A hate-letter to my parents

[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.

Love
Mich

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. 

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. tehtea69 says:

    Great piece you’ve written there, miss.I agree with most of the points you’ve written above (and how society seems so aloof and apathetic as a result), but I would just like to point out that helping yourself before you help others might not be a bad thing at all, since that means you may have greater resources to help others in the future.

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      Hello! Thank you so so much for taking the time out to read, and even to type out this constructive/insightful response hahaha ^^ I definitely think that we should be in a good place ourselves before we help others – otherwise our help may be doing more harm. However, sometimes I feel that that becomes more of an excuse/crutch to not help or be kind 😦 especially when people peg helping to solely in the material sense – like “I’m too worried about my own survival to be kind or helpful.” More often than not, human desires are insatiable and sometimes people will never be content with what they have… it leads to a scenario where people don’t act because they never believe that they have enough to do so. :/ there’s SO much to gain and to value add to ourselves when we help in even the smallest (non-material) ways. If too many people wait for the day when they have helped themselves enough before helping others, they might never start sigh. Hahaha not sure if I’m articulating myself clearly but thank you nonetheless!

      Like

  2. It’s really awesome how our societies have changed to be “future-ready” in such disastrous ways. And the next step from your wonderful writing would have to be to try and fix it. Which is… Difficult hahahaha but it’ll take people like you and those you speak of: those who love both the arts and science, those who are kind and fair even to the harshest bully, those who want to make a difference in this rat-race.

    Thank you for writing this piece 🙂

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      Thank you. Thank you for this. 🙂 hahah it is definitely difficult and I would have to say that I can be doing more. I think you’re one of “those people” I speak of too! 🙂

      Like

  3. PopXY says:

    You are probably around my age, or maybe give and take 2,3 maybe 4 years younger/older. I would like to first say that this response is written quite/very emotionally. And thus, if anyone feels that I’ve been too critical, please feel free to point it out.
    This is the most conceited piece I’ve ever read.
    And this is whats fucking (pardon my language) wrong with this generation. This self-entitled generation that thinks that everyone owes them a living. Your parents probably never had the opportunities, the kind of upbringing you’ve received. Your parents probably, no. Your parents definitely worked for everything you had, have right now. Your parents don’t owe you anything more than the things they have already given you.
    Every parents will definitely have their faults. But from what I’ve read, it seems that all your parents ever wanted for you was good. And all they ever wanted for you was the best. And instead of showing gratitude, you write this ridiculous (personally infuriating) letter. You, who never had to work for anything. You, who had everything given to you. You, who never needed to worry if your next day meals would be there or not. You who never ever realised that you already have alot. You who never ever thought of the people of your age who are much worse off than you. And you dare write this.
    No one is “future ready” in their 20s. No one. And there’s no one to blame for that. But your sense of self entitlement is disgusting to say the least. Who are you going to blame next. Your teachers? For not preparing you enough for the next level of education? For not equipping you with the necessary/relevant skill sets to survive in society? Or who. Your friends for being bad company? For not being a good influence to you? Who else? Who else can you point the finger at?
    It’s always them, isn’t it? It’s never ‘me’. Maybe it’s time to start looking within instead of without. Start looking in and ask yourself if I can be the one making the change instead of sitting down in a corner and moping all about it. Society and to a larger extent life, isn’t perfect. No one is, not your parents, not you, no one. If you think you’re not ready, then do something about it to make yourself ready. If you know there are certain principles to be kept too, then keep to it and don’t use others as a benchmark. If you feel that you have too much choices, then make one because I daresay that there are so many other people out there our age, who don’t get too choose. Stop being so conceited and self-entitled. No one owes you anything.
    Maybe the first thing you can do is to apologize to them irregardless having read the letter or not.
    Your parents may not have given you what you want. But trust me, your parents definitely gave you everything they have, and everything they can.

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      Thank you for your response, and for taking the time out to write out this long response! Thank you for caring about what happens to this society and the sense of self-entitlement that is increasingly pervasive. You don’t come off as overly critical, but instead you come off as someone who cares. I hope you won’t be too angry now to read the points I’ll be making below! I sincerely and genuinely mean it when I say now that I am not here to argue with you or to merely defend my integrity for the sake of my own pride. The written word, especially as a more emotional and subjective piece, is always up for debate because there are different tones people read off it.
      I’m confused because I completely agree with what you’re saying! and these are the points I actually made in my post. and to be honest I’m not sure how I can respond to the points you’ve listed out above because they seem to similarly be everything I believe in. Perhaps my article wasn’t as well-articulated as I’d like it to be :/ despite rewriting it several times.

      “Your parents may not have given you what you want. But trust me, your parents definitely gave you everything they have, and everything they can.”
      Thank you. This is one of the objectives of my piece actually. I love my parents wholeheartedly. When I was writing this piece, what influenced me was witnessing or hearing about various headlines and I “brought my parents” into this because I reflected and realised that the reason why I found these actions disturbing e.g. inconsiderate behavior to public property was because my parents emphasised on the need to respect public property. Before you misunderstand my point, I’m not trying to say that parents are the ones we should proportion blame to for who we are/should be/are not. Instead, this took root from my realisation that 1) yes, I am facing a lot of uncertainties about my future which is an almost-certain scenario with many individuals my age, 2) but despite my uncertainties, I feel that I will have the courage to adapt and carry on because 3) my experiences and take-aways have shaped me to always strive to be brave and kind (whether I am is up for another debate I guess), which I feel are qualities that personally helped me get past certain trials and 4) I realised that a chief reason I believe myself to be constantly striving for kindness is because my parents have been amazing role models for me which is why 5) I recognise how they have been a principle influence in my life with this blame letter but 6) I am not trying to generalise that parents play an important role in everybody’s lives.

      The point you made on pointing fingers. Don’t you see? This is exactly what I was trying to highlight, the increasingly pervasive blame culture. I could have easily written an article on “a love letter to my parents” and list out the amazing things they have done for me (which, I actually do let them know about). The reason and rationale on it eventually being an article that controversially begins as a “blame” letter is precisely because this is a critique on blame culture. Maybe I’ve been looking at the wrong places prior to writing this. I gained inspiration from, ironically, hahaha forums (even the ones I’ve recently appeared in HAHA) where people take time out to write their thoughts, but which invariably ends up in a rhetoric about blaming authorities, or external factors. On the other hand, I’ve had the luck to make friends with amazing individuals who inspire me everyday with the choices they make. Rather than attribute blame to external factors, these people are more introspective and act on what they can on their part first.

      “Maybe it’s time to start looking within instead of without. Start looking in and ask yourself if I can be the one making the change instead of sitting down in a corner and moping all about it. Society and to a larger extent life, isn’t perfect. No one is, not your parents, not you, no one.” + “If you know there are certain principles to be kept too, then keep to it and don’t use others as a benchmark.”

      I never thought I would be typing this to a comment designed to critique but THIS! I wanted to say all these T.T and I was trying to make these points with :

      “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
      ” 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
      “I stick out like a sore thumb when I clean up after myself and recognise that I have a stake in public property”. The list goes on. I am not sure if I have addressed all the points you’ve written about! However, I’m hoping my first two points on my rationale for writing this would make things slightly clearer? and hopefully address most of the points you’ve made. However, if there are other points which you would like to be addressed but which I have not, please feel free to let me know!
      Once again, I need to emphasise that I’m not writing this in a flurry of pride/indignation or for the sake of “winning an argument”. I’ve learnt that the best and most insightful form of communication is one where nobody is trying to win and I genuinely hope you can respect this when you’re reading my reply now! Thank you, really. 🙂

      Like

    2. moses says:

      Don’t worry about this popxy person. I may not agree with your viewpoint entirely, but when I read his/her reply, I picture a toxic Singaporean. He/she is extremely defensive and cannot tolerate a different and critical viewpoint. He/she has a penchant for pontificating repeatedly about the fact that “no one owes you a living” – the typical Singaporean maxim that is based a smidgen of truth, but the devotion to which is likely responsible for the selfishness and aloofness that you described in our society.

      In short, pay people like him/her no mind whenever possible, because they may be good at fending for themselves, but they will never really change anything. They are of little value to anyone but themselves.

      Like

      1. Mich says:

        hahah thank you for that, hope you enjoyed the piece nonetheless! ^^ Ohwell, I guess everybody is entitled to their own opinions :/ Thankfully, he/she was generally polite and didn’t resort to personal attacks (we’ve seen too much of that).

        Like

  4. Mohd Adam Shah says:

    Life has never been more truly described. Being an ITE student moving on to Polytechnic, the amount of people I meet daily that are ungracious, untact, fake and totally ignorant of nature is just disheartening. Sometimes I wonder what is my purpose in this world?

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      :/ !! I know my piece seems disheartening hahaha since it’s written in the reverse tone but I try to be optimistic for our future and for everyday! You’ve added on to my optimism with your comment. Your purpose in this world is to continue being who you are because you’re shining and slaying~! Hahah upon reading your comment I know for sure that you are genuine and beautiful and that you’d make a difference simply by being who you are and living to what you believe in. ^^ All the best for polytechnic!

      Like

  5. Pok says:

    Thank you for this read! It is so tiring to be genuine, kind and empathetic in this world that doesn’t quite make sense. But I hold on to the thought that we will make the world a better place when we start loving and tolerating.

    I hope you find peace and solace within nature (I do!!) and stay strong, positive and kind; all the best haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mich says:

      Thank you for taking time out to show some love to my words hehe! I do, too hold on to that thought and I think it can be because this post has brought out both the ugly and beautiful reactions, but mostly the beautiful. & even the ugly, I accept, are motivated by a lack of apathy. Which means there is hope! ^^
      I found this sentence in a random site and I would like to share it with you – “she/he has a deep well inside her from which her love flows abundantly, and it gives her the capacity to love generously, fiercely, and against all opposition”. Thank you and I wish only the best for you too! ❤

      Like

  6. Haha, I see you already have your hands full with multiple comments and critiques on your piece so I shall keep mine short. Thank you for taking the time to write a rather lengthy piece on your own viewpoints of society (albeit in a rather odd format but makes it all the more interesting eh? ). I must say that I had a really enjoyable time relating to many of these things you write about because I too feel very passionately for these issues which I can’t seem to really redirect except in certain discussions with people that really just amount to nothing, frankly speaking. And so the hope for this country is really for people to start realising that it is what we do that shapes the future of our home, not just the actions of our political leaders or those that so choose to be in the public service. Your other pieces have gotten much less rave and while I don’t know where else you write, I believe that they are all good pieces nonetheless 🙂 cheers!

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      Hahaha thank you so much for your kind words!! Leave your email maybe, would love to be able to have a conversation one day!

      Like

  7. Shad says:

    Your writing style is too cynical for a young person 🙂 but yes, we will need leaders like you.

    Like

    1. Mich says:

      you’re too kind! hahah I’m still a long way from becoming a leader of any sort. 😛

      Like

  8. pqby says:

    Love your articles, thanks for putting those thoughts I couldnt express myself into such beautiful words.

    Like

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