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The Life of a Domestic Helper

The weather in Singapore is unpredictable. It can be raining early in the morning and extremely hot in the day. Sometimes, it is the opposite, an extremely hot day with a sudden heavy rain within minutes. That’s why I always bring an umbrella with me. If it is a hot day, I use the umbrella to keep myself away from the scorching sun. If it is raining, I have a walking shelter.

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“Nana, where is my whiteboard?”

“You keep it yourself. Check your bag.”

“I can’t find it!” shouts the eldest boy.

“Your mum said I cannot touch your bag, you find it yourself.”

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“I want iPad! I want iPad!” cries the youngest boy.

I walk slowly backwards into my room, avoiding the punching from the youngest boy. I cannot beat a three-year-old boy, but I need to protect myself too. If not for the help from his grandmother, I think I will retreat to the corner of my room.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The middle boy does not shout or cry. But he always snatches toys from the youngest boy or damages the toys from the eldest boy. That’s when chaos and disaster start and I have to solve the problem.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Nana, there is a spider here!” shouts the eldest boy.

I do not understand why the eldest boy likes shouting so much. It is not a spider, just a spider web. Oh, I have missed some corners of the house. I quickly clean the spider web.

“Don’t worry, I have cleaned it. I will clean the whole house when you all are having holiday at Malaysia.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

An outsider has heard the above conversation on the spider web.

“Your maid is not going to Malaysia with you?” asks the outsider.

“There is a lot of work to do and taking care of the dog,” answers the eldest boy.

That means I am not going holiday with the family. While they are away, I need to clean up the house and take care of the dog.

That’s my life. Three boys, two adults and a dog. I take care of all of them. Life has its ups and downs, just like the weather in Singapore.

 

Note to myself

Time spent: 20 minutes of continuous writing.

We have heard some stories of domestic helpers who torture the children, who steal, etc. Nonetheless, there are good ones out there. Appreciate their efforts and children should learn to respect them, not shouting at them.

Please Respect the Books

A 7-year-old boy threw his elder brother’s book on the floor. I told him he not to throw any books on the floor, even if the book is not his. I told him to respect the book.

“But the book is not a person,” he protested.

I did not have a chance to explain to him why even though a book is not a person, we should still respect the book, because his mum came out from the room to make sure he picked the book up.

I grow up believing that books should be respected so that what you learn from the books can be remembered in the brain. Yes, a book is not a person. But, books contain knowledge. Along the way of gaining knowledge, books are the important bridge between you and knowledge.

If you do not respect books, it means you do not respect the knowledge in the books. For me, not respecting the knowledge is a disaster, it sounds like I would be dumb. Who would want to be dumb?

I do not throw books onto the floor; I also do not throw books into the recycle bin. I have lots of books. There was one time when my mum wanted me to “recycle” my books (which means the books will be treated as normal paper and recycled into other paper products). No! I rather give them to the library. At least, the knowledge is not “destroyed”.

You may say that I am old-fashioned, but I would like to repeat, respect the books, please.

尊重 Respect

大家都知道“尊重”。从小,我们就被教导要尊重长辈:父母、老师、叔叔、阿姨等。当我们渐渐长大,我们开始埋怨,为什么现在的年轻人越来越不懂得尊重长辈?

所谓“己所不欲,勿施于人”,当你埋怨时,你是否想过——你自己有没有尊重别人?如果你想要被人尊重,你自己要先尊重别人。我们不止要尊重长辈,我们也要尊重平辈和小辈。

尊重的定义是很广泛的。当我们在求学时,尊重平辈是指不要因为别人和我不一样而取笑他人。语言上的伤害会带来长期的负面影响。我的爸爸曾经教过我:每个人都有他的优缺点。当你不喜欢一个人的时候,试着找一找他的优点。即使你们当不成朋友,至少你不会讨厌他。

尊重小辈是很多人很难办到的事。为什么我要尊重小辈呢?我比他大,比他有经验,懂得的东西比他多,你还要我尊重他?尊重并不代表你一定要按照小辈的方法去做,而是听一听他的意见。

那天,我读了一篇短短的文章,一个四、五岁的小男生,穿着妈妈替他选的可爱的小老鼠衣服。可是,小男生不喜欢小老鼠的造型,他喜欢的是恐龙的造型。小男生说:没有一个人尊重我。是的,即使是一个小男生,他也有自己的意见。我个人认为,小男生穿上恐龙的衣服,虽然谈不上可爱,但很符合他是男生的“身份”。

除此以外,我们也尊重从事高尚职业的专业人士,例如:医生、律师、法官等等。如果我们是专业人士,我们应该尊重自己和自己的专业,不可以行差踏错。当然,有一些人认为从事卑微职业的人不值得尊重。这是大错特错的。从事卑微职业的人,例如清洁工人和佣人,一样值得我们的尊重。是他们让我们周围的环境和家里干干净净,让我们生活在舒适的环境里。

当我们尊重自己和尊重别人时,别人也会慢慢对我们改变态度。大家互相尊重,和乐融融,天下太平。:-)

Chinese Language Learning Corner

  • 尊重 — respect
  • 长辈 — seniors, elderly people
  • 平辈 — peers
  • 小辈 — juniors, children
  • 老鼠 — mouse
  • 恐龙 — dinosaur
  • 可爱 — cute

How Can I Help My Children?

Singapore is a very competitive country to live in. You compete almost for everything. As parents, you want your children to be best of the best, you want to help your children to excel in school. Yes, everything is for your own good, you always tell your children. But do the children think the same too? If the parents “overdo”, it may have inverse effect on the children.

Nonetheless, as parents, you can still do something to help your children:

  1. Be a role model — Referring to post What We Can Learn From Cats, children learn from their parents. Thus, setting a good example will help the children to have good habits since young.
  2. Give children freedom — Freedom does not mean the children can do anything they want, instead, it means giving respect to the children to choose what they want to do, with “terms and conditions”. Even young children can understand simple explanation why they can or cannot do something. Thus, train them to think on what is right and what is wrong since young will lead to responsible adults.
  3. Use the language — If you want your children to improve in Chinese Language, speak Chinese Language with them. Vice versa, if you want your children to improve in English Language, speak English Language with them. What happens if you want them to be effectively bilingual? My suggestion is, the father speaks English Language and the mother speaks Chinese Language (or vice versa, depending on which language is dominant for the parent) to the children. In that way, children learn two languages at the same time.
  4. Shower children with love, not toys (or hand-held electronics) — This goes without saying, children need attention and time. No matter how busy your schedule is, spend some time with your children and communicate with them. Having dinner together is a good start, even if you have to dine out.
  5. Pay attention to your children’s health — Similarly to item 4, when you are spending time with your children, check out anything unusual about your children. Eyesight, hearing, behaviour, progress of life (eg. one-year-old children should be at least able to stand and walk with support), etc, all these are important to the development of children. Early detection on any unusual about the child is essential to give the child the necessary (medical) treatment or make the necessary adjustment.

All of the above are simple steps that you can take as parents to help your children, without giving them extra pressure on studies. Studies are important, but they are not the whole world for the children. A child with good character and has the resilience to face life challenges will grow into an adult who can succeed in anything he or she wants to do.