Ode to unclehood

This is going to be a very light-hearted and very Singaporean piece.

I put on my shorts, don on my SAF admin tee before carrying a NDP tote bag with some NTUC vouchers and tissue packets, slipping on my sandals preparing to leave the house. Yes, I honestly can’t really be bothered with how I dress especially when going around the neighbourhood. And these days, neighbourhood can even consist of shopping for stuff or dinning out at Orchard Road. It dawned on me that I’ve basically become an uncle since many years ago. Yes, I also drink Teh Si Kosong or Kopi Si Kosong, mainly because sugar free, and my childhood asthma has given me a hot-drink habit.

I wonder what being an uncle really is. At the most superficial level, it’s just having a niece or nephew. Or friends with kids? But really, entering uncle-hood is about going past the level of maturity of a youth concerned about how he looks and the impression he gives ladies. It is when you embrace the freedom of being able to dress and speak comfortably with less restraint from the social confidence of having been around long enough.

After all, uncles are the ones carrying Decathlon small Quecha bags (which used to cost $3.90 but now $4.90 due to inflation), wearing Decathlon tees and shorts, or often also some other tees either from Thailand or bought from some other Pasar Malam (in pre-covid era).

This is not to be confused with ‘boomer uncles’. They take uncle-hood to another level. They are prudent about expenditures, often complaining about price increases. They take an interest in politics and current affairs, politely offering their feedback on a range of policies to younger ones, without necessarily desiring to take change into their own hands.

But there are also pretty great uncles, like Mr Loo Cheng Chuan of the 1M65 movement, who have been doling out less conventional advice and wisdom. As an influencer, he’s been really active and have generated a following with his genuine, Singaporean-style sharing without too much of the embellishments that is out to impress.