Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Thick-Skinned Species

In many ways, I am just like my mum.

She will never expect any free meals from anyone, not even from us. She often comes to my house after lunch or will bring her own lunch and even pack us some. When relatives insist on buying her lunch, even if it is just a $3 meal, she would be thinking of what to buy to pay back in between mouthfuls of the meal. She gets so embarrassed when given a treat, any treat, that she goes out of the way to avoid the person during mealtimes in future, so the other party doesn't feel obliged to pay for her.

She will never hint to anyone, even her own siblings or children, that she likes a certain delicacy very much, hoping that the latter will get the hint and buy it for her.

She will never point at the jewellery that I am wearing or the bag I am carrying (or at anyone else's for that matter) and tell me how much she likes to have the same thing and doesn't mind if I give it to her, or suggest outright that I buy her a new one!

She will never take anything from my house without asking me first. Even if it is just a plastic bag or a plastic container. In fact, she will never even imagine going to anyone's house and take anything from them. Not openly and definitely not sneakily hide as much as possible in another bag so as to give away to another household.

She will never go to someone's house unannounced or uninvited. Or hint that she likes to visit your house, villa or be driven to your house in Penang. And when she is in your house as a guest, she will never enter your kitchen or bedroom without you to check it out. 

My mum may have grown up poor and lived frugally all her life, but she certainly has her backbone and an admirable sense of pride. She doesn't expect to consume more than what she can afford herself and is never the greedy type who takes as much free stuff as she can, even when she doesn't need them.

Basically, she doesn't like to take advantage of others and doesn't want others to take advantage of her either.

In all these aspects, I am just like my mum and I am very proud of it.

The only difference is, I display my displeasure at such ugliness and hesitate less to name and shame, especially when the behaviour repeats in front of me and/or affects me directly. Such as when someone tries to take advantage of me or my family.

So imagine my disgust to meet people with all-of-the-above and more. I pray hard that even if my kids were to grow up earning little, that they will never, in my living days, ever be one of these thick-skinned people who know no shame.

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