something cropped up today during one of those inconsequential-along-the-corridor kind of conversations. i bumped into a colleague at work today and started indulging in minor chit-chat. somehow the talk brought to light the fact that he is single and living on his own in an apartment. my first reaction to this was ‘you mean you don’t stay with your parents?’, an incredulous look smeared across my face.
thinking about this on the drive home reminded me of my previous post on chinese heritage. i used to be a big fan of a tv series based on the shenanigans in and out of courtroom of a group of idealistic and too-smart-to-be-true lawyers. in one episode a man was put on the stand for some heinous murder and his whole conviction hung on the fact that he was more than 30 and still staying with his mother. that in the eyes of the american justice system was tantamount to a full blown confession from a sick and twisted mind.
spin to the other half of the globe and leaving the homestead is tantamount to a sick and twisted mind. it is fascinating to see the vast dichotomy in cultural norms from one part of the planet to the other. i am quite sure that a lot of people in our part of the woods do actually leave home but i would argue that they are in the minority. on the other hand american teens are often forcefully encouraged to strike out on their own in the name of self-realisation and individualistic freedom. the emphasis is on the self as opposed to the collective in their oriental brethren.
it is of course not my place to comment on which is better but both do have their advantages and disadvantages. imagine an old couple sitting in an old and crumbling house where the only sound is the constant drip of the leaky faucet in the kitchen. its been too long since they heard from their children who are too busy to make phonecalls except for the perfunctory christmas and birthday variety.
asians are no better. in a bid to keep the family together, the parents invite their son and his blushing bride to stay in their home. after the initial months of manufactured niceties, the whole concept collapses onto itself with the mother and daughter-in-law ready to poke each other’s eyes out with chopsticks. meanwhile the son is nearing a meltdown, worried that he may offend either parties.
these are just 2 examples of a myriad of possible scenarios. either way the inescapable truth is that we all are trying to find our way out of this dilemma called life. along the way we sought out companionship (friends, lovers) or in most instances have it shoved down our throats (family, colleagues). either way we are in for the long haul and the best we can do is to roll with the punches.