Never stop being kind...

Posted by ~Summer~ on August 16, 2018
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"Mama, why is it that kind things don't happen to kind people?"

I didn't plan on sharing this on the blog but you know how inspiration just hits you at times and you have to get it out of your chest somehow. For me, it was hearing my girl asking me this innocent question and sending me into a whirlwind of emotions that prompted me to pen this post. So, here goes...


If you've been following me on social media, you might have heard about the saga that happened to us last Friday. Long story short, we went out for a whole day of fun and feeling empowered even though it was a solo parenting day and the hubby was out sailing, I brought the kids out with their friends for our first rock climbing session followed by our first laser quest experience, then I took them for water play, then met up with my parents for dinner, then we had some bouncy castle time before calling it a day at 9:30pm.

We decided to take a cab home as we had so many bags of barang barang (we went out straight after school), a stroller and three happy but exhausted kids. The big sister, who is usually my most trusted helper, fell asleep on the ride while the preschooler was half awake and the toddler demanded to be nursed. In trying to wake the kids and get everything and everyone off safely when we arrived - in a bit of frenzy as the cab was blocking the traffic - all it took was one careless moment for me not to check the passenger seat, only to realise 10 minutes too late that my phone had unfortunately fallen out onto from my back pocket (I don't usually put it there but I initially wanted to call a cab and instead saw one for hire so we dashed in and I just conveniently shoved it into the jeans pocket and forgot about it). Oh dear oh no.

In trying to stay as calm as possible, I called Comfort and managed to get hold of the cabby who said that he would detour back to send me the phone and all I had to do was to pay him the meter fare. I heaved a huge sigh of relief, only to hear him saying on the other end "But Mdm, I cannot see any phone on the seat." I tried to frantically call my phone a few times in the hope of getting someone to pick it up only to have it get through, then hung up intentionally, then went dead in a matter of minutes.

Yup, and just like that, it was gone. Stolen and kept by the next passenger who didn't really think about how much pain it would cost me not just to have a new phone disappear, but to have all the precious pictures and videos of my kids vanish into thin air too. The cabby gave me all the details he had and based on my last known phone location, his story checked out. A man in his 50s who got off at Cafe 107 in Serangoon North Ave 1, the only one who boarded after me since it was such a short interval, was the one who took it without showing any intent of returning since it's been nearly a week already.

I wish the hubby had been around that night because he is the street smart guy who remains cool-headed even in time of crisis. Plus, he would have had a phone to lend me (I could only use our house phone which I don't think I've used more than a couple of times lor), a car to drive us to the known location which is not too far away or he could have at least accompanied me to the police station to lodge the report. I felt so miserable, bad and guilty that entire night as I stared into the computer and changed all my online passwords, terminated my SIM card, credit card and so on - only to realise that I was never going to get any sleep because I blamed myself so much.


The next day, the hubby was still not back and since my phone was registered under his name, that meant I couldn't get a replacement SIM card yet so I ended up bonding with the kids, taking them for McDonald's brunch, going for a swim and talking to them without a phone to disrupt me or social media to tempt me every now and then. Which is a good thing right, to learn to focus on the kids and be truly present?

These kids are my life and you have no idea how much their hugs and kisses reassured me that things were going to be all right. I didn't shed tears over the incident the night before but I did lose my cool, I did get frustrated and I even buried my face in my hands to let out the agony when I realised that the phone was likely gone forever. At first, the kids went quiet, then when they understood I was feeling distraught, they came over to give me a big tight bear hug - which is the best medicine in such situations.

In wanting to make light of the situation, they also asked me some of the most thought-provoking questions along the lines of....

"Mummy, why the uncle want to take your phone when it's not hers?

"Shouldn't people just return things that are not theirs to take? Isn't it, like, a normal thing to do?"

"Why we always return things to people but they don't wanna return ours?"

"Why do people do dishonest and bad things?"

"Why will anyone wanna hurt another person? Why don't they care about others?"

And the one that hit home was when the big girl asked me

"Mama, you try to be kind but kind things don't happen to you. That is so sad. Why?"


Granted, we are not the most benevolent or self-sacrificing people around. I totally admit that. I still put my family's needs first before others and I can't say I am as selfless as I wish I could be. That said, we try to do a little bit here and there - for instance we help out in donation drives, we reject birthday gifts and instead do fundraising for charities, we donate to the less fortunate, I do volunteer work in the kid's school, I buy treats for the security guards and janitors whenever I can, we stop to help strangers on the streets who need a helping hand, we host parties and gatherings for our friends and family often, and we don't hold a grudge against anyone but instead always remind ourselves and our kids to spread love, joy and kindness in this world.

This year, we picked up two wallets on the streets and made sure they got returned to the rightful owners. Simply because it is the most basic thing to do - return what doesn't belong to you. Well, I don't even pick up money on the streets because I just don't feel good about taking or keeping what is not mine, you know what I mean?

It's good to know that the big girl thinks that Mama is kind but it's at the same time heartbreaking to know that she is questioning about why people should be kind if kindness doesn't come back to them. Isn't kindness supposed to beget kindness?

So I thought long and hard and how to answer their questions, which I believe was quite a good healing process for myself as I focused on the positive things in our life and the things we ought to be thankful for.

Dear Kids, 

Life is kind to us, in many ways that we fail to see sometimes.

We have a closely-knitted family, we have the three of you who are life's greatest blessings, we have a roof over our heads, Daddy might be away often but he has a stable job, you have grandparents who dote on you, we are able to take short overseas trips every once in a while, our neighbourhood is filled with playgrounds and parks and empty spaces for you to scoot and cycle around, we get to eat three meals a day and dine out in restaurants on some days, we get to watch cartoons, documentaries and movies, we get to go to zoos, safaris and theme parks, you are able to go to school and receive a good education, you can pursue your hobbies like art, swimming and dance, we live in a safe country and are not afraid to roam the streets at night, and most importantly, we are all in good health and that is not something to take for granted, you know? There are so many, so many more things in our lives now that we ought to be thankful for and I hope you will see it the way I do.

Please know that we must never stop being kind to others, no matter what happens. Sadly, you will come to realise that not everyone in this world is good. Not everyone is the kind, honest and responsible being that I hope you will one day become. But please, don't let that stop you but let it make you more determined and make you stronger. Never stop believing in the goodness of people, never lose hope in life no matter how dismal, and never stop caring for one another or for the stranger on the street.

Thank you for being my guiding light and for reminding me that as long as our family stays together, nothing else truly matters. Tangibles are just tangibles - money can be re-earned, things can be re-bought and memories can be re-created. 只要我们一家人在一起,那才是最最最重要的。

One of the pics I took using the Samsung S9+ phone. I will definitely miss the camera because the old phone I have isn't half as good! Still, I believe everything happens in life for a reason and I just gotta learn to let go and move on. =) Definitely learnt a lesson already!

I was just saying to the kids the other day, maybe it is a sign for me to put away the phone, stop trying to take so many pictures and videos and instead enjoy the moment and use life's best camera - our hearts - to capture the joy, the emotions and the memories.

My girl told me matter-of-factly, "Mummy, I think it's not the heart that does that. It's the brain."

Yeah, I think my smartypants got it right but regardless of using heart or brain, you get what I mean. That we need to immerse ourselves and live in these precious moments more than trying to capture it digitally. I hope I can do it better from now on. And for the record, I will also make sure I keep a closer eye on all my belongings from now. My girls have identified themselves as Spotters #1 and #2 and will be helping me to make sure we never leave anything behind again. Fingers crossed!

P.S. I'm also very thankful to the hubby who didn't give me a earful when he got back but instead empathised with my situation and told me things were going to be okay. Yup, he is the most understanding and generous guy I know, which is why I married him mah. It's kind of ironic that he was the one who insisted on getting me the new phone, a brand new Samsung S9+ when he re-contracted, only to have me losing it after a month. Thankfully, we didn't spend a bomb (the phone, after re-contract and discount, cost us less than $300) but it will be over a year before we get to re-contract again. It feels kind of fated, that since I didn't want it initially, the phone decided that it didn't want me too. Haha. 命中注定。Anyway, I'm back in action with an old phone and more importantly, a renewed sense of direction in my life and a determination to be truly present when I am with the kids.

*An earlier version of this post stated that the passenger was a female. Police have interviewed the cabby who confirmed that it is a male, so we probably had some miscommunication initially. Not that I think it matters to solving the case because it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Just hope for the best but prepare for the worst!


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