Monday, April 20, 2009

Generation Gap

We hear about the generation gap all the time. I won't speak for others, but it's especially true for me. As I was growing up I found the gap between my mother's generation and mine so wide we were as different as night and day.

One glaring instance are our personalities. She's a pessimist whilst I'm an optimist. I don't ever believe there's nothing that I can't do.

At a time when I was a teenager, my mother was afflicted with breast cancer. Her thought was to find me a boy so that I would have someone to care for me. That issue has always been a bone of contention for me. Although her intentions were good, it is still beyond me that I should simply be "handed over" to someone, anyone. That's another glaring difference between my mother and I. Her generation of pre-arranged marriages has always thought it normal for a woman to play the role of a long-suffering wife who is expected to kow-tow to iron-fisted in-laws' whims and fancies. A woman needs a man to be complete. It's unfortunate, but for her generation, a woman takes all the blame for everything a man does. If a man's business doesn't take off after marriage, it's his wife's fault because she's brought him bad luck. It never crosses their minds that it is probably the man's fault because he's not good in business? Why, there's even a Hokkein nursery rhyme that exhorts the goodness a boy brings to the family, while a girl is frowned upon! It is not something that you'll hear me singing to my daughters, enough said!

That's what differentiates my mother's generation and mine, for me at least. There's much more to what I expect out of life than to live under anyone's thumb . A man must complement me, not complete me. I'm ever unwilling to follow just about anything anyone says, it has to first make complete sense to me. That said, I am lucky to be happily married, but even if I weren't married, I suspect I will just happily be single.

So how do we even bridge the gap? I don't think that's even possible considering our opinions differ so greatly. That's not to say we don't have our "agree" moments. We do, it's just not that often.