Thursday 23 April 2015

Butterflies fly funny, don't they?

Have you seen how a butterfly flies?

Haphazard, fluttering with drunken like jerky movements, and in zigzag manner right?

Makes a mockery of aerodynamic principles no?

OK, if you are not familiar with aerodynamics, just compare the flight of a butterfly with birds and other insects like the common housefly and mosquitoes.

Why do you think the butterfly flies the way it does?

Have you ever felt like a butterfly in the company of other people?

Especially on the first day of school or work?

Others can fly higher, faster, smoother, more efficiently, or at the very least, fly in a bloody straight line! 

You can't.

Friend, have you taken a look in the mirror recently?

You are the most beautiful insect in the world, you with your mesmerising iridescent scales in full technicolour, and you are self-conscious of the way you fly???


You are definitely not the condor. Nor are you a bumble bee!

Accept who you are and you shall soar higher! Without those bricks on your shoulders weighing you down, you'll feel lighter and freer!


You feel down because you look ugly and hairy? You don't look anything remotely like a butterfly...

Come closer my caterpillar friend. I've something to whisper in your ears...



  1. maybe lack of 'wind' to fly higher?

    1. Jimmy L,

      Take your family and go to the park or Botanic Garden this weekend and watch the butterflies ;)

      See if you can make sense of the way they fly?



  2. Butterfly is happy. Can fly now. Last time so ugly and just crawling. Sianz!

    Good to become financial independence. It is like Buttefrly. No?

  3. Hi SMOL,

    The ugly grounded caterpillar does all the work, while the pretty floating butterfly gets all the publicity. That's the nature of the metamorphosis.

    And they do not fly funny! They are just not in a hurry to fly from one place to another. There's enough time to smell the flowers and float with the wind :) They are self propelled flowers!

    1. Well said!

      Reaching financial independence is regaining the time freedom that was lost after we started schooling in Singapore and lost even more time freedom when we started our working life.

      Regain our time freedom so we are not in a hurry to "fly" from one place to another. There's enough time to smell the flowers and float with the wind.

    2. LP,

      Your comment makes me glad I write these "bo liao" non-utilitarian and self-indulgent posts.

      LOL! Self propelled flowers? Good one! Butterflies are not insects! They are self propelled flowers!!! (I'll steal with pride)

      All of sudden I have deja vu of my Panzer General gaming days...

    3. CW,


      Somebody is not talking like an ant anymore...

      That's right! Take off that ant helmet and exoskeleton armour. Just let go and float with the wind :)

      Can smell the flowers; but watch out for those Venus flytraps at OG Chinatown hor!

    4. thats a france song, here is another i really like,


    1. Hey!

      I know the chorus to this song! Ah! So this is the full version ;)

      The Spanish version sounds even sexier!

      Eh? Rita Chao also got a Mandarin version?

      That's what I call 3 in 1!

      Butterfly, my butterfly...

    2. i'm trying to show you the lady, not the song la!

    3. coconut,



      I don't recognise the blond girl lah. Not my generation. I grew up with Farrah Fawcett and Charlie Angels :)

      And then there is Linda Carter's Wonder Woman!

      Ah! The wonderful memories of my prepuberty fantasies...

  5. Hi SMOL,

    It matters no what animal or how they fly.

    It's identifying correctly, at peace at what is identified, and flying as they like.

    Caterpilllars stage can be fun too.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Yes, you don't expect a kiwi bird to "fly" unless you are a bureaucrat or "blind" parent... They will say other birds can fly, why can't you!?

      I've no clue whether the caterpillar stage is fun or not; I'm just a grasshopper.

      I sing and dance all summer and then is heard no more during the cold of winter..

    2. SMOL,

      the tough part is this do butterflies know they are butterflies? Do Hawks know they are hawks. They are fortunate, they just live.

      Humans can be anything. after the caterpillar stage, they can morph into grasshoppers like you, ants, eagle. They can even morph mutiple times like CW, ants to butterfly.

      Can a hawk think it is a butterfly? Can a butterfly think it is a hawk? How would they know, they live differently, see how people live different, and unlike animals they think. they think what if?

      What if I can fly? If no one ask that, where is the plane?

      A butterfly? going through the concoon stage is painful. Nothing wrong with being a butterfly all the while, since a butterfly is a butterfly and they are happy with it,

      Some, throw themselves into fire, burnt into fire and turn themselves into phoenix.

      Tell the ugly duck to just live by the area with the long lalang so as not to scare the rest of the people living by the pond.

      Not at peace, is not a bad thing.

      Peace can be broken, only to be found.

      If never found, of course, also very sad.

    3. Sillyinvestor,


      Do you know what you like doing?

      You keep stirring at the muddy water in your glass...

      Don't touch the glass. Just let it be. Don't even look at it. After a few days, if you are lucky, you may find the sediments have settled at the bottom of the glass and clear water is at the top,

      If the water in the glass is still muddy, well, if we're out of luck we are out of luck!

    4. SMOL,

      True, I do admit I think too much.

  6. If readers had not followed the banter between the grasshopper and the butterfly in the past, they would have no idea what this article is all about now.

    As usual, the comment section is much more enlightening.


    1. L Young,

      You're welcomed!

      This butterfly post is stand alone. It about butterflies and those who lament they are "only" ugly caterpillars :)

      Must do a bit of cheerleading once in a while mah!

      Thanks for the heads-up!

      For new readers, you may want to read one of my short stories here:

      The Grasshopper and the Ant

  7. Hi SMOL,

    It's two warm stories. U noe I share same sentiments.

    We were often told "what to do" in life. we were then told "why we do it". We then learn how to do!

    Perhaps we should start devising the "why we do" ourself. But before we know "why we do it" we have to know "who we really are!"

    Butterfly whisper to the caterpillar "u r a caterpillar and excel in what u r good at! Ugly worm also can fly beautifully one day!"

    1. Rolf,

      You are successful now but you have not forgotten your humble beginnings. That's why you can empathise with the caterpillar.

      You know what's its like to dream and have self-doubts at the same time ;)

      If someone is born as a lion at top of the food chain, you don't dream or doubt your sense of "entitlement", you ask, "When do I take over?"

    2. Hi SMOL,

      Humble background do provides impetus. But if propelled in the wrong direction with bad companies, result can be undesirable! Jail, crimes, dogged lives at the other extremes. Luck and ability to think for oneself since young is vital.

      Top of the food chain leads diff life. Diff breed diff environment. There r really good ones, because of sensible guidance/parents. But sense of knowledge imparted is NEVER and will NEVER be as strong as "senses" from experiences.

      That is one huge challenge for our nation's young generation.

    3. Rolf,

      Let's see if Singapore can survive the wealth not beyond 3 generations' curse!

      Hope by then I'll be in my 80s and it doesn't really matter anymore...

  8. Hi guys,

    No, Rolf, I see it differently. This is what I think would have happened with the butterfly and the caterpillar:

    Emile the butterfly floated down to the Francis the caterpillar, who is her friend. But Francis didn't seem to recognise who the butterfly is. I mean, how could anyone blame Francis? Emile looks so beautiful and was floating with the wind! Nothing could be more different than a hairy caterpillar!

    "Follow what I do, Francis! You'll be free from your earthly bounds! Oh goodness, why can't Francis understand what I'm saying?!", Emily nearly screamed in exasperation.

    Just a few days ago, Emile said goodbye to Francis because she's going on a personal journey.

    "Where to?," Francis asked sadly. "Can I tag along please?"

    "No, Francis," Emile replied firmly. "This is a personal journey. And I have to go alone. Sorry."

    Francis didn't let Emile go alone. He followed her quietly, and saw Emile crawling up a branch solemnly and started pulling white threads all around herself, until she was fully covered with this white silky tent. Francis was still faithfully waiting for Emile to emerge out from her strange retreat, believing that she just needed some time off for herself. He was there waiting, every single day. But one day, seemingly overnight, Francis noticed that there is an opening at Emile's silky tent. Cautiously, Francis crawled near to it to check if Emile is finally out of her retreat.

    But there's nobody around.

    Except now there's a strange colourful winged creature near Emile’s empty tent. It's floating near to Francis, seemingly trying to tell him something. It landed near to the ground at Francis, and then floated to Emile's empty tent, then again to an empty spot on a branch. This creature repeated the same pattern again and again.

    This is how I 'saw' the conversation between the caterpillar and the butterfly. How would the story end? Would the butterfly give up and join the rest of the butterfly? Would the caterpillar give up and grieve for his lost friend? Or would the caterpillar realise that he also had to follow the unknown and uncharted path that his friend Emile had hinted him?

    1. LP,

      Mature readers reading your short story here may reminisce on some of the friendships they had during their school days or working life.

      As part of our personal growth, we may have to "drop" certain friendships, while letting some become "distant"...

      And if we are no obnoxious, we will make new friends along the way.

  9. LP is part time "Ladybird publishing" author. So professionally written. Cheers!


    1. Rolf,

      I grew up with the Ladybird series too!

      That's why I sigh when I read LP''s best works...

      It's like watching a beautiful sunset...


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