February 16, 2012

Please grow up ...

Some say that you can grow old but you don’t have to grow up … it is to say that one can be young at heart even though we are getting old. Well, I have no problem with that. But from a different perspective, I say that the reality of one growing old actually needs another growing up. What do I mean? 

OK, let me explain my point … by growing old, I am talking about letting go of things, taking a backseat, bowing out from obligations and enjoy the easy life for however long it may be. And by growing up, I meant the children carrying on the baton, taking on the challenges of life and learning to handle the responsibilities of their age. My philosophy is simple ... for one to grow old, the children must grow up.

But the problem is, some children just don’t grow up and there are too many young working adults out there who still rely on their parents for support. I heard this many times “No matter how old your kids are, they are still a baby in your eyes”. You can put it that way but it does not mean that you are to hold their hands forever … you don’t want to hold their hands forever. If they are holding on to your hands for too long … something is not right. 

We all heard of protective over-indulging parents ignorantly spoiling their children and some parents (knowingly) still carry the responsibilities of their adult children. Are you one of these parents? Look, the years are adding on, like it or not the wrinkles and grey hairs will show and come one day you would like to grow old … but can you? 

Anyway, I don’t know about others ... my hair is already turning grey but hey, I am not complaining … on the contrary, I am glad I can see my hair turning grey. Many unfortunate people did not live long enough to see their hairs turn grey. I don’t mind getting older … and in time to come, I want to grow old. I told my children many times (even though they are still at a young age) and I tell them again, so here is to my son and daughter “Please grow up … so I can grow old”.

February 01, 2012

Study lor … study some more lor … then read lor

I know of some parents who are very reluctant to let their kids have access to a computer or other digital devices at home. I once asked one such parent why and she said she is afraid that her children will be hooked on the computer games, Internet, watching online movies, chatting or drawn into other related activities. She told me she heard of stories that kids who are so hooked on the Internet that they refuse to go to school playing truant hanging out at Internet cafes. They are addicted to online games, watching movies on the Internet every day neglecting their studies. She don’t want her kids to be like that … so no computers, no Internet, no emails, no mobile phones, no MP3s, no game consoles … absolutely NOTHING !

When I asked these parents what do they like their kids to do on free time, I often hear … study lor. When I explained 'free time' means after the kids had finished studying, they told me … study some more lor. Then I asked what if their kids really don’t want to study anymore … what then? They said to me … then read lor. I don’t want to ask anymore.

Seems like this 'STUDY lor and STUDY SOME MORE lor and then READ lor” routine is the norm set in the minds of these parents for their kids’ free time. I feel bad for their kids … as if the kids have not read enough. Do the kids really like reading? Or they just don’t have any choice … because their parents think that computers and other digital devices are bad for them. Don’t get me wrong … I am not saying reading is not good. I want my kids to read too … it is a good habit but I don’t want my kids to just read and do nothing else. There are a lot more they need to do and learn while growing up at their age.

I disagree with parents who don’t allow their kids the necessity and convenience of the digital age. Look, kids today are born into the world of computers, mobile phones, iPads, Internet, emails, SMS, online games, FB, Twitter, Google, Skype, YouTube and so on and so forth. All these are not bad for the kids … these are part of their lives (whether you like it or not) and are what they learn from, what they talk about in schools, what they share with their classmates, what they laugh about with their friends and what they enjoy doing while growing up.

On the same notion, people like me who were born before the digital era, we grew up fly-fighting kites on sharpened glass-laced strings, throwing slippers at pile of picture cards, sharpening the nails on spin-tops, squatting on dusty roads playing marbles, running helter-skelter from “chopping” balls, catching spiders in jungles, climbing barefooted up a coconut tree, swimming stark naked in rivers and mining ponds, scaling slippery boulders at waterfalls … we were born into these activities … they were important parts of our growing years. Were these bad for us? I definitely don’t think so.

Surfing the Internet may have some bad elements as to flying kites with sharpened glass-laced strings has dangerous elements associated with it … but one cannot deny the kids of the contemporary things they are born into and the gizmos of their age that provide the necessity and convenience for them to grow up with. Whether they are kids of today spending time on the computer or kids of my era playing marbles on a dusty road, it is only bad if you don’t how to exert caution, discipline, supervision and control over it.

Don’t be too fast to blame the digital age and say it is bad for the kids. The digital age made our lives a little more convenient, a little more entertaining, a little more interesting and a whole lot more easier. If you don’t agree, try asking your kid to use the log book (if you still remember what a log book is) to do Logarithms instead of a calculator or computer software … I hope you see my point.

Note : Some readers who are not familiar with Malaysian slang may not understand the word “lor” used in the above article. “Lor” is a local slang popularly used to imply “what else?”… so “study lor” simply means “study, what else?”