My Dad once told me “You will never get full access of the car, you are a student, your pocket money won’t afford the gas and maintenance. But once you started to work, I’ll buy you a car. You pay the installments.” I was like “Whaaaat?” Then he goes “I bought my first car with my own money. Whatever I have will eventually be yours, but life is hard, I won’t let you take the shortcut. You want it, you work for it.”
I was mad at first because many of my friends were just need to ask their parents for money or playstation, or whatever they want, and poof, it will always be granted. I was “I want genie kinda parents too.” really. But, again, I told you, my Dad is a man of his words, once I started to work full time, he gave me the car, and I pay him $200/month for the installment. Yeah really, God only knows when I can finish it.
I started to get pocket money (that can only afford another meal) in midschool, because apparently my lunchbox is not enough for my daily routine. My day at school starts from monday to saturday, as early as 6:45am until 2pm, followed by piano course, English course, French course (Oui, je sais parler le français, mais je préfère parler anglais avec vous…), taekwondo, and marching band in between. That’s how active I was.
Back then when I was in middle school, everyone has their own mobile phone. Every. Single. One. I begged my parents for one in the 7th grader and they told me they didn’t see the need of mobile phone for me yet. My mom eventually gave me one when I was in the 2nd grader, which was a year after I begged her, because my schedule was so hectic and she needs to reach me all the time to check where I am at.
It was a basic phone from motorola I can’t even remember the type. Then one fine day, my bahasa indonesia teacher called me up to her office, she told me she wanted to send me to the writing short story competition that will be held in two weeks. Crazy. I know I naturally love to write everything, but I thought a goddamn competition in two weeks was waaaaay out of my league, also they set up the theme I need to write 5 minutes before it starts. I spent 2 hours extra time everyday to stay at school and write a different story each day. “Will I ever make this? Will I ever make my parents and my school proud of me?” So I literally said fuck it, bring it on. Surprisingly I got the first place for three times and it leads me to the scholarship I never thought I could get it. I bought a Nokia N70 for myself that cost me my whole first prize. But it was worth it. Brains bring money. That was my mindset, and still it is, but now added with ‘creativity is the key’.
And you know what’s even crazier? I had a curfew, to be home by 6PM, the latest. And still applicable when I came home to Dad’s. #growingupwithasianparent struggle lol. I once failed to come home by 6PM and my Dad locked the gate and won’t let me in. I cried for some time, my mom felt bad and asked my sis to open the gate for me, and told me to go straight to my bedroom. I was crying myself to sleep silently, facing the walls (because I have never been locked out before) when someone stepped in to my room, my Dad! He cried next to me (yes he did), and touched my shoulder and said “I am sorry for what I did today, it’s because I love you. Can you please listen to me once? It’s not that hard.” Then few minutes after he left, my mom came to my room and cried too, she caress my hair and said “You know how hard your dad is, you should have known what to do. Don’t do it again.” They both thought I was asleep, I have never seen my parents cried, and I really, really feel bad. And yeah, never again.
Back then in Uni, my Dad cut my allowances because I went out way too much and spent the money stupidly so that I forgot what my responsibility was: study. He gave me $50 a month, a freaking month. I have never got so much anyway, my allowances were always spent on food. But how can I live from that? Well, I had my business to rent out a cam, daily, and it pretty much help me.
I know from my story, my parents, especially my Dad, sounds really hard on us. But it is what it is. And the truth is that, it’s so worth it, sometimes kids need to be taught and treated like that, at least for me. The world is a wild and hard place for a fragile human being, and they were just basically set me up to not to be a fragile one.