Tag Archives: mom

Would I do Plastic Surgery?

Editor’s note: This is a follow-up from Tuesday’s post on how youths these days seek to attain that “perfect look”.

I admit, I am a victim of vanity. I wish I was born with a smaller and sharper nose. Doesn’t this sound familiar?  As it is with all vain people, wishing to change parts of our appearance is common, especially if you weren’t born looking like Emma Watson.  But would I ever undergo plastic or cosmetic surgery to change my features? My answer would be a solid no.

A good majority of us have heard the perennial argument against plastic surgery – our features are unique to us and we must learn to love and accept ourselves for who we are. However, I would like to share another reason which I have discovered upon further reflection and introspection.

During my internship, I was tasked to read through some parenting blogs. As a result, I was suddenly exposed to a brand new perspective on things – the world as parents see it. It was interesting to note that amongst the numerous fresh insights I garnered, I also noticed a common thread of thought that weaved through the blog stories – the joy of discovering themselves in their children.

One very interesting post by Nick Pan was illuminating for me. He asked what is, to me, an interesting question: “Would my baby be cute?” It may seem like a quirky fear to struggle with, but it isn’t necessarily so when you stop to think about it. His fears disappeared the moment he laid eyes on her and I quote,

“Then It dawned upon me. My child is beautiful to me because my child is a product of my wife and I. My child looks familiar as she has the genetics from both my wife and I. My eyes, my wife’s grace, my nose, my wife’s lips. No matter how our baby looks, she is going to look familiar; she is going to look like the product of our love.”

So why would I not agree to undergo plastic surgery if I were given the chance to do it for free? It’s simply because I am a product of my parents’ love. I look familiar to my parents, and what they see in me, is what I see in them. Every part of my face and body has come from the unique and intricate combination of my parents’ genetics.

I imagine the joy that my parents must have felt as I was growing up and their sense of familiarity as they saw themselves in me. I love my parents, and no matter how old I become, I still want to look familiar to them.  In addition, even after they pass on, I want to still be able to see their faces in mine.

Similarly, it is these God-given features of mine that I want to see when I gaze into my children’s faces in the future, and to enjoy the beautiful miracle of each child being a product of the love that my future husband and I will have for each other. So no, I will not resort to plastic surgery, because if I do, I know that I would have missed out on this most beautiful miracle that comes from embracing this face, this body that I’ve been blessed with for all time.

This guest post comes courtesy of Rachel Kan, a former intern with Focus on the Family Singapore and university undergraduate. All views expressed in this post are Rachel’s own.


The Resilient Love of a Mother

“As the sky glowered black and Stephanie Decker felt the monster tornado begin to suck her house into its vortex, she knew it would not hold and she had no choice but to shield her two young kids with her own body. She lost her legs in the process.” This is a real story of a mother of two young children in the recent tornado outbreak in North America.

Most mothers are heroes! To be precise, they are UNSUNG heroes! And we don’t need tragic stories like this to believe that they are. All we have to do is to pay a bit more attention to the moms around us, especially to our OWN mother.

Of course there are exceptions. One would read with horror and disgust of a recent report in Malaysia where a mother filmed her underage daughter being raped by her lover. But most mothers love their child(ren) sacrificially and unconditionally. Their love is often shown in what is to us the humdrum of life – from ensuring that our physical needs of food and daily necessities are met to seeing to the well-being of our emotional, intellectual and moral/spiritual needs.

Mothers do the most “unglam” work that often goes unnoticed, unappreciated and even unwelcomed. They are easily one of the most over-worked and under-paid (or UN-paid) people in the world.

I had a close relationship with my late mother but I must confess that I never fully appreciated the depth of her love for her children until I became a mom myself. Now having to raise two children, I find myself doing what my mom did i.e. nagging at my children to take proper meals (especially vegetables!), worrying about whether they are getting enough mental stimulation, ensuring that they are morally upright. The list goes on…

Mothers certainly deserve a lot more credit than we give them or they give themselves. We should appreciate them for their acts of love in big and small ways. DON’T wait till it’s too late to tell/show them how grateful we are.

Bravo to all moms! To my mom (whom I believe is in heaven) and my mother-in-law: THANK YOU!

I’m a Tiger Mom

Over the weekend, the Straits Times featured the recent controversy over a book written on Chinese parenting styles, particularly on how Chinese-Singaporean moms tend to be strict, over-achieving and obsessed with academic excellence.

I’m a Tiger Mom – because I’m born in the year of tiger and I’m a mom.

Jokes aside, it is telling how (1) happiness is equated with achievements; and (2) kiasu-ism seems to be our Singaporean heritage.

I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, in which he observes that Asians (particularly from rice-growing traditions) have an innate belief in hard work and a strong sense of the relationship between effort and reward. This seems to explain why we drive our children to succeed in terms of education and career, by ferrying them to one enrichment class after another and filling their schedules with programs and activities that would give them a head-start in life (albeit possibly losing their childhood). We seek to have an edge over others, and begin to fear if we perceived somehow that we were losing out in the rat-race or giving our children anything less than the best opportunities to excel.

My son just started kindergarten. Prior to this, each time we were asked which school he attends and we replied “none”, the responses were mostly a disapproving look or a voice marked by concern. One “memorable” encounter was when we decided that we should enrol him in Chinese class for lack of any Chinese-speaking person in his life, and so that he wouldn’t end up hating his mother-tongue simply because he struggled trying to catch up learning it in school. We enquired at one school about the most basic level class and were told that he should actually be in a higher-level class appropriate to his age. The counter staff then whipped out a book and began to show us the Chinese characters he would already need to be able to read and write. When we reiterated that he had only just learned his Chinese name and that’s why we wanted him in a beginner’s class, we were shot the icy stare that said it all, “What kind of parents are you?”

According to Gladwell, we are the inevitable products of our culture (amongst other things). It’s no wonder then that we are contending with the issue of a low birth rate. A scan of the ongoing debate on why – or why not – to have children would reveal that Singaporeans logically deem the result is not worth the effort. This is understandable given that it is difficult in the first place to quantify the rewards of bringing up a child. Thus, couples gravitate towards a relationship in which they can dictate the amount of commitment and work they wish to invest; perhaps marrying and bearing children later, or opting to be DINKS, ie, Double-Income-No-Kids. Our culture also explains why if we can’t give our child everything that will promise his success, we’d rather not even entertain the idea of having a baby.

My husband insists that the solution to our nation’s procreation problem would be to mandate a regular blackout during which there should be no other alternative activity after dark except for couples to reproduce. While there is no concrete scientific basis that this method works, it nonetheless serves to highlight a glaring fact that Singaporeans do work hard – and long – and simply have no time to make, or have, children.

Is this a cultural legacy we wish to retain – or history that needs to be reshaped and remade?

“Have you started thinking about which primary school you’ll be sending your son to?”

Unwittingly, we may be perpetuating the very thing we complain about. If I were to deliberately move house or carve out volunteer hours from my already limited time I have with my family, in order to get my child into a choice school, I would end up contributing towards the culture that we don’t seem to be satisfied with. I’m sure you’re thinking: “It’s all too easy to say that now; just wait till it’s your turn.” Perhaps; we’ll see what kind of Tiger Mom I am!

Washer Woman and So Much More!

At the moment I’m in the midst of packing 2 bulging pieces of luggage to be lugged all the way to USA. You won’t believe the amount of stuff I’m bringing over. As I pack, I can’t help but think about … how I’m going to have to wash all these clothes on my own!  

I have a feeling I’m going to be missing my mom very very much… especially her expertise with the washing machine!

That aside, I really am going to miss her, and not just for her laundry skills.  But also for her chiding, hugs, advice, silliness and general motherliness. 

Just the other day, my friends and I were talking about our futures. Amidst all the grand career goals we had in mind, the one we held above all others was that we wanted to be mothers. And perhaps that is one of the grandest aspirations. Though we each wanted to make a name for ourselves, what we wanted more was to be there for our own children.  All because of our own mums.  We talked about how we didn’t think we’d have turned out the way we did if not for them, and about how we wanted to do the same for our own kids. Look Moms, you’re leaving a legacy!

Moms, we do appreciate you (even when we’re trying to ignore you). Disheartening though our reactions to you may be sometimes, don’t worry!  We’ll come to our senses soon! We just need to grow into it, like my friends and I have. So, to all the mothers out there who have sacrificed their own aspirations or who strive to juggle home and work, thank you! And most of all, thanks for always making sure we have clean clothes to wear…