Another old draft I found, written more than 3 years ago (July 10, 2012):
Tonight I had dinner with my family and the couple who took really good care of me when I was in China.
It was a good dinner. Conversations shared between the adults (my parents and Mr & Mrs tan) made me think hard: the generation today and back then is so, so different.
Back in my parents’ days, they had to strive hard for everything. Away from home (papa from Batu Pahat, mom from Penang), they rented a room here in KL during uni days and even initial working days, worked part time while studying – tutoring other uni students, rode the bike to travel, footed the bills on their own and even had excess savings to support younger siblings. My heart ached and softened when I heard that.
And yet… My parents never once complained. Sure life was tough, but they took on any challenges and have grown to be people of character after that. And that is why they are who they are today.
Bringing and thinking this back to myself and most Gen Y around me today, I see a huge difference. Not all bad, of course. Certainly there are improvements and advancements in standard of living, competition, expectations…
I’m talking more about the tenacity to strive. Attitude. Perspective. Survivor skills.
Sure we have gone steps ahead in education, in technology, exposure, opportunities… But do we approach and do things the same way our parents did? Would we be able to stand if we had to start from ground zero: no guidance from parents, no nice house or dinner to go home to, no car to drive, no nothing; just you yourself and how you’re gonna make it work, bit by bit.
Heck, I don’t think I can even do that living on my own and supporting my younger brothers in their studies.
I have all of the above and yet sometimes I take these for granted. My parents have provided me SO MUCH and nothing but the best, even till today when I have already started work.
To be honest, I feel somewhat ashamed of myself. I guess the least I can do now is to be to the best of a good daughter I can.
PS: These are solely my own thoughts and do not apply to all families and households.
PPS: Inflation has played a part over the course of the years and hence also affects our disposable income and means to spend, but looking at the big picture the message of this piece lies within the changes in one generation to another.