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

Cogito ergo scribo

Friday, April 09, 2010

Dysfunctional family

My landlady came back late again today, at around 10pm+.

She had not even put her stuff into her room and then started checking her kids' homework. There was when she flared up. What followed was again the daily episode of lecturing the kids at the top of her voice, but today this was accompanied by caning and the cries of the kids.

I was of course in my room when all these were going on in the living room. When she beat the kids, I was thinking to myself, "finally!"

Everytime when her kids misbehaved, she would get very angry and scold them loudly. She would threaten to beat them by saying, "where's the rattan cane? I'm gonna cane you today!" But she never did, until today.

Not that i'm a psycho who enjoy seeing or listening to kids being whipped. In fact, i felt sad listening to all the commotion in the living room. It's just that i believe in carrot-and-stick. Kids must be disciplined when they are young, otherwise it would get more difficult when they enter adolescence.

It is not unlike training your dog. You know, you gotta mould their behaviours through rewards and punishments when it is still a puppy. Give it a biscuit when it does the trick correctly, and talk to it harshly or even slap it lightly if it chews up your shoe. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to change its behaviours when it becomes an adult dog.

Seriously, my landlady's kids are getting worse as they get older. She has no idea what they do at home when she's at work. She can only depend on the maid to look after the kids, including making sure they do homework and study hard.

But then, how could this task possibly be done by a maid, who strictly speaking, has no authority over the kids of her employer at all? When they are disobedient, what is the maid to do?

In fact, the kids yell at the maid all the time. There have been several times when i was working from "home" and witness for myself how anarchic it was. The kids would just switch on the TV and watch it all day long. They simply ignored the maid even though she tried very hard to ask them to do their homework. She knew very well that if the kids do not finish their homework by the time my landlady gets home in the evening, she would get a scolding as well.

If i were to blog about the events that happen in this household, i would never run out of stories to write, some even with me in the story line. Well, perhaps i will indeed do that one day.

For now, i just feel sorry for this dysfunctional family.


My mother could have work in my relatives' shop or in a company for better income. I am the lucky one because my mother decided to stay with us at home and helped taking care of other kids as the only source of income. With this, my mother able to take good care of us (including supervising our homework at home). We also need to helped her to take care of the kids. I remembered there was time when we took care of 2 new born babies at the same time. We only had enough to spend but we could feel loved because my mother was at home after we were back from school.


sigh, every family has its own dark chapter (mine’s too).

There are some parents never believes in beating or inflicting pain as negative reinforcement, maybe because of their nature adoring kids and never bears to do such “abuse”, not to say withstands children loud and long pathetic wailing cries. It reminds me in last December my brother-in-law pinched his 4-yr old son at the stomach for overly mischievous, and my aunt (with problem of her own son too) complained to my sister that he shouldn’t have done that. My sister stood by her husband and explained kids are good to be active (and mischievous), but when they cross the border and still not listen, pain is the most effective way to right them but not until bruised black. But then, pain is not one solution for all problems. Training “little” kids may like training puppies, as they grow older psychology must be taken into consideration. We all have been kids and teenagers ourselves, what utmost important is that parents still have respect from their children (love too, and fear is another thing). When they lost the respect … imagine the child looks down at the mom and thinks she’s incapable at this and that, treats her as nuisance and belittles her sacrifices. And speaking of the term respect, kids and teenagers may be too young to understand that, unless they’re “educated” about it (you probably understand this more than me :)).

Talk is cheap, write about it is even hypocritical (can proofread and backspace), what’s more I don’t have experience of being a parent. But, I’m looking it as a kid and teenager myself towards my parents. Sometimes it’s better to reflect what the parents be if they put themselves in the kids’ situation (with peer pressures, feeling of being neglected, blame the parents for mishaps, etc etc). Maybe they don’t have that experience themselves (like they don’t respect their parents too, or ….). And of course single parent like single mom has no time to ponder about this when she has bigger thing to worry – money. I do admire the strength and determination of single mother who wants the best for their children (like asking about their homework, study, forcing them to learn piano, saving money so that her children can become doctors). Their perseverance can never be doubted when juggling to take care of the kids whilst competing with male counterparts in dog-eat-dog society, worse if the latter some of them are total scums.

You wrote you have single mom, and your landlady’s state probably similar hers. At the end, you grew up be decent person :). Maybe you can play a bit role helping your landlady (at the same time hoping for discount in rent) and soothe your conscience rather than be (unwilling) spectator, e.g nonchalantly asking the kids how they intend to celebrate mother’s day (though it’s still > 1 month away)? Or casually bring up about their mom’s frustration and stress, future uncertainties, job market, woman empowering, single mom’s struggle, etc etc to instil sense and maturity into them verbally. Actually, even I have written this, however, I prefer the life of mind-your-own-business - if I’m at your position, I’ll continue to “shut” my eyes and ears, and put the landlady more financial stress by moving out. I don’t have strength and quality to become mediator or counsellor face-to-face ….. Perhaps by now you’ll think “what a jerk! I’m not going to be like you, especially after all the nice talking and do nothing about it”, or “damn, I was going to leave but now you’re making me guilty about it! You’re jerk!”. I better stop now for I have polluted your cogitations with so many nonsensical words aka NATO (no-action-talk-only)....

ym, i also felt that in life, we gotta make sacrifices all the time. We simply can't have it all. So if my landlady wants to make sure her kids are properly taken care off (including the homework and disciplines), she may have to do like what you mom did for your sis and you. It's just sad how the faults of the adults cause all these problems for the children.

Anonymous, i indeed had thought about moving to another place because i really couldn't stand watching the behaviours of these kids sometimes, but then i considered how me doing so would be a loss of income for my landlady...

Share your cogitation

Friday, April 09, 2010 @ 3:32 am: Alternative snack
Thursday, April 08, 2010 @ 4:21 am: Still unwell
Thursday, April 08, 2010 @ 3:58 am: To an angel
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 @ 3:54 am: Falling sick
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 @ 3:47 am: I need fixing
Tuesday, April 06, 2010 @ 3:26 am: The past (long) weekend
Saturday, April 03, 2010 @ 6:18 am: Beauty tips
Saturday, April 03, 2010 @ 6:04 am: What a day
Thursday, April 01, 2010 @ 4:46 am: Grandma fell
Thursday, April 01, 2010 @ 4:18 am: Happy food