My (Future) Father-in-Law Just Started Using Facebook

This is my new endeavor to share my personal life through casual, lifestyle updates. While these posts will not be massive like my usual pieces, you can still expect a personal development lesson or two with each post. I’ll continue to write content-rich pieces alongside these casual-styled updates.

Let me know how you guys find them! :D

Recently, my (future) father-in-law started using Facebook. He just bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 which has given him access to smartphone capabilities (his previous phone didn’t have such functions).

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4: a phone which has opened up new possibilities.

Imagine my surprise when Ken told me a few days ago that his dad “liked” my Facebook page. I was like, “Really?” while giving a “o_O” face. Then I quickly logged onto my Facebook page to look through my recent “likes” history.

It took a few scrolls (since I have quite a few new “likes” to my page daily) but sure enough, I saw my future father-in-law’s face!

My father-in-law's like on my Facebook page

That’s Ken’s dad right there! Hi uncle!!! *waves* (I refer to Ken’s dad as “uncle” and not “dad” as Ken and I are not married yet.)

Personally I think that is really cool, what Ken’s dad is doing. (Uncle is in his 60s.)

My parents are tech-illiterate: they have mobiles but they don’t know how to use the PC. (Not that they care; their lives were never built around the PC. Same for my friends’ parents. Many of their lives are built independent of PCs/internet, and hence there is little reason for them to learn how to use them.)

But Ken’s dad stepped into social media — a territory unknown to him — on his own. Ken believe that his dad saw his friends using smartphones and bought one to get with the times. Just last Sunday, he asked Ken for a tutorial on smartphones/mobile apps and wound up inquiring him for over an hour! He didn’t get to ask about Facebook, but somehow figured that out on his own and added Ken and Ken’s younger brother to his friends list!

(Imagine how shocked Ken was when he saw his dad requesting to be “his friend” on Facebook. LOL. :lol: ) Ken’s dad has nine friends on his profile so far (including Ken and his brother).

Not only has uncle figured out how to add friends, he has also figured how to search pages of interest and “like” them. His recent Facebook activity:

My father-in-law facebook activity

Him “liking” pages of his interest, such as on Buddhism and Chinese dieties

Then just two days ago, he figured out how to surf albums (all on his own; none of us have been teaching him this) and started “liking” all the photos of me and Ken:

Ken's dad liking our photos on Facebook

Ken’s dad “liking” all our photos (plus some more)

He even went as far as to “like” all my Facebook status updates, to which I exclaimed to Ken, “I thought you said your dad doesn’t know English?”

To which Ken replied, “Yeah he doesn’t understand what you’re posting. He’s just ‘liking’ your updates because he says he wants to support his daughter-in-law.” LOL!

What We Can Learn

I found Ken’s dad inspiring because even though he was born in an era without computers/internet/social media and he doesn’t have to acquaint himself with these tools, he gamely bought a smartphone, ventured into the digital world, and learned Facebook on his own. Takes openness, a learning spirit, and a curious mind to achieve that, especially as some older folks can be technophobic.

(It’s not just with Facebook too: Ken’s dad has also installed Whatsapp, added Ken on Whatsapp, and begun messaging him there. I think Ken was a little weirded out by his dad’s sudden emergence on these social tools, lol. Sweat smilie)

Because of his willingness to step out of his comfort zone, Ken’s dad has gained:

(a) A potentially stronger relationship with me and his son

I got quite intrigued by uncle being on Facebook, so I logged into Ken’s account and messaged him there.

Saying hello to Ken's dad on Facebook

Saying hello to Ken’s dad on Facebook

While the three of us already talk on a daily basis, this increased connectivity is a chance for uncle to know us better and vice versa. Uncle looking through our Facebook albums and seeing our proposal photos and Scotland photos is an example of the former at work, while me seeing uncle’s Facebook activity helps me to understand him better through his hobbies and interaction with friends.

(b) An increased connectedness with his friends

Uncle is now connected with his friends not just offline but online in the digital space. I was amazed that his friends (in their 50s–60s) use Facebook too; in fact they have been responding to his status updates!

(c) Benefits which Facebook, and the digital world have to offer

Opportunity to connect with lost friends, chance to further personal interests (e.g., through related Facebook pages), and whatever benefits which Facebook and the internet have to offer (which is a lot). Given that uncle doesn’t have a PC (he doesn’t need to; he’s a taxi driver), his new smartphone is his window to the WWW.

Just last month Ken helped him to create an e-mail account, which sounds about the best way to kick-start one’s internet journey!

Reflecting onto Myself

Uncle’s foray into Facebook makes me wonder: Are there things which I haven’t tried but can benefit from learning?

Four things that came to mind: 

  1. Medici-effectMedici Effect is the notion that groundbreaking ideas intersect in seemingly unrelated fields. By being well-versed in different fields, you enter this unique position to spot trends behind seemingly unrelated phenomena, after which you can apply these lessons to other areas in your life to achieve groundbreaking results. (It’s quite possibly why Leonardo da Vinci was the genius that he was, because he was so diversely exposed to different fields from painting, to sculpting, to architecture, to music, to maths, to engineer, to many more.

    I’ve always wanted to develop myself in new fields, but never got around to doing it. Seeing Ken’s dad at work made me think about areas I can improve my knowledge in, so I searched Coursera today for courses which (a) I don’t have background in and (b) am interested in.

    Three courses fit my criteria: “Unpredictable? Randomness, Chance and Free Will“, “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior” (sounds interesting!), and “Useful Genetics Part 1“. I’ve signed up for all three: the first starts in January 2014; the second doesn’t have a start date yet; the third just started! I look forward to learn about genetics in next six weeks; probably will refresh what I’ve learned in secondary school biology plus much more. :oops:

  2. Public speaking: Having been speaking/training for companies/at events in the past five years, I already have a good body of speaking experience. However, I’m interested to study the theoretical aspects of speaking for a change; I believe this will be a great accent for my field experience and can be used to complement it.

    Beyond signing up for Introduction to Public Speaking on Coursera (the course starts in March 2014), I’ve bookmarked public speaking videos on YouTube and will be studying them over the next few weeks until I acquire what I need.

  3. Blogging: I’ve always stayed away being too heavily involved in SEO updates because I rather focus on building my blog for people than machines. However, I see value in keeping abreast of the in’s and out’s of SEO. Back to devouring Google Webmaster Help videos and tweaking PE in Google Webmaster Tools in the next few weeks.

    (By the way, I’m starting a new class for Blogging Success Program in December due to popular demand, so stay tuned for announcements if you want to learn how to build a top blog in record time!)

  4. Relationships and Marriages: I’ve the best relationship I can ever ask for today and frankly speaking, Ken and my relationship defies many typical molds which people have for relationships (e.g., honeymoon period, stereotypical gender behaviors, warming up period, and having to date for X period before proposing/marrying). At this point we feel like old souls sailing through life together; it has gotten to the stage where I can murmur a string of random words (especially when I’m lazy to talk in full) and Ken will know what I’m saying.

    That said, I don’t plan to take our relationship for granted. I want to borrow books on relationships and marriages from the library to see what mainstream literature has to teach about the topic, so I don’t fall into any traps and can achieve the best out of our relationship.

    I’m guessing 95% of the material would be either of concepts I already know or on stereotypes which don’t apply to our relationship (e.g., arguments over who left the toilet seat up), but it’s still nice to check it out. I plan to borrow the books later today: might even blog about them if I come across something interesting!

How About You?

Anything which you haven’t tried before / have been resisting but can benefit from learning? Give it a think and share your thoughts in the comments section!

While Facebook and Whatsapp may be ubiquitous tools today, it’s the way Ken’s dad readily embraced these tools of little relevance to him/his era that I found admirable. I find his attitude one which we can embrace in our lives: to things which we are resisting or have yet to learn about. I’ve shared mine above; how about yours? I’d love to hear from you!

On a related note, another piece on learning: How To Increase Your Learning Multifold with This Simple “Hack”

  • Buffet

    face book? Surely you jest???? My deepest sympathies! Goodbye!!!

    • Celestine Chua

      Well it’s not THAT bad. Facebook is a useful tool for people to get connected with each other. At the end of the day it boils down to how we use the tool to fit our lives (and not get ruled by these digital tools).

      • Buffet

        So………you’re completely unaware that face book is indeed the brainchild of the C.I.A. to establish a database on all Americans, where they freely and naively reveal the details of their personal lives?
        Are you unaware of just how many people have lost their relationships, marriages, jobs, and even their lives, due to this insidious spawn of hell?
        Wake up before it’s too late!

  • Madalina Sraier

    My heart warmed and a big smile appeared on my face when I read the part about how he tries to support you by liking your updates although he doesn’t even understand English. It’s a gesture of such kindness, politeness, and solidarity that we should all draw a lesson from it and take it as example in our day-to-day lives.

    • Celestine Chua

      I feel his gesture is very inclusive, very communal, and I really appreciate that. Since a long time ago, he has been referring to me in front of Ken as his (Ken’s) wife, and many of the household decisions and interactions include me as default (e.g., cooking for me, buying food for me when they go out, them (Ken’s mom and dad) paying for the new microwave and washing machines we just bought a month ago even though we didn’t expect them to do so). It’s something I can learn from too!

  • Sharon

    I’ll recommend Gary Chapman’s books for improving relationships. I made my hubby did the exercises from the book, Things you should know before getting married. Or something like that, quite insightful I think.

    • Celestine Chua

      I believe Gary Chapman is the author of the Five Love Languages book? That book is very highly acclaimed! While I already read about these five languages of love before, I’ll probably grab that book (and others of his if I find them) and may write about the books on PE. Thanks for the recommendation Sharon! :D

  • Celestine Chua

    Taking the Useful Genetics course now, and my online lecturer looks like Meryl Streep!! Even Ken thought so, haha!

  • Ipshita

    Your father-in-law seems like a really good person. It’s really sweet of him to support you by liking your status on facebook. My father also joined facebook few years back and it was quite awkward for me when he would like or comment on my status or my boyfriend’s pics o_O. But in all I think it takes an intuitive mind to venture in this new world and of course increases connectivity. These social media connectivity also reduces the generation gap between parent’s and kids. So thanks for the article Celes!

    • Celestine Chua

      Thanks for sharing Ipshita!! :D Your father sounds like a great person himself!

      That’s interesting to know your dad joined Facebook a few years back! How has it been over the years: does he still comment in your status updates/pictures today? Do you feel the increased connectivity has brought you guys closer together?

      • Ipshita

        Yeah! My father is still active on Facebook. My notification toolbar is generally listed with his gaming request :D.

        He take a lot of interest in my status updates like once I updated when I came to visit my parents “Feeling bored! Nothing to do here. Want to go back to being busy.” Instantly came my dad’s reply -”Help you mom in the kitchen if you are feeling so bored!” That was a weirdest moment I have ever had :D.
        After that I hid him from my updates!
        But after that incident we got more closer and we often joke about that incident. Not only on Facebook my dad is on WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Kik, WeChat, you name it :D
        That’s why I say these new tools have brought the younger side of the older generation and narrowed the generation gap. My father is over 50 years and I am 22 but we feel much closer now than earlier.

  • Sharon

    Woots! Thanks for introducing Coursera. I’ve been checking out all the classes, they are all so interesting!

  • Christina Mattschei

    Hi Celes, I love your idea to posts about little personal updates–I actually had the same idea for my own blog recently too! That’s awesome that you’re signing up for so many courses. That gets me thinking about where I can learn more as well…

  • Robb Gorringe

    It’s amazing how that he wanted to dive-in and give it a try. Totally awesome! For years I have been wanting to start a website, but it seemed like everyone I knew didn’t know how. Just the thought of ‘me’ doing it was almost paralyzing. But my hunger to learn overcome my fear of failure. Great post!

    • Celestine Chua

      Wow, congratulations Robb and kudos to you on overcoming your fear and starting your website! :D That’s amazing, and you must be such a role model example among your friends right now!

      • Robb Gorringe

        Thanks Celestine. I’ve also found that when we step out in an area, others step in.

  • Julie

    hehehe your post sparked in me the desire to learn again even though I’m learning everyday :) but I went on Coursera and enrolled on “Surviving you rookie year of teaching”. I thought that I could learn a lot ot tips and tricks. I’ll let you know & congratulations to you “uncle”! He’s doing great and he’s a good new e-learner.

  • Glenn Thomas

    Wow, I’m surprised he got an S4. They’re still pricey here. A Windows phone might have been better for him though, as Facebook, Twitter etc are all integrated into the phone. So if you click on a contact, all their details, photos, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn updates are right there on the contact page, and with easily readable text too. So there’s no need to install a separate Facebook app, which I’ve always found to be a bit clunky anyway. But if he’s doing well with Android on the S4, good luck to him!

    My father in law has been after an iPad for a while. Somehow he got himself on Apple’s mailing list and a few months back he got an email from them advertising the latest iPad as a Fathers Day gift. So what did he do? He forwarded the email to his kids and myself :) He’s still waiting for one though.

    As for things I haven’t tried before, but could benefit from, the only one I can think of is learning to play a musical instrument like guitar. Although it’s not something I’m passionate enough about to pursue right away.

    By the way, what you wrote about Leonardo da Vinci is interesting. I don’t know if this has any relevance, but I view a lot of what I do as being the same. Things such as creating a WP theme for my site I approach in the same way as I would recording music, editing a video, a digital painting, organising my studio, gardening, or even cooking. Basically doing whatever it takes to achieve a desired result.

    • Celestine Chua

      Hey Glenn, I was surprised he got an S4 initially too, because it wasn’t cheap! (He got it with a two-year subscription plan, but it still required a few hundred dollars of top up all the same. We later saw him immediately branching into social media, and we thought he probably got the phone having heard about it (or maybe even seen it in action) among his friends, haha.

      Windows phone: Ken recently got a Nokia Windows phone actually, and while it was better than his previous phone, it actually lacked a lot of basic functionality of the average android smartphone! (Can’t list any off the top of my head but Ken definitely experienced a bit of functionality limitation.) It was a little disappointing, but hey the phone came free with a two-year subscription, so can’t complain about it I guess!

      By the way, that’s hilarious hearing about your father-in-law forwarding that e-mail to you! Haha. So is any of you planning to get that for him in the near future? ;)

      I hear you re: not being passionate enough to pursue guitar. You can just do it in a capacity comfortable for you, in your own time! Like in a capacity that matches your passion. If you’re only 3% interested about it, then just spend 3% of time on it every day/week, and so on. I’m doing the same for my other interests, and I’m getting a fair bit of progress just doing so. Some days I can get quite enthused about that and wind up spending more time doing it.

      • Glenn Thomas

        That’s interesting about Ken’s experience with Windows Phone. I’ve never had any problems it or felt that it lacked anything. Well, apart from the handset dying and needing to be replaced twice :) For me, the only thing it lacks is an official Instagram app, although I use a 3rd party one which does the job. Do you know which model he got?

        And we’ll probably get Lydia’s dad an iPad2 for Christmas. Except he wants the 3G model which I don’t think is a good idea, as it will cost extra for another SIM, and he most likely never use the 3G on it, as there’s WIFI in all our houses he visits most often.

        • Celestine Chua

          Hey Glenn! Ken says his is a Nokia 520. That’s nice that you guys are getting him an iPad2 for Christmas! =D I’m sure he’s going to be ecstatic (though it’s coming in about six months after Father’s Day, haha!).

          • Glenn Thomas

            Ah the 520, that’s a good phone. Entry level model, but similar specs to my older generation Lumia 800 which I still enjoy using very much. And with the iPad, I might even just give him mine as I just noticed how pricey they still are.

  • Calae

    Aww, I really enjoyed this post, Celes! I wasn’t expecting to begin to think about new things I could be learning! I will really have to ponder and see what new skills I want to learn. =)

    By extension, this reminds me of two things in particular I’ve been thinking about doing. They’re not learning new things, per se, but I really want to read on a more regular basis (I have an unfinished copy of “Catcher in the Rye” and my Kindle Paperwhite in my backpack right now, I have no excuse! Dx), and I want to begin writing again. In fact, there’s a lot of skills I already think I’m decent at, but I haven’t used or “leveled up” in a while.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about! Maybe I’ll check out the site you used as well, just to get some ideas! =)

    • Celestine Chua

      Hi Calae! :D Reading the book and “leveling up” in skills would definitely fall under the realm of “learning” if you ask me! Public speaking and blogging (skills which I referenced in my next to-dos) aren’t exactly new things I’m learning but I consider upgrading myself as a form of learning too.

      Like I mentioned in my response to Glenn, spend some time — even if a minute — on the things you want to do, and let the momentum build! We can only actively utilize a knowledge in our life when we acquire it, and we can’t utilize if we don’t even know what it is we’re missing! I’m realizing the importance of this as I’m picking up all these different knowledge (be it on genetics, or relationship theories, etc.)!

  • Moonsparkle

    It’s nice that your future father in law is connecting with both you and Ken on Facebook. :) I think older people are getting more into technology these days. I have friends in their 40s and 50s (and a couple in their 60s) who use Facebook regularly. My mum joined FB to message somebody but doesn’t see the point of it in general. She doesn’t understand why people spend all their time on there! lol.

    Do you use Pintrest? I’ve got really into that lately, it’s addictive, lol. But I can see why some people would think it’s a waste of time as well. It just depends what you’re into. :)

    • Celestine Chua

      Hi Moonsparkle, I don’t use Pinterest but I know it’s a huge thing among some people! I find having too many social accounts adds noise into my system (I used to have quite a few) so I’ve just streamlined to just FB and Twitter for now (and also Youtube if you count it, but I see that as for a distinctive purpose). For that same reason I don’t use Instagram but I know it’s huge among some people!!

      • Moonsparkle

        Hi Celes, it can get overwhelming with all the social media these days! I’ve never tried Twitter; I don’t really know what I’d have to say on there, plus I’d feel restricted because you’re limited as to the amount you can write, lol. I might try Instragram sometime to see if it’s any good. I use YouTube a lot because I love listening to music and also use it to post videos to my blog.

  • Fufu

    Thank you so much for introducing us to Coursera!! I signed up for some classes myself and I want to ask your personal opinion on something if possible. I’m a bit worried that some of the classes I like have recently finished and thus will not offer me an official statement of accomplishment around the end because the quizzes and tests don’t count after the end deadline but I’m thinking of taking the full course anyways because really the videos and all the course is still up. I don’t think a piece of paper will decide that I have no knowledge in that area when I clearly went through the whole class like any other student and am learning. If I master the area and can show this then I don’t need to offer an official paper for somebody to believe if I know this or not.

    I just felt like sharing but the classes I signed up for are: Online Games: literature, new media and narrative – comic books and graphic novels – history of rock: part 1 – history of rock: part 2 – plagues, witches and war: the worlds of historical fiction and another art one that starts in February

    For once I seem to have a ‘healthy’ addiction to look forward to each morning haha. Thank you so much for introducing us.I wish you the best in your classes. Cheers!!! :)

    • Fufu

      and about your father in law I think it’s sweet. I personally do not like Facebook (and yet have a ton of Facebooks because I value my privacy lol) but I use it anyways to keep in touch with the people that matter to me. Keep up the good work. There will always be naysayers but the heck with it. I love this simple posts :) (which hey even helped me and I bet various others be introduced to such a great website and insight of sweet everyday occurrences that can hold meaningful lessons in the long run.)

  • Veronica

    Celes, I had not checked you blog for some time and this post just made me aware that
    you are happily engaged and to be married. I am so happy for you! I wish both
    of you the best of luck. And please keep up your uplifting and encouraging
    posts (especially those about relationships!). A heartfelt thanks from Germany. :)

    • Celestine Chua

      Thank you so much Veronica! :) Yes indeed I’m engaged now! I recently wrote about my story with my fiance, how we met and realized we were the ones for each other (in case you missed that):

      Hope you continue hanging around and feel free to let me know what type of posts you’d like to see! (Relationships-wise, anything specific you are interested in?) Much love here from Singapore! :) Guten tag!! :)

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