jon's blog

i could go on for 40 days and 40 nights about my blog title and bore you to bits and pieces with 10,000 different ideas i actually had for the name of this blog but because of the 500 characters limit that is imposed upon this mechanism which, by the way, is supposed to promote free speech, i shall shorten it to just two words basically describing what the hell this is all about and who this hell belongs to.
Monday, June 09, 2008

how i got my Platinum card and still couldn't make the father proud

(apologies for having not blogged for so long, plenty of activities and educational pursuits and work matters, apologies for another post on family issues as well. you must be bored to death hearing about my father and his constant suppresion of myself. i'll blog about something as next week. otherwise, i'll.... ehrm... post naked pictures of myself!)

my paternal family has the sort of 'fun-filled family activities' enthusiasm going on that can really sometimes irk you to death. you see, it all started with one fine Christmas gathering when the entire family committed to spending more time together. this particular Christmas gathering was the one that had just passed apparently. the one whereby my father tried to convince the entire family that the world was ending and that we were to tighten our chastity belts and keep a good check on our faiths to see if we were still in tune with the Lord. the one when everyone simply just laughed at my father's all too zealous belief that the world was ending. the one whereby my father still has a sore spot over the fact that the paternal family laughed at his claims.

in all honesty, it wasn't that my family didn't believe in his theories of apocalypse. everyone in my paternal family (well, practically everyone - i'm not that there yet in terms of faith) is a strong Christian that truly deserves a one-way ticket to heaven. but it was more of the way he did the whole spiel that made everyone think that he was verging on a crusade or matyrdom. it's all cool to believe in an 'end-days' theory, but to be a doomsday preacher is way not cool. which my father apparently needs someone to drill it into him. but how many people actually approach their local doomsday prophet and actually correct them or tell them 'it's not cool'?

the more i think about it, when i actually dress my father in the scholarly robes of yore, hand him 95 pieces of theses and place him in front of the Wittenburg church door, i begin to realize that i have actually been living with a Martin Luther in the house. not exactly in a 'it's wrong for the Catholic church to withhold the bible in a foreign language from the public' kinda way, but more of 'i challenge the authority' manner. it's quite apparent that the doomsday belief of this Martin Luther father of mine (and i say this with all the love in the world for the man who raised me up) has apparently tainted and coloured his social life. my father has only friends from church. my father only conducts business dealings (eg. insurance agents) with like-minded brethren. he even managed to convert his best friend from Catholicism to Christianity. last heard, i think he was a Deacon in one of the sister churches of my dad's in Canada.

so you see, given that we're not getting much of a social life in terms of a family unit, i think it's a prudent investment of time to go on various outings with the paternal family over the weekends. what sort of outings you say? thus far, when we don't head out into the public, we rotate potluck parties at each others house on a weekly basis. we would try to have themes and prepare dishes in accordance to the themes. so far, we have only been successful at Western, Japanese, Korean and of course, Chinese cuisine. actually the Korean was falling apart with the appearance of Chinese ngoh hiong rolls (translated to mean '5 spices' - it's my grandmother's speciality).

when we do go out however, it's much more interesting. we do morbidly embarrassing things like go out to the park with picnic tables in tow. we literally find a grassy spot under the shade and open up this grassy-green coloured portable picnic table that's the size of a hedge. in fact, it blends in very well with a hedge (thank goodness!). since we have only two tables that can sit a family of four, the others would make do with the trusty ol' picnic mats. and not just any ordinary picnic mats, but tacky Spiderman 2 mats courtesy of Colonel Sander (it came free with a family feast from KFC). and sometimes i question their cleanliness because we don't often do picnic moments together. so the picnic mats tend to be in great need of dusting. i can't really tell whether it's just Spiderman's webs or really cobwebs.

during these picnic outings however, there's always a bizarre mix of foods. everyone brings whatever they can lay their hands on. packets of chips that nobody eats at home, a big metal pot of Shark's fin soup (can you actually say that you actually have eaten Shark's fin soup in a park in shorts and singlet), bottles of green tea, a box of 16 doughnuts, roasted duck, a chunk of agar-agar that looks like a fish (??). of course, there's the standard fare of fried vermicelli and finger foods like sausages and nuggets.

it's all these outings that i come truly prepared. i bring along a good novel and my ipod and indulge in a good half-hour's worth of reading. another person who does the same, albeit without the music, is my uncle-in-law who opened the nursing degree programme that i'm currently being educated at. my selection of reads are mainly limited to fiction and the occasional popular non-fiction literature. whereas my uncle-in-law is the direct opposite. he reads books on financial management and success. he would always be armed with a copy of the Business Times and financial magazines. titles like 'You Can be Financially Prudent Too!' and 'Money Matters' flash across my mind when you ask me about the books that he reads. i just met him again last week and i saw him reading 'Master Plan of Evangelism'. eclectic mix of books, that's all that i can say.

i've come to realize that the both of us are the only one who don't really talk much to the paternal family. my reason mainly being that i'm in the presence of my parents and don't find much comfort in expressing myself. my uncle-in-law however, it's a different matter. the only moments he chips in are when it involves politics and financial matters. and he's quite well-versed in these things. listening to him talk is like watching a political commentary. which admittedly, thrills me to no boundaries. i'm sure he quotes most of the stuff from the books that he reads. but it's almost like watching Robert Kiyosaki at work. which is quite possibly the next best thing to sex (for me, at least).

Robert Kiyosaki and Martin Luther... isn't my paternal family quite the fun bunch?


they say that good financial habits comes from good parenting. however, when it comes to all things financial, i'm about as wise as a piece of banana money. my parent's idea of financial prudence is a matter of saving for the rainy days. as the free thinker of the family, i feel a presing need to go against the grain. every day seems to be a rainy day for me. after all, what's money if you don't spend it? of course, i'm not that callous with money. just a tad more generous when it comes to friends and colleagues.

still, i've come to realize that i've made many financial errors in my life. one of the top ones begin that i took up a financial advisor that was introduced to me by my mother. she joins the church choir (she's a soprano) and knows a lot of people in there. one of these people that she's connected with, is an insurance agent or more aptly put these days, a financial advisor. he's a Christian guy whom i suspect is a closet case or at least someone who's trying to suppress those man-loving tendencies. he owns EVERY season of Friends on DVD (not exactly crminally gay) that he keeps in an OCD-resemblant disc folder, he speaks in a light tenor voice, and well... the ground that he treads on basically sprouts pink daisies. but he's a good Christian aman and i can without a doubt attest to that. problem is, i don't feel comfortable sharing my financial situation with brethren that are as like-minded as my father. and my financial advisor is one of them. it was with him that i signed up two insurance policies that amount to a monthly premium of $354.67.

my parents expect a monthly contribution from my salary to the household expenses. which i'm actually fine with. the initial amount was a whopping $500, which in reality i can figure out lots of foolish ways to dwindle it down. i can buy all the lap dances i want for an entire night and still have enough to spare for a a supper for two, a cab ride to the nearest love hotel and the transit rate there. i bargained it down to $300 stating that i was just starting out work, which the father expressed unhappiness and compared me to the cousins who literally contributed $500 a month. if there's one thing parents should never do is to compare their children to that of relatives. it's demeaning. and anyways, the brother's the one who wastes electricity by leaving all the switches on on the 'vampire' electronic devices.

then there's the issue of my school fees that sets me back by about $250 every month. my phone bill as well which never exceeds its stipulated minutes every month since i don't really like to talk on the phone. this basically results in me having roll-over minutes EVERY month. i do subscribe to a wireless broadband service though. total - $67.50. a World of Warcraft account costs me $25.14 per month. adding the odds and edds and i fork out a total of $997.31. i bring home about $1.8 - $2k every month from working the permanent night shifts. which leaves me about $1K every month. and apparently, it's bordering on being insufficient. i find myself lacking about $50 every month. i think it's the smoking.

you see, i smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. and i can't do the low-end brands because they make my throat phlegmy and leave a terrible after-taste. not that i'm trying to be prissy or classy or anything like that. but the only cigarettes that i can enjoy and i find a good investment in are Dunhill Kings, Consulates, Camels and Marlboro Ice Mints. so it's practically $11-12 a pack. not helping is that i need to be at Starbucks every weekend to help generate these blog posts. so if you add up here and there, i'm actually surviving on an amount that's just sufficient, short of $50. i throw $50-100 into savings every month which i end up having to tap back into.

i'm not thinking of quitting smoking or even cutting down any time soon. the last time i bought new clothes was when i was in Thailand. before that, it was during the Chinese New Year, before that it was Christmas and before that? my birthday in October. so i'm not exactly splurging on materialistic goods.

so when i think about my finances, it basically all boils down to matter of unwise financial decisions that i'm bogged down with. the insurance especially. but i understand that in the long run (pending the doomsday prophecy), it really helps. the bigger problem though is that every month i'm constantly having to head back to the parents for money. and i'm not asking money from THEM, but rather, trying to tap on my savings which i decided to let my father safeguard. alas, my father being the prophet of the end times would never release my savings to me without 'the talk'. now, 'the talk' would usually last about a half hour or more. it would usually start from my smoking habits, and develop and evolve till it reaches his favourite doomsday prophecy. the first few times when he did it, it did have some form of impact on me. subsequent times however, it was much less impressionable. mainly because it was the same old recycled material that he would always use. keywords that would often pop up during 'the talk' would be things like 'gnashing of teeth' (to describe what hell was like), 'seven years of trials and tribulations' and 'rivers turning to blood'. and all i wanted was the take some money from my savings...

and to crown it off, he would never ever release my savings to me based on a previous experience of me splurging when i had a lot of money in my bank account. of course, i was young and i was new to the whole concept of holding a singular fifty dollar note in my hand. and splurge i did. what my father would normally do would be to take him like a credit card and roll over the money. so every month, i tap on my father's credited money and roll the money to the next month to pay him back. in all reality, i might as well get a credit card with all the legal and financial implications behind it and be spared the hellfire and brimstone prophecy.

so i did the administrative procedures for a Citibank savings account and credit card application over the weekend. it was smooth-going and my application was approved within two hours. it was after that unfortunately that i had to consider whether to come clean with the father regarding my credit card application. because, living with them is like living with the Secret Police. they used to go through all my mail until one fine day when i raised my voice and locked my bedroom door. they were so freaked out that they never dared to go through any of my mail again. i decided to save the voice-raising and door-locking for emergencies in the future.

out of love and honesty and a responsibility to my parents, i decided to talk to my father about the application and its approval. i tried a 'i want to take responsibility of financial matters now that i can manage better' tactic with my father. suffice to say, my father on top of being the Martin Luther of the family is now quite the wet blanket. 'Are you sure you can manage a credit card because from previous records, i don't think so,' he started. and thus he launched into his barrage about bankruptcy and the seriousness of it and how the banks will come after me if i can't pay up and et cetera. i was hoping for something more along the lines of 'oh congrats on getting your first ever credit card' or maybe even a smile or some sense of pride. and he once again had to make a comparison between my all-too-perfect cousin who saves money every month and contributes a lot of money to the household and can rent a car every month to take the family out. i hate being compared.

i'm thinking that i will never ever be able to make the father proud unless i become a Martin Luther myself. alas, monastery robes and all that are just not my thing. i wish the Robert Kiyosaki of an uncle-in-law was my father. but i try to refrain from doing that because that's already a comparison, no?

posted at 8:42 am by the nurse | Permalink |


Hi, take the week of and post your naked picutes instead!
Wanna to let you know it's been fun reading your blog. Thanks
By Anonymous Patrick, at 2:12 pm  

Financial freedom is good as long as the responsibility is there. But, honestly, I can really wait for a month of no new article. Hence, NAKED PICTURE!!! LOL
By Anonymous wikiencyclopedia, at 3:01 pm  

I admire the way you are setting your boundaries and standing up for yourself. You're not a child and you're not benefiting from being treated like one. I'm curious why you need insurance policies, though. Your health cover ought to be taken care of and a life insurance policy is not something you're going to find useful, ever. It's not like they will need a big payout if you die. If the premiums are keeping you from saving money and moving toward a state of financial independence, and quitting smoking is out of the question, then the insurance probably needs to go, IMHO. Considering the cost relative to your income, it sounds like this is a bad deal, and one you'd do well to extricate yourself from.
By Blogger Marshall, at 5:53 pm  

Oh, and I'd also be ok with the naked pictures. :)
By Blogger Marshall, at 5:54 pm  

You take really great pictures. What are the models of all the handphones that you have used so far to take all the photos displayed on this blog?
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:17 pm  

silly to indulge in an expensive unhealthy addiction when you are barely able to make ends meet.

maybe the nasties in cigarettes have gone into your head.
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:43 pm  

It's hard to make someone proud especially when you don't live up to the person's expectation. Just remember that you have to lead your own life not your father's. Be true to who you are and follow your heart's rhythm.

Seriously if you smoke a pack that lasts for two days instead of one, there will be a savings of more than a hundred!
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 pm  

honestly, getting a credit card is not a big deal. you want to make your father proud, i am sure stopping the harm your smoking do to your body is a good start.

my brother smokes and it pains constantly me a great deal to see him being addicted.

stop being a self-absorbed, i-know-what's-good-for-me person. at least, with your smoking, you don't really understand nor care what's good for you.
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 pm  

maybe you should write a book? your life is quite interesting what. haha.
By Blogger Darren, at 12:18 am  


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:43 am  

When you are short of money, using a credit card is not a good and is really the last option you would want to consider. Sign up for a credit card for its perks, not as a loan.

If you are not comfortable with your financial advisor, dump him. Seek one that is reputed and you are comfortable with.

Since you have a 'Robert Kiyosaki' inyour midst, maybe you can approach him for advice?

Smoking KILLS! - but it's really your prerogative.
By Anonymous loy_sci, at 9:00 am  

Well, are you sure you are not living in hell now?
By Blogger Marine Man, at 3:01 pm  

nursing must be paying a lot better than i thought.

i sympathize with you about the father issue. my dad is ALSO like that, minus the religious part.

$500 a month from a nurse's pathetic pay is like asking for your entire pay.

do share tips on how i can do the same :)
By Anonymous lulu, at 5:23 pm  

oh.. u so cute..
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:43 pm  

i like ur family soliloguoys but i also like naked pics of u too. so lets have both.
it looks like u have committed $350 a month to insurance which u dont need and cannot afford at this early stage of ur career. pl dont tell me the insurance is life insurance, or critical illness insurance or loss of limbs, eye etc.. why should a single gay guy without dependants want that kind of insurance for? maybe u can ask for it to be suspended without penalty?
By Blogger creating my life, at 8:23 pm  

Financial responsibilities. We all have them especially at this age :) A bit difficult balancing your own needs with the duties you owe to your family. You do seem to be doing fine on that.

Though we'll check out your first credit card bill first!

BTW I love your blog and the stuff you write - but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to see naked pictures of yourself.
By Blogger savante, at 9:28 pm  

post naked pics of yourself! now!

- melvin
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:25 pm  

oh trust me. i so understand the part on been compared to ur oh-so-perfect-cousin. I am a nurse too ( a male one too =p ). and i always get compared to my cousins that are either dentists and doctors. *roll eyes*

oh yea. I go for the Naked Pictures too! haha~
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:49 am the UK usually you pay about 1/3 of your salary for rent.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:16 am  

making our parents proud of what we have earn is a difficult thing, been there done that.

know how u feel le....

but anyway, what ur dad told u about credit card could also be true if u can't control the expenses.

waitin for the naked pics jon ha ha ha.....
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 am  

*chants* "naked pics naked pics nekkid pics!" =P

in all sense of the world, i suppose you could prove it to him how you're managing ur finances by showing him evidential proof?

it's quite a wet blanket when my dad compares me to my cousins so i can really understand how you feel. and they used to go thru my mail as well, until i threw a huge fit. the rare voice-raising really works. lol..

with regards to ur financial insurance, while it's gd to take up at an early age esp. in our 20s, there's no point in paying thru ur nose for it.

see if you can reduce the premiums to release the additional liquidities, afterall it's ur policy and ur future so you shouldn't hesitate to want to make changes in ur policy.

the coverage may be reduced as well but smokers under insurance policies would have been classified as higher risk so it doesn't matter. unless u mind.

otherwise, since smoking is out of the question, try to eliminate other unnecessary expenditures. i still think u need to get back ur savings and show some discipline in order to instill trust.
By Anonymous junior, at 12:12 pm  

oh btw, you live near sunshine place huh? seen u a couple of times on my way to camp. lol..
By Anonymous junior, at 12:21 pm  

I think Jon needs his vices too...which is not too many apart fr d occasional sexual romps n cigarettes. Do whatever u feels happy with cos life is short...having said that, if baring yourself is ok...why not? Hehe...
By Blogger Anthony, at 1:57 pm  

I understand being compared to cousins when it comes to financial standing, status and academic level. I have a cousin of the same age whom my parents compare me with ALL THE BLOODY TIME. It's demeaning, yes. But the worst part is when the cousin's parent is just as condescending towards you. But it doesn't matter now; my family now knows what calculative pricks that family can be.

ANYWAY, great post. Made me think of my own financial problems, but also made me think of my own abilities that make me different (if not better) from other people. You think that way too it seems, which is a good thing. I mean, life is lived happier when you have reason to put a smile on your face. :)

I didn't know your dad was the whole "Fire and Brimstone" kinda guy. I guess everyone will meet (or live with) someone like that at some time of their life. In one way or another. I guess my mom sounds like that sometimes too. Now I just don't go home when she's awake, just to avoid that.

Also, instead of having your father safeguard your savings (which I'm sure are more than mine), why don't you open a separate bank account, and then stow away the ATM card/bankbook? I do that, and it actually helps in the saving process. I dump a set amount of money into the secondary bank account and use my primary bank account for my personal expenses.

Dunno, worth a shot though. :)
By Blogger prawninator, at 5:28 pm  

hi jon,

picnic! i remember when i was young i went to a sunday school which organises a picnic at pasir ris park. at that time, it is a newly reclaimed park and all of us were so excited to visit it. the sunday school teachers taught us a song:

"i love my jesus deep down in my heart. i love my jesus deep down in my heart. talk about deep deep down and down..."

we are so embarrassed as we need to do funny actions in public (shake your bom bom) but yet enjoyed ourselves. my mum went to the beach with other parents where one teacher talked with them (talk what? you should know..) we, as kids, have home made sardine and egg mayo sandwiches for lunch. they tasted delicious as chinese don't usually have such western food then, and i think such food only common in church picnics and church families in the 1980s.

the church is fortunate. i have heard of a country where people who have been barred from having picnics in gardens just because they wear pink slippers. some people in authority were afraid that wearing pink slippers in the gardens will turn the grass pink. pink grass! so unnatural! so in order to prevent the surrounding grass turning pink (like a contagious disease), they either forced them to wear green slippers to conform to the surrounding 'natural' color, or NO picnic!! sounds ridiculous eh?

brimstones and fire..i remember one christmas when i just came back from a charismatic church cell party. it was a rainy night. before i went to sleep, i heard a loud voice and alas! part of our roof in the living room collapsed and hit the ky idol and it fell broken on the floor. (oh please, ky =/= ky jelly) my parents woke up and got grieved and frightened. i, as a luther kid, laughed in my heart (amen! PTL! effective charismatic cell group prayer eh?) but acted firm and preached about idolatry and God's judgment on their beloved idol on His birthday!

then later i felt i have done wrongly. i should not gave hellfire sermon at my own instinct but not sensitive. perhaps i should have a formal dinner with my parents and say a formal sorry to them?

i used to compare my parents with Christian parents few years ago. now i know that having parents who are not martin luther's relatives can be God's greatest blessing (at least you can be a luther boy for quite a while :P...kidding)
By Blogger asianthirst, at 5:52 am  

This comment has been removed by the author.
By Blogger asianthirst, at 5:52 am  

hmm... looks like we can look forward to some naked pictures of you!
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 pm  

i disagree with those who say that insurance is not important, esp for gay guys. firstly, who says gay guys has no dependents? aren't parents future dependents? shouldn't one be responsible for the well-being of one's parents should something unfortunate happen? i mean, shouldn't we be grateful to parents who raise us up?

even if it's not for parent's sake, then it shld definitely for ur sake. as a nurse, u shld know how critical illnesses like cancer or heart attack can happen to anyone. and i'm sure u know more than anybody else the financial burden that it brings to the family. many people think that once u get cancer, it's the end of the world. but cancers can be cured, at a cost of course. many people say that when they have cancer, they simply wun get treated for it. well, one can do that (at the expense of the family's heartpain of course), but who's going to pay for the remaining expenses that one wld incur (e.g. food?). i mean, how can one continue to work when critically ill? wldn't that be another financial burden on the family?

so i am actually quite apalled that many people who commented on ur blog thinks that a gay guy dun need insurance. everybody needs insurance, gay or not. still, having said that.. you shld always get insurance that matches ur financial capabilities. but since u have already committed to a life insurance, it's not worth it to cancel it. just stick with it. my only advice is to cut down on smoking. :-)

ur friendly insurance "advisor"
By Anonymous ju, at 1:24 pm  

by the way, i'm 24 and i'm paying $450 a month on insurance. i'm well covered and i have the peace of mind. If anything happen to me, it's all covered by my insurance. not many people my age can be that assured. on top of that, i save $250 a month and i pay $350 for school fees. that's $1050 just on fixed cost. I earn only $2000 now.

in many ways, i'm just like u. working, paying through my nose for my university, and i do crave for the little luxuries in life. there's only 2 ways to go abt it. earn more now. or spend less now. to me, i can't spend any lesser than wat i can now, so i try to earn more. well, hope it all works out for u, nurse.
By Anonymous ju, at 1:31 pm  

naked pics next week ya ;p

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:48 pm  

I guess it's time for naked pic.
By Anonymous wikiencyclopedia, at 1:19 pm  

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About Me

Name: the nurse
Home: Singapore
About Me: i'm a nurse, i'm gay, i smoke, i play the piano, i patronize the theatre, i flip through glossy magazines for no apparent reason, i love sex, i am a left-handed libran, i watch art-house films mostly, i love house music, and did i say i love sex?
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