Chinese New Year is a week away, here’s a gentle reminder.

My young friends, are you working away from your parents? If you are , have you forgotten something?

Young people nowadays are more mobile. The job opportunities are also more abundant in the bigger towns, so it is quite natural for you to migrate there to start your working lives. With the close proximity of Singapore, its greater job availabilities there and the attractive conversion rate of the Singapore dollars,  more the reason for more young Malaysians to go over there to seek employment.

Thus, it is not uncommon nowadays to find many households in peninsular Malaysia where the only people left in the homes are the old couples. There is nothing wrong if the elderly couples choose to stay in their hometowns as things, environment and people are familiar to them. Many of the young people who have gone outstation to work are also just starting off and may not have their own homes yet, so many could not bring the parents over to stay with them. The parents staying by themselves for the time being  is a satisfactory arrangement thus.

But things are not right if the old folks are just left to fend for themselves with the children only providing the expenses. Money alone does not satisfy a human being’s basic needs especially  old people’s basic needs. One of their basic needs is the emotional links with their loved ones.  Who are closer to them than their own children. Children should not neglect to give their parents this, even if they are providing more than adequate financial support to their parents.

At this stage of their lives it is the emotional side that is more important to them. It is the emotional connections that they crave for and it is this that sustains their well-being. Money is important but it is knowing that their children love, value and treasure them that makes them happy, that puts a smile in their hearts.  All that needs to be done is just for the children to stay in touch. That is all that is required of the young ones, it  is not so difficult to get this done nowadays. Modern technological advancement and inventions have made it so easy. The distances between towns have been so considerably shortened by the modern highways.  Traveling time  is now greatly reduced. The mobile phones, the short messaging facility, the computers, the web and e-mailing facilities have made placing calls anywhere so accessible, so convenient and so affordable. It is now inexcusable for children not to keep in touch with their parents.

If you have managed to live up to this day, if you have attained what you have achieved so far and if you are enjoying what you have today it is all due to two persons – your parents. It is only right you feel gratefulness towards them for what they have contributed and sacrificed.  You should not let yourselves forget this indebtedness to them, you should keep this awareness within you constantly, be mindful of your responsibility  to  return the kindness, love and sacrifices. The best form of gratitude is to treat them with consideration and love when they are in their twilight years.

It is not uncommon for parents and children to feel awkwardness in communicating. If this is your case, simple, you just have to call, just let them do the talking, all you need to do is to lend them your ears. That’s all they want – they just want to hear your voice, they just want to know you care! Call everyday it will make their days – to them it is better than money and vitamins. If this is not possible call at least once in every two days. To your parents this is worth more than the value of gold you could give them. If you don’t believe me, ask them or ask any old folks.

In any country in the world, this would be a familiar scene now as the young ventures out to seek work, if not in distant lands, at least in different cities or towns. This is a direct result of modernization. May the young ones of the world not forget this not-too-difficult gesture. A Chinese proverb reminds us to remember the source of the water when we take a drink.

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