Category Archives: Fatherhood

Perfect Angel Minnie Riperton: How A Lullaby Became A Legacy

By N Mark Castro


She was black and drop dead gorgeous.

She married a white man in an era when racial tensions in America was at its height. She bore two children that grew up well, adjusted well, but left behind at the age of 31.

And although she had recorded several albums, collaborated with other musicians, it was her one hit song that went global that continues to find new fans 35 years later.

Hip-hop fans might recognize samples of Riperton’s music in songs from artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and Mos Def. Her voice is everywhere — on your oldies station, your favorite hip-hop song, in the background of Stevie Wonder hits — and you might not have even known it was her.


What set Minnie Riperton apart from most solo female acts is that she’s naturally a coloratura soprano. Her ability to sing in the whistle register (the highest vocal register for a human voice) was a rare talent for most human beings, musically trained or otherwise. Some say her vocal range spanned five to five-and-a-half octaves, but what made her a cut above the rest was her ability to enunciate clearly and beautifully among other whistle-register singers, as evidenced below.

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Neo’s First Day In School

By N Mark Castro

So I’m taking my son, Neo, to his first day of school.

He is excited.

He is scared.

So am I.


“You’re gonna love school so much, Neo, and make lots of friends,” I said.

It was a lie.

Read the rest of this entry

Happy Birthday, My Son

By N Mark Castro


Dear Spidey,

Up until today I’m still trying to figure out why God — in His Infinite Wisdom — has decided to entrust your life upon me.What was He thinking?Since the day you were born I have no clue whether or not what I’m doing is right. You didn’t come with an instruction manual although I suspect there must be some batteries inside with your endless energy. And your smile and laughter that is as powerful as your whines.
Your presence in my life makes me wonder aboutmy own journey in life and I can guarantee you that nothing I have ever done has given me more joy and rewards than being a father to you!The day you were born was the happiest and scariest moment of my life. And I think you came out laughing instead of crying.


For a very long time in my life I cared for nothing else but myself. It wasn’t that I was irresponsible. It’s that I had no responsibilities. Actually, I could spot responsibilities a mile away and could easily stand aside to escape it.

And because I had been single for the most part of my life, some people thought I had a lot of issues. Believe me, son, I enjoyed each and every one of those issues. But that’s another story when you’re older.

So I had pretty much a good run of fun.

Until your mother came.

There went the ballgame. Read the rest of this entry

How This Baby Reacts Is Priceless

Case Study: The Problem with Jakarta International School’s (JIS) Saga

By N Mark Castro


Every crime has a narrative: guilty, not guilty, stupid, logical … it all comes with a story.

And now the two teachers — Neil Bantleman and Ferdinan Michael Tjong — from Canada and Indonesia, respectively — are in custody of the Jakarta Police.

The problem with this story is how everyone bungled up the entire incident. Read the rest of this entry

The Problem With Religion

From Dad Almighty


Teaching religion to children can be quite tricky. Their natural inquisitive minds tear right through walls of dogma. Initially, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I learned religion the way my forefathers learned their religion from the conquering colonials.

It was shoved through their throats.

Picture this: glowing white men with bayonets and guns came off a boat with their fancy gay dress. They arrived in this archipelago which was humid and hot and they were stinking and sweating and they saw the native residents enjoying themselves walking around half-naked.

The fancy pants men were envious of the half-naked men and called them savages.

Then they loaded off their things including several wooden statues and started praying over it.

The half-naked men thought the fancy pants men were funny, kneeling over wood.

“This is God,” said the fancy pants men. “What’s yours?”

“We have so many gods. We have the sun, the air, the wind, those animals,” said the half-naked men. “I’ve got a god right under my g-string, too.”

“This is the one true God,” said the fancy pants men. “Your gods are wrong.”

The fancy pants men were so white they must be right. Some refused to believe the fancy pants men so the fancy pants men killed them all.

End of story. Read the rest of this entry

Deadly Choices: How The Anti-Vaccine Movement Can Kill Your Children

By N Mark Castro


My dead sister, Arlyn, was someone I never met.

I was often told by my older brothers that I came about because my parents were chasing to have a girl in the family. Or that I came from a can of sardines.

Whichever came first.

According to the stories I heard growing up, however, my sister died as an infant due to an overdose of vaccines. All remaining 3 children never had any vaccinations since then.

And that was that.

I had measles, mumps, chicken pox, and all other illnesses growing up but something that most every other kid had during my time. You ride it out and you shook it off.

Of course, my youth was during the Ancient Times, when boys weren’t allowed to cry, and perhaps just about the time they crucified Jesus.

We were never vaccinated. We got sick. But we lived.

So all these recent stories of anti-vaccination and its link towards Autism awakened some deeply imbedded misconceptions I may have had.

I have two children.

One of them has special needs. Read the rest of this entry

8 Fun Things To Do In Jakarta


You work during the week preparing for your corporate strategies on how to roll out your company’s programs and steer it to the right direction. You meet your KPIs (Key Performance Index) and manage the timelines.

Sounds all good.

Then the weekend comes and you’re as clueless as a deer.

Worry not.

Here are some 8 Fun Things To Do This Weekend without breaking the bank, right here in Jakarta … or anywhere else you can find it.

8 fun fall things to do this weekend from

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The Barreto Telenovela Sub-Plot

By N Mark Castro

When it rains, it’s four

Melanie Marquez


barNow that controversial minor politician and former minor celebrity Marjorie Barretto had admitted that she is, indeed, the person in the scandalous photos, you would think that the seemingly endless Barretto scandals would stop.


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9 Years of Palengke: The Salcedo Market

By N Mark Castro

Every emergent social class has what Antonio Gramsci calls “organic intellectuals” who articulate the ideas, values, and aspirations of the community and press for change in social relations inimical to that class.

Now that I’ve waxed something that sounded seemingly philosophical, let’s go back to our regular programming. Read the rest of this entry

Charlotte Setijadi

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