Childhood

Oh that boundless skies, and limitless possibilities

Recently while talking to my sister I found out that we had totally different perspectives of our childhood. Perhaps for her, it’s the “middle-child” syndrome (the neglected one?!), but my childhood was kind of totally different from my memory.

To her, we were somewhat “deprived” (too strong a word to use in this case) of certain opportunities that rich kids have. But to someone a.k.a myself who went through enrichment classes like piano, electone, Chinese painting, western art, English and Chinese speech and drama, bible studies, gymnastics, Chinese calligraphy and I am not even counting tuition, I really don’t get what she means.

I started thinking about what she said and realised that perhaps I am a person that views the world with rose-tinted glasses?

My parents were relatively average or even slightly below average in my opinion in terms of finances. When I was young, Mom worked in a private company as an assistant manager in finance. Dad was a lab technician at a university and a part time lecturer at ITE. I remember being in the car when my mom went to fetch him from work at night. Those nights waiting in the car when it rained, the shadows on my hand as the raindrops fell and the 1960s/70s english music playing…

We were staying in my grandparents’ three-room flat while their 5-room BTO was being built after their HDB was sold. Grandpa in the living room, grandma and aunt in one room, and 4 of us will be in one room. We moved when I was like 7?

I thought that’s pretty normal. And we had a car again apart from the 3-4 years we didn’t.

Looking back I never thought I was poor lol.

Well anyway our parents’ situation improved because of promotions and by primary 3 we also had a domestic worker, partly because my brother was born as well.

By secondary school I was spending weekends at a club where my mom played jackpot and sis learnt swimming at a basement heated swimming pool. That doesn’t sound so bad?

Some takeaways from thinking about this the past few days

1. It really depends on your perspective – of course we are not rich la, but being average is really fine lol. How is it we recall it to be so different? Maybe I have become old and realistic and my job pays much less. 😅

2. It depends on your circle of friends and what the school environment is like as well. For example, because I was in EM1 and in the best class, teachers kept telling us we are the best and we are Singapore’s future. I think you start to believe that at some point when you are young. Opportunities are given to you.

3. Having good friends who are relatively atas from young also exposed me to things that my parents didn’t expose me to? so probably through that I don’t think I lost out in some things. But of course, going to a branded school would have helped with networking and stuff no doubt about that. That’s a whole discussion and it’s a headache when we think about primary one registration.

Perhaps the middle child syndrome is real as well? Shall continue to deliberate on this…

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