Thursday, February 22, 2007

Following Authority

Here's my first reading recommendation for the year.

It takes a while to get through, but it's worth it.

In a nutshell it is research on followers of authority, and the characteristics of authoritarian followers. The reason I find it so fascinating is its application to the Singaporean mindset - both pro and anti-government.

In my attempt not to bias my readers, I will not write more. Read and leave a comment if you want a discussion. I may post my thoughts on this sometime in the future.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


As promised, I return to writing about post divorce issues.

I had recently obtained news that cast my divorce in an entirely different light. I don't quite want to talk about it, but suffice to say, quite a number of the issues that I had written about weren't entirely accurate. In some senses, the divorce still has its impact on me.

A highly cosmetic change was weight. My weight yo-yoed fantastically during this period. I went from blubbery to (relatively) stick thin to blubbery again in a very short period of time. I was seriously wondering if I was developing body image issues or some form of clinical depression. Fortunately, the cause for me was more mundane than that.

When I am upset, I don't eat. My stomach ties itself into knots. When I finally regain my appetite, I usually feel so starved that I eat tons to compensate.

How I regained some measure of discipline was one part discipline, seven parts coincidence. An old friend of mine referred me to this. Over the month and a half that I have started taking it up, it's become the lynchpin of my routine. I've since lost 2 kg over 1 month, and developing some muscle tone.

I suspect my current, slightly-healthier disposition has more to do with the mental aspect than the physical. Having a routine to stick to helps. Doing something you would enjoy helps even more. When that something involves your childhood fantasy of actually being able to swing a sword around, it becomes that much more engaging. Engaging enough that you consider how to make yourself even better at it.

I'm not encouraging all divorced men to go out and take up swordfighting. It's just something I chose to do. What is more important is to head out and do something. Recognise that there is probably going to be a lot of anger and hurt inside you, but there is also going to be a lot of unspent energy. I suggest channeling it into something aggressive and macho-shit.

Yes, I am aware that I will be accused of overcompensating, but I think of it this way. My pride and self-worth took a serious hit during the divorce. Learning to fight, to swing a sword, and to wrestle my opponent to the ground builds my confidence, teaches me something new, and allows me to vent my frustration without actually hurting anyone.

Plus, if I get my hands of a snooker cue or a broomstick during a streetfight, I'd at least be able to take down one assailant before the damn thing breaks and I get overwhelmed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A New Hope

My divorce is finalized.

I did not cry as much as I thought I would. On the contrary, I feel a vague sense of relief. The worst is over. Time to move on.


Somewhere in my flailings to maintain equillibrium, I resorted to hunting for online articles on coping with divorce. What I discovered was fairly shocking.

  • A large number of divorce sites are focused on women's issues.
  • A large number of the remaining sites focused on men are focused on prospective single parents, especially on how to get and keep custody.
  • A large number of sites focus on legal advice, without discussing the emotional impact. This is especially true on Singapore sites.
  • An overwhelming number of sites focused on divorced men maintain how one-sided the legal system is against males.
  • A minority of divorce sites dedicated to men are incredibly misogynistic.

In short, I could not find many sites that could offer what I was looking for: A fair balanced view of how to cope with life as a divorced man with no kids.

So, here I am, writing again. I am doing this for three reasons.

The first is that it will help my recovery. Writing stuff down allows me to document my progress and track in a tangible fashion how far I have gone and have left to go.

The second is to address the dirth of literature in this area. I confess that I write from a fairly limited perspective. I do not know anything, for example, about what it is like to be the one initiating the splitup. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that what I write here will be comforting at least to the extent that a divorced man can know that he is not alone.

The last is based on a piece of advice that Mr Wang gave me a long time ago. Write about what you know. I know what I've been through very well. I am far from being an expert at this though. I will be writing about what I did to get through this. You mileage may vary.

I will not be writing about certain things though. Don't expect to see these up here. My communications with my ex-wife, if any, will never be mentioned. I don't think she was entirely pleased that I wrote stuff on my blog about our breakup, even though she consented to it. Hence, to be cautious, I will not be writing about it.

I will also not be writing about my dates, relationships or my sex life. I understand that these are aspects of recovering from a divorce. Understandably, I'm a little raw in this area, so I'm not entirely comfortable writing about this.

Oh, and I will still be writing whatever I feel like writing. Interesting stuff I see, shameless plugs, whatever.


Yes, this does mean that I'm back. I will be writing as regularly as I can and probably at the frequency that I used to write while I was still in California - i.e updates once every 2 weeks if possible.

I'll be working on a post later in the week about dealing with weight gain/loss during the divorce. In the meantime, if you are interested in hearing about a particular aspect, drop me a line.

It's good to be back.