Of Parents, In-laws, and Filial Piety

I have to admit … I have been very lazy at updating my blog (oops).

Nonetheless, I always make a comeback once in a while 🙂

Lots have changed over the past few months. I moved (for the third time) to a new place in town. I am glad to be away from that disgusting-liar-bitch-ex-roommate of mine. My summer vacation this year was spent in Prague, Czech Republic, with my family. It has been a long time since we had a family vacation together. After eight, long  months, Jackie has left for Houston, Texas, USA, because he found an engineering  job opportunity there. Now, it is lonely without his company in this boring shit-hole of a town. I miss him dearly. Work for me has been crazy busy. My plant just went into a huge maintenance shutdown. When we started up, a major equipment failed, hence putting us into another unplanned outage. Now we are back up and running, there is an experiment run to increase plant production. It has been non-stop for me. One thing I am glad for though — I am finally a landed immigrant in Canada as of 24th July, 2010!

I am at the point where I just want to quit my job, pack up and leave to Houston. Some women fight for a great career, status and lifestyle freedom their whole lives. But I am tired of what society shapes how a person should plan their lives. Yes, I have a great career now. It pays the bills well but I don’t really get much satisfaction out of it. I believe no job in the world is 100% satisfying, unless it is charity work. I can live comfortable lifestyle. But something is always missing. And it has always been family. I told my co-workers that my dream some day is to live with my parents here (when the time is right). I would love to have Jackie’s parents live with or close to us too. We can reunite as one happy family. My co-workers snickered when they heard my so-called naive thought. They then said to me, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Perhaps, the reason people in the West are so concerned about retirement funds is because they grow old all by themselves. Unlike the Asian culture, instilling filial piety was never really part of the Western family’s virtues. I mentioned the term filial piety to one of my co-workers and he thought I was speaking Thai. He had to Google up the meaning. Mind you, he’s in his late 40s. What is wrong with taking care of your mother and father, in your very own home? They took great care and time to nurture us when we were young. Provided us food, comfort and shelter. It is only fair that we return the love and care when they are old. One might argue that medical facilities and senior homes now take care of that matter. But think about it, what do you want the most when you are that old? I know I wouldn’t want to waste my life away at a retirement home. What I want most is my family for the very last time before my last breath at the world. And this time my family would consists of grandchildren to love.  Of course, there will always be financial constraints and what not. But no matter how hard it’s going to be, I’ll have to try. Just like mum and dad did for me when I was an annoying, wailing baby.

My co-workers dread it every time their parents or in-laws come to visit. This one female co-worker actually “escapes” their company by coming into work on a Friday (she usually doesn’t work Fridays). As much as they try to help with taking care of the children, especially in a family where both parents work full-time … shouldn’t it be an appreciation? Instead, they complain that they let the children play too much, eat too many sweet things, mess up their “sleeping schedule”. Honestly, I have never heard of a sleeping schedule for babies until I met young parents in Canada. They need to come to Asia and see how we tame babies. When the clock strikes 8 sharp, all events come to a stop as it is time to go home and put the baby to sleep. Well, the baby needs to sleep in tranquility on its cozy crib.  Want to see how my cousins in Malaysia handle parenthood? Whether it is midnight or 2 A.M. at a family gathering, or a wedding dinner … the baby follows along. Sleep or no sleep it will have to deal with the noise and environment. Actually, if you train the baby when it’s very young, they can sleep in any environment. After all, the baby is tired. So if they need to sleep, they will. If the baby starts to throw cutlery to the floor at the dinner table on the restaurant, the Caucasian parent would probably execute patience and keep picking up after the baby, as the reasoning is they are too young to understand it is wrong even if you try to talk to them. Well … that is why you have to scold and punish them with the rod, people! Actions speak louder than words at that age. Of course, you don’t smack the baby until they bleed. But a simple change in tone, and corrective light slap on the baby’s palm will teach them boundaries. I think babies here are too pampered! One might say I am generalizing too much, but until you actually live in the West World, you don’t see the real scenes behind the daily lives of Western families. In fact, you can even see it anywhere in public. Teenagers or young children here do not know the meaning of respect for the elderly. And it doesn’t have to be a senior citizen. They don’t even show enough respect to their own parents.

Also, people here complain about pregnancy as if it is a terrible thing that they will never choose to do it again. I guess it is not the most comfortable period, especially when something is growing and kicking inside of you. It could be just the women at my workplace too.

I told my mum. The next time I have children, you definitely have to come and live with me. Perhaps, I look to my parents as wise people. But honestly, there are so many things from tradition to culture in family upbringing that I don’t know. Elderly folks play an important role in today’s modern fast-paced society. If there’s one important thing I want my children to grow up with, it is filial piety, respect and family virtues – the Asian way.


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