Thursday, June 02, 2005

"Wait till you become a parent one day, then only you'll know how difficult it is!"

"Wait till you become a parent one day, then only you'll know how difficult it is!"

My mum always says that when I misbehave or don't understand why she made me do this and that. My parents were very strict with me and my sister when we were younger. We never took the public bus or the school bus to school. We've always been chauffered driven everywhere, even to the kedai runcit less than 10 minutes walk away from our house. I never understood why we needed Uncle Dol. Other mothers drove their children and they turned out ok. Other fathers know their kids tuition time table and they turned out ok. Why did my family need an outsider to attend to our every need?

I hated it.

I had piano lessons, Mandarin classes, art classes and tuition when I hit the age of 4. My dad never knew my timetable; he didn't even know the fees for each class I attended. I remember I had to wait for more than an hour for him to come pick me up from my Mandarin tuition class in the evening (the driver worked only till 5pm). I was so used to waiting for him so was my teacher. When he came, I wasn't excited to see him; unlike my other friends when they saw their mum or dad in the car. To me, it was another boring 15 minute journey home with my dad saying...

"How was Mandarin today?"

And me answering..

"Fine."

When I was in Secondary school, I wanted to follow my friends to take the public bus to the tuition centre after school. They seemed to be having fun, going for tuition together and eating at the food court near the centre. My friends envied me instead. Having a driver to wait for me in front of the school gate everyday, rain or shine without fail. But I envied them even more. They had the freedom but I didn't. They had wings, I had them too but mine were clipped.

So, one day...

"Uncle Dol, saya mahu naik bas dengan kawan saya. You tunggu saya di tempat tuition. Kalau you mahu, you ikut belakang bas lah. Ok? Jangan cakap bapa ok? Tak boleh cakap tau?"

And so I took the bus twice. I didn't like it at all. So crowded, so stuffy, so hot and it made me sick.

Now I know why my parents never allowed me to take the bus because they know that I will not be able to withstand such a rough environment. I was spoilt. Spoilt rotten by them.

I wanted my friends to be around me all the time so I invited them to ride the car with me and we went for tuition classes together, ate together and went home together without taking the public bus. I gained my friendship and they gained the comfort of a car.

I'm not complaining. I know I should be grateful and appreciative of all the good things my parents gave me. I am thankful for being so fortunate. And now I finally understand why they did what they did. They did that to protect me. The means to achieve the end may not be the most preferable one for me but it worked out anyway. I turned out ok. I'm still able to survive on my own in this foreign land. I can take public transport by myself without getting lost.

Will I treat my children the same way my parents did to me and my sister?

I always tell my mum...

"Ma..I will never ever do what you did to me when I was small."

And she'll say...

"Ok lor...we'll see ah...we'll see. When you become a mother then we'll see..."

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