Many companies are now making videos with meaningful and unique Chinese New Year messages. These videos are available in YouTube and can be watched again and again. It is good because the playtime of the video is longer and enables a more profound message to be inserted in the video.
This year, I find the videos from BIGPOS and Julies to be very meaningful. I wish to add some of my thoughts with regards to the videos.
Video from BIGPOS (ecommerce pay system):
BIGPOS YouTube video
The above is the video from BIGPOS. It is actually a short film about a simple family of parents with two children. I think it is set in the town of Ipoh, Perak. From young, the father disciplined the son a lot because he was perceived as not so obedient, rebellious and not doing well in school. When the son grow up, he drowned his sorrows in liquor and his father confronted him and they got into a physical fight.
Tired of feeling unhappy at home with is father, the son decided to move out to look for a job. His sister supported his decision and wished him the best but told him if he ran into any problems, please let her know. At first, he worked as a dishwasher, then he operated his own food stall. It was hard work and he seldom could come home. The father was disappointed but masked it with sarcastic reprimands.
Do watch the video for yourself if you have not done so for the ending.
This video struck a chord in me because in some ways, I was similar with the boy and my brother was more like the sister. My brother was an obedient child who seldom give my parents any trouble. Whereas I was rebellious and hated to study.
The scene where the father made the boy kneel down in front of the house deity when he failed his exam really brings back memories. My mom was a working mom, working in shifts and coming back, she also needed to do household work. She had a book with English spelling that she told me to memorize and she would question me few days later.
I was busy playing and did nothing. After a few times of this, my mom got very angry. She took out the rotan (cane, similar in the video) and made me kneel in front of the house deity. Our home front door was wide open and anyone who walk past could see what was happening. It was so humiliating. She said if I continued to be like this, not wanting to study, she would rotan me and make me kneel in front of the deity. She also forced me to speak in English with her- she said was okay if I had to mix a little Cantonese but I have to do my best to form English sentences.
Many people disapprove of such discipline. And the new generation of kids nowadays cannot take that kind of discipline. But during my time, I was an exceptionally rebellious, lazy and undisciplined person. I also found English to be an extremely difficult language to pick up.
But it was because of her discipline and the kneeling that I bucked up. She said she felt I would be able to write and communicate well in future. We did not have much money to buy books unlike my other friends. My mom got us enrolled in a library from a young age and she would encourage me to read story books to improve my English.
It is because of her discipline that I am where I am today. I had a good career and got paid a lot for my writing skills (please forgive me, I know my grammar sucks because I learned to express myself through reading and not from the foundation and grammar rules).
Also the video show the message if one is determined, one can make it in life. The boy in the video was hardworking and determined. Even though he was hurt that he felt his dad never loved him, he was respectful and filial to his dad. In the end, he make his parents very proud of him.
You see, I went to a high school which was notorious for its gangsterism. No decent parents would want their kids to go to that school. But I strived there because nobody judged. I had gone to quite a prestigious primary school where a lot of my classmates where chauffeur driven to work. While my classmates were nice people, the teachers were not and judged me as I was quite dumb in primary school. In my high school, most of my classmates either come from poor, neglected or broken families.
One of my classmate was like the boy above. He had no interest in studies. Today, he is a chef who owns a few restaurants in Klang Valley. Many of my classmates are doing well too, some hold high corporate position and a few of them have migrated to developed countries and settled there. So much for our gangster school origins.
Therefore, if your child do not like to study, don’t force them too much. But my advice is to just get a degree- study a course that they like. Don’t force your child to be an engineer, doctor, pharmacist, accountant or lawyer if he/she has no interest in. There are many jobs now that earns more and have less stressed and come with better quality of life. A degree gets a degree holder pay (I was a science graduate but went into commercial industry which had nothing to do with my degree but they still paid me a degree holder’s salary). In my corporate career, I have witnessed many capable staff who are not able to move up or out because they are limited due to no degree. No bargaining power because of that piece of paper qualification. In the company, they got promoted due to their performance but it can only reach a certain level and not higher. When they are not happy with their job, they cannot switch because another company would not be willing to hire them at that position and high pay.
The final message is, be like the boy in the video. Don’t keep grudges with our parents. They treat us in certain ways due to our past karmic affinity with them (I would write more of this in another future article). But we can also explain this logically from how they have been raised. For example, my mother grew up with beatings, so it was the only way she knew how to treat unruly behaviour. She was also more hard on me and often criticized my speech because it was how she was treated too when young.
I have another friend whose mother grew up in a household where boys were given a lot of privileges, education and no need to work. While the mother was denied of education and even when she was very young, she was a maid in the home while her brothers went to school and need not lift a finger. When she become a mother, she herself also showed preference to her son more than her daughters. She was like that because she had been conditioned from young that sons are important, that they carry the name of the family, etc. The mother’s behaviour had hurt my friend deeply but I tried to tell her to understand from her mother’s perspective and conditioning. The mother seemed to slowly understand how as in her old age, it is her daughter that is looking after her now.
Please do not hold grudges. Life is too short to hold grudges. No matter how, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our parents. We are alive and have an education because of them. Put aside your grievances and bitterness for one day, they may be gone and you would find yourself deeply regretting your actions.
My dad passed away from stroke not long after I came out to work. I had no chance to repay him and to say sorry for all the wrongs I have done. My mom has end stage Alzheimer’s and she had not recognized me since the past 2 years.
If your parents are still alive, go back and visit them, especially during festive seasons. If you cannot make it back during the festive due to having to work, then go back the moment you can- so at least they have something to look forward to. Even though they say it is okay, if you are busy you need not come back (this is the selflessness of parents of always putting the needs of their children first), it is not okay. There are many old people in my neighborhood. Some are couple, some live alone. During festive times, if their children do not come back, I often see them walking out to have their meal with their heads hang low. They would be eating alone at the mamak stall (because Chinese food stalls would not be opened during the first few days of CNY), looking miserable and lonely.
Video by Julies Biscuits:
The second is the Julie Biscuits clip. I find this video quite refreshing and have a funny take in feng shui. This video is quite creative. Julie Biscuits have been our family’s favourite brand for many years. When they came out with their cream crackers (the one in the apple green packaging), my mom really loved them. She ate them for many years.