Friday, December 18, 2009

Afterthought from a korean variety show

The thing about most Singapore guys I have met and known, they are truly very sweet. As one would put it, very "husband" material... They might not be the most fashionably eye catching of the lot, or sacharine sweet with their words. Yet it is the deeply steeped Chinese notion that man should be the "protector and provider", rather than the Western "equal partnership" that makes them rather adorable.

To demonstrate this "husband" quality. Just the other day during the wedding dinner, we were served with steamed prawns, with shells intact. I was just joking cheekily that this is the moment where I miss my parwn peeling husband the most. Upon that, 2 guys from the same table volunteer to peel the prawns for us ladies. Without further ado, the guys peeled the steaming hot prawn with gusto and placed them in a bowl for us ladies. Impressed is an understatement... Singapore women who has no qualms about putting down, and reserving only nasty words for our local men while placing men from other nationality on high pedestal need to honestly review their own restrictive opinions.

I was watching a recent Korean variety show where over a dozen women from various countries were invited in a show to share their views. Without doubt, the ladies raised from a western culture have a very different set of values and mindset from us who are raised in an Asian environment.

In Asia, from education to dating, it is not uncommon for children to consider the feelings and opinions of our parents. Their inputs may not have the final say but their views have a certain level of weightage. Ladies from Korea, Japan, Taiwan were sharing that marriage is about the merging of 2 families, where receiving parental blessing is the best ideal situation. We would like our partners to get along well with our parents since some have to live together. Otherwise, the path ahead would be a rocky and laborious.

The western ladies on the otherhand were like crusaders on a mission, strongly putting down the views of the asian ladies, insisting that love is only about 2 people, and no one else should have a say in who they choose to love. Love is everything without a need for consideration. It was almost unthinkable for them to stop and weigh the need to balance the feelings of their family vs their personal need to be with someone they love. The thought of serving their spouse's parents was almost like a figment of imagination.

When the subject moved to receiving education funds from parents, 95% of people from the western societies found it strange and abnormal for university students not to be self supporting. The idea of receiving a continuing allowance and fees paid by parents (if they can afford it without effort) was like a foreign concept. The asian ladies defended their stand, that there is nothing wrong with our asian practice since without working part time, we are able to focus on the studies and excel in it. Which is why in asian countries, children continued to give a monthly nominal spending allowance to their parents as a form of gratitude from the day they join the working community.

It was very interesting to watch the debate between the 2 differing societies. The fiery call for independence and fulfilling of self of those from western society vs the more "submissive" need to observe the social norm of respecting the view of your parents in the oriental east. I personally root for the eastern values of course.

In Western countries, parents are treated as just friends. In traditional Asia countries, parents enjoyed a relative higher status. In modern days, it is a growing trend that parents are encourage not to talk down to children, but to treat them as equal, as friends. Frankly, it's an unconceivable idea if you ask me, to treat a child below 15year old as a friend.

Personally, parents are parents at the end of the day and should never receive the equal level of treatment as a friend does. For everything they had sacrifice to rise a child, parents deserve every ounce of respect and much more than a friend should. This is especially if they had performed their parental duties of caring for u, and watching out for you. Their views may not always be right nor in sync, but that doesnt mean as an adult, we are free to brush them off.

1 comment:

WhiteDuskRed said...

Singapore guys - You're right.

Singapore women reserving nasty words for Singapore men - You're right.

Asian vs Western values - Right again.

No time to comment~ rushing back to assignment now!