267070__bleeding_roses__8.jpgBy Jonk

Tuesday, 28 November, 2006

In light of the recent Home Special in the Straits Times some time back, ‘When Love Hurts’, the documentary of domestic abuse cases from the points of view of the victims, the guilty parties and wise by-standers gave all readers a detailed yet disturbing magnifying-glass look into the secret sins of countless families in Singapore.

The bold projection of these skeletons-in-closet type of stories on the front cover, and half a newspaper section, made me wonder inside how many other 17 year old teenagers were reading this and knowingly recollecting stormy pasts of their own families.

As a child, whenever my parents fought, I used to think everybody else had this wonderfully utopic life and peaceful parents, that I was the only one stuck in a highly disagreeable family. But as I progressed in age and wisdom, the willingness to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable domestic behaviour also increased and I realized my home problems could be seen as mild when compared to other much more violent home situations, as revealed very recently with the rising number of domestic murders and spousal/child abuse in the heartlands of Singapore.

The broken hearts of my peers

People my age are more open about their families and the grievances they cause us teenagers. Knowing full well that we also have our fair share of contribution to the head and heart aches of our parents and siblings, I’ve heard many stories from the broken hearts of my peers about how they truly feel towards the trouble brewing in their homes, how they wish everything would just be happy and family would be..family, not strangers.

I’ve got a famous friend in a top local school who’s well known for her outrageous partying ways and flirtatious behaviour. Her drinking, smoking and promiscuous behaviour had long since earned her a very bad reputation within the few months of being in the college. As a friend I’ve never really been inclined to despising her the way everybody else does, but instead offered a listening ear whenever she was depressed and completely at a loss of what she was doing with her life.

People hate her for being beautiful, rich and smart (she’s gifted). But what they fail to pity her for, is her broken family background (her parents divorced when she was 3), the lack of love she receives from her father (who has long remarried and has 3 other children, plus a beautiful wife) and loving support of close friends (whom I’m sad to announce she does not have, what with the bad rep).

As she’s in a different college from me, our level of contact is very low and I admit I don’t have much patience to be her counsellor 24/7. Every once in a while I observe and hear about how she’s getting worse in her behaviour through the gossip channel of our alumni, catch up with her and act interested over her latest navel piercing or pseudo-relationship, then pick up the phone and complain about how gone case she is to a mutual friend or two.

Domestic issues affect teenagers

What I’m trying to point out here, is that domestic issues really do affect teenagers and the way they turn out later in life.

My famous college friend once confided in me tearily, that she used to think it was all her fault her parents divorced, and she wishes that perhaps maybe if her father had loved her more, he would have stuck around for her. The fact that that didn’t happen, I concluded intelligently, was what drove her to develop such promiscuous behaviour, dying for the attentions of every other attractive male and just about agreeing to do anything for and with them. This is a heartwrenching but common truth for many young people out there who rise from broken homes.

To think that the effect parents have on their children is longlived. It scares me to think that if I marry, all my beliefs in family peace might just fall apart and I’d find myself stuck in a vicious cycle of disputes and common quarrels.

Where does love come in? Or rather, where does love go?

I still find it difficult to comprehend how two loving people get married lavishly in a fairytale wedding, have a few kids and live the rest of their lives in a deadpan urban pre-mixture of parental woes, financial burdens and spousal annoyance. If domestic storms are so common, where on earth did the concept of a happy marriage materialize?

What is a “happy marriage”?

I recently did a GP essay on ‘what contributes to a happy marriage in today’s society’, and realized half way through the essay that I couldn’t really term marriage today as particularly happy, judging from the more popular divorce and increasingly popular alternative of abuse. When I read about celebrities declaring love for their fifth spouse of the year, and how it’s oh so going to ‘last forever’, I’m not sure whether to laugh or to cry.

I guess family may be the basic building block of society, but it’s also the most difficult to maintain. If you can’t get through the laying down of the foundations, there’s no point looking towards a brighter future in the promising blue skies of tomorrow. We’ve all got to keep being the glue, even as we grow our wings and want to fly away for ourselves.

Our parents, our siblings, our whole families need us, no matter how much they sometimes act otherwise.

And maybe, just maybe, if we make it through this tough round as the kids, we’ll have an easier time as strong, experienced parents another day.

About the author:
Jonk is a JC arts faculty student who describes herself as “incredibly aunty-philosophical when it comes to deciphering the little neurotics of teenage life.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

我国今起全岛军事演习 马国防副长吁克制处理争议

随着我国在今日起,在全岛多个地点,包括大士一带进行军事演习,马来西亚国防部副部长刘镇东则指出,没有让双边情绪升温的必要,马方将以克制应对我国针对边界争议的对策。 刘镇东称,该国首相敦马和外交部长拿督赛夫丁,已经发出邀请,希望在月中与新加坡谈判。 马国媒体也询问对于新加坡在敏感时刻展开大规模军事演习,国防部有何看法,刘镇东仅表示“没有补充”结束访问,不愿置评。 武装部队演习至下周一 根据我国国防部文告,武装部队从今早巴士至本月17日,将在z实里达、马西岭、惹兰巴哈、梁宙、林厝港、惹兰国民、大士、裕廊上段、丰加、亚妈宫、勿洛码头、克拉芝、伦多、新邦、三巴旺和万礼进行演习。这项演习将使用空弹和雷光弹。 另外,陆军部队也于同一时间,在巴西拉峇实弹区进行实弹演习,演习时将使用实弹和信号弹。演习期间途经西柔佛海峡的船只应该保持在航道内,远离实弹演习区界限。 马来西亚外长赛夫丁则建议为新马海事争议降温,两国应停止派遣船只到柔佛海峡具争议水域: Malaysia proposes to de-escalate maritime…

20 new cases of COVID-19 infection in S’pore; One new case in dormitory

As of Sunday noon (11 Apr), the Ministry of Health (MOH) has…

教育规划让学生发挥所长 总理称续确保教育可负担、高素质

李显龙总理在本周日(5日)的一项活动上强调教育对国家未来之重要,且教育体制是规划为让每个学生都能发挥最好一面。 他也重申不应让国人因为成本而延缓追求教育,故此目前确保每个人都负担得起。 总理在昨日出席其选区宏茂桥德义区教育储蓄奖励金颁奖礼,向在场城景小学师生这么指出。李显龙也是该集选区议员。 本地中学生的普通和快捷源流之区分,将在2024年结束。2024年入学的中一学生,将依据他们的程度和强项来选读适合的科目程度。 作为措施的一部分,大约25所中学将在今年试跑科目编班全面计划,并逐年增加参与学校。 至于小六会考(PSLE)评估则着重学生个人表现、不过分强调学术成绩,学生无论起跑点在哪,都能拓展自己的兴趣和所长潜能。 他表示教育是政府关注的重要事项之一,政府相信透过教育让公民学习技能和知识,成为有成效、可自力更生的良才。 而在昨日总理也办法了德义公民咨询委会助学金,以及教育部储蓄奖,予1100名学生。教育部储蓄奖(Edusave award)依据学生的领导才能、品行或学业成绩颁发,得奖学生约能领取200至500新元的奖励。 至于助学金则是由基层组织筹措。 总理在致辞中也表示政府将继续支援学生,确保教育系统保持高素质和可负担。

Long waiting time for subsidized patients in restructured hospitals

Workers’ Party Secretary General and MP for Aljunied GRC , Mr Low Thia Khiang…