Generation Gap

26 10 2008

FUNNY HOW I just realise that my 14-year old son is sitting for his “Peperiksaan Menengah Bawah” (PMB) i.e Lower Secondary or junior high school exams this month. Compared to my school days some three decades ago when in Form 3, I had sat for the equivalent Brunei Junior Certificate of Examination (BJCE) and I was already 16 then.

At sixteen years of age, I was worried of how I could help my late father make ends meet since we came from a very poor family. After BJCE exams, I went on my own to the Labour Department to look for jobs. The kind and understanding Senior Labour Officer advised me to continue with my studies and turned me away.

My family is still poor now but to leave school and to help me earn extra money is the last thing my son would ever think of doing right now. Anyway, I will never ever approve of him dropping out of school! 😦

My teen-aged hero is now in a dilemma, ambition-wise. When he was in primary school, he said that he wanted to be an architect. As he entered high school, he was into the diplomatic kind of career aspirations and hoped to major in International Relations once he enrols in a university degree course (he even sounded so confident!). But now, he’s contemplating to become an engineer so I advised him to take up either Mechanical or Chemical or Process Engineering. I said to him he has to excel in his Maths, Physics and Chemistry at ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels in the next four years, though. Then he confided to me that he’s sort of interested in  becoming a geologist, too. I simply told him: “Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be, will be… without hard work nowadays, nothing comes easy!” 😉

Children these days are much wiser and more knowledgeable than we were when we were their age. It shows in their thinking and how they write their essays in particular. I don’t think I could ever express myself as good as today’s younger generation of kids. Take my son’s essay below as an example:

My Dream House

Have you ever dreamt about having your own house? It’s not a rented house, but a house of your own. I know I have. Whenever I see beautiful houses on television, I say to myself, “One day, when I have the time and money, I’ll design my very own dream house.”

A house is a private sanctuary where one can relax and spend time with loved ones. In my opinion, a house also expresses its owner’s tastes and personality. It means that a house made of glass shows that its owner is modern and full of innovative ideas. In the same way, a wooden house shows that its owner likes the simple life and is in touch with nature.

My dream house would be made of bricks, concrete and glass. I’m the type of person who likes to mix the old with the new. I’d love to have floor-to-ceiling windows so that I’d be able to get sweeping views of the sea, the countryside or maybe even the city, depending on where I choose to build my house.

I’d design my house in a European fashion. Which part of Europe? I myself cannot decide. I fell in love with European culture because Europe is so diverse in its languages, history and even music. Perhaps I can model my house after a Victorian mansion, a French ‘maison’ or a Spanish ‘casa’.

One room that I must have in my dream house is a library because I have a deep passion for literature. It would resemble the lavish library in the “Beauty and the Beast” film. It would have floor-to-ceiling windows so that the room would be illuminated with sunlight during the day and a grand chandelier for night-time. The bookshelves would be so high that a ladder would be needed to reach the top shelf. This is where I would house my prized collection of books and souvenirs.

My dream house would also have a grand kitchen and dining room for my mother whose passion is the culinary arts. I would include a large window near the nook so that my mother would have a beautiful view of the gardens while she chops fresh vegetables for dinner. For my father, I would build a cosy den complete with a couple of comfortable sofas and armchairs. It would be a great place for him to enjoy his pastime, reading newspapers and watching television while sipping a cup of freshly-brewed coffee. That would be a wonderful scene, wouldn’t it?

I’d also include a music room in my dream house where I’d play enchanting melodies composed by my favourite musicians, Chopin and Beethoven, on a black grand piano. It’d have beige marble tiles and a dance floor for people to dance on as I tickle the ivories on the piano. An extravagant staircase would lead into this ballroom. I can imagine couples dressed to the nines descending down them as I’m writing this. That would be a beautiful sight at a party.

I know that what I’m writing might sound a little over the top but everyone has a dream, right? Whatever my dream house turns out to be like, I want to make sure that it reflects my fun-loving personality. This is because a house is where the best memories of one’s life are often made. Remember the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” 🙂

And all this while, I thought that my teenage kid is still a little boy who needs me to do everything for him… 😉 There are still lots of things that any father has to understand what goes on in a teenager’s mind. I guess one of the ways to try to narrow the generation gap between parents and their kids is to befriend them. 🙂






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