[This is sarcasm.]
Dear Mum and Dad
I am not future-ready.
I blame you.
You didn’t prepare me well for my future. The skills you taught me did nothing to prepare me for this future I am growing into.
You wasted valuable time I could have spent on worthwhile activities like piano and more tuition, by bringing me to the library when I was younger and policing the books I read – always insisting that I had to borrow at least 1 Chinese book/book of a different genre. Thanks to you, I lived the lives of others and realised that there were so many diverse perspectives that held equal weight. Because of you, I received a rude shock when I had to contend with people who wouldn’t talk to me because I was different. Because of you, depression took root as I saw how there were people who continually shut down others, simply because they were different.
I don’t get it. Why did you insist that I had to treat my borrowed books with care? In this society of increasingly educated people, people still spit on pavements, flush pads down the toilet, glorify event venues with their waste. I stick out like a sore thumb when I clean up after myself and recognise that I have a stake in public property. If these educated people are doing it, it must be right, right?
It drives me crazy that even after all these years, I still believe in you when you say that it is more important to live life with dignity and honesty than to compromise any morals for success. In this relentless pursuit for material success, I live in fear everyday at the lengths people would go to. Two wrongs don’t make a right – another saying of yours that annoys but is ingrained in me. I am falling behind in this rat race.
No thank you to you for instilling in me the necessity to be kind to all. I am now increasingly suffocated in this society where people find it more important and worthwhile to behave unkindly to one another. Sympathy, not empathy becomes the real currency and the voice of money grows louder each day. There is now a who’s who list of people to dispense kindness to. Mum and Dad, where does that leave me?
No thank you for letting me understand that kindness and doing good should be a foundation and should happen anytime, rather than let me believe, as the world likes to tell me, that we can only think about helping others after we have a lot of our own resources. It’s crazy, how out of place I feel.
Another one of your failures in parenting – for encouraging me to love Nature. Your thinking is obsolete – there is no more nature to love. Our government policies prove that I’m right. Environment is now an afterthought in our plans for expansion and development. Maybe if more people loved nature like me, there would be no reason for anyone to doubt that we truly value a sustainable future. After all, without the people, what need will there be for such policies?
I am not prepared for a future where there is no nature.
How can I compete?
Mum, Dad, as if loving nature wasn’t enough, you made me fall in love with both the sciences and arts. I’m tortured, tormented, in this world which forcefully pits my two loves against each other. You gave me space to pursue both. You should have insisted that I stick to the useful Sciences. As it is, I have been irrevocably changed by what both have to offer and I can no longer view both as discrete stages. Do you see, what you have put me through by letting me believe that both are necessary to my being?
I believed in you when you told me that it is more important to recognise the importance of being resilient and being adaptable. Society is ever-changing but thanks to you, I can keep up. No thanks to you, however, is the amount of despair I feel when I witness how there is a growing number of people who blindly cram their whole lives and fail to see this simple logic. Can I blame their parents?
You once gave up your seat for another person although you were not in the priority seat. Why would you do that? Nobody does that anymore. Ever since I saw you doing that, I do the same for others but everybody stares at me in disdain. No thank you for letting me know that I should always offer help to someone who needs it, even if no one is looking.
Also, why did you encourage me to open my mouth and speak out whenever I wanted something, or if I witness injustice. Did you know that the best offense now is to engage in psychological and silent warfare by taking pictures and shaming people on social media? It doesn’t matter if our targets had no idea that they were doing grievous harm to us simply because they were too tired, unable to tell if I am pregnant or fat, or failing at reading our minds. It is now classier to keep our lips tightly pursed and use our eyes and phone to communicate our need for a seat. After all, our eyes and phones are windows to our soul right? I am falling behind in this war and my best offense isn’t the best anymore.
Why did you raise me to be inquisitive and open-minded? It is easier to survive if I cover my ears with my hands and pretend that the opinions of others don’t matter and that there is no space for me to be wrong.
Mum, Dad, you have made me feel unloved from the very first day. All my friends had parents who defended them from teachers even when they were wrong, parents who protected them from all harm. Heck, one of my friends didn’t turn in his homework but his parents called to make an excuse for him and blamed Ms W for his irresponsibility. What can Ms W say to that?
Mum, Dad, where were you when I left my consent form at home?
You have altered my future when you encouraged me to love and know my body, to know myself. This society is entering the next season of Society’s Next Top Model where everybody is a judge with their slurs and insults. I am at risk of being eliminated as I live true to myself. I offend these judges further because I have been taught to ignore their critique and grow even more beautifully. Mum, Dad, why would you teach me to live this way?
Mum, Dad, you are Chinese parents. Please act your ethnicity and stop trying to have a conversation with me. I am not interested in your rationales and beliefs in the definitions of creating a family, of having sex and of dating. It only earned me my first black mark when I spoke out in class to rebut my teacher. It made me realise how uncomfortable I was when I attended my first sex-ed class, where subject matter revolved around abstinence and contraception but nothing on the emotional and social considerations you taught me to have. It made me realise soon enough that I would never be ready for a society where my sex-ed educator imposed her own moral judgement and essentially closed off the 40 or so youths who were grappling with their sexuality for the first time.
I guess, one size, in fact, really doesn’t fit all.
Mum, Dad, you make me wish I can abstain from society.
Mum, Dad, you have done nothing to prepare me for this society I had to grow into.
Mum, Dad, don’t try to blame my school and teachers for not teaching me well.
Mum, Dad, it was always you.
P.S. Future-ready, what’s future ready?
Ran past NUS’ Centre for future-ready graduate center a year ago, and I wasn’t ready.
Been learning “21st century” skills for years but I wasn’t ready.
What’s the point of learning to be future-ready if some cut short their future?
Maybe it wasn’t only the education system that failed, maybe we failed.
What future are you preparing for?
P.P.S. This is my rant on the various social problems and phenomena as well as an ill-disguised celebration of my parent’s 26 years of parenting experience to make me who I am today.