Today I would like to tell you about why you should not listen to advice from your Asian parents and how it will make your life better.
We all like to complain about our Asian parents – they are strict, they are not cool, they like to nag, and they love to control, etc. These are all very real struggles, but on the flipside of the coin, they will always support our education and careers, and will rarely (or ever) give up on us. These are great qualities to have in your parents, and we shouldn’t overlook them. Learn to appreciate your Asian parents for the financial and logistical support that they offer. Be grateful for what they do, but do not fall slave to it. It’s a fine line, but we must remain vigilant and not lose control of our ability to make our own decisions.
When I was a teenager, my dad often forced me to take certain classes or do some sort of extra studying in the summer, and when I would say ‘no’, his go-to line was, “if you don’t do as I say then you can’t live in this house. Go somewhere else. You are no better than a dog/pig/some animal”. I remember one time, when I was 15, we got into such a heated argument over me playing Gunbound instead of reading books in the summer holidays, that after getting my regular beating for disobedience, I absolutely refused to give in to what I felt were completely unreasonable demands and stormed out of the house with an extra sweater and my backpack. I was determined to prove to them that “enough was enough”, and went to the nearby park to sleep on a playground slide for the night. It got too chilly in the wee hours of morning so I walked back to our house. But instead of going back inside, I unlocked my parents’ 1995 Ford Taurus using the passcode keypad and continued sleeping, in the car. My mom was obviously worried and discovered me a couple of hours later, and brought me back inside. My dad didn’t look at me or speak to me, but that was fine by me. I confined myself to my room and did whatever I want for the next couple of days. I refused to be controlled by my parents, held firm, and got what I wanted (temporarily, anyway). Mini victory for the repressed!
With most Asian parents, they give relatively empty threats, and will not kick you out of the house and leave you to carve out a life on the streets. However, some of them, like my high-tempered dad, are extra volatile, stubborn, and are determined to teach you a lesson, in which case it is better to take the strategic approach, rather than to sleep outside like I did (there are pedophiles out there!). The strategic approach is to simply swallow your pride, pretend to do what they want you to do on the surface or just give vague answers, but secretly still going through with your own plans and do what you want to do. I was a stubborn little fool myself, and it was extremely difficult for me to take this approach. But I developed more patience as I grew older.
I implemented the strategic approach frequently in the years when I began to develop more social engagements. The first couple of times I stayed out late and came home drunk, my mom waited up for me. She then went ahead with the million questions and standard lecture series – are you hanging out with bad kids, sleeping so late is bad for your health, etc. I pretty much just deflected the questions and stumbled off to bed. But I wasn’t deterred – I just kept on going out and coming home drunk at 3AM, and eventually my mom got used to it and no longer stayed up to wait for me. I conditioned her. It was now NORMAL. As a side note, most of our dads won’t care much when it comes to going out and whatnot, because no matter what they say on the surface, dads will always prefer their sons to be socially-adept lady slayers rather than nerdy loners.
The reason I preach that we should not listen to our parents is simple. Asian parents educate/brainwash us to the lifestyle of risk aversion. This is no doubt an evolutionary and cultural phenomenon, as this approach to life would have saved a lot of people from killing each other or themselves in the evolutionary past of the Oriental populations. This is one reason why the Oriental Empires have prospered over the centuries, and continued to maintain a sizeable population despite suffering massive death tolls in the early 20th century due to falling behind in terms of technology and arms. While the Europeans were constantly exploring new lands and risking getting killed by native tribes, ocean storms, poisonous plants or diseases, our ancestors mostly lived cautiously and simply survived, with ample offspring. Unfortunately, for those of us that live in Western civilization in the 21st century, the game has changed. We now live in a society where we don’t really have to worry about suddenly dying from a stray arrow or smallpox, and therefore the risk aversion attitude our culture has instilled in us can no longer bring the same magnitude of necessities or benefits.
The standard Asian male life plan goes as follows: listen to parents as a child, attend piano lessons, art classes, get top grades at school, be on the honour roll, get scholarships, get university degrees, and get stable, well-paid jobs. Work hard at the stable, well-paid job, get promoted, buy a nice house, live a quiet life, retire at age 65, and die old. For our parents’ generation, this plan worked great, because for them, the priorities and challenges were matched by this “solid life plan”. In our parents’ generation, their priorities were to obtain wealth and the Western standard of living, in order to provide a better future for their spouse and children. Now, for our generation, the priorities have changed completely. Not meaning to sound like a spoiled brat, but we grew up in the Western standard of living, and things like clean tap water and protein-rich diets are no longer part of the worry for our generation. What are the priorities and challenges for our generation? Finding a suitable mate, for example, has now become THE major challenge for many. Another big one is finding excitement in life – excitement makes us feel happy and fulfilled in life, since humans are naturally hedonistic creatures.
Now, perhaps you are already starting to connect the dots. What trait do we have in common as a result of our upbringing? Risk aversion. How well does this trait bode in terms of achieving our priorities and conquering our major challenges in life? Not well. The risk-averting attitude instilled in us by our parents makes us more self-conscious, less accepting of failure, and as a result, unwilling to step out of our comfort zones. In the quest for romance, this means more beta behaviour, less approaching, more supplication, less boldness, and more pussy-pedestalling – general recipe for failure in today’s dating landscape. In the quest for an exciting life, this means more hesitation, less experimentation, more of doing the same, and less of discovering what we actually enjoy. The result – lonely and depressed virgin males everywhere, and possibly more Elliot Rodger’s in the future.
This, is why we must not listen to our parents. By this, I don’t mean to defy them in every single way possible. Instead, it means to know what you want, be smart and make your own decisions, using your own judgment. You know your life, the challenges you face, and your desires better than they do, and as a result, you are better-equipped to make the appropriate decisions to achieve your goals than they are. If they are telling you to study sciences in university because they want you to become a doctor, but you only mildly enjoy science, then DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM. Apply to the program that you feel more interested in instead. You will be happier following your own path than to robotically walking along a path laid out for you by someone else, and chances are, you will work harder at your path, too. I made this exact mistake and went into sciences, only to realize after a few years that it is not at all what I am passionate about. I would have much rather gone into architecture or sports management, but sided with my parents because I thought it was too risky and might not land me any jobs in the future. Fuck the future. Retirement is a long way away. I am correcting course now, but I can never take back the few prime years of my life that I spent studying/doing things I didn’t really care about.
By now, I hope you have seen my point. But as a closing note, I want to remind you again to not go with the train of thought that Asian parents suck in every way and you wish you had white parents. That would make you an ungrateful and self-hating brat (hello again Elliot Rodger). Remember that the reason we even have the problems we have today, instead of starvation and air pollution, is due to the hard work of our parents. They followed the “solid life plan” and worked hard in order to provide the platform for us to even be able to have the problems we have today. Be grateful for what your parents have done for you, but do not listen to them. Realize that the times have changed, and figure out the right way to tackle your new set of challenges. Our parents cannot help us with this new set of challenges because they are simply unable to recognize them. These challenges did not exist in their time.
Be a rebel, and a smart one.