Since the restaurant winded up last week, my mom and my brother has been at logger heads. My brother has found a job at a meat-packing factory – Dorsogna to be precise. Mom thinks it’s beneath him, or I wonder if she thinks that it’s beneath her?
Her argument is that the family did not move all the way here from Malaysia for my brother to end up doing a blue-collar job. My brother asks why does she look down on the job, which my mom denies. But the exact phrase I keep hearing her say to my brother is, “Why can’t you find something else?”
It’s funny how she was the one who encouraged me to go into the restaurant business. And she knew how angry I was when I heard relatives say that I was wasting my university education. So her attitude now is contradictory.
To be fair, my brother has always chosen the easy way out of everything. The least amount of effort expended if possible. In engineering, we would have called that “efficiency”. But my mom has always chastised him for it.
However, I’m also of the view that if my brother is happy – the job is quite well-paid and the hours are decent, then why can’t she be happy for him? She says that there’s no future in the job. I like to be optimistic and think that a factory floor worker can still rise up if he/she shows enthusiasm and a love for the job.
I ended up saying to her that we moved here to get a better life, and that we have succeeded in doing that. She does not dispute the fact but she still couldn’t help but get all worked up about it. I guess she worries that he is somehow suffering from doing such a job.
Though, it’s a way of thinking that I don’t agree with, that a lot of Chinese ppl would associate hard labour with suffering and shamefulness. Hey at least it’s better than being unemployed!
While snobby ppl turn up their noses at these so-called “??”, they are quietly building their houses and offices, cleaning them, fixing the roads that their expensive cars drive on, repairing their pipes and connecting their electricity; looking after their kids and frying up their favourite plate of char kuay teow. Some are even richer than you think – they are just too humble to show it.
Don’t judge a book by its cover; don’t judge a job just because it relies on physical exertion rather than mental.