Opinion / 首页Blog

Old don’t want to be ‘cared to death’

By teamkrejados ( Updated: 2014-10-14 17:55

I admire the way Chinese people care for their elderly to an extent. The moms and pops of China's current working generation are, mostly, looked after and cherished. Most are included in the family fold and their greatest delight is a grandchild. All of that is wonderful. It is the other part that bothers me: "You should just relax! You shouldn't do too much!" I am trying to understand this phenomenon.

I've been a victim of this “caring”. The best portions of food placed in my bowl. My arms grabbed while stepping off the sidewalk or boarding a bus. The constant urging to be more careful, to just relax or to not work so hard. When I visit friends' homes, I am not allowed to do anything, including make the bed I slept in. How much of that is done “in service of the foreigner/guest” and how much of it has to do with my being older than they?

It amazes me that, when such a topic comes up, my Chinese friends somehow lose the ability to understand English. Most will not hear me out when I tell them how I feel as a result of this henpecking style of caring.

On Saturday, I taught my first session at the Lil’Uns school. Lea, as always was supportive and helpful, genuinely sweet. Treacle tart sweet. Cloyingly, nauseatingly, chokingly sweet. Mid-lesson I made the mistake of confiding in her that I could feel an allergy attack coming on by the swelling of my eye – a very strange feeling, let me tell you!

Immediately she took over the class as though I were completely incapacitated. Oh no! When I told her about my eye swelling, I was just sharing a feeling, not implying I could no longer manage my class of six small girls!

I miss the days when Lea and I were just friends. I could share my feelings with her and she would empathize, but was one step removed. Since we’ve started this business together she has made me her business. She tells me what I can and cannot do; how to board a bus and how to cross a street. When I confided to her that Sam is arranging a volunteer opportunity for me to visit country village schools as a guest teacher next summer she took it upon herself to decide that that was too much work for me.

Later, after I thought the matter was finished, I shared with her that I would like to bring my friend Sam to meet her and her husband. She immediately said: “Yes, you bring Sam here. I will make him understand that you should not do too much work”.

Why does she not think I’m capable of managing my own life? Furthermore, what if volunteering in small villages is something I want to do? I miss the good old days when we were just friends.

My point is that I’m being cared to death. I’m being respected and venerated straight out to pasture. Lea and other friends' assistance make me feel old, useless and stupid.

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