When I left my Air Leleh kampung in Melaka in 1969 to pursue my education at Universiti Malaya, it was the beginning of my independence. I quickly grew up to be an adult and took charge of my life. It was really out of necessity. My parents had nine other children to take care off and were confident I would be able to manage by myself.
But how times have changed! These days the millennials (those aged between 18 and 30) are protected, sheltered and even pampered by their parents.
They prefer to live with their parents to enjoy the comfort of their parents’ home and hospitality even though they have the means to live on their own.
I’m sure that those staying with well-off parents enjoy what some term “six star” service. Not only do they get full board and lodging, they also make use of their parents’ car, with repairs, road tax and petrol all taken care of. Maids have made them even lazier; all they have to do is to shout out orders and everything will be done for them.
I know of some 20- and 30-year-olds who have never fried an egg nor laid eyes on bills from TNB or Telekom Malaysia!
Everything is handled by parents, including toiletries, laundry, Internet and phone bills, and grand birthday parties, just to name a few. They only have to open their mouth and their requests will be granted.
When going overseas, there are no prizes for guessing who packs the clothes and who washes the soiled laundry upon their return.
Of course, since they don’t have to worry about bills, these millennials are not prudent in their ways and tend to be wasteful – for example, talking on the phone for hours, leaving the lights, TV and taps on.
As a result of the pampered lifestyle, millennials don’t feel the pressure to leave their parents’ home and live on their own or even get married. After all, instead of paying for rent, transport and food, they are well taken care of; whatever they earn is theirs to spend and save.
The attitude is kind of, “What I earn is mine and it is entirely up to me whether I want to defray the family’s household expenses”.
At work, when they encounter a boss who is difficult to work with, they have no hesitation in handing in their resignation – they simply hop from one job to another as soon as things at the workplace do not suit them.
With such a mind set, they want things their way and at their convenience. In short, they want to have their cake and eat it too!
Could this sort of attitude be a contributing factor in explaining why millions of our youngsters have not registered to vote in the upcoming general election? I know of many parents who have given up on persuading their children to do so.
Many parents are not happy with the situation, yet, ironically, they are largely to be blamed. They continue to treat their adult children as if they are still helpless and can’t manage on their own.
It is not always easy for parents who were raised under difficult circumstances to continue to support their children. These parents feel that their financial outlays have been taken for granted; rarely are there words of appreciation or gratitude.
The slow transition to adulthood is worrying many parents. They fear hurting their children’s feelings if they were to discuss this issue and yet feel that their children need to be self-sufficient, independent and able to lead their own lives.
On the other hand, parents will readily admit that the pleasure and joy of having their flesh and blood close at hand is something that money cannot buy. Love for their offspring overrides everything else.
By sharing my feelings, I hope to give parents with children in their teens food for thought. Parents, prepare them for adulthood early. Phase out the pampering. Teens, let go of the apron strings as early as possible.
And millennials, learn to get out of your comfort zone to be more independent; the earlier you do it, the better for you and your parents. Do express your love and appreciation to your parents. It will mean a lot to them. Do reciprocate your parents’ kind hospitality by contributing to the family expenses and cutting down on wastage.