To Go Fast, Go Solo, But to Go Far, Go as a Duo


It is true I have not been as active on social media. Fewer articles, fewer pings and quite likely, fewer motivations to find musings. It is true that I have got busier, and it is probably my recent hospitalisation (as of time of writing I’m out) that triggered me to consolidate my thoughts on a humbling privilege.

Privilege

Having planned life so individualistically to the point my parents had already long given up nagging on the usual CNY questions, I would probably have never caved into societal pressure to date. But some words finally nudged me out of the man cave.

“Your job, politics, position – everything is temporary. The only thing that you are forever, is a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather.”

Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan’s words on his blog in 2013

I have seen colleagues get the axe recently. All of us have seen how politicians have lost power. Famous people have fallen from grace as well. All of those are ephemeral. I shall write about one of the non-ephemeral aspects.

Journeying with someone with the possibility of being together, forever, is a privilege that I am still learning how to enjoy, especially given how exclusive it is. Said privilege is also bijective (i.e. a one-to-one function).

With such privilege, one has to consider an axiom:

“Thou shalt always consider partner; it is important to keep her happy.”

Modified from a Whatsapp chat — name has been redacted and axiom modified to avoid traceability.

But how does someone know how to do a good job to be able to then make a considered, calculated decision? This requires communication, and a realisation that said privilege person is trusted enough to share fears and vulnerabilities with (definitely not good cybersecurity advice, but here I wear the dating hat).

In fact, it was in my recent hospitalisation stay that I felt utterly vulnerable. Whilst awaiting test results for tuberculosis (TB), I was confined to a room about 6 m2. I was in the queue for one of twenty one beds in the isolation ward. What was supposed to be a 4 – 24 hour stay in A&E became, quite quickly, a 36 hour one.

But it was a call on Tuesday evening with the significant other (no reveals hor, unless you bump into us on the street) that made me rehash the whole idea of privilege.

She initially wanted to visit despite me explaining that I was waiting for TB test results (maybe she didn’t read the memo that TB is in fact, rather contagious). But it was really quite a detour for her, so I suggested we had a call.

But it turned out that was the most uplifting call I ever could have. What we thought was a quick call eventually became over an hour of quality time. (I admit I cried in gratitude inside.)

Normally, in dates, we would like to impress each other. Dress to the nines, and find various tools, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to impress each other. But it is usually in pivotal moments of hardship like these where the idea of privilege hits so hard.

Perhaps due to my seriousness, I would view my privilege as one where we will put in eternal effort, keep monitoring key parameters such as the health, quality and extent of the sparks of our relationship. This has been my most challenging assignment yet; no amount of Physics or cybersecurity problems exceeds in challenge yet excitement as this one.

Why So Serious?

Being serious about something involves skin in the game. In short, I now, too, have skin in the game, and these are uncharted waters to me. Privileged, but unknown.

Of course I would have inner worries that I blunder in guiding the relation-ship (pun intended). Some of these blunders can be pre-empted with prophylactic responses to simply avoid them, but what we don’t know can lead to blunders that we simply did not foresee.

I’m Quite Happy For You; How Can I Help?

In such a navigational journey, I guess there have been many who have come before us and have succeeded in at least understanding how to think about what works. This is perhaps my moment of humility where I ask some of you for some guidance, some of which are as follows:

  • How do you work together in dealing with conflict?
  • Who are some role models when it comes to making a relationship work?
  • What are some of your learning moments in your own relationships?

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