When I was young, I always thought that I had normal parents, just like any other kid in school. Then as I grew older and started talking more about my parents and family life with my friends, realization dawned upon me. As always, the truth ain’t always going to be pretty. Mine ain’t too bad; it was just..well, odd. Because my parents are certainly an odd kind.
Firstly, my mum has never used any cane on us. How strange is that for a Singaporean parent? In fact, we have never bought a single cane in our lives. Except sugar cane drinks. And Christmas candy canes. Sure, you can beat the crap out of someone using a sturdy sugar cane, or blind someone in the eyes with a candy cane, but my mum sure never used those on us either! When I first laid my eyes on a cane in one of my kindergarten school friends’ home and heard of its formidability from them, it was almost like Columbus discovering America in 1942. Except that Columbus was probably a lot more excited and delighted, unlike my friends who tried to hide canes in everywhere feasible. Like in the fridge, under the cupboard, behind the television or, hell with fines and imprisonment (we were too young to be legally judged anyway – it would be our parents who had gotten the fines and sentences), throw the canes out of the window. In the 1980s and early 1990s, pedestrians were more likely to be killed by canes falling from the tenth storey than cars on the road.
When friends were getting their lives beaten out of them during childhood, mine was spent in parks and beaches, riding bicycles, strolling leisurely, running freely, building sand castles and dungeons, picking sea shells and whats not. I didn’t exactly have a very normal childhood, thanks to my strange parents. No wonder that I grew up weird.
My dad? My old man thinks that Chucky is a really hilarious movie and Chucky is a really funny doll who runs after people with a knife. Chucky, his bride and seed, the whole Chucky gang makes him laugh like mad. If you think that this is strange, hold on for a minute – my dad doesn’t even know English.
Just last Sunday, there I was sitting in the living room doing my work on my laptop and watching the TV at the same time. My parents were both watching Crime Watch. They LOVE Crime Watch. I just watch whatever’s on the set when I’m free. After ten minutes into the show, I suddenly realized what was so strange about the scene. They were watching Crime Watch on Channel 5. In English. My parents were discussing about the case (the Spiderman case – the guy who lived in a condominium and robbed his neighbours by climbing into their apartments through the windows) ardently.
So I laughed and said to them (in Mandarin, of course), “What are you guys watching? Do you understand what they are saying?”
To which my mum replied in earnest, “Yes, I’m reading the subtitles.”
The subtitles, in case you were wondering, were in English too.
And my dad, trying to be funny as usual, jested, “I understand what they are saying!”
My dad must understand Tamil as well then because sometimes he will watch Vasantham.