Reading Blinkymummy’s very funny post about an imaginary conversation about her blog between her children and herself got me thinking. People in and around my age group now would be the first generation of bloggers who might have children who will one day end up reading our blogs.
Blogs go way beyond the diaries of old – not only do blogs convey personal thoughts but extensive commenting and linking between blogs and other online resources, along with digital pictures form a very complete picture of the individual. More so than mere words could ever possibly do.
If I knew a little more about my parents’ young adulthood and what went through their lives, would that have helped reduced those arguments that I had with them whilst growing up? Would I have realised that as kids, they were just like me? Would it have bridged the ever present generational gap if they’d kept blogs and I was allowed to read them? Well, it probably wouldn’t have hurt.
So what if my parents had blogs? I’m biased (but of course) but I think my parents would have kept very interesting blogs indeed.
My dad was born into a very traditional baba-nyonya family. His paternal grandmother was one of four wives who bore 16(!) children. And they all lived in one big mansion with all the wives and all the children and grandchildren. He was wealthy upper-class and studied in St. Xavier’s in Penang.
When he was 20, he got sent to the Ballarat School of Mines (now the University of Ballarat) to study electrical engineering. He stayed for 5 years. Amongst other things he was also in a band formed with other overseas students from Malaysia. One of his friends would eventually marry his second sister.
Mom’s family came from China. They didn’t have as much money as dad’s family but they were comfortable middle-class and they had a couple of fabric stores. She was one of 10 children. She also lived in a fairly big house along with her grandmother, her uncle’s family, 3 aunties and probably a maid or two. She studied in Penang Chinese Girls’ School.
When she was 19 or so, she opted to go to Sydney to study fashion design at the East Sydney Technical College (now the University of Technology, Sydney). She was given a one-way ticket and she would have to save for her own way home. She stayed for 5 years too.
She worked in an ice-cream factory, and a clothes factory for extra money and learnt how to cook very efficiently whilst there. One of the more dramatic episodes of her life there was being involved with a boy whose ex-girlfriend threatened to kill herself over him. Mom eventually broke it off and the boy ended up marrying the ex-girlfriend.
Both my parents experienced racism in those years and also the hardship and challenges of being in a foreign country trying to study and work their way home. People like them pave the way for overseas students now and also migrants like myself who came along much later.
When they got back to Malaysia, dad got a job with Ericsson Malaysia and mom opened a boutique with her father’s help. Dad got to travel around the world quite a bit and once survived a plane crash in Kuching, Sarawak. His friends from Norway would visit and they would be my first contact with Caucasians.
Mom’s boutique started small in Ampang Park, KL and eventually grew into a niche of its own importing clothes from HK and Japan. Sometime during this, they met and got married. Dad was 31, mom was 27. One year later I was born. I’m now the same age as my father when he became a father.
Our family was comfortably middle-class and both my parents had jobs that they love. Both sacrificed that to allow us to come here. And so it is in Australia, our story continues. Now if all that preceding backstory were recorded in separate blogs by my parents, with pictures and conversations and comments, to be eventually merged when they got married, think of how much richer that story would have been.
Blogging – it’s been a trip. And I’m just getting started.