Family


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.

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Last night at the airport, my sis was trying to take a photo of this guy with my camera sneakily.

*aim*

*snap*

*flash*

Sis: (trying to hide her camera) “ARGH! There’s flash!”

She forgot to turn off the flash. So much for trying to be discreet.

A pair of young Caucasian parents with a toddler in tow in a pram walked by…

Me: That’s sooo cute.
Sis: So cute!

Me: I was referring to the dad (^.^)
Sis: I was talking about the kid (-_-“)

The truth is that I’m proud of them as long as they are healthy, happy and living a life worth living.

No matter how cliche this sounds.

Do you know that there’s this show on Channel 8 / U featuring famous daddies taking over the household including the kid(s) for a day while the mummies go for a break, with Mark Lee as the host?

Well, I have never watched that but I do see the commercials now and then. Last night, as I was watching TV with my mum, the commercial for the next episode of the show was aired. Seeing how the daddy for the week made a mess of the household chores and failed to pacify the son, which seems to be a common trend for these daddies, I commented with slight disdain how generally daddies suck at household chores and taking care of the children, to which of course my mum readily agreed.

Before you jump into any conclusion, once again a behaviour typical of Homo sapiens (and which I’m occasionally guilty of), that I’m exhibiting traits of an alpha female again, let me tell you that it’s a private joke between my mum and I that fathers generally suck at the abovementioned tasks because my dad happened to be one of these daddies. It’s a joke because even though my dad did not help out with housework or taking care of us when we were young, my dad is a great father and we all love him dearly. He was not a man of many words, could not express his feelings for us openly, never once said “I love you” to my mum or us, but he has always been there for us and took good care of us for years by working very hard and bringing the dough home. Now that he has retired, he cooks, cleans the place, talks to us a lot more, isn’t as afraid to show his affection and takes care of us in a way very different from the past, but no less as loving and caring.

I can go on and on about how fantastic my dad is, except for, again another joke between my mum and I, earning big bucks, and how much I love him, but let’s face it: if you were to ask my dad to take over the household for a day some ten years ago, I doubt my dear dad could even survive ten minutes before dumping my wailing sisters and I down the rubbish chute. So yes, the conclusion is that most working fathers generally cannot handle tons of dirty laundry and plates to wash, diapers to change, hollering kids to pacify and meals to cook, amongst many other tasks, which begin the moment they open their eyes (which is usually when the baby starts crying at 4am) and only stop when they go to bed (which is after they manage to put the children into bed – and then the baby wakes up wailing at 4am, all over again).      

However my mum told me something very sweet about my dad last night. My dad has quite a fiery temper, although he almost never flares up at any of us, which is easily triggered by his lack of patience. To his credit, he has tamed down a lot over the years. Back in those days when he was still young and overflowing with angst, I suppose his temper could be quite scary. However do you know that when we were still young, he would sit by our bedside with a nail clipper and patiently trim our nails while we slumbered on?

Seriously, how sweet is that? I told you that I love that man, didn’t I?

After lunch with my sisters at AMK Central,

Me: I need to get some drinks from the supermarket.
Sis: What kind of drinks?
Me: Ice lemon tea.
Sis: (looking at me incredulously) Are you addicted to ice lemon tea?
Me: (in mock denial) NOOooooo, of course I am not.
Sis: Just like how any typical addict would react to such accusation.
Me: Maybe I should go to Ice Lemon Tea Anonymous. Hi, my name is Shoi and I’m addicted to ice lemon tea.
*all engulfed in wild laughter*
Me: I can start up one and be the President. We can call it ICTA. I-C-TA (pronounced i-see-ta)
Sis: Or it can be LTA – Lemon Tea Anonymous!

LOL. My family is FULL of shit.

Just three hours to the end of 2008 and the start of a brand new year…

…and I’m feeling incredibly sleepy!

Countdown this year I shall not. For the past years since I left JC, practically all Christmas and New Year Eve were spent partying away with friends. Instead I went home straight after a half day of work today, pushed away all offers from friends and took my family to a delicious lunch at a Japanese restaurant. My family was delighted. Of course they would be. I was the one who paid the bill. Anyway as I was telling my family, who still couldn’t believe that I was staying home this eve, over our last lunch of the year this afternoon, I’m going to count down to 2009 with 周公 this year!

Opps finished almost everything by the time I remembered to take a photo!

I bet he would be lonely considering that most people wouldn’t be getting much sleep tonight, at least not before midnight! I’m going to be a kind soul and keep the old fellow company!

Then again, my sister reckoned that 周公 might have his own countdown party with the other deities like 财神爷 and 八仙, so I might be finding myself at a very lonely party later.

On the last day of each year, I always wanted to write an entry on reflection. But every year, I found myself too tired to do this. Perhaps there’s nothing much to reflect anyway since reflection is an subconscious activity which most of us do on a regular basis. Neither is there any regret to talk about. Life has always been smooth. Sure, there have always been bumps and molehills along the way, but nothing to cripple me, nothing breaking me down to crumbles. Besides, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I’ve a job, I’ve health. I can walk, speak, run and do practically anything I want. I’ve a happy family and wonderful friends who are all fortunately as fit as a fiddle too. I have enough.

I hope that everyone has a fantastic 2008. Don’t worry if this year has been slightly rougher. Next year will definitely be better. Well, it can’t be worse, right? 😉

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