• The Things You Do

    Lessons Learnt From a Stubbed Toe

    Dear Xander, If change is the only constant in life, then the human capacity for learning is the one constant that will not only reinforce change, but allow us to embrace it. And the lessons we can learn can stem from the simplest and least expected situations. When you managed to stub your toe last Tuesday, your experience created not one but three lessons, learnt by not one but three different individuals. It happened at your grandmother’s house, after school and just before I came to pick you up. You were bawling — hard — in front of your dinner bowl by the time I arrived, and your grandmother felt…

  • The Things You Do

    The Star

    Dear Xander, Last Saturday, at a birthday party hosted by Mummymoo for her 2-year-old son, you managed to score a big bunch of helium balloons, 5 normal coloured balloons topped with a gold star-shaped balloon. You always had a love for balloons of any sort, but that evening you were particularly infatuated with the gold star balloon in that bunch. But after the party, as we were driving, I noticed the star balloon was losing its volume slightly faster than what one would usually expect from such balloons, so I said to you, “Your balloon’s losing gas. You know what would e a good idea? If we let it go…

  • The Things You Do

    Year One: Xander Writes Back

    Xander celebrated his fourth birthday today (and yesterday, and last Friday too, as 4-year-old kids usually do with their various social circles), and Dear Xander the blog celebrates its 1st year anniversary as well. As we wind down for bed tonight during this holiday season, Xander has asked to write a letter to me. A letter. To me. And up to this point, he has no idea this blog exists. So here is his letter, dictated to his dear old dad (who sneakily logged in here to transcribe his words), addressed to both his mother and I, completely ad verbatim. Dear Daddy, and Dear Mummy, I love you daddy. Because…

  • Other Things


    Dear Xander, Your 4th birthday approaches, and with it, your growing maturity. It is ironic that I speak of your maturity at such a young age, yet it manifests in ways your mother and I simply do not expect. And last Sunday, you made it clear to me just how much you’ve grown. Your mother and I had a crossing of words, stemming from a supermarket, and moving on to one of our not-so-usual fights during the drive home. Your mother was planning on buying groceries home to cook the night’s dinner. I thought we were eating out. One thing led to another, and suddenly it was finances, my unemployment,…

  • The Thing About Life

    Learning To Take Care of Yourself

    You've always had a strong love affair with balloons. Your mother didn't mind it so much, but it drives me up the wall sometimes. But then something happened a while back that I think may have changed the course of your character, and i think it worth putting down into a letter what I think is a milestone achieved -- with a balloon you never owned.

  • The Things Your Dad Does


    Dear Xander, Uncle Mark asked me over a beer had a conversation the other day. He said to me, “Bro, don’t take this the wrong way, but have you always been this cocky?” I said with a shrug, “Yeah.” “Then wouldn’t you be better off running your own business? I mean, I can’t imagine you being able to work for anyone — or for that matter — anyone who would hire you when you’re so cocky.” I replied, “Then the people you’re imagining are hiring aren’t the people I want to work for.” Uncle Mark was just being the best friend that he is to me. He’s also a worrywart,…

  • The Things Your Dad Does

    Honestly Speaking

    Dear Xander, When I was 11, through peer influence, I developed a kleptomanic streak (that means I used to steal stuff, and it became a habit). I only stole one thing in particular, though: back in my day, the large Emporium Holdings (similar to modern-day Isetan or Metro) had a display stand carrying brightly coloured button badges with rubber paint-penned slogans written on them. And I thought I was pretty good at it, too. My conquests, which grew to a good 30-40 button badges, were pinned on my schoolbag for all to see. But I was caught eventually at my neighbourhood department store, and my dad had to come bail…

  • The Things Your Dad Does

    Chasing Dreams is Hard Work

    Dear Xander, It’s been a month and a half since I switched careers to become a writer. You might have noticed it isn’t the easier of transitions; for one, I haven’t written to you or a while. Sorry about that. I took this enormous leap of faith knowing it will be an entirely new experience, but knowing it and actually experiencing it seems to be two completely different animals. There are moments where I feel like I’m very much on top of things, as a vocal contributor to the company I’m working for and a suitably experienced parent (I am, after all, hired to be a parenting writer). Then there…