22 July 2013, by Dannie Cho

Sayings I Live By

One of the more irritating things that’s been happening on my Facebook news feed over the past few months have been sharings of “wise quotes” by “famous people”.

You know… like this one.

This was highly suspicious. Why would an inventor and tinkerer like Albert Einstein say that technology would eventually make all of us idiots? Well, according to this site, he did not. So, believe what you will!

Dubious attributions aside, I’ve always been irritated with them because in my mind, there is nothing – NOTHING – that beats the sayings that I have personally lived by. Here are three key sayings that have served me relatively well in various aspects of my life.



Tit-for-tat was properly brought to my attention some time in Secondary school, when I was voraciously reading all of Piers Anthony’s Magical Land of Xanth books. I think this game theory strategy was referenced in the book titled “Golem in the Gears”.

Simply put, tit-for-tat is a phrase that means ‘treat others the way they treat you’. I personally ascribe to Mr Anthony’s version in his book – Treat others the way they treat you, but always set your initial interaction to NICE. And even when things are in the NOT NICE stage, keep making occasional efforts to switch interactions back to NICE to see if it will be reciprocated.

Tit-for-tat forced me to evaluate how my ‘friends’ treat me. And those who turned out to be false friends quickly found themselves on my ignore list unless they were really pretty or had big tits.

Now, the thing about this strategy is that I ended up with a very small circle of close friends and everybody else just became acquaintances. Nothing wrong with that, except that I think it did stunt my social growth a little, because I became so used to communicating in a certain way to a very specific group of friends. I really have difficulties making small talk with a bunch of relative strangers now.



Give yourself a pat on the back if you recognise this quote! Yes, this Star Wars fanboy just had to have a quote from Master Yoda to guide him through his career.

To be honest, I think learning to eliminate the word ‘try’ from your work-life vocabulary does wonders to how your line supervisors see you. This habit forces you to instantly prioritise your work and set proper expectations. Compare the two examples below:

Example 1

Supervisor: Can you get this piece of work done for me by end of today?

You: Okay! I will try!

Example 2

Supervisor: Can you get this piece of work done for me by end of today?

You: I can do it only after finishing this analysis that the MD is waiting for. Get it done for you by 10am tomorrow?

Obviously, your supervisor is going to be initially unhappy that he’s not going to get what he wanted, but hey, now he can plan his own work around your more realistic timelines. It really is for the better.


Now, the third quote came from a really unexpected source, and I’m totally adopting it for my parenthood journey. Yi Lin’s sister passed on parenting advice from this website to her (Yi Lin), and I took a gander at it. I was not impressed by the advice given, because I am not that interested in raising hypersensitive kids who would need armies of psychologists to help them analyse what each and every written/spoken sentence mean. Seriously, right?

But to validate my initial impression of the article, I decided to scan through the comments left by other readers, and that’s where I found this gem of an advice:


“DON’T BE AN A******”

Thank you, commentor Sellout123 for this. His/her full quote is:

Here is the real tip for parenting, don’t be an a******. It can be hard, it can be a challenge but resist it. Don’t be an a****** to your child, don’t be an a****** to your spouse (or partner) and don’t be an a****** to other people. This is difficult advice because people define “being an a******” differently. But those people are a******s anyway.

Case in point: Yi Lin and I decided to make a trip to the last Baby Fair at the Singapore Expo ($10 for a pack of diapers! BUY!!!), and even though we got there on Thursday morning, we found that most of Singapore was already there. The car park was full, and there was already a long line of cars waiting to enter the car park.

Now, obviously, the way these car parks work when full is that it allows a certain ‘extra’ number of cars to get in to wait for lots, and then as cars exit the car park, more are allowed in. Since most of the early birds just stocked up on diapers and started leaving the car park, there was a steady stream of vehicles gaining entry.

But there was something very wrong with the entrance sensors to the car park, and the barriers for all four entrance lanes seemed to be randomly allowing cars to pass through. You know, Lanes 1, 3 and 4 would open up and let something like 5 cars through and those in Lane 2 would just be tearing their hair out in frustration. Then Lanes 2 and 4 would suddenly open up and the others would stubbornly remained closed. Net effect – You might have arrived in the queue to get into the car park first, but the 10, 20 cars behind you could possibly enter first because you were in a sucky lane. Yi Lin and I were stuck in one such sucky lane. We were the 5th or 6th car from the entrance, but waited for close to 30 minutes before we finally gained entrance.

Like I said. FRUSTRATING. But what happened next was, to me, unacceptable behaviour.

A motorist started yelling at the poor car park attendant who was on the scene, demanding to be let in immediately. Gesticulating aggressively. Peppering his demands with vulgarities. Blithely ignoring that the entrance gantry cannot and should not be permanently raised because the car park was already full.

Yi Lin and I looked at each other. This a****** was a parent? A person who cannot respect that another is just doing his job, albeit under very trying circumstances? Who believes that yelling, throwing tantrums and threatening violence solve problems?

I guess, some people, no matter how hard they ‘try’, just can’t take the next step in evolution.

Fun Fact
** Source unknown as I found this image on Facebook. Let me know if you are the copyright owner of the above image

So, anyway, there you have it. 3 wonderful sayings that you can live your life by. Live well and prosper. May the Force be with you.

Posted on : July 22, 2013

Filed under : New Mums & Dads

1 Comment


July 28th, 2013 at 12:01 am    

Lol, especially at the last saying! Thanks for sharing these 3 sayings with us 🙂 i enjoy reading yours and yilin’s blogs and have been regularly checking back for updates 🙂 And yes, i was one of those cheapos who rushed down to buy the $10 diapers too!

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