In the late fifties and early sixties, with high respect for elders which was one of a general ethical training given to children of the time, teenagers would not cross the path of their parents and other elders, both literally and physically, and would wait after them. Talking back, interrupting, even personal decorum in their presence were no no's then. That would absolutely be disrespectful. My parents however allowed me alot of freedom, to do things on my own, and make my own decisions, under their watchful eyes notwithstanding. My father, was especially open with his relationships and allowed discussions when necessary.
I had just finished school after passing the Senior Cambridge School Certificate and was at the 'junction' to either further my studies or fit into the job market somewhere. I was then a temporary teacher in a school in Batu Pahat, earning some pocket money for my keep. My father called me one day and in the presence of Mum 'discussed' my future with me. My first 'adult' talk with my parents.
Father of course talked first, and he opened up by asking me how I was coping with my teaching job and whether I enjoy teaching. He went on to say that now that I have finished school I was already an adult and I was free to do whatever I please. I was free to consider and do whatever is right or wrong, weighing and analysing them by myself after all the guidance I have had when in school and in the process of growing up. If to me it was right I was free to do it and if it was wrong then leave it he said. The decision was mine and Father will not interfere. However, he strongly reminded and cautioned me to always be vigilant and in whatever I do and whatever steps I make I must always uphold the family name. I must preserve family tradition and never to blacken the family name, especially Father's and Mum's names and reputation. Father will not volunteer help or advise but will gladly do so if I ask.
Mum had with her a few newspaper cuttings showing various opportunities for me to apply. There was one that she said or thought I would be interested in, that is to be a trained teacher and another to be an apprentice in a bank. I was not interested in either one, and I told them that my interest was in Engineering. Ok they said and left it at that.
A couple of weeks later Mum asked me whether I have done anything to pursue my interest in Engineering. I said no but that I had kept scanning the papers looking for advertisements that would lead me towards that direction. She asked me whether I have asked for Father's assistance. Didn't he tell you that he would not offer help or advise unless I asked, she said. Hmmm, that was my mistake! I should have remembered what Father said. That evening I sat with him after dinner and told him my interest to pursue Engineering and asked for his help. He said he will look into it.
The next evening, after returning from office, Father told me that he had made a couple of phone calls, and that I was to go to Kuala Lumpur the following week and attend an interview for entry into the Technical College. Hmmm, an example of Father knows what to do! (To be continued)
MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Teratak Senyum Simpul