Time to wake up
I have not blogged for months since last November. Out of nowhere, a friend TS texted me one week ago,
“Hi, William. Hope you’re well. I miss your blogs.”
I replied tongue in cheek, “I’m in hibernation. Thank you for waking me up!”
Sensing my humour, she retorted, “Wake up! Your friends and fans are waiting for you!”
TS’s exhortation jolted me out of my inertia. Now that I know someone misses my blogs, it gives me an extra impetus to get back to writing quickly.
It’s so fortunate to have friends who encourage us in our endeavours, don’t you agree?
Was It Just A One-Hit Wonder Blogpost?
Over the last few months, so much has happened that I have scant idea where to begin.
Last year, the blog was gaining momentum with more viewers for every article I wrote. By November, there was a sharp spike in the readership. I had 15,000 more views in 2019 alone, four times more than the previous year!
It was not just the figures that made me sit up. I was motivated by the responses from readers. In the last post, some parents told me how my personal anecdotes helped them to solve the impasse they had at home with their children over the choice of school. I felt good knowing that my article made an impact on some readers. I had helped some families out there.
I was flattered when a private tutor contacted me for collaboration. I told him my rates for writing advertorial and my principle of writing only things I had experienced, so I needed to observe his teaching and interview his students. And I imagined that I would be able to give him some useful consultation. After all, with two decades of experience working with excellent teachers in Singapore and abroad, I do know a thing or two about helping children to manage their studies and advising people on running a successful education business.
It did not bother me when the tutor asked for my viewer statistics. But he made a remark about whether my latest article was “just a one-hit wonder.”
Alas! I naively thought that he was my supporter. Too bad, we were not meant to work together.
Nonetheless, the attention garnered made me rethink if I should focus more on education topics. As a matter of fact, friends were surprised that I did not write more about education issues all this while. The reason was simple. I started this blog for very personal reasons – introspection and connection with others. I had been a little reluctant to talk about work in my personal time.
Can I Up My Game?
I have a change of mind, now knowing that my writing can touch lives. To up my game, I contemplated to start a YouTube channel to engage parents on educational issues.
Thinking that it may be a great idea to bond with my fourteen-year son, Conan through this collaborative project, I tried roping Conan in,
“I am thinking of YouTubing. I think it will reach out to more people than blogging.”
Conan nodded, but he was kind enough to stop short of telling me, “I told you that long ago, didn’t I?” As if he knew what I was going to suggest next, Conan said, “It’s a great idea, but I don’t know how I can help you.”
“Well. You will make a better Youtuber than me. I think people would prefer to hear directly from your study experiences. And your personality is likeable and you certainly speak English better than me.”
“Oh yes, Dad, you really need to fix your pronunciation.” Conan chuckled as he made a dig at me.
I said, “Well. That’s why I cannot do this without you. But I am good at creating content. Let’s collaborate.”
Conan grinned in agreement.
But it was an untimely decision. My workload at the workplace unexpectedly increased dramatically in November. There were occasions I had to bring work back home to work over the weekends, something that I have always refrained from doing since five years ago. I became too tired to hit the keyboard. I had had enough of screen. I had to shelve the idea. The idea of Youtubing with my son hit a roadblock.
Try something else
Instead I turned to doing something else with Conan- cultivate a common hobby of reading Chinese martial arts novels (武侠小说). I was so glad to see that Conan, who had stopped reading Chinese books entirely for the last three years, has taken to the books authored by Jing Yong（金庸）, the titan of this genre.
Week after week, we devoured books borrowed from the public library. To encourage Conan, I tried to read at least one book ahead of him. However, after a while, Conan asserted his independence by picking up books that I had yet to read. I ended up chasing after the titles that he had read. The shared hobby brought me and my son closer.
The most obvious benefit was Conan became more conversant in the Chinese language. One morning during our regular weekend breakfast time, I intentionally prolonged the conversation to see how long he could hold the conversation in Chinese. Conan pulled it off very well! I saw in him a newfound confidence in the Chinese language.
It came as no surprise when his Chinese language teacher sang praises of his command of Chinese language at a recent teachers-parents meeting. The teacher said, “Conan is a rare gem who reads Chinese novels in his spare time. Hardly do I see any other students interested in reading Chinese books these days. I was therefore disappointed when he did not ace in his recent Chinese test like his other subjects.”
To this remark, Conan explained sheepishly, “Well, the reason is simple. I can read everything in Chinese these days. But writing the Chinese character is another matter. Those marks I lost were all because of writing.”
I laughed and said to his teacher, “It’s alright. Grades do not matter as much as his love for reading.”
The teacher nodded approvingly.
Stick To Purpose
Sometimes, we get derailed from the things we set out to do. But it’s not always a bad thing as long as our purpose remains the same, don’t you agree?
William W K Tan
8 March 2020, Sunday