Chinese New Year has always been a very important time for family, and more than that, a time for giving. Words like abundance and prosperity is heard throughout homes as the lunar new year is celebrated by Asian families all over the world. As much as it is a time for sharing and caring, it is also a time where people look back at the previous year and measure their success and wealth, both financial and emotional. In Malaysia, we are reminded year after year by heart-warming PETRONAS television advertisements about the importance of family, unity and that life is bigger than us.
Malaysians have all grown up and loved the heart warming PETRONAS Chinese New Year advertisements by the late Yasmin Ahmad. This mantle is now carried on by Ismail Kamarul in the nostalgic Rubber Boy, a story about Ah Hock and his misunderstood relationship with his mother. Like most parent-child relationships, children never understand the sacrifices their parents make, and parents fail to explain their hardships with the fear of burdening their children.
One of the greatest causes of misunderstandings is the unwillingness for us to explain how we feel. People generally don’t like to talk about how they feel very much. We are brought up to feel that we have to have the emotional fortitude of a rock, and that we should never show weakness. We are taught to never show weakness or to explain ourselves, because doing so would be at our detriment, that we could be taken advantage of. This, strangely, happens in families too.
We always hurt the ones we love the most, because deep down we believe that they have seen our ugly side, and yet still stick beside us. This is a side we barely show strangers. With strangers, we tend to be more generous, kinder, and even more patient. With loved ones, we tend to lose our temper, get annoyed at simple things and emotionally punish them for things that don’t really matter. This is because we want them to show us that they love us, that they care for us, that they have seen all the ugly and are yet still willing to stick by us.
For children learning to deal with their parents
They should learn that their parents are merely human, and have emotional needs. This dynamic alters greatly for the first time when your parents are not able to shield you from the ugly of the world. It could be the first time you see someone yell at your parents, and your parents become frightened, or the first time you see your mother cry. That moment changes who you are. What needs to be done is to have a more open relationship, where communication is made in the most honest way. Say how you feel, and make sure that you are careful with your words as the ones used on family cuts the deepest.
There is a Chinese saying, “One mother can raise ten children, but ten children cannot take care of one mother.” Think back about the times you were taught to read. How many countless times your parents would read you your favourite story book or do something that you, now as an adult, find extremely taxing, or worse yet, boring. Think about the times your parents have to worry about you staying out at night, and you telling them that you will be safe, yet they never cease to worry. You will always be your parents’ baby, even at 40.
For parents learning to deal with their children
There is no other word that is more important than patience. You must understand that your children never intentionally want to hurt you. It is because they are in a situation where they don’t know what to do or don’t know how they feel, and as parents, you are their safety net. You are the first person they want to impress and are most afraid to let down. They want understanding and protection, and all you can really give them is unpatronising advice and to lend an ear.
The notion of family is not just to those that you are related to, but to those we hold to an above level of closeness. Anyone can be a parent, its biological. But being mums and dads are a whole different thing. Its unnecessary devotion and taking care of your children. There is no right way to raise a child. Every parent just does their best in the only way they know how. This however, doesn’t mean that a mother should play the selfless card as a martyr. As the Chinese put it, its all about balance and harmony.
Since it is the Chinese New Year, try to spend as much time with your family as you can. If you don’t live in the same house or near your parents, do give them that much needed phone call. It could be as simple as taking them to breakfast or giving them some much needed attention. Remember, as people age, it becomes harder and harder for them to ask for help and attention, so a little goes a long way. If you can’t appreciate them and tell them how you feel about them while they are alive, you will be sorry and miss them when they’re gone. Go pick up that phone.
PETRONAS will aslo be contributing RM20,000.00 worth of fuel to St. John Ambulance of Malaysia that would be providing emergency response services along the major highways this festive season.
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: PETRONAS | WEBSITE: PETRONAS CHINESE NEW YEAR 2016 |