Dilemma of Parent,Adult,Child Status

Though Eric Berne’s Transaction Analysis of parent,adult, child model may be archaic, I was stunned when a young music professional in a radio interview used the term “adult” for the older generation such as parents, teachers etc. She had traveled to South America and returned to Taiwan to promote S. American music, she chose to play a song of some S. American revolutionary and then proudly referred to the recent landslide election supported by her generation in the program.

Does  she still consider herself a “child” and not an adult? Do her parents still take responsibility caring for her? Was she involved in the Sunflower Movement whose participants were always referred to as “children” but mostly college students who cried and called their helicopter parents to bail them out at the police station when charged with destruction of public properties or violating some laws. A local English newspaper cited the movie “Rebels without a Cause” to describe their crippling of the economy and blamed the parents for nurturing irresponsible and irrational behavior and also the mirroring Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution. Regardless of the presidential, legislature or Taipei mayor election, the Taiwanese millennial generation orchestrated the victories with their social media savvy.

The responsibility of a parent is to care for the child and also to teach him or her to take responsibility for himself or herself and others in society. It’s not the age whether it’s eighteen or twenty-one, it’s when the child can take full responsibility for his or her own actions and secure independence in all aspects of life. The parent needs to let go of the child so he or she can learn to become an adult.

The majority of my friends in Taiwan have adult children living at home with or without jobs or caring for the grandchildren and still paying for daily living expenses for the entire household with “children”. I am probably the only one who had thoroughly enforced independent living and finance for my only adult child so he would take full responsibility for his own life, after paying for his taxes,bills and other financial obligations when all his bank accounts were down to nothing every now and then for a few years yet I live on less than US$3 a day for food and basic amenities even now. He is far ahead of his peers in having a respectable position as R&D engineer in a world renowned car company of his own choice despite his addictive collecting and compulsive shopping of expensive model cars. (Addictive behavior is very challenging whether it is drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex,internet or objects. Only those families who have experienced it would really know.) We avoided conflicts with the independence but he also avoided any contact with me. Most people would consider my decisions wrong, my child is just following his passion. The loss by inevitable choice is tragic.

Ang Lee, stay at home dad  Ang Lee with Oscar.jpeg

The world renowned director Ang Lee was probably a problematic child for his father, a high school principal . He was one to a few points shy of passing the college exam two years in a role and then attended a junior college of arts to find his passion for movies.To ensure a better future, his father insisted on his studying abroad later. Before his first success he stayed home for six years and took care of the family while his wife worked to support the household, he was probably considered an irresponsible adult child by parents from both families. Did perseverance on his passion, destiny or both account for his success? Ang Lee’s movies are charming just like his personality and life.

Around the world many parents struggle with adult children amidst economic slumps, high unemployment and all kinds of problems whether they are sweet or bitter burdens. There is a fine line between responsibility and selfish indulgence. What is choice and destiny? What is right and wrong? We all want to save others, whether they are our most beloved or strangers; but sometimes we can only save ourselves and that is the least we need to do in fulfilling our purpose in life.

“When the world is in order, one can fulfill (in life);
  when the world has no order, one can only survive.”
  Chuang Tzu






In Prison: Taiwan’s VC Godfather & Malawai’s Grammy nomination

A venture capital mogul in Taiwan begins a nine-year prison sentence for insider trading today with s US$3 million fine. He issued a statement yesterday denying the charge and expressed gratitude for support of the business sector spearheaded by founders of leading companies in Taiwan that are well respected. He still has faith in the judicial system to clear his name through relief proceedings and called on his staff to get down to good work and stay until he gets out.

The inside trading conviction was based on anon-binding letter of intent from a US company to buy the company that he served as a director back in 2oo6.The court claimed insider knowledge of the culprit who made illicit gains close to US$15 million from stock trades.The business sector contended that the court was wrong and contradictory to international merger and acquisition laws. The mongul was once the chairman of Hewlett Packard Taiwan and had contributed a lot to Taiwan’s high-tech sector,  the verdict would deal a serious blow to confidence in the private sector.

“How can I know what I say I know is actually what I don’t know? Likewise, how can I know what I think I don’t know is not really what I do know? ” Chuang Tzu.

Malwai drummerMalawian prisons are notorious for their poor hygiene, overcrowding and spread of disease, inmates are imprisoned for crimes ranging from murder, burglary to witchcraft, one in 20 inmates die each year. Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan and wife recorded an album there in 2013 and it was nominated for 2016 Grammy along with the daughter of late sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.

There were accusations of its celebration of criminals but Brennan claimed it was a humanising act. Some  prisoners have been proved innocent and released, others are caught up in bureaucracy for years while some people are in for life, for murder.

“This is the place where I discovered my potential,” A convicted thief-performer said. “I always tell myself that if I were outside, I would have been killed or faced something terrible…But I am glad to be part of the people that have put Malawi on the map.”

“How can I tell how things are? How can I tell how things are not?” Chuang Tzu.




Who’s Right & Who’s Wrong?

A Hong Kong Columnist used the headline”Hong Kong-China split: warring in not just soccer, but even entertainment at large.” He condemned a famous singer and judge’s comments at a TV singing contest about a Hong Kong singer’s “performing an old song from twenty or thirty years ago instead of creating or exporting any excellent culture”.

A contributor in Asia Weekly counter-attacked with the same singer’s highly praising the Hong Kong pop song “Stone Myth” that condensed  in 144 words the great literary classics “Dream of the Red Chamber” in Chinese culture (comparable to what “War and Peace”means to Russians).

That was during the time of the protests against Chinese from Mainland crossing the border on weekends to plunder milk powder and consumer products in supermarkets like locusts.The protesters were holding up UK’s Union Jack flag.A few people held a banner “Hong Kong is not China” and booed the Chinese National Anthem, the same kind of banner was posted on the democracy wall at a university.

When a young college friend visited a Hong Kong scholar teaching in Quangzhou, they went for tea and Cantonese BBQ pork bun was served. The young friend asked,”How come they have BBQ pork bun in Quangzhou?” She cracked a joke, “Don’t you know they sneaked through the Hong Kong borders like smugglers?”

“How can I know what I say I know is actually what I don’t know? Likewise, how can I know what I think I don’t know is not really what I do know? ” Chuang Tzu.

In contrast to conflicts among Chinese,Elsie Tu, who  died on Dec.8,2015 in Hong Kong at the age of 102, was a British teacher, campaigner and political activist who was the social conscience of Hong Kong during colonial rule.

Elsie Tu's book

She came to Hong Kong as a missionary’s wife in 1951 after being expelled from Communist China.She was shocked by the vile, overcrowded living conditions and unregulated child labour she observed in the colony with many refugees from mainland China.Frustrated by the mission’s disinterest in social work, she ended up in divorce.

She had helped to found an English School in an old army tent at a squatter area of Kowloon, subsidised by wages from her second teaching job at Hong Kong Baptist College and married the school’s co-founder, a native of Inner Mongolia.

She  exposed the endemic corruption to which colonial authority turned a blind eye, notably in police officers, who collaborated with gangsters to extract protection money from street hawkers and minibus drivers. Her tireless campaigning resulted  in establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The couple promoted public justice for human rights of  Filipino domestic servants and others. They  campaigned successfully for decriminalisation of homosexual acts.

When the last governor of Hong Kong, embarked on democratic reforms that threatened  the 1997 handover, she called his proposals hypocritical in the final days of a disgraceful colonial era in which Hong Kong never had any democracy to destroy.  She lost her seats on the Urban and Legislative Councils because of it. But she remained the  only worthy, authentic, popular hero on China’s side.  She once said,“I am proud to be British, but it does not mean I support British imperialism. I stand by social justice and support China’s sovereignty to reclaim Hong Kong.” She was appointed as consultant on Hong Kong affairs by China.

She discounted the initiator for the Umbrella Revolution against China’s governance as corrupt democracy through foreign friendliness and claimed  what was called democratic after the handover actually was undemocratic actions holding up democratic progress.

Her recent birthday wish every year was “a world at peace instead of all wanting to fight.”