Becoming an Adult in a Strict Chinese Family

Here’s a quick update on my life:

I’ve been doing part-time jobs so kinda busy on weekdays. I hardly even have much free time to stay home except on Sundays and well, today (PH!)… Also did events for PRIDE on Sat – NYC Shine Fest and it was so funnnnn. I miss the PRIDE family. :’) Best ppl to work with, ever. Who gets to drink and work at the same time?! Also met some of my old friends at work. Such a happy event. I’ve been going for interviews and applied for one of my dream jobs last week. So stoked. Really hope I’ll get in! I’ll share if I manage to score an interview, at least. Mwahaha.


 

So I understand that people are aware that social media should be taken at face value – you don’t post every single thing that you do – but people still tend to assume what you post is all that you do. In my case, I prefer to share only the fun and interesting things I do and thus, a lot do assume that all I do is play pokemon/go drinking. The truth is I don’t like seeing boring stuff on my own social media so I don’t share boring things like how i’m having a boring office life on weekdays. With that said, I actually do have a curfew so I don’t stay out all night till dawn or whatever because my parents aren’t exactly the angmoh pai kind and they can be quite the typical traditional Asian parents. Hahaha.

Everyone knows what it’s like to be growing up and being a kid in a typical Asian family with all the strict rules like having to ask at least 3 days in advance for a short trip to a nearby mall with friends lol. But what people don’t really know is how it is becoming an adult within the same type of family.


1) You still have a curfew

When some friends ask me out at 2am and I say “I have a curfew though”, people tend to side-eye me and be like “Come on la you always go drinking, you sure you got curfew or not”. Just ask my closest of friends….. They always help me to explain, “she really has a curfew”. Hahahahaa. So how it works is that I still have to inform my parents where I’m going, who I’m hanging out with, and an estimation of the time I’ll be home. These days are kinda more chill ’cause I’ve been so busy on weekdays that they understand I only have the weekends to chillax. So I would give the latest timing estimated.

For example, if I’m hanging with a group of friends I’m not that close enough with to suddenly say I gtg and then MIA, I would have to tell my parents I’m going home latest by 4.30am and they’ll make sure I get home before that. But actually I’m mostly home by 2-3am. They just don’t like it when I stay out all night to the next morning – which I had before, but just a few times. I also hate going home only in the morning in daylight.

 

2) No night-life jobs

A lot of my friends have introduced me to night-life jobs because they think I can really handle social drinking sessions and all that but at the end of the day, I don’t do it because my parents hate it. It’s good money man and wtf, fun environment… But nah, I’d probably just work 3 times harder in the day for the money than to upset them.

 

3)  No stay-overs

Unless he has met my family and they like him. Nuff said.

 

4) You bring nobody home

What kind of guys are actually boyfriend material vs husband material. You don’t bring anyone home unless he’s someone you’re sure you want to actually live with for the next x10000 years of your life. If your parents see you hanging out with your date nearby, it’s the end. Probably will get questioned if he’s someone you wanna spend the next 10 years of your life with.

Which is why marriage is never gonna happen for me – I ain’t bringing nobody near my home.

 

5) You are still a kid

Whatever you do, you cannot say “I am already an adult” or “I am already 23” because it is suicidal. YOU ARE STILL THEIR KID even if you turn 99.


 

And they are still my parents.

At the end of the day, their strict rules have helped me make better decisions on how I wanna live my life in the future and figure out what I want. Many people have asked me why I still let my parents restrict me when I’m already 23. I have no issues with their restrictions because I know where they’re coming from especially when I’m the youngest female at home. My dad’s soooo protective to a fault hahaha. After all, I’m also really family oriented so I want the best for them and for them to be happy.

Also, above are the typical things that happen within a strict Chinese family. However, there also a lot that I appreciate being born in this family. I am sure not all families are like mine but below are what I can say about my own “strict Chinese” parents who aren’t that typical afterall.

 

They have always been lenient.

As much as they can be really strict, they have been pretty lenient towards me especially since both my elder sisters don’t have any habits of drinking/going out at night etc. So I do appreciate whatever they’ve been agreeing with. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, we have had pretty difficult times and even through that, I have witnessed how hard my parents worked and how much they have sacrificed to bring all of us up. Giving all that they can to us, wanting the best for us. When they had the ability, they had certainly given me all I wanted and all they could.

 

They never cared about grades.

Since young, my parents were never concerned about how well I did but whether I have done my best. It is more like giving me the independence to work on what I can. I was still allowed to play Maple when I was primary 5 at 1am during holidays. Sure, they didn’t allow me to hang out with friends at the mall after school but they have certainly cut my some slack in other areas… Probably why I’m such an otaku now. Hahaha.

They always told me to just do my best and I will be fine. And they’re right. I was never an extremely academically smart student while I was studying, but still I made it to the uni. They also never bothered about branding of schools. They told me to get into a school nearby so it is more convenient and I get to sleep more. My dad strongly believes the quality n environment of a school cannot determine how well one will do. He believes that one has a hold of one’s own fate and results so that has strongly shaped my beliefs as well. Also another reason why I’m not religious although my family is. I believe in owning my own life like my dad has always said :p Faith comes from oneself.

 

They never discouraged me.

What I love about them is how they have never told me what I should do in life like every other typical Asian parents do today. They have never told me arts was a bad choice while a lot of older adults I’ve met recently through work and all told me that I shouldn’t have taken arts for a degree and should have gone for something more practical. *Eye roll* Thank you for the advice but I’m really really not motivated by the money. I’m brought up this way and I love being this way. I do not think only materials can justify one’s standard of living.

They’ve taught me to be kind to strangers and to the needy. My dad knocked off from work once, came home, dapaoed food from home and cycled over to pass them to his foreign working colleagues who couldn’t afford better meals. The little acts I witness day to day make me believe in looking beyond just working for money and more of caring for someone else who needs help.

Even when I was struggling with photography projects, they always offered to help and never once told me I would never be able to earn much in the future. And now when I’m looking for jobs, they tell me to take my time and look for something I really want to do and feel passionate about.

 

I cannot be more thankful for my parents. And that’s also why I am so eager to look for a job and start giving them a better life even though they kept asking me to take it slow. I will always put their needs above mine. :’)

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During my convocation, I insisted I didn’t want any flowers and I actually didn’t even want them to come down ’cause it’s so troublesome! I know how my parents hate crowds. I was totally okay with going alone and stuff but they insisted on coming. I also told them I don’t need any fancy shit ’cause I just want it to be simple – get it done n over with. But my mom went ahead to get flowers for me and said “My daughter has to be holding a bouquet okay”. So touched 😦 I wanna cry, the flowers meant nothing to me but the thought of it is just….. I love my parents. They’re the world to me.

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