Wednesday, January 24, 2018


A couple of weeks ago, my family of six went for dinner and conversation got a bit heated. My parents started out by positing that character is genetic, which is why although Melyssa never lived with our dad (hers and mine), there are certain traits he has that she has, as well.

Of course, myself being the argumentative lawyer-wannabe, I said that character has nothing to do with genes, and that it is all entirely learned and emulated. At that point, Mel and I weren’t too friendly with each other yet, but she also said for my parents’ benefit “as a Science student, I can tell you that character and personality are not passed on through genes.”

There are times when our two younger half-sisters, who are half-Chinese and half-Malay, say things that are ludicrous and incredible to hear, that stem from their Chinese privilege (you know how there is white privilege in the Western world, well in Singapore there is Chinese privilege and neither Mel nor I benefit from nor enjoy it, with the exception of through our Chinese stepdad — that then means on Lunar New Year, we also collect red packets of money, HE HE HE).

When this happens, when our two younger teenage sisters say things that remotely flaunt their Chinese privilege, Mel and I stop them and tell them why it isn’t okay to do so, and that their experiences are not necessarily the collective experience of the minority races in Singapore.

My mother is forty-six this year (yeah, she had me when she was eighteen: and yes, Gilmore Girls used to be our favourite mother-daughter bonding show), and you know how they say when you reach forty years old, your opinions and beliefs are set in stone and it is damn near impossible to change your mind about anything?

I hope that when I reach forty, I will still know when to admit I’m wrong, I will still reflect upon ideas and make the right moral judgment about things, I will still be flexible enough to think about the inherent value of anything, from homosexuality to BDSM to open marriages to I dunno, whatever.

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