A mother’s crumbled dream

A little bit of nostalgia of forgotten dreams, or old dreams versus new dreams of mothers. My mother’s big dream was for her children to finish the senior Cambridge Examination, the O level equivalent of today, a Grade 3 would be good enough, and become a ‘tua chye hoo’, literary to become a chief clerk. In those days, every govt department or company had a tua chye hoo, the ‘pau kar leow’ administrator for all paper works. Job opportunities for professionals were rare.

An entrepot did not need those talents. The colonial masters were contented that they had their cheap supplies of coolies and clerks to help them run their administration, and the private sectors to run their trading businesses. It did not take the Chinese community long to realise that the colonial masters were only interested in their own glorification and self interests. The immigrants were there to provide the brawns and shuffle a few papers for their convenience. Every female wanted to be a typist or stenographer or a secretary.

They had big charity drives for donations to build secondary schools and the only university in Southeast Asia for their children. They had bigger dreams. They did not have the privilege of raising funds to help the poor, the sick or the aged. The demands were more urgent and more important. They wanted to produce professionals, engineers, doctors, scientists in all professions.

When we became independent, the opportunities opened up for the locals in every sector and needed professionally trained locals to fill those positions. The mother’s dream changed. They wanted their children to get into university. Their vision went beyond tua chye hoo when they knew what were possible with tertiary education. Forget about tua chye hoo. A graduate meant more than just pride of achievement. It meant a better quality of life, with more material comfort through higher income and more secure jobs.

This mother’s dream continues today. Every mother still wants to see their children get into university and become a graduate. The ancient mothers were ignorant when their ambitious dream was a tua chye hoo. Today’s mothers are in a way ignorant of their dreams. A graduate is not going to make their life that much better. Some may end up as taxi drivers, worst than their parents or grand parents who were non graduates and were tua chye hoo, with a much better lifestyle than the graduates of today, with much better incomes.

Many parents still scrimped and emptied their life savings, downgraded their homes, to send their children overseas when they could not find a place in the local universities. Many regretted when their children refused to return. They forgot that on returning, their children would not be good enough to be a tua chye hoo and may end up you know what. Their talents will never be appreciated unless they happened to be foreign talents. The foreign talents, many are not any better, many worst off than our local talents have taken over their jobs. Some say no, these lousy foreign talents are here to help create jobs. I agree, so that locals can rent out their rooms and service them in hawker stalls and foodcourts, and drive them around in their taxis.

The overseas children of our mothers are doing pretty well overseas. Many could find better jobs and enjoying better quality of living that they could not find if they returned. Why should they return to compete with half baked foreign talents and may end up jobless? The ignorant mothers of today must change their thinking and cast their dreams further ashore. There is no place for their graduate children at home. They need to wonder afar to find their pots of gold. It is better that they remain overseas and stay there.

The familiar dreams of having a graduate and all is fine is no longer true in many cases. It is a crumbled dream.


Anonymous said...

Every Singaporean mother's dream should be that their children will return back to Singapore and join the Worker's Party.

Just like Chen Slow Mao.

"So as to achieve justice, prosperity & progress for our nation."

Anonymous said...

Singapore woman, mother included, has dream of marrying angmo. And if she is not, she will wish that her daughter will. As for her son, she wishes he will be a member of the ruling party. Her dream is no more as simple as that of their older generation. Her ideal will be pragmatic, no more mundane hope and wish associated with their grandmas.

Justice will be furthest from her mind, prosperity and own progress will be most important. 'tiko liang ti ko chor', 'lay say lay ke si' Me first, get it? Me first, not just mother, everyone else is the same!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you want your daughter to marry an ang moh.

Not me.

I want my grandchildren to look like me. I want my family to stay in Singapore where they belong.

I want my legacy, which is the Singapore citizenship to mean something to my descendents.

And this means that the blood suckers will have to be kicked out of office.

agongkia said...

Talking about my Ah Ma...
My Ah Ma did not mind what I do for a living,how much I earn,so long as I grow up to be a reasonable man with feeling,never break law,earn honest living and stay away from the Paikia and crimes.
Rich or poor never mind.She would be contented to see me healthy ,happy,married with children.

My father asked to me to study hard and Cho Cheng Hu Karng or Tua Kow .He told me dun gong gong think that Cheng Hu Karng can only fetch a small salary and insist that one day,Cheng Hu Karng can make me a Peh Ban Poo Ong.
But he warned,if I can be one,never accept kopi lui or frame others just to get what I want and return 90 % to help those in need if my income is Peh Ban..
Ah Pa Ah Ma ,I may not be a Peh Ban but framed and nearly made Pokkai but I will always remember to be a man of honesty and live happily.
I will fulfil your dream to be a happy man,but maybe have to break the law for bigamy as I want to produce more children.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Agongkia, you born too late, wrong time. Your ah pa and ah ma time, polygamy quite normal. Missed opportunity.

Anonymous said...

With budget airlines flying to everywhere, Agongkia can propagate as many as he can tahan everywhere. It is so much cheaper to produce children elsewhere out of Sin.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Every parent becomes arrogant and selfish when it comes to their own children. Their children : deserve the best outcome. Other people's kids: get fucked!

Just because because someone thinks or dreams of something, doesn't make what they make up in their head true or even possible.

To be a parent is to be totally blind, biased and unrealistic when it comes to their kids. Even if the kid's an idiot (which is the most common case) the parents dream of this sub-genius eventually winning a Nobel.

Can't be helped

agongkia said...

anon 3.32
Thanks for your understanding.

Producing elsewhere is the only choice for me,for being a Singaporean.
Maybe FTs oso have one wife at home and marry one here.
It is only fair that I can have one here and marry many out there.Can fulfil my mother's dream to have children and oso dun break the law.

Heng Ah,though illiterate, she is smarter than our SIN Ah Choo, who is against polygamy .

My mother never say I cannot marry many wives oversea.

Anonymous said...

Which beast on earth cares not it's young?