25 Feb

In a recipe, ingredients can be carefully chosen and steps be carefully replicated to produce a desired outcome of a dish, but the same can’t be said about raising children. This important phase in Life involves more than hand picked ingredients and steps. The worse part is, unlike cooking there’s no classes to prepare you for the real thing. No Tv Shows like “Yan can’t cook, so can you!”

Amazingly, some do it like they have done it before. Without practice and some coaching, some have managed to do it quite well. Albeit using unorthodox methods.

Guess you could call my family, a semi transformational modern family. English speaking, traditional, yet with a little mix of the West.

Brought up by a Mother with rich maternal instincts with a lack of words and a Chauvinistic yet humble Father who constantly stress on family ties, three brothers manage to grow up to become three very different people yet deeply rooted to our teachings. Though close, never the family who would spout words of affection to one another. Poor mom has to suffer in the hands of insensitive chauvinistic men and plead for the occasion goodbye kiss or hug.

Though easier said than done, raising 3 little rascals as a housewife was rather simple when put on paper. One size fits all, except when we grew a little older the order of sizes were jumbled up a little with my eldest brother become the smallest, myself the second smallest and my second brother, fatass size. So everything was hand-me-downs till we got a little older.

My two older brothers are a year apart, while I am three years apart from my second bro. They say most accidents happen in the living room, I am a strong believer of that.

We have never had our own room, till now. Those with their own rooms would have gone, “Say WHAT?!”. Exactly, which means if we don’t move out soon before we get to a marriageable age, we will NEVER have had our own room. Ask me if I want to have my own room? I don’t really bother anymore. Living together in such close proximity meant higher chances of crossing each others’ forbidden boundaries. Something that would have triggered World War, but my favourite past time.

There were fun times and as we grew older, we realised and understood each others’ character and roles in the family. We accepted it and embraced it. Being the youngest, I was to be showered with pamper, as well as be the entertainer, the irritant and the butt of all jokes. The eldest brother had the tough job of leading the way, trying out everything for the first time. The second one was the obstinate one, always eager to shine and shined he did.

So how does it feel like living with a monkey and a rhinoceros you ask? Unbelievable. At the age of 23, I constantly ask myself how I survived. 3 brothers meant that squabbles led to fights and fights led to ROYAL RUMBLE. We grew up fighting, tattle telling, sabotaging and with long periods of cold war, lasting up to 3-4 months.

We all had our irritating habits and quirks. It didn’t take a few years to get use to, it took decades. In the midst of all the quarreling and laughter, we grew closer but still were never the kind to show or say it out. It took a while for cold wars to shorten, from 4 months to 2, 2 months to one, one month to weeks and weeks to days. Finally, we never let any argument boil over to the next day.

My eldest brother explained that though we all have set different paths for ourselves, we must never forget one thing, that we have the same blood flowing through our veins. This privilege cannot be found in any friends or anyone in this world. We didn’t get to choose who our siblings or parents are so this was fate. Nothing can be built within a day and we’re privileged to have a whole lifetime to build our relationship. Ironically, having said that we still aren’t the kind who would go: “I love you bro, I love you”.

As working adults, going out to achieve career goals and satisfy social cravings, we hardly see each other nowadays. My second brother is in China on a long 4 years trip and only comes back every quarter. Due to odd work schedules, I get to see my eldest brother in the mornings, but then again, little words are exchanged. The weird thing is, we can never bring ourselves to have a decent conversation, on days when we manage to catch each at home in the evenings, instead of saying “hello” or “how’s your day”. We greet each other with grunting half hearted hellos. We can even sit in front of our newly furnished living room watching the same glowing box and laugh at the same joke but not utter a word.

Somehow, you appreciate the little things only when it’s gone. Though we don’t talk much, there’s somehow a bond between us and it feels weird to come home to two empty beds. Two because my eldest brother got sent overseas as well. To Israel!

It’s not like they are never coming back but three’s a good crowd. 1 just don’t quite cut it.

Take care brothers. See you in a bit. You jackasses owe me a big present this year because you are both gonna be absent on my birthday. I heard iPad2 is coming our way. Just so you know.



2 Responses to “Brothers”

  1. Yan Shiang February 26, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    So, when’s your birthday? 🙂

    • Baldwin Ng February 26, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      Hey Yan Shiang. Why do you wanna know? Gonna mail an iPad2 to my place? hah

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