I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

Cogito ergo scribo

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You came from a single-parent family? So?

The Mandarin talk show broadcasted last night with the notorious Singaporean female blogger as one of the guests was indeed very interesting. I'm contemplating if i should transcribe the discussion and post it up for everyone to read, especially for the fellow Malaysians who don't get to watch Singapore TV channels. Hmmm, maybe someone across the straits had already done it. Anyway, we'll see...

Story 1

Ah Beng was under trial for selling and distributing pirated DVDs. His defence lawyer told the court that Ah Beng was only 21 years old and came from a single-parent family. Money is something not easy to come by for them. His mother worked very hard and he had a little brother who was still in primary school. His brother didn't have his own room, and Ah Beng had always wanted to move to a bigger house so that his brother could get himself a room of his own. He also wanted to give his mother a better life.

The lawyer asserted that Ah Beng's action was justifiable given his age and family background. He said that even though Ah Beng had done something wrong, it was understandable and out of good intent for his family. The lawyer even asked the court: would making Ah Beng not have food to eat make you any happier?

Story 2

Ah Seng was a successful IT professional. At the young age of 21, he had already become the Senior Consultant of the global IT solution division in a huge MNC. Ah Seng's success didn't come by chance. He was a smart and diligent employee who had proven himself worthy of the promotion, even though he had only joined the company last year. The management believed that Ah Seng would have a bright future.

Ah Seng came from a single-parent family. Money is something not easy to come by for them. His mother worked very hard and he had a little brother who was still in primary school. His brother didn't have his own room, and Ah Seng had always wanted to move to a bigger house so that his brother could get himself a room of his own. He also wanted to give his mother a better life. Back in school, he had always been the top of the class, and he worked part-time to finance himself through college. He believed that to achieve his goal, he would have to work hard and face all the obstacles in life.

I must apologize for being such a lousy story teller. I'm never good in writing fiction, perhaps due to my lack of imagination. However, if you've noticed, some phrases in the stories were plugged from somewhere directly.

I wrote the above because i have an issue with someone bringing up this single-parent family thing whenever there's an arguement. Seriously, i don't see how this is ever relevant in justifying anything. As illustrated in the two stories above, similar situation and intent can lead to different paths and personalities, depending on the individuals. The very same thing that makes you can pretty much break you too.

Let me relate more stories, but this time it's about the people whom i know personally:

I know of a gal whose father passed away due to heart attack when she was still in primary school. Her family was poor and for many years, they gotta live in a plank house built beside a Catholic graveyard. She and her two elder sisters went though highschool with scholarships, which means that their academic results were always excellent. She didn't have the luxury to go for higher education, so she worked and studied part-time for ACCA, for she believed that she could make it on her own one day.

I also know a gal who never had her father by her side. She grew up with just her mother and elder sister. She was a straight-A student and excelled in everything she did. After high-school, she attended college for twinning program and subsequently went to Scotland for her final year in Accounting degree. She joined one of the top audit firm and worked hard in achieving professional certification within a few years. She is now the Senior Manager of one of the biggest audit firm in the world, at the age of 30. She is one of the youngest person with the highest post in the history of the firm.

There's this guy whose father committed suicide when he was only 2 years old. His elder sister and him could hardly remember how their father looked like. He went to Japan for his degree and worked to finance himself when he was there. He came back and was employed by a Japanese MNC.

Then there's this gal whose father died of cancer when she was in highschool. Her mother used all the father's hard-earned money that was left to finance her brother and her through universities. After graduation, she worked for many years and saved up enough to pursue her Master's degree, while at the same time still bear part of the household expenses for her mother. She's working as an IT professional now, earning just decent pay but not enough to have her mother living luxuriously. So her mother still has to work even though she is getting on in years and suffering from some sickness. This gal hopes that one day she can earn enough to give her mother a better life.

The first two gals are my best friends, the guy was my highschool classmate, and the last gal is me. Maybe except for the second gal, we are not high achievers despite our constant striving for better lives for our families. I've always thought that having grown up in a single-parent family, most of these children would actually be more mature than the rest. Apparently i was wrong.

Of course we have flaws. Of course we make mistakes. Of course we can be nasty sometimes. Of course we were criticized by others sometimes because of our mistakes. But there's a thing that we don't do: we don't cite our family background to justify anything or to imply that we should be treated leniently.

This is a cruel world no matter who you are. Just because we may have a bit lesser than others when growing up doesn't mean that we would or should be exempted from any lashing. We learnt, sometimes in the most painful way, and then strive on, in the hope that in the process of achieving our goals in life, we are also making ourselves better beings.

ohh.. xx. She was talkin about her income, coming from a single family, etc. i know it's kinda out of point, but wat about the vietamese guy (aussie citizen) who's going to be hang to death in singapore for smuggling drugs? he did it for his family too. he did it to clear his brother of all his debts.

when people are desperate and on the edge, they will use whatever 'ways' to seek support and to justify their act ...

Very Very Good post with good example.We r same Kampong.

These are real-life stories derive from real experience, it's not the same for the Pink Poodle. She is desperate, yes but for all the wrong reasons. Sponsors do not act merely on e-mails and verbal complaints, they are as XX defined her audiences, not 'stupid' to blindly follow deragotory remarks without any basis.

As for PinPin's point, these are real people dealing with real issues and being brought up by a single-parent makes the child more determine to be a better person or strive more to achieve their personal goals. XX doesn't seem to reflect any of these qualities. What is she famous for?
Rant, Curse and Swear.
Would any parent be proud?
Let alone allow them to 'earn an income' from inciting hatred and bigotry amongst her readers.

Thanks everyone for leaving the comments.

Just something to add... I'm not saying that my friends and i are perfect beings who are far better than her. No, we can be selfish sometimes and we may have hurt someone before too. We all are doing our best to acheive better lives, just like her. If the reason of coming from a single-parent family should ever be mentioned, we just hope that it's to be cited as our motivation for achievements (as in Story 2), instead of using it to justify bad behaviours or to seek support and sympathy (as in Story 1).

That was why i had an issue with her bringing this up in her defence, when i don't see how it's ever relevant except to use as a "weapon" to gain sympathy (although she said that she doesn't need sympathy; then why mentioned it at all? How was it relevant at all?)

then why can't peter tan bring up his disability and play the sympathy card?


okay, quit playing mind games man.


WOW, talk about not maxing out on his "sympathy card" man. out of context quoting? then cut and paste the email to the 2 compannies in question on his blog, unedited as well, thank you.

If you wanna read the letters, go and ask from Peter or the companies. I don't know Peter nor anyone from the companies so it's pointless to argue here whether or not that was indeed what Peter had conveyed. If you wanna be so gullible and just believe in what one person had said, that is your choice. But it has nothing to do with the points that i wanna get across in this post.

If you read carefully, i didn't mention anything about Peter vs. XX at all. Everyone takes issue with things that are closed to their hearts. For Peter, it may be issues involving the disabled, and for me, it's when someone makes use of the single-parent family reason to gain sympathy. As i've said in my post and i'll repeat again here: if you are a sensible person, coming from a single-parent family should only be a motivation to push you ahead in life, not to gain sympathy.

Furthermore, what's so sympathetic about coming from a single-parent family? We are healthy and live in countries that have plenty of opportunities. Compared to people in countries with war, disasters or poverty, or people who were born with disabilities, what's there to whine about?

Anyway, i don't expect you, or even XX or her supporters to see this point at all, as i believe all of you must have your minds made up already.

Share your cogitation

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 @ 2:12 am: This is what we called proactive
Saturday, October 22, 2005 @ 6:06 am: Money can buy a life
Thursday, October 20, 2005 @ 3:40 pm: Condolence
Thursday, October 20, 2005 @ 4:39 am: Misguided or evil?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 @ 3:47 am: Being young isn't a justification for bad behaviou...
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 @ 3:18 pm: I shouldn't have reacted this way
Monday, October 17, 2005 @ 4:41 am: The culprit
Monday, October 17, 2005 @ 4:14 am: The 100th post
Saturday, October 15, 2005 @ 4:57 am: Lucky or unlucky?
Friday, October 14, 2005 @ 3:51 am: Trivia of my uneventful day