Sunday Times column – Kids and smartphone usage

Here’s my second parenting column for the Sunday Times, this time on managing smartphone usage with the kids.

As parents, we both love and hate the smartphone.

On the one hand, it is the stuff of science fiction that we could only dream about in our youth.

On the other, it is a deadly glowing drug that we all struggle to stop looking at. We are always afraid that it will destroy our lives, as well as that of our children’s.

The risks are real and deadly.

Will our children fail their exams if they keep playing games? Are they surfing porn in the toilet? What are they chatting about in their many WhatsApp groups? Are strangers baiting them online? What malware is about to trap them into financial blackmail? Are they taking questionable videos?

Putting a smartphone into the hands of children is not something to be sniffed at.

Sunday Times column – Telling Tales At Dinner Time

The Straits Times recently invited me to contribute columns on parenting to their Sunday Times newspaper. So here’s my first piece, of which I originally titled “Telling Tales At Dinner Time” but a copy editor thought otherwise. In any case, it’s pleasant to see my byline again after so many years after I left journalism.

Many parents worry all the time about their children’s future.

What jobs will they have in the future? How much will they earn? Whom will they marry? Which enrichment classes should they take?

That is why so many parents push their kids so hard for good grades, in the hope that they will fulfil the ideal scenario of coming into wealth and owning a nice condominium.

No, I do not worry about the future of my two kids – a Secondary 2 son and a Primary 6 daughter. I am more concerned about not being able to tell my kids my life stories that they need to hear before they enter the working world.

You can read it here.

The death of motorcycles in Singapore

People come to this blog daily to read about riding motorcycles in Singapore, or how to maintain their two wheelers. Thank you for being a reader, but I am afraid this may be my very last post on motorcycles.

You see, motorcycles are systematically being wiped out in Singapore by policymakers. Very soon, there will be little to write about the joy of motorcycling here.

From meager motorcycle quota allocations to $6,000 Certificate of Entitlements that cost more than small capacity motorcycles, SG riders have had to endure all sorts of transport policies that hint persistently that bikes are not really desired on our streets.

This week, the final nail in the coffin came when it was announced that there would be a new three-tier taxation regime imposed on motorcycles. Already, new large-capacity bike prices are increasing by up to an additional $27,000 (or the price of a brand new 1000cc Japanese sports naked)

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Thoughts at 40

It was weird how the day I turned 40 in August was the same day I became long-sighted.

Suddenly, I had to hold my smartphone further away to read the fine print, and the same goes for my Pebble 2 smartwatch which features tiny fonts thanks to its millennial designers.

How did my eyeballs know when to start degrading with clockwork precision?

Indeed, 40 is a strange age to be in. I’m not old enough to be a cranky elderly citizen, nor am I young enough to be considered a spring chicken.

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