Thursday, August 20, 2009

Can’t legislate Love…

Took the title from the newspaper and such apt description.

Really and truly Love cannot be legislated. I posted a Chinese Hokkien song on my Chinese Blog. This song touches my heart because of the lyrics as well as the musical arrangement which sync very well. It speaks about someone who lost his grandmother. He thought about all the things she did for him, the best food were left for him and all the toys that she bought him. He remembered she taught him to do well in his study and be successful so that he is useful to the society. He was young than and did not understand what she meant. As he grew, he began to realize the values and goodness grandmother was teaching him. Today he is successful but she is no longer around to see it and to enjoy his fruits. He missed grandmother and he wished that in his next life he will be her grandchild again, to enjoy her love and to once again call ‘Grandma’!

As we progress, people are getting selfish. We find old folks, bothersome, cumbersome and tacky. We lost patience while talking to them. Aged = sickness = money = responsibility = sacrificing ones freedom = to lots of things we want to do and because of these folks our hands and legs are tied. Imagine a parent taking his child to court because the child did not upkeep his parents.

Being Asian, we emphasized a lot on filial piety. We usually grow up around our parents and siblings. Even if we finished school and started working in the society, we stay with our parents. Some even do so when they are married and even if they live apart, it is within the small island of Singapore.

However there are more and more people abandoning their old parents. These folks are left in the Old Aged Homes or are left wondering around the streets. These unfaithful and unfilial kids felt that if the don’t take care of their parents, the government will – good accounting! Too bad, Karma doesn’t work that way.

Below are some true encounters.

1) A couple lived in a landed property and with maid in the house. In the day, they chased the old man out of the house. This old man wondered around the neighborhood. He ate food and drank drinks or soup left by the public in food centers. Day in and day out he wondered aimlessly. When it rains, he took shelter at bus stops. If you think you can depend on children when you grow old? Think again.

2) Ah Beng goes to work daily. Ah Lian stayed at home and gossips on the phone with friends. In her free time she gambled with neighbors. Her children are rowdy and one skipped school and got pregnant. They are endlessly bickering at home. However they have a Grandmother living with them. She was frail, not from aged but from malnutrition because most of the time Ah Lian forgot to feed her. Grandmother fainted at home. She died of hunger while Ah Beng, Ah Lian and children was having a sumptuous meal in the neighborhood shopping mall.

3) Uncle Y, a businessman. As he aged, his eyesight failed him. The son that he lived with is a professional. Both the son and the daughter-in-law find the old man embarrassing. They chased him out of the house. Uncle Y has given all his savings to the son. To Chinese people, the eldest son is looked upon as the one who carries the ‘Surname’ so he is much loved and pampered by the whole family. Relatives complained that the couple was ill-treating their old father and to save face, they let him stayed at an HDB flat that belonged to a brother who just passed away. The couple arranged this so that Uncle Y stayed far away from where they lived. Daily, Uncle Y had to take a bus to the couple home to have his meals and returned home at night. Because of his failing eyesight and aged, he fell from the bus. He died at the hospital.

4) Uncle L, down with 4th stage cancer, lived in a Home. He had two sons, both are professionals and are successful in the society. They hardly dropped by to see Uncle L, so do their wives. When they were informed that Uncle L was critical, they were busy successful people with lots of meeting and entertainments – all these are more important than a dying father. Uncle L died alone. When they arrived at the hospital, they did not go into the room to look at Uncle L’s face. They stand outside the room negotiating where the wake should be, your home or mine! Each gave excuses and finally decided to leave Uncle L at the funeral parlor.

Are these real life stories enough to make you sick? I cannot understand how one can do anything like that to one’s parents? Will one not have children of their own? Do they know children learn from examples?

Looking at children borne from the 80s, they are so full of themselves. They do not know what is respect and they are ill-mannered. The Chinese virtues of mannerisms and respecting the elders are rapidly going to grave. How many parents know how to restrain their kids? A friend proudly said to me, “My son, he is so clever and he knows how to tell the uncle he wanted roast duck ‘thigh’ rice. He told uncle to keep the ‘thigh’ and not chopped it up”. I looked at her. She continued to say “Kids are so stressed nowadays; they have tons of homework from school”. What a wonderful mother, my mother never said that I am stressed from my school work and I deserved a ‘duck thigh’.

What children are today, is the doing of parents. How a child is brought up and the values the child is embracing is the doing of the parents. We are creating the future generation, nurturing and instilling values…and until we see the impact…or else we will continue to nature an ‘uncaring’ future generations.

By than I think we all will have to follow the Japanese tradition – when you are old and not useful to your children and society, you will have to wonder off and die in some remote, unreachable and no human will want to wonder place …and take your last breath! Forget about being buried decently. Forget about anyone remembering you on Qing Ming or 7th Month. Actually this serves the purpose of Buddhist teaching…of doing one last good deed ‘leave your body to feed the hungry sentient beings, be it ants, worms or wild dogs.

I was wondering whether we have such place in Singapore to die in peace?

1 comment:

  1. Got.. once u have peace in your heart, dying in any place will make no difference.

    Most of the people die in the hospital, or at their home after they are discharged with terminal illness.

    Other die in hospice or nursing home, away from their family and friends.

    I guess dying in a familiar place would be more peaceful.