When I was a little girl, I was pampered to the very core by my parents and my grandparents alike. Being the first grandchild for both side, maternal and paternal, I was treated no less than a princess, and my every whim and fancy were obliged.
I was a child with small body size, big eyes, fair skin, long hair and a mouth that never seems to stop talking. I was a chatterbox, and stopping me from talking would be like forcing a reluctant horse to drink water. I was told that I was an adorable child. Very likable and agreeable child. Pleasant to the eyes, and pleasant to the heart, as I was also an affectionate child who showers her affection easily to family members. I suspect, I was not so pleasant to the ears, though, because I’m known to have quite a mouth, even as a child.
I have rebellious streak and have a mind of my own, even as young as five years old. I have inquisitive mind, a trait that I inherited from my father, and would do anything to achieve perfection in whatever I do.
I did not grew up in Malaysia. And so, when I came back to Malaysia to pursue my primary education as my parents saw fit, I couldn’t fit in. I was boycotted by classmates and teachers alike because I was different, and not timid in class. I could not communicate well for first 2 years of my primary education in Malaysia because I could not communicate in any other language except for English. I felt that nobody could understand me. Back then, I felt as if I was abandoned in a strange place where people have no idea what I was talking about. Even though what I expressed verbally was coherent in the language that spoke I understood, it was nothing but alien to people who are around me. My classmates would laugh at me, jeer me and I was shunned because I was ‘different’.
I was called names. Ranging from idiot to retarded, you name it. And every time during recess, I would sit in a corner alone eating things from my lunch box while other kids sit together and happily eat food that they bought from the canteen. I wanted to buy food like them, but couldn’t, because I do not know how to use Malaysian Ringgit, what’s more the value of it. I was cheated by friends a couple of times, and my parents had enough of it. Therefore, they gave me lunchbox, and only Rm0.30-Rm0.50 as my pocket money, which was usually left at home, inside the piggy bank.
I would go home crying everyday because I felt alone and so different, but my parents merely thought that this is just a phase, and I’ll get over it. Nobody helped me, and this is where I started to develop mistrust towards people around me, including my parents as they were not supportive when I need them to be.
Hurt and wounded psychologically, I learned Bahasa Malaysia on my own, without the help of teachers whatsoever, and being a perfectionist, I excelled by working extra hard at understanding the language. I scored and mastered the language in no time, and attempt to get myself into the social circle of my classmates. Unfortunately for me, once a freak, will always be a freak, and I soon learn my very first lesson in politics from the bullies in school. The bullies in school would report to my mother who constantly make trip to school to ‘follow up’ with my progress. And she will be told that I’m a lazy child who do not listen to the teacher, constantly forgetting to do homework, and stupid. And, my mother would believe those brats that I would classified as young bitches and bastards easily without question. She would not ask me if their statements were true or not. Those child- bitches would snicker and blow raspberry at me when my mother was not looking. My mother then would punish me by hitting my hand or pulling my ears when we got home. I was told to shut up when I tried to protest, and I will be given more mathematics and language exercises as punishment.
Once, the bullies cut my long hair, and lied to my parents that I cut it myself. I got into trouble with my parents again because of their lies as they made my parents think that I was mentally disturbed. Again, my mother told me to shut up and stop lying when I told her that it’s not true. Neither of my parents knew that I cried myself to sleep because my long hair have been cropped short by those child-bitches.
I became a very angry and vengeful child, because I felt that even my mother was giving me a hard time. Shutting my parents out because they did listened to the bullies instead of me, I became pretentious. I kept the cheerful, cute girl facade and started to lie. I started to lie in most situation because my parents seems to take lies easier than truth. I lied to survived. I admitted to them that I didn’t listen to the teachers, forget to do or bring my homework when the fact was my books was hidden by the bullies until school was over, and admit to my parents that I cut my hair because I hated my long hair as my classmates did not keep long hair. My parents believed it easily.
As young as 8, I was a strategist’s in the making. I fully took advantage of my ability to learn fast and took revenge on the school bullies in English classes and made them look stupid in front of the teachers. And when their parents came to take the report book every semester, I made sure I returned their ‘favour’ of fibbing to my mother. My mission was easily accomplished because my academical achievements are better than them. I was satisfied when one of the bitches were slapped because of my words before my very eyes. When her parents were not looking, I walked up to her, and told her ‘Padan muka'(Serve you right). And when she tried to harm me, I pretended to fall onto the floor and wailed. She then got into trouble again for bullying someone who is smaller in size than her.
I did not feel sorry for her. In fact, I was very happy that she too, will suffer the same fate as me at home. Thinking back, I wonder if I would be a different person if I was not bullied at such a young and tender age? I wonder, if my parents were more attentive of me and spend time to listen to me, I would became a more forgiving and gullible person?
I have no answer to that. I will never have an answer to that, because I could never alter my past. However, I seriously think that my childhood would be less painful and easier if my parents spent time to listen to me instead of merely judging and punishing me.
Being parents are not easy. Now that I’m all grown up, I understood that it is rather difficult to bring yourself to your child’s level and communicate with them effectively. Parents are usually busy with work and came home too tired to do anything but hit the sack. But then again, it is important to remember that we, as parents are not always right and the children are not always wrong. It would do no harm to listen to them and give a chance to them to defend themselves before delivering your judgment upon them. It would also do no harm if you could be more attentive of their psychological needs instead of just their monetary needs all the time. I believe, by doing so, your child would trust you more and be more open to you instead of keeping things to themselves. And by doing so, you will also be your children’s best friend instead of just being their parents.
Cleffairy: It is all right to be your children’s friends every now and then. Not many parents could do that, but you’d be an excellent parents if you can.