Man at His Best

Opinion: Parenting a dick

Imran Johri shares how to discipline a friend's spawn of Satan and keep the bro-hood alive.

BY IMRAN JOHRI | Feb 1, 2016 | Sex & Relationships

Illustration by Carl Larsson, Wikimedia Commons

We all know of at least one child of a friend who is the devil incarnate. A barely-human critter so dastardly that non-parents, who have encountered the creature, stop having sex for a while, for fear of spawning one themselves.

True bro-hood friendships can withstand love triangles, fire-tornadoes and even a 20-year zombie apocalypse, but a tantrum-rich devil child can tear even the strongest bonds asunder.

A friend has one such child, albeit a lesser demon, and for many years, “it” has been a pickaxe-wielding termite that’s been chipping away at our brotherhood base.

He, the thing from the black abyss, did it gradually and meticulously over the span of a few years, wearing patience and murderous inclinations thin. This was achieved by behaviour both reprehensible and nauseating at the same time, at every gathering that had his unfortunate presence.

Problem is, you can’t discipline a bro’s spawn. That is his duty alone. Sure, you can give the brat the evil eye, or a well-timed “Oei!” but that’s it. The discipline MUST come from the testicular source.

Sadly, my now-almost-acquaintance didn’t execute the necessary action needed to curb this demonic uprising.

And soon, the gatherings lacked my presence and participation—mainly motivated by the pleasure of not coming face-to-face with the troll-child, and not being able to do anything to curb his growing evil. To which the last straw came when the child kicked his sister in the face, and received no reprimand—but riotous laughter instead, because he’s so “cute”.

Yes, he’s a child, but that kick to his sibling’s face demanded swift justice. It definitely required a landmark act of discipline to etch in his mind the gravity of his actions. To ensure that line—kicking a girl in the face—is never crossed again.

Left unchecked, this boy is going to grow up to be a real dick.

They’re everywhere in Singapore, these dicks. Brats who grew up either privileged to a point where they were undisciplined by parents, who essentially outsourced the process to maid agencies—or were left to their own devices during their formative years, and never knew the cold slap across the face and the warmth that followed afterwards.

Millennials have a larger proportion of dicks among them it seems, and I draw this conclusion from general workforce observation. Which alludes to Gen X Singaporean parents being either less than optimal disciplinarians or simply too busy working to achieve double-income household optimisation.

But to really see the effects of slack, or worse, too-kind helicopter parenting, look to the behaviour of Gen Z—the digitally savvy mobile-gaze generation of human disengagement.

To be fair, the multitude of nurture vs nature elements, societal demands, and of course, historically-influenced parenting styles—among other factors—all contribute to eventually how a human grows up to either a lifetime of douche-baggery or a path to sainthood.

However, as far as untrained observation goes, we now have to stem the tide of idiotic, undisciplined, selfish behaviour from ruining relationships to causing general chaos during rush hour on the MRT.

This is where parents have to step up to the plate and become dicks to prevent nurtured dickery. Paradoxical? Nope. It’s about tough love, my brothers.

Growing up, my dad was a real dick sometimes. Sure, recollecting the good times are easy, but his acts of discipline are goddamn unforgettable.

In his household, you NEVER disrespected his wife. If you did, there was hell to pay from the rod-wielder himself.

As a dick teenager, I once told her to kiss my ass after she gave me an earful for coming home late without reason.

Being the cocky prick that I was (or still am), I laughed at her tearful reaction and went about with my well-deserved shower.

Dad came home to a tearful wife and did what he had to do—which was to kick down the toilet door and rotan-whip my stupid, naked and soapy ass into remorse.

It was a dick move on his part, but that was, to me, a landmark act of disciplining a half-formed adult who thought he ruled the roost.

I clearly haven’t forgotten it, and if he hadn’t done it, can you imagine how much of a bigger dick I’d be right now? In fact, if he had spared the rod, my brother and I would be in some form of custody for acts of dumb crap in our adulthood—which has happened to some degree, regardless.

So now, as a father of two, the discipline that was entrenched in me MUST manifest itself upon my own spawn.

First rule of my household is that you do not disrespect your mother. She has sacrificed too much for any form of idiocy. Number two: if one of you screws up, both get punished. Just so in the future, you idiots check on each other before the rotan comes out for mutual punishment.

I’m still working on number three (both rule and next child).

Thus far, the reaction to my old-school parenting has been mixed. Many are appalled, especially when my screaming two-year-old gets naughty-cornered in public for being rude.

The message is simple: “That crap doesn’t fly with us, missy. You’re two, so you get to stand next to a dustbin till you calm down, and by sheer virtue of your age, the rotan will wait for another few years.”

But passers-by are generally freaked out by this, and quickly hustle away their own spawn by directing the maid to herd them in the opposite direction.

In some way, I’m also hoping my buddy gets the drift as well, and notices the dick-style that I’m propagating. To which, one day, I hope his spawn feels the full fury of his father’s wrath and remembers, forever, to never kick a girl in the face.

First published in Esquire Singapore's February 2016 issue. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Esquire Singapore, Mongoose Publishing, its affiliates or its employees.