Sunday, May 21, 2006

Our failings, not theirs.

Eelin once told me this anecdote. Something that she saw when she was on a flight back to Australia. Its something small and yet had quite an impact on her so she related it to me.

She was sitting on her seat on the plane and beside her on the other row, there was this little girl who was being scolded by her mum. She was sobbing silently while her mum continued to ramble on and reprimand her for being a naughty and stupid girl.

Her undoing? She fell down and hurt herself while going into the plane and created a commotion as a result.

And then on the other side of her, on the exact same row, there was this Ausssie lady who was comforting her son. He had just scalded himself while drinking some soup. The little boy was crying cos it was obviously very painful and his mum was telling him how it was alright, comforting him and hugging him at the same time.

When I was younger, my brother always got into arguments with my dad. The 2 of them are so different and yet so similar at the same time. Both are so stubborn and yet both refuse to admit it. Well, actually everyone in my family are very stubborn but thats another story altogether. My dad is someone who prefers to follow the more rigid way in doing things. He prefers the safe route while my brother is someone who prefers to follow the alternate route, perhaps of his youth. He was never good in his studies, always failing and always getting the last in his classes. My parents would be very pissed why he could never concentrate on his studies. They did not outrightly say it but we all know that they were very disappointed with him, cos being the only male in the whole family, they have higher expectations of him.

However, they failed to see his strengths. He is an excellent artist. He can draw very very well. I always see his works and always never failed to get impressed. I am not talking about those kiddy drawings, but very nice drawings of comics and cartoons. So is my sister. Of the 3 of us, I am the only one who is better in my studies. The 2 of them are good in the arts. My brother's works are so good that he actually intended to send them in for some competition but in the end, did not do it cos of some unknown reason. Then again, he did not seem to bave much encouragement. Whenever he presented his works to my parents, their reactions were always the same. They would praised him for his work and then followed with their standard reply.

"It would be better if you can put in the same effort into your studies. We rather you excel in your studies than doing all these."

And then thats it.

What I am trying to say is this. Why are we always so harsh on our young ones? Is it something that is so inherent in our society that we do not even recognize it? The little girl on the plane is a Singaporean and her mum reacted to a very standard Singaporean attitude. Her first reaction was to scold her girl for hurting herself. What is wrong with our society actually?

I was watching the Singaporean film "I Not Stupid 2" this afternoon and it brought back lots of memories. The things that the kids talked about, their attitude and the retorts that they gave to the adults. They are so similar to what my brother once said during his schooling days. One really stood out.


Translation : "whatever I do, you will not be satisfy'.

There really is something wrong with our society. Why are we always focusing on the weaknesses instead of the strengths? Are we relying too much on academic results to judge a person's worth? I have this strange feeling that if my family were an American family for example, then I would be most worthless one in my family. I am only good at studying, my siblings are very creative and they have a skill which I will never be able to learn or pick up. I don have any inherent skill. If only my parents were to give my brother a little more encouragement in honing his artistic skills, perhaps he might just be an artist instead of what he is today.

So let us just remember this:


When our young ones fail, its our failings and not theirs.

After seeing the movie, I am more resolute in not having any children. Its too huge of a responsiblity and I do not think that I will ever be ready to carry it.

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