I once had an eccentric colleague named Bob (name changed to protect his identity). He was 5 years older than I was and I loved listening to his exploits.
One day, we were just having our usual boh liao conversation when he told me, " You know BL, I told my mum that I loved her yesterday......"
While you might see caucasians hugging one another in sitcoms saying "I love you all" all the time, we Chinese never ever do so. Maybe he came from a really westernized family?
"No lah." He replied. "Its just that it hasn't been easy for me to get to where I am today if not for them. I always felt I never thank my parents enough."
Indeed, Bob did not take the usual route to medicine. He only decided he wanted to study the art of healing after he completed his National Service. He had to wait another year while he applied for an overseas university and his parents had to mortgage their flat to support him through his studies in UK.
"After that, I ran up to my dad, gave him a hug and said I love you too!" He said, laughing. "He looked so in shock, I was worried he would get a stroke, hahaha...."
His words made me wonder when it was that I last expressed some form of gratitude towards my own parents. Being ever so busy with work I had always put off plans to bring them out. You cannot forget that important anniversary with the wife or girlfriend without grave consequences but you always knew that all your parents would say is "Its ok, the next time" if you had to cancel. Perharps all that is needed was a simple gesture like Bob's. A simple gesture that is so difficult to accomplish in our culture.
Suddenly, I felt I missed my parents alot.
"So how did your mum react? She must be really touched! Did she cry?" I asked.
Bob said sheepishly," No lah, she scolded me for giving her goose pimples!"