Parents don’t always know best

I get into a lot of arguments with my parents and majority of them end like this:

“You’re so young and inexperienced, blah blah, wait until you’re grown up.” or,

“Don’t be so naive. We KNOW what’s best for you.”

Except they don’t. Despite every attempt at trying to give me the best, despite every effort at wanting the best, they don’t always succeed.

Last week, I lost my parking bay to another tenant. No biggie because there’s parking off street. But no, my parents decided to go and make a “reserved” sign and plonk it on the lawn in front of an unreserved bay. (The complex has a few unreserved bays which work on a first come first serve basis.)

Their rationale was that “602 did it so why can’t we?” – Hmm, let’s see. Maybe “602” organised it with the body corporate? Just a thought.

NO MATTER! Mom said she spoke to the security guard downstairs and he said it’s “finnnneeee”. – Because the security guard knows it all…

So, while at work, I got an sms from my dad to say he plonked the sign next to “602”‘s. TWO HOURS LATER, I got another sms from my dad to say someone removed the sign. – Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

Now I have this useless piece of wood/metal sitting arbly in the corridor.



Boy, am I glad to have this much needed period of rest where I don’t have to stress about exams or spend hours working through tutorials. I must say it feels rather weird to have all this free time and nothing to keep me occupied. For those who missed the memo, I am back in Kimberley – the land of the cold and the lonely. My electric blankie is now my favourite possession and I don’t know how I survived my first 10 years in this hell-hole without one.

It’s nice to see my parents again and to spend some quality time with them. My mom is still crazy (she kept on referring to Windows XP as Windows PX, and she confused a well-known South African DJ who is white, with a well-known South African comedian who is coloured). My dad’s starting to show signs of old age (he fell down a ladder while trying to prune some trees and he’s starting to forget simple things like whether he’s put salt in the scrambled eggs or not).

It will be my 22nd birthday in two days and I definitely get the feeling that time is becoming more precious. My parents want to move back to Commie Land and when they do, who knows how often I’ll be able to see them. Once a year? That’s hardly enough, especially for someone who grew up as sheltered as I have. Because of this, I’ve started to appreciate all the “Asianess” whenever I go home and so, I’ve decided to make a list of all the crazy Asian things that happen in this household.

It’s An Asian Thing:

* No outdoor shoes inside the house – we have a separate set of slippers that are worn inside the house so as not to dirty the carpet. When my friend Candice used to come over, my mom would run to bring her a pair of slippers and tell Candice to put them on (in Shanghainese).

* Soy sauce, salt, sugar – The 3 Ss. We don’t really use any other kind of spices or flavours. We never put soy sauce in rice either because that’s not how you do things the proper Asian way.

* Woks – they’re heavy as hell and I can’t lift it with one hand, which makes cooking kind of difficult. But that’s what we use – don’t really work well with eggs and I keep on telling my parents to get a non-stick pan but nooooooooo.

* Lots of frying. We stir fry everything, even lettuce. But not rice. We have a rice-cooker for that. Best invention ever!

* No presents – For some reason my parents do not buy into the whole present-giving thing. I’ve never gotten a birthday or Christmas gift from my parents. If I’m lucky, I’ll get some money but otherwise, the only thing I get on my birthday is a cake. It’s probably why I’ve never been excited about my birthday. I’m pretty sure the other Asians have evolved from this rather archaic attitude. If only my parents would follow suit…

* Don’t finish everything on a plate when dining out – Apparently, having left overs is a sign of wealth (or whatever). Weird.

* Jam bottles – After finishing a bottle of jam, my parents clean the bottles and use them as glasses. Except, they’re better than normal glasses because they have lids! Which means 1) No spoilage 2) You can use it to make tea.

I had more but I couldn’t exactly remember all the crazy Asian stuff that goes on. Will append this list when they come to me. :)

In other news, my blog view passed 5000 woot!

Embarrassing Parents

As some might have noticed, I haven’t blogged in a little more than two months. No, I am not dead or lying comatose on some under-funded state hospital bed. I’ve just been a little preoccupied lately, and with this being my graduating year (woot!) I really can’t afford to write as often as I used to (apologies).

That said, I have been wanting to write about this particular topic for a while now because the subject matter is something that most youngsters of my generation can easily relate to. Simply put, growing up in the 21st century isn’t easy when your parents are still stuck somewhere in the dark ages.

The difficulty is further compounded by the fact that I have grown accustomed to the indigenous ways while my parents are still very much the pair of Orientals from the Good Old Days™. So, I have made a list of the (embarrassing) things my (embarrassing) parents have done:

1. Talking loudly in public…in Chinese.

My mom’s natural voice is unusually loud and high pitched. (I reckon she’s probably a little deaf, so she has to project herself loudly so as to compensate for the hearing defect.) When she gets excited, angry, happy, paranoid, <insert other emotions>, her voice gradually escalates until she is almost shouting. Of course, when this happens in a public arena, there is not much to do apart from quickening my pace, walk ahead of her and silently hope that fellow shoppers won’t make the connection that I am, somehow, related to this crazy Asian lady strolling 5 meters behind me.

2. Talking to my (non-Chinese) friends…in Chinese.

I have never understood why my mom always spoke Chinese to my English friends. I mean, seriously, could she not see my friend’s blond hair and blue eyes? Does she not understand that my friends are not Chinese, ergo they do not speak the language?

3. Horrid fashion senses.

Mom: My mom cannot distinguish between long pants and the so-called “3/4” pants. One day, she came home with a pair of long pants that were manufactured for 13/14 year olds and were clearly 5 inches too short for her. Somehow, her fashion-challenged brain inferred that those “3/4” pants were “in vogue”, and now she wouldn’t stop wearing them.

Dad: My dad generally has an okay sense of fashion, in that he dresses conservatively…except that one time. We went to Boulder’s Beach to watch penguins, and my dad had left his board shorts in the car. He couldn’t go back to fetch it because we had already handed in our tickets, and he couldn’t wade into the water wearing his longs either. So, he stripped down to his cotton (checker) boxers and his wife-beater, and went in the water, just like that.

4. Non-compliance with social conventions.

There was a period of time (up until a short while ago) where my mom would go unshaved for years. Come summer, she would wear shorts and spaghetti tops and venture under the sun indifferent to people’s judging gazes. On the one hand, I admire her nonchalance; on the other hand, I cannot understand how anyone can parade her hair around like that. I realise that when she was growing up, she was probably too poor to afford shaving cream…but surely that poverty is behind her now?

At any rate, this is just a preliminary list of some of the (embarrassing) things my (embarrassing) parents have done. I shall be sure to append this at a later date.