The Things You Do

The Family Vacation

Note: I understand Nuffnang sent out an e-mail inviting bloggers to First World Genting in July. I’d just like to clarify that this isn’t a participating blog post. We went on this trip before Nuffnang sent out its notification, so this isn’t a tie-in/advertorial/sponsored post (mainly because I didn’t think very much of the place, unfortunately).

Dear Xander,

I’m writing this at 3am, at the lobby of the First World Hotel in Genting Highlands.

The 3-star hotel, together with its theme park, shopping mall and just about every amenity it holds in its autumn-temperature environ, is truly a step back in time – the whole place looks and feels like a not-very-maintained 70’s bourgeois retail complex 40 years past its prime yet still stubbornly hanging on to its vintage grandeur.

Your mother and I, as well as the rest of your mother’s family that are 20 years of age and above, are barely surviving with our sanity intact, having to make sure that the parts of our family that are aged 20 and below are having the time of their lives this school holidays.

You and your cousins have hopefully had the times of your lives this school holidays, though it is evident that through your sore lack of sleep amidst all the fun activities, screaming bouts with each other and crying fits to go home that things aren’t quite as rosy as we would hope.

Experienced parents of pre-schoolers will know and understand that family vacations are as great a gamble as the entertainment that the casinos in this grand dame of a resort offers; we walk into the whole thing hoping for the best, despite understanding the odds, and often don’t quite get the results we expect. Sometimes we win something, sometimes we just get more grief out of trying, but always leave with a little more experience in the pockets we burn in the process.

But the same experienced parents will also have accepted that from the day their first child is born, the word “vacation” will never be the same again. Your mother and I made the commitment that you are now the reason we do what we do and live how we live. We put our own time, endeavours, and lives into ensuring you learn, experience and live in the safest, most enriching and most enjoyable childhood that we can humanly provide. Parenthood for us is knowing, accepting and acting upon the reality that you are the future. You are our future.

Your dad is not a gambler of money; I have never put my finances on any form of high-risk investment game, not even 4D or Toto. But I do gamble with my parenting methods when it comes to being your father, because it teaches me much more about how being your dad works than I teach you how the world works. And unlike the consistency of odds in any casino game, the odds I get better at being your dad get better and better at every single turn.

I’ve walked through every inch of the casino here at First World Genting, and I never once saw a single smiling face. but just coming back to our hotel room and seeing your face makes me smile, as does every other moment spent with you. You’re the biggest gamble I’ve ever taken in my life, and the payout’s been bigger than any jackpot prize any machine in any casino anywhere. Better still, this payout will last your mother and I a lifetime; we just have to keep doing what we do best.

Love you.



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