You can take a person out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the person. We already know this is true but the message hit home today.
We were on our way back from Jakarta and boarded a Scoot flight. Surely on an international flight you’d see many nationalities. On this flight, one group evoked an involuntary inward groan.
Upon boarding, the bunch of them formed an impromptu marketplace immediately – bags hurriedly, forcefully shoved in tiny places, yelling to talk from one end to another, getting lost in a plane while frantically rushing along the tiny aisle to get to the next row of seats first. There was a general energy they generated that put me on edge. The stewardesses were trying so hard to get them settled in. When they were put in their seats, they were so loud that I couldn’t hear the inflight announcements. One or two tried to open the overhead compartments when the plane was about to take off. Dear God. They are in their own world, aren’t they?
Watching them makes me wonder – are they aware how their behaviour affects others? It really doesn’t reflect very positively on them or their country. Stereotyping here is just too easy and they again and again prove it right. Sure, every place has bad nuts but frequency and volume helps reputation stick. Bad rep is easy to form but hard to eradicate.
A test of patience, they are.
It is not an activity I enjoy and so would never voluntarily embark on a trip that would require an overnight stay anywhere I cannot shower properly. Even the thought of that gives me the creeps. I like hanging out in the bathroom so its availability (and its cleanliness) is of paramount importance to me. Other inconveniences I can put up with.
For some I know, they would not like the lack of conveniences that modern life has accorded. No WiFi is one. Horror of horrors. Cold water showers! No way! No beds! @?!?!&$
My charges fall into this such group. They do fun outdoor things under the blazing hot sun but were irritated with mosquitoes and flies as companions on their limbs already slick with perspiration. They sit in a humid tent for lunch out of a box with 200 other equally sweaty people, oblivious to the eye-watering stench they played a part to create. But they get finicky about someone’s smelly feet. Later, they play games where contact with another person is inevitable and they unknowingly assist to wipe off someone else’s dirt streaks with their sweat-soaked shirt. But they get hysterical when someone steps on their new shoes. And because there are over 200 of them, shower time is limited at 3 minutes per person. They really only had time to rinse and were peeved at not being able to use soap.
Of course there would be inconveniences, otherwise camping it is not. It was difficult for them to understand and I guess they had that fact of camping stuffed down their throats. It isn’t for everyone, so I would wager my bottom dollar that a good number would end up like me.
How important is two hours in a day?
What loss is sustained if you spend it at play?
To call for lessons without a break,
What more during their holidays!
A well-rounded person to develop you say,
But the mountain of work will not be kept at bay,
Instead added on to the interminable fray.
In exchange for what, tell pray
A bunch of kids all tired and gray?
This is definitely the kiasu way
So Singapore, so Singaporean, I say.
I am on a tirade.
As we travelled around the regions near Melbourne, I noticed a fair number of old folks toddling about. So the matter of the silver years kept popping back into my head. How would we be living in 10-20 years?
We have established that kids are not necessary in our golden years but people, close kin, good friends and nurses, are essential. If we take away love and goodwill, there is empathy and profit left. The latter two are what we’d get from nurses.
The more I think about it, the more I think I will end up in a home full of cantankerous old folks. Glass half empty or full? Not sure.
When trapped within a bunch of old foggies, we need to endear ourselves to the nurses so they would not dread visiting our gnarly faces every so often to provide the TLC I think we might need then. How so?
I did some thinking and came up with a list.
A. Don’t be nasty. The world is not against you. Ageing is natural and things won’t work like they used to. Be nice to those who are willing to gently clean you and not do something to make them hose you down.
B. Keep clean and groomed. Age is no excuse to look horrid. No one likes to come near a pig sty with dishevelled, malodorous occupants.
C. Keep connected. Conversations, books, internet, television, interest groups. That is how you will keep active and stay interesting to people who speak to you. That is also how your mental capability won’t wilt away.
D. Keep busy, Volunteer. If facilities allow, go do something good. The responsibility will keep the mind moving. Who knows, you might even stop complaining about how sad your life is.
E. Seek solace and peace. Some turn to worshipping, others go to the casino. How you meet your end will be entirely up to you.
I see facilities for Aged care in Australia that are nice. Pretty enough for the un-aged to want to live there if it were age-appropriate. Why do people end up in homes like these? I find myself wondering as I got old enough to think about that as an option for me. I see older relatives around me fall sick, have surgeries and some don’t wake up after. How does one manage?
There was a debate I found myself drawn in with great reluctance when I first got married about having children. We don’t have any and it was a choice we made, not one that was trusted upon us. Nobody understood why. We were mercilessly bombarded with questions, told of terrible consequences that await us as we got older and we were branded as selfish killjoys. They gave us a hard time. At one point, I was pointedly asked about the reproductive state of my ovaries. I laugh now.
It was a case of traditions and vastly different viewpoints but mostly, they couldn’t accept that we were bucking the trend. Their fixation could only be changed with time, particularly when the primary persons responsible for the task of spawning young were not having any of it.
That was all in the past. They gave up and we sorta won the dark fight because I have gone past the fertility window. Peace returned to the selfish killjoys. But one lingering thought remained.
I hate to eat my words but are children necessary just so one can age in peace? I worry. Sure, it is nice to have people you love around you when you need them. I saw that firsthand when a beloved aunt passed recently. But people around her then were not children. She was single. The people who made time to take care of her were very close friends and relatives. So the advice once given linking children and old age is completely illogical. You don’t need them to age in peace. In certain situations, it is probably better not to have any around. We were not wrong to stick to our guns afterall. Relationships you build, no matter kin or not, is what counts.
I have a very small number of good friends. I only need one hand to count and it does not come up to the full hand – like an introvert should. While it is nice to know we’d have people to grow old with, I am not sure they are in shape enough to take care of themselves, much less others. So, I look to the option of aged care. They usually cost a bomb.
At some point in the future, the silver industry is going to hit its peak. Before then, businesses related to it would sprout up. I hope aged care is one that is going to be well-developed and it will hit its prime as we arrive there as well.