The Asian Mum
“Don’t cut your nails after dark.”
“Don’t sleep with your hair wet.”
“Don’t sing at night.”
Growing up, I used to think, ‘Why can’t my mum give me the kind of advice that mothers on American family dramas and TV shows do?’ You know, the heart-to-heart type you remember for the rest of your life or even get tattooed on your wrist. No! In fact, once, I was playing with the neighbourhood kids when one of them whacked me with a bat. I ran home, but instead of comforting me, she scolded me for being outside after six in the evening—one of her many pantangs (superstitious beliefs) where if you stayed out after dark, a spirit would follow you home.
Asian mums have plenty of these superstitions; while I don’t practise any of them, I do believe they’ve played an integral part in my upbringing and made my childhood so much more interesting. Plus, as you get older, it’s easier to separate the truth from myths, and you simply decide what you should share with your own offspring one day—I believe in injecting a bit of these old wives tales for fun.
This month, here's what we'd like to share with you:
Mum Says: “Wear Proper Shoes”
Thank goodness functional shoes nowadays come in better designs! Bring any of these latest sports shoes home and mama will approve. Find your match in ‘Sneaker Freak’.
Mum says: “Don’t Eat Too Much Junk!”
Our cover girl Gabrielle Union is a huge fan of carbs and comfort food. The actress divulges ways to get over your addiction in ‘The Gift of the Gab’
Mum says: “Don’t Exert Yourself When You’re Pregnant”
Your mum thinks it’s either too early in the pregnancy or too late into your trimester to risk exercising. We have an easy guide to follow so you get to keep your fitness level and calm her nerves in ‘Bump Watch’.
Mum says: “Eat More Steamed Food”
She’s right about this one being the healthier food preparing technique. Turn to ‘Steam up the Kitchen’ to read of ways to make steamed food taste even better than fried.
Mum says: “Marry a Nice Boy”
There’s no accurate method to help you spot good boys from bad ones, but we can help you avoid making huge love and relationship traps in ‘Don’t Make My Love Mistake’.
In a way, these tales and pantangs are how I’ll carry with me a bit of my mum wherever I am—if I mess up this whole parenting gig, I can always blame her, right?
This of course isn’t the only thing I’ve learned from my mum. The most valuable thing she’s taught me is to be brave. A bit of an oxymoron I suppose if you think about how she used to scare me into behaving as a child. I wouldn’t do half the things she did as a parent (she once used my sister and cousins as baits to lure a flasher to her so she could hose him down with a garden hose and yell at him in front of the neighbours—the guy never showed up in our neighbourhood again) but she had guts! I wouldn’t change how she brought us up—a little non-textbook, but it definitely built character.
Here’s to owning up to our uniqueness and at the same time being a bit like our mums: Happy Mother’s Day, Ma! Thanks for the fountain of knowledge.
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