An Open Letter To My Parents.

Dear Mum and Dad,

I hope this letter finds the both of you in happiness and the best of health.

At this point of writing, I am a week away from turning 21. I like to think that for the past 20 years of my life I have tried my utmost best to be the daughter that you can be proud of.

I have gone to the institutions of learning of your choice and gotten the A’s and scholarships that you’ve asked for. In addition, I was also the prefect, the class monitor and librarian. I have enough trophies and certificates so that you have something to boast about when comparing me to that neighbor’s kid or a distant cousin.

I only take up the extra curricular activities that you deemed as ‘appropriate’ and ‘useful’ such as anything involving Mathematics and/or language skills. Despite the initial complication with me wanting to be a public speaker, I have amended the situation with winning contests and also taking up the coveted President post.

My friends are chosen based on race, religion and economic status. If they are of a different religion or sexual orientation, they will be considered ‘useless’ or ‘rubbish’ and I should not be their friend. I do not go for sleepovers or holiday on the account of ‘waste time and money’. I do not take breaks between schooling in order to be one step ahead of my peers. I am not allowed to have friends over or participate in yum cha sessions. My curfew is also set as per your fancy.

I am a graduate from a world-renowned university with a degree that could mildly qualify me as a ‘doctor’. Despite the less than satisfactory CGPA score, I have gotten myself employed at a company that you approve of. You may also like to add that my position has the word ‘executive’ in it the next time some auntie asks.

I have learnt the art of good manners like the back of my hand. I cross my legs when seated and have decent chopsticks skill. I sit up straight and never laugh out loud in public. I have piercings at all the expected places and tattoos at none. My dressing is appropriate to my age and social status and doesn’t reveal too much leg or cleavage. I speak fluent Cantonese and English with a ‘gwai lo’ accent. I know enough basic Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia phrases for everyday conversation.

Most guys find me mildly attractive and I also possess basic Photoshop skills to convince those who think otherwise. I am however, as per your request, dating a Chinese male between the ages of 23 – 27 who makes a minimum of MYR3500 a month and has his own personal transport.

Over the years I have accepted that the phrase, “Because I said so” is a means of ending an argument and that you are always right. I also understand that gender is a legitimate reason that the brother is exempted from house chores and granted more privileges. I have also begun to embrace the role of Punching Bag during events of extreme stress and unpredictable weather. I understand that it is my fault and I must always give in. I have also grown accustomed to various degrading names and terms.

You have reiterated that there are no such concepts as ‘my dreams’ or ‘my ambition’. My events and friends are not important in the grand scheme of things. Means of self expression and freedom are Western concepts and as Asians we are not to practice them.

All complaints that I may harbor have ceased as no significant changes have taken place thus far. In the event of extreme name calling and inequality, I understand that it is my duty to ‘be the bigger person’ and ‘suck it up’ because, as mentioned above, “you said so”. Crying is a sign of weakness and I am not allowed to share my ‘problems’ with others as that would bring shame to the family.

For the past 20 years I have looked up to the benchmark that you’ve set and realized that every time I reach it, it’ll be pushed further away.

I hope this letter finds the both of you in happiness and the best of health.

Your Faithful Daughter,
Mun Yee

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