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Malaysian Alien


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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I have been having daily heated arguements with my parents since returning home. Maybe they never understood how much I love them. Maybe I never understood how they wanted to be loved.

But this post is my peace offering. My way of saying I am sorry and my way of appreciating them for all the good things they have done in my life.

I discovered in recent years that my parents were right. They were right when I was a child. They were right when I was a rebelling teenager and they are still right till today, as long as the topic does not involve career management and computer skills. Those two skills, I am always right.

Now do not panic if you wake up one day and find yourself agreeing with your parents’ ideas and thoughts. That happened to me one morning not too long ago. I can’t remember which day but I am sure thought process changed ever so subtly. Suddenly everything my parents said made perfect sense.

If that is not creepy enough for you brave souls out there, then what about this? I found myself saying things like, “You don’t give the spoilt brat RM2 each time the child whines. You give the child a good whooping, that’s what you give,” and “Yeah, yeah, yeah – you think you know everything. Wait until you grow up!” at whiny children and teenagers.

I winced each time I found myself uttering words that my parents drummed into my ears when I was younger. They were like little reminders, each time saying, “See, I told you, Otto. Your father/mother is always right”. Which means I was always wrong when I was a child.

And all those time I thought I knew everything as I slammed the doors and threw a fit because of my raging hormones as a teenager? I was wrong then too.

The funny side about growing up and knowing that you are grown up is realizing the role reversal between parent and child. Part and parcel of agreeing with your parents and seeing their point (which simply makes you a PARENT), is that you begin to play the parent role and as if like magic, your parents are the spoilt brats.

That is karma kicking your butt.

As my parents start aging, I find myself nagging after them and asking them to do things. In my parent-child relationship with my parents, it is often about two things:

  • TV

  • Exercise

I remember clearly how my parents nagged me when Beverly Hills 91210 and MacGuyver were the hit TV sitcoms. Highschool was a mean street if you did not watch those popular sitcoms, among with other TV shows which felt so important then but means nothing to me now. Especially since I do not recall the names.

So I was your average teenager, arguing with parents and challenging for the control of the TV control and couch time. I was met with brutal reprimands for not completing my homework and not studying enough. The “You watch too much TV” nagging was so bad that I was considering giving up TV all together.

And now what do we have here, 15 years down the line? My two parents sat on their asses from 8 a.m. till 10 p.m. glued to the TV. My god, they are worse than me when I was a teenager, I thought to myself on more than one occasion.

And so I nag. I nag them like they nagged me as a child. And I have good reasons now, just like they had good reasons then. My parents need to exercise, especially my mother, in order to remain healthy. And they are hardly ever going to have healthy hearts and livers by attempting to beat the “The Malaysian that watches the most TV per day” record in the Malaysian Book of Records.

“That’s it!” I screamed one day. “I am fucking going to cut the Astro subscription off!” That line is so my mother in the mid 90s. I was attempting to yank my mother off the chair to join the neighbourhood auntie for line dancing. “Talking to Milo does not constitute socializing!”

Milo is my fat cat.

Plus my mother seriously needs to exercise to maintain her health, which is deteriorating as a body normally would when it ages. But she refused and so I played the mummy role. Suggested that I would buy her a nice bag to keep her little towel. Maybe a new pair of shoes, if she was good. And even a fancy water tumbler! And true to the role reversal, my mother refused to go for the classes like a 5 year old rejecting kindergarden in the first week of school.

“Please teacher, here is a cane,” I said as I giggled. My father and brothers were listening as I told them about what I imagined to have happened if I brought my mother for her first day at line dancing. “Here is a cane and if my mother is naughty, please do not hesitate and cane her naughty bottom.” Needless to say, my mother did not find what I said during our Sunday family dinner funny.

And neither do I when I think about it. Things have changed. My parents are getting old and my brothers and I are beginning to take over their roles as parents. At least I see that there is a change of roles as vague as it might appear to be. Perhaps I am insolent in my ways and I believe that as much as they are my parents, I am now grown and I speak to them as a peer, rather than as their child.

But there are days when I am reminded how much a child I still am. Like when I knock on their bedroom door past midnight, feeling frightened that I discovered a lump on the back of my neck. “Open the door! Open the door! I am sick!”

I turned around when the door opened and pushed myself into their room. My mother came to see what the fuss was. “Look at the lump! I am going to die of cancer!” I freaked out like a little child. I lifted my hair and showed her where the lump was. Finding a lump at midnight isn’t fun. You can’t rush to the doctors for consultation at midnight.

“Oh don’t be silly,” said mum like a true pro. “It is just a pimple. Put some Salvon on it, keep it clean until it is ready to pop.” She walked to her dresser and looked into a drawer. I heard the tiny bottles of potions and ointments rumbling about in the drawer. She dabbed some on the swollen pimple and right tha very moment, I was their child again.

~ When times were better.
I imagined my parents encouraging me to talk when I was a year old
and now that I can talk, I imagine that they can't wait for me to shut up.



most definitely true indeed

ahh... the wisdom of hindsight ;)

4:55 pm  

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