Parents: Love ’em, hate ’em, you just can’t get ’em to shut up

When I got married three years ago, one aspect of my life changed dramatically: my mother stopped her incessant hounding at me to lose weight, to watch what I eat, because apparently, my social life was on a slippery slope, descending straight into hell due to my increasing bulges.

And then I met Lokes. Two years later, we tied the knot. And miraculously, the complaints stopped. Now, it’s my sister’s turn. Ha-ha.

Eunice just returned from Sydney for her friend’s wedding and for the birth of my second, Skyler (see below). The first thing my dear mother said to her as she stepped into the arrival hall was “You’ve put on weight!”. Not exactly polite, but according to my Mom, niceties are reserved only for strangers and people who aren’t close enough to be insulted without thinking of disowning you. Sometimes, I wonder if she thinks expressing everything in her mind is good for her health. She confuses freedom of speech with honesty.

After a month of playing confinement lady for me, I realised something about my dear old mother. That alone, she can keep her thoughts to herself quite nicely. However, when Dad is around, the both of them turn into a couple of ill-mannered people whose sole enjoyment seems to be putting people down. My sister tells me it’s living in the kampung too long, and when know-it-all ex-teachers resolve to stay in a small village for an extended period of time with nobody to boss around, they take every chance they can to judge and bitch about all and sundry when they hit civilisation.

For example, my father insists, upon his experience some 25 years ago, that KL drivers are the most courteous in the country, when I tell him that they are in fact very aggressive, particularly during jams. After a while, this opinion ‘becomes’ fact simply because he said so, and to avoid a full-scale argument, those of us who ‘know better’ automatically cut it short simply by keeping quiet. Because you don’t want my dad becoming angry. Because when he does, he becomes unreasonable. And when he becomes that, pretty much anything can happen in the name of making a point.

Yes, even an insignificant conversation where NO ONE is an expert can escalate into a bloody battle of who is loudest (and essentially, most idiotic).

Having gone through decades of this sort of behaviour, my mother has, most unfortunately, become a lalang. To avoid my father’s tirades, she will either shut up, or agree with him, despite his baseless allegations and opinions. In our early years, it was for our benefit. These days, it’s just a force of habit, and one that’s beginning to annoy me because ALL her opinions are no longer her own.

After over a month of hearing my parents bitch about my cousin, other relatives, friends and total strangers, they, with my sis in tow (poor girl), have returned to Batu Gajah where they can once resume their ‘normal’ lives. My dad plays his golf. My mom goes for her line-dancing. And both of them bitching to my sis until her ears fall off.


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