I have an uncle who worked his way up from a lowly storeman to the VP of his company. He's not filthy rich, but he's the envy of many middle class Singaporeans.
During the New Year he sat me down, and 'talked' to me. Ever notice how, when adults try to strike a conversation with teenagers/young adults, they always try to fit our lingo into their sentences? They tend to fail miserably and it's really annoying.
Well, he attempted it. "Wow! You guys have this thing called Facebook and I want to be your friend!"
Then his expression darkened. "You take lots of pictures, huh, at those places, with those... your... people.."
Yeah, somehow, he'd chanced upon my pictures on Facebook, probably through my cousin, his daughter.
And he couldn't even utter the word friends. He used the word, people, like those whom I have my arms around in my pictures are so bankrupt in values that they couldn't fit into his definition of friends. And the way he frowned after letting his words trail! I could feel, taste and SMELL his disgust in my choice of people.
And I thought, how laughable, that this whole conversation was happening. (By the way, it wasn't even a conversation. I challenged him: "What people...?" and he changed the subject immediately.)
Years ago when we hung out as kids, I'd felt many things amiss with my cousin. She had everything: a big house, car, many toys, her own room... but somehow I didn't yearn to be in her shoes like how I lusted for the barbie dolls on Kids Central.
Her life, every bit of it, was controlled by her parents and planned out for her. As a bystander I found it uncomfortable and stifling. When we played, I'd take pity on her. Like when she secretly showed me her first "S Club 7" CD - pop music wasn't allowed because it inculcated the "wrong values".
That being said, my uncle and aunt were not bad parents. They were just parents who wanted the best for their child, but in a different way. I respect that.
But when my uncle started questioning my choice of friends, I found it really absurd! I don't want to think how he's been screening her friends. He may think that my cousin was incubated in the best environment possible, and therefore her moral coffers would be brimming with values, but I find it really sad that she's grown up not experiencing the life out there for her.
Then again, I'm thankful for people like my uncle, because then I'd have a reminder of the person I would not want to be.