Wednesday, 11th January '06
Parents, the Care and Feeding Of.
Parents are a tricky business.
I've been raised on a diet of fillial piety, the story of the whatshisname who cut off a chunk of his arm to feed his mother, the 慈母手中线 poem, honour-thy-Father-and-Mother and other associated Chinese-Christian values. And it works very well for me. That's because I have pretty liberal (by Asian standards, anyway), reasonable and quirky parents.
The cool things my parents do / have done:
- Never set house rules. Nothing about the amount of TV I can watch, how loud the stereo can blast (heck, I end of nagging Dad about the TV volume), or running in the house.
- Never forbade swearing. I love that Ma was the first person to teach me the proper usuage of "f*ck". It's hilarious, I think I was 7 and she told me it was for "very bad people". Like the other drivers on the roads (a.k.a. "f*ck-face), evidently. *chuckle*
- Never caned. Very at odds with government policy, but it somehow worked.
- Never grounded me.
- Did ultra-stupid things with me: like when I was 5, Dad took me "mountain-climbing" on that pathetic little molehill near the house. Or how we sit in the car belting out Beatles classics.
- Forget to give me the "where do babies come from?" talk. Ma somehow just start discussing procreation issues until she realised, to her horror, that her 10-year-old daughter still thought that two people sharing a bed was enough produce a new member of the family. Of course I got the full low-down - biology, pictures and all, after that - the joys of parents in the medical field.
- Never compared me or my results to anyone else... mahjong khakis' kids / neighbours / cousins or anyone. They also never sent me to SCGS and joined the tai-tai clubs. Muahaha.
- Never worried about me being left on the shelf and go all trigger happy with my guy friends, thank heavens for English-educated parents.
Obviously there's a very delicate balancing act in keeping that all in check. I've had my share of what I term "Simple Plan moments":
- "I'm just a kid, my life is a nightmare."
- "One day, I won't take this anymore; one day I'll be old enough to do, to do, to do, what I want to."
- "I'm sorry I can't be perfect." (Quite the song of my generation, it seems.)
And general fantasies that they must have picked me out of of a garbage bin in Ulu Pandan and that I couldn't possibly bear their genetic material.
But by and large, the major meltdowns haven't lasted very long. So I always feel vaguely out-of-it when I'm discussing the issue of how to deal with parents with other people. I don't always know what to say about it when faced with conflicting interests. Somehow I've always used a combination of selective disclosure, tactful compliments, playing the you-want-me-to-learn-to-make-my-own-decisions-right? card, nodding and going "mm!" but being non-committal overall, and good ol' "pretty please?!?", and I've never not gotten what I needed (lack of permission to go scuba diving and fear of the giant squid notwithstanding, for those of you who know what I'm talking about). And I never get why it doesn't work when my friends do it.
Err. Yesh. That's about it. Effectively what I think I'm trying to articulate is I have a hard time arbitrating the child versus parent thing. I've never really needed to deal with it myself. I get kind of inconsistent, one moment telling someone not to judge her mother, and the next telling her to encourage said mother to leave the country. Maybe I should jsut keep my meddlesome fingers out of it.
Yeah, I think I'll do that. Mai kaypoh.
[8 photographs developed.]
haha i remember scub diving and how sadam might bomb the hot air balloon.. *muffled laughter* uncle if u are reading this, no offence.
AHAHAHAHHHAHAA. i forgot about that one!!! that was seriously the best.
oh was it when you all were planning your australia trip..HEY!i thought there were more to it..haha..but yes..its hilarious..NO OFFENCE too!
ok. enough. stop diaoing my parents. they're hilarious but they're cool.
haven't popped by for some time now chicky! =p thanks so much for ur emails last yr. Can't wait to see u soon!!
LUCAS LUK TIEN WEE!!!! You're alive. that's a relief.
dude. i'm not going to see you till june EARLIEST. unless you come here! *wink*
i never diao ur parents lah. and they are seriously cool. i like how auntie assumed u knew how procreation happened. i've never really talked about it to my parents
heh. i know lah.