Singapore families show warmth differently

Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats taken from Blk 19 Jalan Tenteram.
Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats taken from Blk 19 Jalan Tenteram.PHOTO: ST FILE

When my foreign friends come to visit, the way they interact with their parents often astounds me. Hugs, affectionate words and praise are aplenty.

The younger version of myself would envy that "warmth". In contrast, my own family was stiff and cold, rarely physically affectionate with one another. Criticism was more common than praise. I began to associate Singaporean families with being "unloving" and "cold".

With time, I have gained perspective. Singaporean families are not cold, rather, the warmth of familial love is evident in different ways. We express it in home-cooked dinners, in parents waking up at early hours to take their children to school, in the way mothers boast about their children to their friends.

Families in Singapore are not cold. It just takes time to understand the warmth that has always been there.

Yee Shan Ning, 17

JC2 student

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore families show warmth differently'. Print Edition | Subscribe