Hear them share about each other.
"I realized that many of my friends didn't really know how to fight; they just throw their arms around and get angry. But as I started to train and watch other martial artists, I started to see how angry I used to be in the past. I started to see that my fights didn't help me to reach my true potential."
Image provided by Yaash.
"At that point, Yu Shen also started tutoring me in Geography and Social Studies. It felt like he was a friend who knew more about the subject, quite similar to the way I tried to teach my friends some Muay Thai moves! We also had a lot of good laughs over a lot of jokes. Honestly, some of them are really quite stupid, so I don't dare to put them up here!
Yu Shen also likes Muay Thai, so that's a common interest for both of us. Of course, I still think I'm better than him, but sparring with him really felt like a learning experience. He taught me how to perfect some moves, and I could teach him some as well.
There was also this one time that Yu Shen taught me more about the Singapore government. I actually thought the PAP was an electrical company, because of that 'lightning' logo! But now I know better, and I’m really thankful for that.
If I were to say something to Yu Shen, it would be this: thank you. Thank you for teaching me so much, and I hope we can continue to be friends.""
"It wasn't just about tutoring. Through academics, I was trying to develop his character."
Tutoring isn't always easy. When I first started with Yaash, thre were quite a few times that he had to cancel or postpone our sessions. The social worker I worked with told me that I was too lenient with him at times.
As we went along, we did start to grow closer. Yaash and I both practice Muay Thai, so one time after a tutoring session, I asked him: "Eh, how's your Muay Thai?" He told me about his training, then asked me: "Why don't we spar for a bit? We can have a training session now!"
So we actually sparred together! Yaash was naturally competitive, and tried to "show off" some moves to me. But this competitiveness was really good; I could see that he had a real interest and talent in Muay Thai. He told me that he'll show me more moves, next time!
I count those small moments as breakthroughs with Yaash. On another occasion, we actually tried to do an exercise routine, over Zoom. I asked Yaash to come up with a regime, and we did one session together! We did have to cut it short, because he wasn't feeling well then. But still, I'm proud that he was responsible for something, and that we could do it together.
Yaash is really curious about many things. He knows and does care a lot! However, Geography and Social Studies can feel very 'dry', so I tried to relate them to the things we see around us. For instance, we both like Mala and Mookata, so we used that to talk about globalization. Yaash also told me how he saw our Law Minister Shanmugam at a public event, and that gave us the opportunity to talk about how our government and parliament is structured.
At the end of the day, I do hope that Yaash continues to be more curious, and to think more critically. If he can ask the right questions in life, that would be enough for me.