Tuesday, March 29, 2016


I think that is the most apt word to sum up most days now. A woman wears many hats these days... too many, I think. In the morning, I am at work. At work, well... everything runs like what a work place should. Classes to teach, papers to grade, students to see, things to look into... basically a typical work schedule that comes with the scope of a job.

After school hours means another new hat... no... it feels more like donning a few hats. I was having a conversation with my students just recently and I told them that being a student is fun. Cos that's all you need to be...A STUDENT. Everything else, there are parents to see to. I'd trade places with them if I could. 8)

A mother, housekeeper, cook, handywoman.... there are just so many things to see to. The mind is in a constant whir. In between classes would be spend grading, planning and in between those things, menu planning, chores-to-do list, etc.

And that is where I think social conditioning must change. Everything we do, think, assume and even perceive... they are the products of our social conditioning. I guess nothing is really ours. And that is where I think things should change.

Conversations with others in my generation and those in the same boat. The same issues seem to be cropping up. Partnerships built on equality... they are hard to come by. Husbands and menfolk who throw in their equal weight in child rearing and housekeeping. While there are probably more men who are more involved, I think in our Asian society, it is still dismally low. Unless the womenfolk push for more involvement, most men would prefer to have their own time, either in their dens or out with their friends. The bottom line seems to remain this... much of the family work continues to fall on the shoulder of the women.

It's Qing Ming season now. It is not uncommon to see the women making preparations; folding the hell money (beats me why they call it that. It's like an admission that everyone goes to hell), getting the food ready for the prayers at the grave... they all seem to fall on the women too. And the irony is, the souls of the departed are not even from the same bloodline. They are only relatives by marriage! And so you have this... the one who lead the prayers for the deceased sharing the same name with the deceased. Needless to say, the ones who toil to prepare the stuff needed... well, they are the womenfolk who are 'outside family'.

Ancestral worship is a Confucian teaching. Confucius teaches filial piety. So, shouldn't the filial sons do all the preparations? Yet many husbands would expect (or even demand) that their wives be filial to the people who played no part in raising them! And so we go back to this same merry-go-round... Everything we do, think, assume and even perceive... they are the products of our social conditioning. A couple of thousand years worth of social conditioning here, I guess.

These are thoughts gathered from a rambling session with a friend of mine. We belong to the same generation although the age gap is quite significant. The same is heard most of the time... The menfolks continue to refuse to acknowledge the need for them to put in their weight in everything that makes a house run.

Son recently started to manage a house. After barely 2 months... in one of our conversations. He passed this remark that a house is a lot of work. Yup! and Yup! A house is a lot of work. But I think many men will just brush it as mere complaints... Ah! After all most things to them can wait. They are more important things to do, they feel.

Bringing in the dough... the days of the man being the sole breadwinner is over. Women do that too these days. But the balance is not struck in the home. Social conditioning over what is perceived as men's domain remains entrenched.

Ramblings on a day when the mind is clouded by a blur of haze...


mun said...

I agree with you on this statement - "the womenfolk push for more involvement". Yes, it is up to the womenfolk to push for more involvement from their husbands and sons.

As for social conditioning, it is up to us whether to accept olden days tradition or reject them. It is enough for me to remember who our ancestors are and keep the memory in our hearts rather than to burn whatever in this hot weather. Gone are the days where we need to go to clean up the tombs as in this modern age, many of the tombs are well kept by organised profitable companies doing this business very well when they sell the whole bereavement package to the deceased family.

danielchowtzeyoong said...

hahaha...i think culture is changing...slowly...but surely...
as time gets more difficult...as both husband and wife need to provide income to the family... im sure it will change :)