Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Odd couple

My mum and dad make an odd couple. While dad is strong and muscular, mum is small and frail. Dad is always calm while mum is the anxious one. I remember mum had a temper when she was younger but now she's mostly quiet. Even then, dad is still the quieter one. I always look at them in bewilderment when it comes to communication between the two.

At home, dad is always seated at his desk, head burried in the newspapers. You will find mum across the table, talking about things, mostly centering around the farm and her health problems. More often than not, she would be holding a monologue because dad appears oblivious to the chatter. I used to frown at his lack of response.

I suddenly found myself doing the same thing yesterday. There I was, seated at my father's desk, head buried in the papers. Mum, who was seated across, suddenly launched into her "I haven't been feeling well at all and my head has been spinning all week..." spiel.

I was shocked that I let the words fly above my head without attempting to reply or offer any words of consolation. I find myself behaving just like my dad. Well, it's not that I'm not concerned about her ailments but I just didn't know what to say.

Since I can't offer any advice or solution, the most sensible thing to do would be to give her a hug. That also I didn't do. The trouble with us is we're not brought up on hugs and kisses. It would seem really awkward for me to envelop her in my arms.

I was observing passengers walking out through the arrival gate at the airport that day. While most of the caucasians greeted their loved ones enthusiastically with tight hugs and kisses, the Asians mostly smiled or shook hands. The cultural difference was apparent. Asians tend to be more reserved but that doesn't mean they're not loving or caring. In fact, filial piety is considered a prime virtue amongst us.

Back to the story. I looked up at mum, with concern and sympathy showing on my face, folded up the newspapers and said, "I have to leave for work now."

Now I feel a little guilty and sorry. I should have been kinder. Maybe that's how my dad feels too.

9 comments:

jyankee said...

Yeah... I know that it was that way with my parents...though living in the US, we were shaped up with more hugs and kisses than the usual Asian. Even now I still give Coffee lots of hugs and kisses, knowing that she'll be embarrased to have them one day! Ha ha...
Your mom knows, but it doesn't help that does it... you can make up for it next time you see her!

Nick Phillips said...

It's the Asian way I guess. We don't display our emotions as openly as the Westerners do ...

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

u're not alone, me folks also the same. i think many couples are opposite of each other, with the fortunate few exceptions of alike ones? heh

Amel's Realm said...

Yeah, I'm also not used to hugging my parents...but at least now whenever I come back home to Indo, my Mom and I would hug when I just arrive and also when I'm about to leave again. :-D

I agree with JYankee, you can make it up next time you see her! ;-D

Blur Ting said...

JY - You know what? Your daughter will never outgrow your hugs and kisses. My kids still want their hugs and they're way taller than me!

Blur Ting said...

Nick - Yes, very Asian.

Blur Ting said...

Fry - I think the older generation doesn't mind the personality clashes that much. They just live with it.

Blur Ting said...

Amel - It feels weird right, to suddenly start hugging your family members. For you it is understandable because you don't see them often and you miss them so much.

EE said...

Yes indeed. Resonant with my situation!