sometimes expresses frustration. Knowing that it is part of the process, I’ve been trying to be understanding. I can tell you one thing. It is definitely not easy to be understanding when you don’t understand what exactly is going on. So, whoever tells you that emotion management is the wife’s problem, don’t believe it entirely. It almost equally becomes the husband’s problem as the husband will suffer the consequences. Stress has started to build up.

Cultural Expectations & Pressure

My marriage is an interracial marriage. I’m Malay while my wife is Chinese. We thought the difficult part of the different cultural expectations were over months ago. Boy, were we never more wrong. With the arrival of our baby, there are even more expectations.

Each of our cultures has a set of traditions for the mother and child. From both sides, we would hear, “You need to do this”. “You cannot do that”. “You must follow this”. Need. Cannot. Must. Three most common words we would hear, almost dictating what we have to do or avoid. If we chose not to adhere, we would receive an earful. Although it is of good intention, it can be pretty stressful. I’m a very logical person and often a justification for any actions. However, many of the traditions are not justified by science and not logical to me. Having said that, my wife and I are very lucky that our parents are understanding and often, we’d meet in the middle.

Due to expectations and wanting to meet them, it resulted in pressure.

Time & Sleep Management

If you ask any parent or read any parenting book, they would touch on the topic of time and sleep management. Throughout the nine months, every parent would remind me to get enough rest. If you google “how to get rest with a baby”, you would get plenty of advice and theories. Do, however, keep in mind that they are just theories. Many of the parents I know, despite knowing the theory, are still unable to practice it.

My wife suffers from this more than I do. It is definitely not because I’m not doing my part. I wake up as much as she does to attend to our baby’s needs. I’m also always the one staying up with our baby when he doesn’t want to sleep. So, why is she suffering more than I? Simple. It’s simply because I’ve been working on 12-hour shifts for almost seven years now. Should I have not been working shift, I would be suffering as badly.


Everything I’ve described above contributes to the stress that’s snowballing within us. It seemed manageable at first but have recently seen to be a little more challenging than I thought. That stress has started to hit me just two days ago. I haven’t found an outlet to relieve my stress. Neither has my wife. That stress would definitely start to put a strain our relationship if not addressed. We’re not upset or disappointed in each other. Rather, it’s due to the stress we’re facing individually.

So, in conclusion, I had managed to prepare myself enough theoretically but no matter how much more I could have done, even if I could turn back time, I believe that I would never be prepared enough for parenthood. Parenthood is something we can only prepare better as we experience it. That doesn’t mean that we should not prepare at all. What I meant is that we should prepare ourselves for parenthood to the best of our abilities and understand that without the experience, we can never be fully prepared.


One Week Old Dad

Last Saturday, my little bundle of joy was welcomed by his loved ones twelve days ahead of his expected date of arrival. What used to be a home for two, now is for three.

It has been a week since I’ve become a dad to my newborn son. I can feel that my life has started to change, fast. It has been an exciting and interesting week! As much as many would like to hear the woes of becoming a new dad, my experience thus far makes it tough to focus on the woes. The happiness my little bundle of joy has brought me overcomes everything else that bothers me.

I’ve heard of stories from fathers about the feeling when they see the moment their little bundle of joy is born. They have been described to me as “one the best day(s) of their lives”. Some shed tears, some smiled from ear to ear, some screamed in excitement but I haven’t heard any father spoke any negative experience. I always thought, what’s so exciting about seeing a baby being born? It’s just a little human being coming out of his/her mother’s vagina! There’s nothing to be happy or excited about seeing a human being covered in blood and bodily fluid, or so I thought. It was finally my turn.

0122hrs of 18 January 2020, he ‘popped’ out of my wife after a long and hard 42 minutes of deep breaths and pushing. All of a sudden, something hit me. Hard. I found myself smiling hard, hardest I have in my entire life. I felt my heart pound like I sprinted a 100m race with all my might. My legs were jumping up and down like a kid receiving a new toy. My hands reaching out as if a kid asking for candy. Every inch of my body was in hyper-mode! All the experiences shared to me through the words of fathers were understatements. You’d never know the feeling until it’s your turn! It was at that moment I truly understood why people called babies a bundle of joy. Their existence is like a huge dosage of endorphins! It definitely was by far the best day of my life!

My vision was focused on him alone, the background went grey. My hearing only heard his cries while everything else sounded so muffled. The gynaecologist was calling out to me but I only heard her after a few times. It was time. I was asked to cut the umbilical cord. This, I was not prepared for. I thought the doctor would do it. I was nervous. My hands shook. My heart started racing again. Cold sweat ran down the sides of my face. I reached out for the scissors, pointed it as instructed, in the middle of two clamps. My fingers moved and I began to cut. I imagined it like that of cutting the ribbon at an opening ceremony. Except, it was the start of my son’s life and a new chapter of my life. It was that moment when I felt the change, literally like a shift in gear, something shifted imaginarily in my head. “I’m now a dad”, I whispered.

I looked at my wife. She was relieved from the pain, her eyes fidgeting to look at her newborn whose line of sight was blocked by the nurses. I held her hand, kissed her and thanked her for pulling through such a painful experience. We stayed for two nights before getting discharged on Sunday noon.

Leaving the hospital made the “I’m now a parent” moment more real as we walked out of the ward with our newborn in the arm. The days that followed were full of firsts for us. While my wife was occupied with recovery, I pulled my ass which would normally be glued to the sofa up and did all I could to lessen her burden, from helping to nurse, shower our baby, send him to his doctors’ appointments, registering his birth to providing her with the emotional support she needs. She’s gone through so much, my efforts are incomparable.

With so many experiences and moments the past week, I wake up every day, looking forward to spending all the time I can with my family. I will not say that I can’t wait for my son to grow up and see his development. Rather, I would say that I want to be there with my son at every step of his development.

This is an exciting beginning to a new chapter of our lives.


New Year, New Decade, New Milestones

Happy new year, dear readers! It’s a brand new year. Last night, we bid farewell to 2019 and ushered in 2020, marking the start of a new decade!

I’ve had this domain for over two years and it has been “under construction” since. I’ve been procrastinating despite having told myself to start posting. So, when else is better if not today? Well, let’s hope it’s not a short-lived resolution like other previous years!

Before I start my new year, I’d like to quickly revisit 2019. 2019 was an eventful year. I achieved so many milestones, making it the most happening year in my life thus far! So, from the beginning of 2019, what exactly did I achieve? In sequence, I finally got my new house (first time being an owner, yay me!), got it renovated, got married to my beautiful wife, had a solemnisation ceremony and two wedding events (totalling to three very eventful days), went for our honeymoon of almost a month in Japan, my favourite country, settled into our new home, found out we’re expecting, got enrolled into Master’s degree, got to know we’re gonna have a baby boy, finished my Specialist Diploma in Sports and Nutrition, went to Japan again for a week this time (did I say it’s my favourite country to visit?), started my Master’s course and ended off the year feeling very accomplished! Wow, that’s a lot of things that I’ve achieved! *Patting myself on my back.

Ushering in the new year, rather than achieving many things, I would like to be more focused. My main resolution/goals for 2020 are to be a good husband/father, get my fitness back up (I slacked too much last year) and to successfully graduate from my Master’s program. Other smaller goals would be to run my personal blog and read at least five books this year. Sounds achievable, doesn’t it? Let’s see by the end of this year, how much I’ve managed to achieve.

In a nutshell, if last year was like surfing big waves, I’d like this year’s waters to be calmer, not particularly small or no waves, but smaller and calmer waves. If that didn’t make sense to you, forget this paragraph, yeah?

How about you? Any new year’s resolutions?