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Mom, Dad, I Got Something To Tell You: Things We (Teenagers) Wouldn’t Tell You (Parents)

Hi Mom & Dad!

I wouldn’t tell you about that time I got into an argument with my friend, because all I’ll get is stick for not swallowing my pride, when the truth is that he betrayed me and stabbed me in the back, a bit like Hitler and Stalin, except that my friend’s tadpole sanctuary isn’t partially demolished. Yet.

I wouldn’t tell you about that time I splurged on that game I really wanted, because all I’ll get is a lecture on the importance of saving up, and how much financial trouble I will be in if I don’t work hard in school, when in reality, you promised I could have it a few months ago. How would you feel if I decided to so-called “change my mind” when my head was sticking out of your (censored; sorry if I didn’t censor it MDA wouldn’t allow this blog post to be shown in Singapore… ya’ll will need to go to Malaysia to view it) 16 years ago?

I wouldn’t tell you about that time I got a girlfriend, because all I’m going to get is a telling-off about how crazy-important education is, and a detailed infographic on how I’m going to get hurt playing the game of love, when in truth, she’s the sweetest and most caring person I’ve met, a rock in my doddery and unfastened life. In fact, our relationship is so beautiful, Hollywood was planning on making a movie about us, before the producers realised we didn’t have cancer, nor prosthetic body parts, nor scuba diving equipment.

My rants might as well be a Snapchat because ya’ll are gon forget about it in 10 seconds.

All I want is just someone who would listen to my issues, not someone who’s always constantly trying to constantly fix my problems and correct my choices. I already have my iPhone for that. But what my yoga-safe phone can’t provide is encouragement, and acknowledgement, which is something that we all need. Even you. I don’t need you to intervene, or put up a threatening-front to know that you love me, but like, I don’t know, maybe just listening will be our always.

I’ll also appreciate small compliments and thoughtful remarks after accomplishing a neat little feat. They mean a lot to me. You don’t have to throw an elaborate, over-the-top party with fancy mansions and extravagant cars when I pass my piano exam for example, mainly because we’re not filming a reality show for MTV, but a diss, or something unintentionally insulting like “Wow, you call that an accomplishment?”, or “What’s there to be proud about?”, or “There’s thousands of people out there who are better than you”, or “How’s that impressive? Your cousin accomplished that when she was just eight!” or something along the lines of what was mentioned above is terribly ignorant and really achieves nothing other than absolutely nothing.

I understand that we’re not perfect, and that our accomplishments might pale in comparison with others, or seem insignificant in the long run. We’re not pretending to be dumb, or desperately seeking for attention and gratification (like I said, we’re not filming a show for MTV). I need you to be there for me not only when I’m down, but also when I’ve achieved something that means quite a bit to me. I don’t expect everyone to understand and accept the decisions I make in life, but it’ll really mean a lot if you keep your judgements and reservations to yourself and be our pillar of strength and support as we try to navigate the tricky path of adolescence.

Speaking of my cousin who achieved my impromptu, non-existent accomplishment at eight, I need you to realise that not only do I take forever to reply to your messages, I also hate being compared. In fact, no one likes being compared. I once compared SMRT to a bunch of disabled, handicapped turtles, and I got sued for defamation. When I dragged my ass to court, surprisingly via the MRT, which, less surprisingly, broke down along the way, I immediately bellowed at the top of my lungs, “What’s wrong with what I said? Your trains are slow, and I’m just merely making a joke. How is that defamation?”

They replied, “Sir, we don’t want to give the public the wrong impression and have unattainable expectations for our company. Your words has negatively affected our company’s image, branding, and day-to-day operations. Our trains are in no way the same speed as the disabled, handicapped turtles you compared us to.

We’re slower.”

But of course, like I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t tell you things like this, because all I’ll get are torturous lectures after torturous lectures. I’m so close to wondering if you secretly joined the ISIS.

I might want to add that the above scenario did not actually happen, both the lawsuit from SMRT and the ISIS. They’re jokes. And besides, if it was true, one of SMRT’s lawyers in court, upon hearing that I won, will probably, you know, break down.

Anyway, it seems like I have strayed quite a bit from the topic. On behalf of the billions of teenagers out there (editor’s note: check if this statistic is accurate… Wen Kai is tired of defamation lawsuits), I will like to sincerely request that you, as parents, would stop comparing us to everything that’s temporarily better than us. I think most of us at this age are suckers for individuality. Our grades might not be sublime, our talents might not be sizeably polished, or our mistakes might not entirely seem smart with the benefit of hindsight, but we will appreciate if you can stand by our sides no matter what and see us as who we are, instead of pitting us imperishably against people who are, surprise surprise, totally different in truth.

At the end of the day, we’re all trying our best. Who, deep down, doesn’t want to succeed? The route to it is long, hard, and unpredictable. Results just don’t become visible in a matter of days, or even months. I have a plan towards what I aim to ultimately achieve in my life, and although it seems like I’m failing in life, in truth, I’m busting my ass off to follow my plan and crawl my big-ass butt towards my goals and aspirations. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean I’m not doing it. You guys see the side of me that plays video games and eat like a Joey Chestnut, but you were missing when I was studying and busting my brains out wondering what legit impact trigonometry is going to have in my life. So before accusing, please, try to understand what’s going on and ask.

I crave for success so bad, I’m willing to wear a backless shirt into a shopping mall in Singapore.

Speaking of asking, it’s great if you would understand that my life, or any other teenagers’ life, is an open book. It’s not a deep, dark, secret place that out of bounds or something. We’re in Singapore, not Silent Hill, so if you want to find out something about us, just ask. We’ll be more than glad to ‘assist’ you, provided that our privacy is respected. Like personally, I think a lot of parents think that their mission is to penetrate their teenagers’ supposedly secret lifestyle because we’re bound to be hiding something.

Well, no shit.

Who doesn’t hide things? Tell me you don’t have a secret. But the thing is, how do you expect someone to stay completely sane with you if you keep prodding and poking around like the Gestapo? If you really need to know something, just ask us. If we don’t want to talk about something, we’ll inform you accordingly, and we appreciate if you could respect our privacy and understand things from our perspective. There’s hardly any scandals in our lives, so don’t worry. Besides, for something to be considered a scandal in Singapore, it usually has to involve a politician, a religious organisation, or alcohol from China.

Something that frustrates me a lot is the lack of empathy sometimes, when your overzealous parental-love instinct mumbo-jumbo kicks in. You guys were once teenagers as well, and dare I say that both of you are way more mischievous and misbehaved than I am at this point of my life. I’m bound to make mistakes, go through difficult relationships, and struggle to deal with the subtly cruel mission of finding my feet and place in the world during the stage of my existence. You guys went through it yourself, so don’t pin every single decision I make down to my lack of proper judgement or common sense.

Like, why you gotta be so rude, don’t you know I’m human too?

By the way, I hate it when you link the actions that I make to my age. It’s seriously frustrating, and I’m not going to lie, discriminating. Don’t tell me to “act like a grownup” because I’m already 16. I’m telling you, if I’m a grownup, I’m not going to ask for permission when I go to the bathroom at school. Are you comfortable with coming down from home/work to sign release papers (maybe post bail) for me everyday?

Give me rules that aren’t dependent on a number, and I’ll respect them, feel more responsible, and do my best to adhere to them. At the same time, I wish that you can understand that I’ll be spending less and less time with ya’ll as I become more grownup. It hurts me as much as it hurts you.

I also know how arduous it is for you to work and put food on the table for our family, while dealing with my nonsense and putting up with my retrospectively-unreasonable tantrums. There’s so many things that I wish to say to you, but it’s unrealistic to be able to convey every single message I wish to express to you. At the end of the day, we’re all fighting our own battles, and I need your support, understanding, and presence at this defining point of my career as a homosapien. I’m not a Microsoft product; I don’t come pre-bundled with failure. I’ll need time to implement my ideas into reality, to make my dreams come true, and to make you proud.

I’m made from a sperm, an egg, and I’m now 70% water, so do give me some time to achieve amazing things in my life. I promise you, I’m trying my best, so I’ll be grateful for little encouragement as I steer myself around this puzzling esplanade of teenage-hood. I’m sure you were proud of me when I began to learn how to walk, so why can’t you be positive about my B-pluses and my other imperfections? We all have them, and being compared based on them totally sucks. I don’t compare (at least not with my outside voice) about how great other parents might seem to be when compared to ya’ll, so just see me as who I am, and I’ll be eternally grateful.

This letter is starting to get really long, but there’s still so much I haven’t said yet. Let’s save it for some other time. I admit, I don’t know a lot of things. I don’t know everything, and I appreciate what ya’ll have taught me and I respect how ya’ll have raised me up right. I’m happy and contented with my life, and a big part of it is made possible by your unconditional love and care. Remember, I love ya’ll dearly, and I hope this formal letter will continue to fuel our relationships with joy, happiness, and comfort.

With love,
Lhu Wen Kai


What’s something that you always wanted to tell your parents? Let me know in the comments section below!

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8 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Great Supermarket Exposé: 16 Ways Supermarkets Are Making Us Spend So Much More | Lhu

  2. I actually sang the Rude part… :)
    However, this is something I cannot relate to because as a teenager, I only had few lectures with my parents. They always say that they trust me. Not telling it in my face though. I’d heard it from my aunts and uncles. I just feel so blessed. Maybe, parents do have their own way of taking care of their children. Or maybe, we do not know it yet but when we, ourselves, become parents to our own children, we can finally understand why.

    • Hey! I’m glad you got the reference. I suspect some people might be wondering why I’m writing with such a weird sentence structure haha. Anyway, I think the issue is due to the difference in culture. In Singapore, it’s rare to see parents giving such ‘freedom’ and trust to their kids, given the must-survive-at-all-costs and must-be-very-protective mentality of yesteryear in our nation. While it is understandable that parents have their own way of showing love, most of us here would want to be treated differently, as per how other parents would treat their kids in other cultures (altho we often leave out the cons of each system). I myself swore to provide my future child with the freedom and choices to positively dictate his or her life as he or she sees fit, but I’m very curious as to how I would act twenty or thirty years down the road. Thank you for your thought-provoking comment. Have a great day!

      • Exactly. We have different cultures. I live in the Philippines where most parents (especially those that are from a.. financially-challenged family, like us), would let their children decide things on their own as long as it’s about survival or being independent of them.
        Have a nice day, too!

  3. HeyLo,

    You know this post is so true ( at least from my side ). My parents are really cool about “most” of the things, but there are some big BIG secrets locked inside me… It’s just that they don’t seem to understand, there where many times I tried to bring in the topic and BOOM they start the lecture ( at this point I didn’t even let out a percent of my secret.. ) and I have no other choice. Of course, even my parents compare me to almost all my friends, but what they don’t realize is their daughter is way more passionate and talented in other things. They have to understand that this generation has this vast sea of vocations to choose from, but in their mind becoming a doctor, engineer and settling next to Obama’s house is everything….

    One of the things I haven’t told my parents : I have a blog …….. Yup, they no nothing about my Purrfectgirl identity!

    • Hey! Yeap, exactly. It’s like, if only they find out what we’re actually capable of. Haha are you planning to tell them?

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