Fix parenting!

Psychopaths, narcissists, echoists, … are some of the new words I learnt as I read “Rethinking Narcissism” by Craig Malkin. Not a read I couldn’t take my eyes off or I found absolutely enlightening, but I managed to realize and reconfirm some perspectives around working and dealing with people.

Narcissists can be assholes at work – the type that disrupts peace of other people and draws out misery, tensions and conflicts. Psychopaths, the most extreme form of narcissists, can even be dangerous. Echoists, the opposite of narcissists, can be a danger to themselves. A perfect world would be filled with those that falls in between an echoist and a narcissist, but if you have at all lived and interacted with other people, that world is far far far from reality. Some time I doubt if there’s anyone at all being in the middle.

The book gives endless examples and scenarios of someone being a narcissist, an echoist and someone that fall between the two. A portion of the book is also dedicated to parenting and what it has to do with nurturing an echoist, a narcissist or someone inbetween.


Being moderately narcissist is good (i.e. having just a healthy amount of self-esteem, with the willingness and tendency to listen and remain consciously empathetic), but I regard tbeing a far left echoist or far right narcissist as a fault in a human, and parenting was the root cause of that fault. After all, there is only so much a few years at university and some other years of good education do, when the majority and the most critical phase (early childhood) of our growth period was most the direct production of our family and its parenting. That production was not, unfortunately, reversible; whatever comes with it will stay with us for the rest of our lives, whether or not we like it.

To fix a country like Cambodia, where a research say about 1 in 4 person has some sort of mental disorder, parenting, I believe, is one of the culprits. And if we look beyond Cambodia, amidst all the craziness, either at the scale of office politics and common asshole behaviours or at the scale of racism, religious clashes, and  terrorism, parenting is still one of the key perpetrators.

Humans are powerful. We are inventors, we are creators, we are the miracles, but we are also destructors. We are not just one of those unconscious animals; we are uniquely different. And that unique difference, that power comes with responsibility. The responsibility to not just mate and reproduce, but also to properly raise our offsprings.

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Safety at the Compromise of Positive Assumption

Around this Hari Raya holiday, I applied for a few more days off my annual leaves and took the chance to visit home in Phnom Penh for one week.

The landscape of Phnom Penh is rapidly changing. From the plane, a lot of construction sites are within sight.

One of the things I really don’t miss at all about my lifestyle in Phnom Penh is going around on a motorbike and having to fix a flat tire. OMG, having to deal with a flat tire!!!

During my one week trip home, I can’t believe I had to deal with this annoying occurrence. After a dinner with a few friends, while the sky was sprinkling, making my way through a dark road near Russian Market, I felt something was wrong. About 50 m further, it was guaranteed a flat tire – the worst day part of this time off from work.

After a while of walking my motorbike to find a repair shop, a gentleman approached me, asking what had happened and offering to help me take out whatever nail that pierced through and flattened the tyre.

Instead of feeling appreciative and happy for such an act of kindness, I got instantly alert and apprehensive – was it really out of rare good heart or it was out of some foxy intention?

I refused his offer, playing the being-considerate card, as in I didn’t want to trouble him, while I got all imaginative of what could possibly happen during this badly lighted time, to my watch, wallet and the motorbike, if he had been a bad guy.

He then offered to go further on his motorbike to check if there was any repair shop ahead. After a few brief seconds he returned and confirmed there was none in the direction I was heading. He suggested I turned left or went to a place further, close to his house. I decided to turn left and he offered another favour – if I wanted to pop on his bike so that he could help me with speed and more push to drag my bike to find the repair shop.

I continued to refuse the favour, mentioning my sheer reluctance to trouble him. Plus I really didn’t think I could drag the motorbike on the ride that he wanted to give me.

I kept reassuring him that I’d be fine on my own and he needn’t trouble himself. He bought it and left.

A mentality, a context, a reflex has become affixed; the more we hear, the less we trust. We have come to question good deeds, kind gestures, for fear of risks and harms. We become less optimistic about our society, our neighbours, our fellow countrymen. 

The odds can be our fear is true, as much as the fact that our lens, mentality, assumption, doubts, and fear belittle a truly good heart, harming the dignity and good will of a rare kind being.

If I had to be put in the same situation again, I would do the exact same thing. Prevention is better than cure. What would you do in such situation?

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