The Conundrum

As you all know, Singapore is a shopper’s paradise…But if you are like me, then any kind of shopping can be torturous…So, when my husband asks me to go to a mall with him, my brain starts working over time – should I go or not? What excuse can I give to weasel out? Is it better to suffer the barrage of questions that you can never answer correctly or say what you think thus running the risk of ending your marriage? If you can answer these questions correctly, then you have mastered the art of marriage…

imagesI’m never this happy when I go shopping

Shopping for electronics is the worst kind of shopping to go for with my husband…My opinion does not matter anyway, so I don’t know why he even asks me to accompany him…To be fair, he usually goes alone but sometimes he wants to make it a family outing and I being a part of the family have to go along…The logic here is “I like shopping for electronics…I like spending time with you and M (our daughter)…Let me combine the two and have twice the fun in half the time…” This ‘collaborative’ form of shopping is the most virulent form as far as I am concerned…

A few months ago, my husband decided to upgrade our TV…Fine…I like nice TVs but since the final decision didn’t depend on me, I decided to keep quiet…Weeks of research went by and finally he managed to zero in on a brand and model…One fine Saturday morning he said “Let’s go to XYZ and buy the TV…We’ll have lunch there (which means I have to go along)…” So off we went…After reaching the store, we found out that the model my husband had zeroed in on was out of production…

A few more weeks of intense research went by…Another Saturday and the same statement…All of us trouped back to XYZ…This time (thankfully) the model he had chosen was still in production…The buying process started off with an innocuous “Take a look at it…What do you think?” What did I think? Too expensive…I meekly voiced my opinion…His face clouded up…”You are always thinking about money…What do you think of the picture quality?” Good, in fact fabulous but do we really need to buy such a big one given that M is the one who watches it most of the time? Again, the stupid me voiced my opinion (I never learn)…”TVs are not bought every day…We need to think of the time when we’ll get to watch movies on it…” OK, your money, your decision…The TV was bought…

A couple of days later, the grand purchase was delivered and installed (my husband had measured and marked the spot on the wall) …He comes back from office and looks at it…

“Are you sure they’ve installed it where I put the marks?”

“Yes, go and take a closer look…The hooks are on the marks you made…”

“It looks a bit crooked…You know what, I should have bought the 45″ one and not the 42″…Why do I even listen to you…”

“But you had decided on the 42″ one before we went to the store…I wanted a smaller one…How is it my fault?”

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Are we too busy to raise courteous children?

Or are we just lazy and couldn’t care less?

I live in Singapore in a condo with a substantial Indian expat community…Usually, in the evenings I sit by the pool to take in some fresh air and catch up with friends…There is a group of 10-12 Indian boys lead by two 14 year olds who play close by…Now, according to condo rules, they are not allowed to play cricket there but these boys insist on doing so even when they are asked not to by the security guards…These ‘leaders’ taunt the guards and even manhandle them when after numerous warnings their bats are confiscated…And what do parents do when called by the guards? They threaten them with bodily harm (“I’ll break your leg if you say anything to my son.”)…The condo management has come to the end of its tether and has finally lodged a complaint with the police…If things don’t improve, they will pursue this in court…As most Indians here aren’t citizens, they can be deported and/or jailed…Lives can be ruined…But who is bothered? Children? Parents?

Two months ago, there was a ‘major’ incident by the pool…One 15 year old boy got into a fight with his friend…The latter’s father intervened…What did the former do? He started abusing this gentleman (“You **cker!”) and then physically assaulted him…Meanwhile, the boy’s mother was called and instead of diffusing the situation, she joined in…She started verbally abusing the father and condoned her son’s verbal abuse (“All boys abuse”)…The locals were watching all this with shocked faces…Singaporean children are extremely well behaved…It was embarassing for us who were just sitting around…Can we blame the locals for not liking us and complaining about our behaviour? There are numerous blog posts written by locals who complain about the behaviour of expat Indians especially children in public…

There is a sense of entitlement in our children these days…I think it’s got to do with money…One of the boys from the first story had gone to my friend’s house (she has a 10 year old boy who is in awe of the 14 year old…I must admit, the latter has something in him because all the younger boys follow him)…He was talking rudely to her (she is extremely soft spoken)…Her Filipino helper couldn’t take it any more and asked him to talk with respect…What was this boy’s response? He told the helper that his monthly allowance was more than her monthly salary and so she had no right to tell him how to behave…Many parents have complained to this boy’s parents but they refuse to believe that their son is anything but an angel…Now, if five people complained about my daughter’s behaviour, I would take it seriously but not these parents…Their ladla beta could do no wrong…

Children learn from their parents…If there is no discipline at home, a sense of entitlement and disrespect is the outcome…If we don’t instill good qualities in children early on, there is no hope in hell of doing so when they are teenagers or young adults…Entitled adults shoot women when their needs are not met (Manu Sharma) or run over pedestrians with their luxury car and feel no remorse (Sanjeev Nanda)…

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