Sunday, January 9, 2011


Source: Straits Times 8 Jan
Is filial piety is a fading value in our Asian culture? It would appear to be so according to these headlines. If you are a baby boomer, you would have parents in their 80s or 90s. How often do we make time to visit them? Or call them up on the phone to ask how they are doing?

My siblings with mom tucking into durians - her favourite fruit.
I know of siblings who never make the effort to ask after their elderly parents or visit them except for the obligatory once-a-year birthday, Mother/Father's Day and festive visits. At other times, it's a case of "Out of sight, out of mind".

On the other hand, I also know of siblings who make it a point to take their parents out for a meal every weekend, and visit at least every other day. They take turns to make the arrangements and foot the bill. They are concerned about how their parents are doing, and jointly contribute towards taking care of their parents' expenses like nursing care, maid, medical bills, health supplements and other necessities. (Pic: My mom on her 84th birthday on 10-10-10.)

Is it because adult children are too busy with their own lives, or is it because they are simply being honest in displaying their lack of filial piety? There are 1001 reasons why an increasing number of adult children don't or won't take care of their frail parents.

The top five reasons that I've heard:
  • no extra room at home for their parents
  • no one is free to care for them at home
  • their children come first, not their parents
  • they can't afford to support their parents
  • their parents are not easy to live with
  • they don't deserve to be taken care of
Of all the above reasons, I find the last one most unacceptable. No matter how badly our parents may have treated us in the past, we can't stand by and do nothing for them in their time of need. Their blood runs in our veins - this is something we can't deny.

And when they are gone, can we ever forgive ourselves for neglecting them in their final years?

No comments: