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The illusion of safety?

[note: this post was 90% complete on Sunday, but that last 10% is only being done now, 230am Wednesday]

So last Friday I was at the gym (*gasp!*) in the afternoon: Jeopardy! kept me company while I did my 40mins on the elliptical.

For the category of "Singapore", the first answer was something like "About 78% of Singapore are of this ethnicity"... and a contestant rings in with "What is May-Lay-Sian?" I started chuckling to myself,,, bad enough he slaughters the pronunciation of my nationality, but to think Malaysian is an ethnic group? I wish.... Heck, even the whole concept of Bangsa Malaysia [a Malaysian race / identity] has been thrown out the window by many politicians adamant in continuing politics based on race and race alone... so I suppose this indicates that particular contestant is not keeping up with news from that neck of the woods, heehehee!

Then there was a category of "Texas" [or something like that], where the $2000 answer was something about a person born in Dallas who is known for very long songs and the album "Bat Out Of Hell"... LoL, Meat Loaf not only made it on Jeopardy!, he's a $2000 answer! Way to go!

On a more serious note: while on the elliptical, my eyes were drawn to this little girl, probably no more than 5 y.o., playing outside with a brand spanking new skate scooter thingy. For at least 10 minutes there she was, scooting around along the paths, falling over once in a while, getting up again, scooting around, scoot scoot scoot.... and nowhere during all that time did I see anyone keeping an eye on her.

No one peeking out from a window,

no one sitting on a bench nearby,

no one.

Sure, the area in which that little girl played is technically a secure gated area for residents only, but heck, at least every other time I use the side gates, I find them ajar. And for the longest time, the gates to the garage were wide open too, allowing anyone to enter the premises. So if anyone wanted to sneak into the compound of this apartment complex, they could, quite easily. I've always said that these "security features" only provide an illusion of security... so if that had been my child, she wouldn't be out there without some sort of adult supervision!

This did trigger a flashback to when I was perhaps that kid's age... for some reason I think it was in Amsterdam, perhaps my parents had gotten a real bad connection back to Malaysia from Switzerland which involved a long layover in Amsterdam, so they decided to make it an overnight in a hotel in town rather than spend mind-numbing hours stuck in an airport? Who knows. The main this is, I remember that close to where we stayed, there was a playground, and my brother and I played in it [I assume with a parent or two closeby], and I really really really enjoyed myself there, especially on the swings, and it was with great reluctance that I left the playground in order to do some sightseeing / have dinner / whatever. Once we were back at the hotel, it was already dark, but I sooooooo wanted to go play on the swings again! So I asked "Parent, parent, can I go out and play on the swings?"

Any guesses as to that parent's response?

It screams "Don't be stupid! Just because we are not in Malaysia doesn't mean it's safe!!!!" or something to that effect.

With those two sentences, you can read a lot into that parent's mindset / frame of mind, eh? I won't elaborate, but let's just say "projection of a parent's own fears onto its child" features prominently...

Yep, let's just say growing up as me, it wasn't fun. I don't blame my parents anymore for what they've done in the distant past: I came to terms many years ago with the fact that I'm the person I am today largely as a result of all the things they did, and didn't, do during my formative years: if nothing else, my detachment has enabled me to step back and easily identify and tackle the bigger picture, to observe myself, heck to be more self-aware than the average person, even as I battle self-esteem and other unhealthy programming that occasionally rears its ugly head at the most unanticipated moments, leaving me and Kosh stunned at the intensity of my emotions [I term it regression, and trust me, it's an apt term!].

But at times like this, when I have a memory that bubbles up, when I step back and analyse what was going on at the time... it never ceases to amaze me, what was & wasn't going on: did they never think about the impact, both short- and long-term, their words and actions were gonna have??? Then I snort and just shrug it off: after all, a conclusion I came to a few years ago is that they are *so* not worth the expenditure of *any* of my energy. They need to climb out of their rut themselves. If they ever do, good for them, maybe we'll actually be able to relate one day... until then, well, let's just say minimising exposure is the best way to go.

Yeah, that's a downer, ainnit?

Maybe the next post'll be slightly cheerier,

Till then, ciao!


  1. I feel so nervous when I see kids alone like that! The other day, a lady parked her carriage on the bus, then went and sat down in the back, about 3m away! If that was my baby, I would be right there, the whole time!

  2. I find myslef doing that a lot of times, going back to my childhood days and wished some things my parents did (of course, in my best interest) were done with a little more understanding and tactfulness. Enough so as not to injure a child's delicate mind.

    Deep down, I still quietly blame my parents for my lack of self-confidence, inferiority complex etc. because as an only daughter, I was overly protected. I somehow saw this (and still does, judging from their actions and comments) as their zero confidence in my abilities and independence.

    I try not to do the same to my children...and am trying hard!


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