I just had a three-hour long chat with a colleague in the privacy and comfort of her laboratory where she works alone. We talked a lot, about her new HDB apartment with her boyfriend which will be ready soon, renovation plans, wedding plans, her dream wedding dress, Disneyland and the Disney store, kitchens (and I don’t even cook!), refrigerators and washing machines amongst at least over a hundred different things.

She also mentioned her highly traditional and conservative parents who have always kept her on tight reins even though she’s already 27. How they and her elder sister always try to control her life, make her decisions and put her down at the same time. How she cannot talk to them about her problems at work without them putting the blame on her eventually. How they always seem to think that it’s her who is at fault. How they always throw cold water on her ideas and plans. It’s clear that she cannot get along well with them but she always tries her best to.

She talked about a time when she felt that she was pushed to the brink by her manipulative and uptight parents. She did not specifically talk about the reason for their argument. I suppose she wanted to keep that to herself and I respected it. I don’t ask, I listen to what is told. Anyway things were terrible with her parents at that time, resulting in her suffering from a meltdown. She confided in me that she tried to commit suicide at that point.

I didn’t even as much as flinch my eyebrows. That almost took me by surprise. Yes, the fact that I was not surprised surprised me. It does not mean that my colleague looked like the type who treats her own life lightly. If there’s ever such a so-called look. But I guess at the age of 25, I have seen, heard and understood enough to know that even though suicide is wrong, people have a choice and we make our own decisions in our own lives, even if it is to end it. And sometimes we have to understand why they would want to do that to themselves so that we can help them if they survive the attempt and how not to let the same unfortunate event fall upon others who still can be helped. Even if we do not always agree with them. To understand is not to agree and it is alright to understand and disagree at the same time.

I was just glad that she wasn’t successful at that attempt or I wouldn’t be talking to her now. Especially since the Hungry Ghosts’ Festival just ended over the weekend and all our fellow mates from the other side had finished their holidays and went back home. I did not tell her that what she did was not correct and that she should never try it again because I knew that she knew. But then she said that now she just has to constantly remind herself that there was others who care for her, and I almost raised my voice saying that of course there are and that her family does love her although they are not good at or do not know how to show it.

I find it upsetting that not all parents know how to treat their children the right way to make them feel loved, even though the parents do love them. I don’t understand. Weren’t they the children of their parents once? Hence shouldn’t they know how it would be like for their children if they treated them this way? Why have they never put themselves in their children’s shoes before? My parents are fantastic, but they both came from, bless my grandparents, totally sucky parents. Whom I believe, taught them what not to do to their children. Which is why my parents are close to perfection, and I minus marks only because I don’t believe in perfection.  

So don’t complain about your parents, how they always nag, how they don’t understand. Hey, at least they never make you feel like killing yourself! I know, I always know how to make others feel better haha.

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