When I was young, I always get told how fortunate I was to be able to get a ride in the family car to everywhere. Or that I get to have chicken for dinner. Or when I got new toys from the mall. My father would tell me that when he was a child, he had to wake up at dawn everyday to help his mom who was a rubber tapper. He had to walk or cycle everywhere. Even getting a ride on the bus was considered very luxurious. Rice with soy sauce was his daily meal. If he was lucky he would get to have chicken during festive seasons.
Even though I understood that his intention was only to make me feel contented with what was provided and to not be wasteful, I wasn’t able to understand how having chicken for dinner was anything to shout about during the 1990’s. I would have preferred McDonald’s anyway. A car on the other hand, was no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Everyone gets driven around and I was no different. In other words, my reality was very different from my father’s and I simply could not comprehend his “struggles”.
Ten years down the line, I was getting ready to leave home for the very first time to attend university and my mother bought me my first mobile phone, at 20 years old. The type with monotonic ring tones and non-colour display screen. I didn’t have my own computer until I was in my second year of university. My mother had purchased me an old run down desktop that was only installed with basic Microsoft Office. It was deemed good enough for me to complete my assignments and that was about it. I did not have internet connection throughout my university days, heck my computer was not even capable of playing mp3 music! I relied solely on my old-fashioned walkman to listen to the radio when I had to. I bought myself my very first and own laptop only 2 years ago in year 2008.
When I look around me these days and see school-going teenagers using fancy touch screen mobile phones which also has internet access, Apple Macbooks, Louis Vuitton handbags, iPods, Dior sunglasses…..I think I can finally say that I begin to see what my father meant some 20 years ago when he talked about me being “fortunate”. This time, my reality no longer fit into that of the current generation’s.
Which reminds me, I should pile on more eye creams and anti ageing serums tonight.