#23 Child Labour

Apologies for the lack of updates! I’ve been busy with work and other grown-up things (not Korean dramas, I promise) but I’m sort of enjoying the momentum. I also quit my corporate job a couple of months back and am now working for my Singaporean Mom. This brings me to the topic of this post – child labour.

Have you ever been made to carry shopping bags of towels, 3-for-$10 panties and kitchenware while your Singaporean Mom charges ahead to tackle the next sale? Or were you ever forced to wake up at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning to tag a whole pile of bags and shoes (which sadly, will not be yours) for your Singaporean Mom? There there, you are not alone.

The Singaporean Mom is hardcore. And by hardcore, I really mean no-nonsense. She can sniff out a lie even before it escapes from your mouth. I’m not kidding about this – one time she called my Singaporean Dad out on a fib even before he said anything, as he guiltily tried to stop his traitorous nostrils from flaring and giving him away.

The Singaporean Mom also does not tolerate shoddy excuses for laziness. Staying in bed because you have a “sore throat”? Or a “fever”? Rest assured that your ailments will mysteriously disappear once your Singaporean Mom gives you her Ninja Death Glare, only reserved for moments when you know you’re in Deep Trouble.

On a side note, you should totally see my Singaporean Mom’s Ninja Death Glare, which would make even Voldemort crap his pants. It starts out as a slight furrowing of the eyebrows, before the vein in her forehead starts to throb in an alarming manner. As her voice gets progressively louder (and scarier), her eye will start to twitch dangerously. This is when you should probably run and hide.

Singaporean Moms believe that forcing their children to work for them builds character, keeps them out of trouble and above all, means that she never has to carry anything except her handbag. Whether it is having to lug around huge shopping bags of potpourri, linen and scented soaps, or transporting stocks to the bazaar shop at 2am in the morning, you can be sure that your Singaporean Mom will, in some point of your life, Ninja Death Glare you into doing it.

Besides being her personal valet, you might also be roped into giving her a neck massage (“Aiyoh! Why so boh lak (no energy) one?”), painting her nails and helping out at the office (which in my case, means stock checks and tagging endless piles of clothes, shoes and bags). Whenever your Singaporean Mom asks if you’re free to help out on Saturday, note that she really is telling you that you have to go to work on Saturday. Do not ask how long you have to work that day, because she will merely silence you with her Ninja Death Glare. Above all, do not ask her if she is going to pay you for your time, because she will furrow her eyebrows, and give you a look that says “Look buddy, I spent 15 hours in the delivery room giving birth to you, so you’re gonna work for free. Capisce?”

Take note that child labour doesn’t end, even after you have graduated from college. Look at me – I’m 22 and I still work for my Singaporean Mom. Hey, don’t get me wrong – I love that I can wear crazy pants to work, or my Chuck Taylors even on days that are not Casual Friday, but living with your boss means that 10pm meetings in the dining room (in your pajamas, no less) will not be uncommon.


One thought on “#23 Child Labour

  1. jj says:

    omg my parents make me work at her cafe all the time too!!! they call it “character-building” but it’s really free labour cos i don’t get paid 😦 good to know tt i’m not the only one!!

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