Elder brother Robin sat next to little Clement. Robin pointed at the MacBook and asked, “What the hell is this cartoon! Bus can talk”.
“He found it himself. It’s a Korean animation. There is an SMRT cartoon I saw him watching. He sure has his way of searching on YouTube.”
“He’s an internet kid.”, Robin concluded.
Robin did not know how much he influences the family, our lifestyle. From Secondary 1, his school makes owning a Macbook compulsory. Came along is another 2 more MacBook Pros, 4 iPhones in the household. Clement knows my phone PIN despite having changed it a couple of times – he could make out the digits by observing my fingering on keypad. He uses my phone to create his own videos, play with apps in his area of interest without asking anyone. No one watches tv in the living room, not even me. The kids spent most times on internet and in their rooms.
In one way or another, each person is greatly influenced, if not formed, in early childhood. Each generation has been prepared for the future according to the values, resources and even fads of society at the time. Who could have foreseen the intense mobility of the society, technological advances? We raise our kids for an unforeseen world.
过了这个村，就没这个店 OPPORTUNITY SELDOM RINGS TWICE
Robin 16, Dominique 14. They contemplate to suggest things they want to do for our trip in Hong Kong. My family usually kills two birds with one stone. Business trip-cum-holiday. My husband and I work full time. Kids go to school. But all of us chip in our effort in the online airplane model business. Hong Kong trip is gonna special this time. Goh and I will be participating in Mizuno 10k Run in Shek Mun. Kids want to venture out and look for gadgets. Dominique said he wants to buy a fish eye lens. Kids are happy that I gave the green light. Everyone has a wish list. Letting go is easy said than done. But I also understand how they feel, they wish I could trust them. I wish I have no regrets.
1994 was the first trip to Bali for Goh and I. I saw a bamboo-made xylophone in a handicraft shop located in Ubud. I wanted to buy. Xylophone was quite expensive, USD20! Goh said Kuta (where our resort was) would have lots of these and selling a lot cheaper. I listened to his suggestion and went to Kuta. Very sad, I couldn’t get anything that was even second-rate or third-rate to THAT one I saw. The next day we were going to leave and we couldn’t go back to buy it. I also forgot the shop name. Nine years on, occasionally I would bring this story up especially when he stopped me from doing something.
2003, I was back to Bali for an offsite-meeting. I saw a bamboo xylophone at Matahari Shopping Centre. It was a lot cheaper, about USD6. I bought it. Now, xylophone is in my store room. Although I “fulfilled” my wish, the feeling can never be the same again. There is a Chinese saying, 过了这个村，就没这个店. It means after leaving this village, one can’t find such a shop. The proverb fits my story perfectly.
Hong Kong will be their “preliminary examination” to “test drive” their guts, judgement, intuition. I think it is a relatively safe place.
The 2 brothers are looking forward to their next destination in March – Seoul. Living in Singapore, children don’t know what is hardship. Let them fail, let them fall, let them pick themselves up. What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger.
INDIA VILLAGE KIDS
Life can be unfair. I learnt this through travel in Mumbai and talked to Krishna, our travel guide of the one day village tour. Krishna is the co-founder of an NGO Reality Gives.
Krishna said the village school provide decent quality of education. However, most of the things were taught in Hindi. There were few opportunities to use English. Few foreigners come to their village, making even fewer opportunity and exposure. Without English, children in the school will be unable to enter top-notch universities in India. Let alone,
If born in environment, not given books, good education, subsequent doors are closed to you that are open to others who perhaps don’t have your talent.
THROUGH THICK AND THIN
Clement started to follow the family self-drive backpacking since 2007. Our first trip was New Zealand. Imagine a family of 5, the youngest one only 6 months old, lost in the forest for 3 hours? We experienced that together.
Children are very adaptive, street-smart – if we could let go and let them explore. I think that’s a survival skill that can be useful in the age of globalisation. Our travel destinations are a mixture of hardship, exotic, a little risky, rugged yet exciting.
Yesterday, Robin taught me something new again. Using filters to touch up photos. He said I am open-minded, receptive to change and new ideas. “Nowadays teenagers are abandoning Facebook. Because there are their parents, aunts, uncles are inside Facebook. Instagram and Twitter are pretty safe.” “My friend’s mother send a friend’s request to him. It’s so scary.”
Hello parents, heed those gibes.
LET THE NEED, NOT BECOME GREED
A Camry or BMW, the road remains same for all. You travel in economy class or business, your destination doesn’t change. A Titan or Rolex, the time is the same. There is nothing wrong in dreaming or leading a luxurious life. What needs to be takes care is LET THE NEED, NOT BECOME GREED.
My family lives by this motto.