Friday, February 06, 2015

Excuses, excuses

I wonder if my excuse would be considered 'valid' if I were a kid and had to explain why I was late for school this morning?

Y'see, Sir... just as I was leaving my house, I stopped to say 'goodbye' to my cat who was sitting at the door. I bent over double to pat his head, but he took the opportunity to jump on my back, proceeding to settle himself down by kneading my tailbone area, a feline activity sometimes referred to as 'making biscuits'.

As I was working out how to get him off without startling him and consequently getting stabbed in the back with his claws, my other cat approached for his morning head-rub. So there I was, one cat nicely settled on my back and the other around my ankles soliciting tactile attention. If you can picture it, I am in quite an undignified position, like Liang Po Po being mobbed by a couple of furry, over-familiar autograph hunters.

Suddenly, from behind me, there was a gurgle and a splat. The cat on my back had upchucked his breakfast -- right onto my shirt and pants. Some had got under my waistband and was trickling down my butt-crack too.

That called for an equally Liang Po Po-like hobble -- claws be damned --to the bathroom to seek human assistance in cleaning up areas of my person beyond the normal reach of my own arms. Then a quick shower and a change of clothes before returning to clean up the mess remaining on the floor at ground zero. And only after that, could I leave for school.

And that is why I was late today.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Pioneer Generation

It's good we can recognise our 'pioneer generation' with some kind of tangible tribute. What the old folks went through, and what they had to be prepared to do to put us where we are today was no mean feat. They deserve what we taxpayers are awarding to them, all $8 billion of it, so that they can have a better life in their twilight years.

What I worry about is that we start thinking of that generation as the only pioneer generation. That today, because of their efforts and their sacrifices, we have it made. We haven't. Every generation has its share of struggles, and especially for our little island, every generation is its own pioneer generation.

The generation we hail as 'Pioneer' is the generation of immigrants that made our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural fabric work. They created a sense of belonging by embracing and cooperating with each other. It was a sense that they, regardless of ethnicity, background, or opportunity belonged to the place.

If we really want to honour our 'Pioneer Generation', the money is good -- but it's more important that we don't undo the good they did by turning it around and start acting like the place now belongs to us.