It started when I stole my uncle’s specs…

May is by far my most hectic month. Workload wise, and family wise. There’s mother’s day, parents& teacher’s day, countless family occasion and dinners, my husband’s birthday as well as my anniversary with my husband. 24 hours a day is not enough for me to use. And I feel almost dead from all of these, but it’s a comfort to know that if my husband is rich, he will goddamn spend money on me and spoil me from the root of my hair to toe willingly and let me have my whims and fancy.


This morning was an amazing morning. I finally had some quiet time for myself though work is piling and bitches and bastards alike are stepping on my tail. I had a quiet time to reflect over my usual cuppa coffee in the usual kopitiam that is usually my source of inspiration. For those who have been hanging around Over A Cuppa Tea long enough would know by now that I’m usually inspired when I had my cuppa tea. It’s been a habit of mine since ages ago that I write over either a glass of ice tea or peach tea. It’s been my personal stimulant since I’ve been in writing industry, and this morning’s tea session triggered a flashback from my past.

I did many things in my life that can be considered foolish and rash and the consequences are really dire. I made countless mistakes in the past. There’s many kind of mistakes in my life. I’m glad I made some of the mistake as some of it makes me a better person. And there are some of the mistake that I truly comes to regret making them. Today, I reflected on a mistake that I made as a child.

When I was 8 years old, I did something terrible that caused me to be the black sheep of the family and my family still converse about it now. I have no single doubt that they have forgotten about it. You guys must be wondering what I did to make people still converse about it after 16 years.

Well, here goes… I stole my uncle’s pair of spectacles during my family’s weekly visit to my grandparents house, brought it home and if I remembered correctly, I hid it somewhere in the rack of the toilet. My father discovered about it after two weeks and as the result I get an earful, and of course, it was returned to my uncle as soon as he made the discovery.

Some of them shunned me secretly til this very day just because I did it. Some of my uncle and auntie would tell their children not to be like me and steal people’s things. And they would also tell their brats not to be like me, because I am bad, and they don’t want their children to be like me. Yes, they still talk about it, no doubt.

My extended family sucks to boot. My grandparents loves to compare each of their grandchildren with each other. Even in the family there’s politics and rivalry. My sister and I hate our cousins because honestly, we don’t think that our extended family loves us unconditionally. It is highly doubtful. Because there’s strong sense of favouritism in the family. It’s clear who is our grandparents pets, and who gets more attention and so on. In that family, if we want to be loved, then we will have to excel, there’s no question about it.

My uncle and aunties loves to compare our achievements and loves to boasts about their brats to the very core. And they will do the best that they can to hide the dirt about their children while I doubt my parents did the same thing with me and my little sister. My father have the tendency to report to his parents and siblings about the dirty little secrets me and my sister had. Things does not change til this very day. Same goes to my mother whose mouth is as big as those sexually unsatisfied housewives in regards of the dirty little things and me and my sister did. She too will let her family know about it, much to my chagrin.

And so, til this very day, each time I make other mistakes, or I don’t live up to the family’s expectation, the suckers would mention that I am not trustworthy since I was 8 years old. My late grandmother used to tell the entire family that I cannot be trusted because I did horrible things even when I was 8 years old.

I remembered what she said. She told my father not to trust me because I stole my uncle’s spectacle when I was 8 years old, and soon I will do many more shameful things in the future. Yes, a grandmother talks that way to her son about her granddaughter. She also told my father not to trust my mother, because my mother will always be in cahoot with me regardless of what I did. And because of her damn fucking bitchy mouth, I think that is why my father never did trust my mother about anything-because he listened to his mother on whether he should trust his own wife or not.

My grandmother is long dead and rotting underground, and yet, til this very day, when me, my sister or even my mother did something that displease my father, he will keep repeating “No wonder my mother told me not to trust you… and bla bla bla”. I hated it when I hear that, because my mother was never in cahoot with me or my sister when we make our bloody mistakes. I hate to hear it to the point that I would be grateful if I could dig her dead body out from the grave and tell it to her skull that she should not have told my father not to trust my mother, because in a marriage, mother in laws should butt out in regards of husband and wife matters.

What’s up with mother in laws? I think typical mother in laws in general hated to see their son have a good relationship with their wife. Nobody is good enough for their precious son, I suppose, but to me, there should not be a second woman in a marriage, and that include the man or the wife’s mother or sisters. If there is a bit of mistrust in one’s marriage, there will always be dissatisfaction between the spouse. I have come to learn about this when I grow older.

As far as I’m concern, at least I know that the mistakes that I did, has nothing to do with with my mother, or other people. It’s completely my own doing. I stole my uncle’s specs when I was 8 years old, that was completely my own doing. I did not inform my parents about report card day and told them to pick it up from school when I was 12 was also my own doing, and it got nothing to do with my mother as well. And yeah, I skipped school for 3 days consecutively and hid in the state library until schooling hour is over when I was 13 too, had nothing to do with my mother. Not to mention when I was caught chatting with a guy in my hostel room when I was in college (that guy is my hubby now). She knows nothing about it as I had my own issues back then.

And, it is not my mother’s fault too that I am not a religious person and definitely not her doing that I was a rebellious and outspoken teenager. It was my nature. I am stubborn. I have nasty temper, and I did not take after my mother though my disposition says otherwise. I have my mother’s beauty. Those traits comes from my father. He’s the one with strong will and short temper. And I’m proud to say that I’m thankful that I took after my father in this aspect. Because of it, I am who I am today. If I were to take after my mother, I would be a timid and introverted person, and definitely would not share all of these with you today.

If my grandmother is still alive today, I would have told her, that this is life. If one is not allowed to make mistake, how do they grow up and learn that things that they did was wrong? People grow up through experience, and if people do not make mistakes, they would never know what is right and what is wrong and learn not to repeat the same mistakes. I would also tell her off, that even if my mother was not the daughter in law of her choice, who gives her the right to condemn my mother and talk bad things about her all the time to influence my father to find someone better when my mother is a dutiful wife? She should have respect my father’s decision regarding to his choice not try to ruin his marriage.

I love my grandmother, but I do have resentment towards her. My mother was not her daughter in law of choice. She doesn’t like my mother though she tried to be civil and polite with my mother. I can tell, because when she was alive, she constantly said and hint that she doesn’t like my father’s wife to be a housewife. She wanted my father to have a wife who is a career woman and of my father’s academic station. And she did mention in front of me before that she would like my father’s ex-girlfriend to be my father’s wife when she was chit-chatting with my aunt. She did not even considered my feelings back then and gossiped about my mother in my presence. But unfortunately for her, my father chose my mother instead. So my grandmother probably resent my mother until her last breath.

My mother takes care of us very well. She cooks every damn day, and we’re all spoil for choice in regards of food. None of us in my little family loves to eat out, because my mother is an execellent cook. She cleans up the house every day, and yet my late grandmother still call my mother useless and doesn’t know how to do housework. No matter what my mother did, was wrong in her eyes, and I used to catch her badmouthing my mother in the kitchen in front of other family members when I was younger. But life is ironic. My mother was the only one who took care of my late grandmother when she was on her deathbed.

Thank heaven my grandmother is dead now, or else, she would be eating my two pence, as I am now much bolder person. Frankly speaking, if my husband did not appreciate what I did for him and listen to his mother on how to run his marriage, I would divorce him without any second thoughts. Men and women may not realize it, but sometimes, their parents CAN undermine their marriage. And it’s not a marriage if there’s three people in it. It doesn’t matter how others view it, but as long as there’s another person in a marriage, then to me, it’s an orgy, because nasty, disgusting and incomprehensible things will happen.

My father once asked me while I was having lunch on why I stole my uncle’s pair of spectacle and hid it. Obviously, my father knows nothing about children’s psychology and I don’t blame him for that. Most parents are psychologically illiterate. Back then I was 12, and in need of my own pair of spectacle. He brought the matter up. I had no answer for him back then, because I too did not understand why I did it. If he was to ask me now why I did it, my answer would have been different. Thinking back, as an adult, I knew exactly why I stole my uncle’s specs and consequently, ‘shame my entire family’.

I was 8. Hardly know how to differentiate between right and wrong. I just came back from oversea one year before. I had hard time in school as nobody could understand my language. I was friendly, but I had no real friends. Then, after 7 years being an only child whose parents dote on her, my mother gave birth to my baby sister.

My sister was 1 year old when I stole my uncle’s specs. My parents were paying more attention to her, and hardly gives me the same attention before she was born. What’s worst, I had no one to go to. I had no one to complain to because my uncles and my aunties thought that since I’m a friendly child, I would have no trouble fitting in. I cannot complain to my grandparents, because I am the first grandchild, in both paternal and maternal side. I was the eldest grandchild.

I am expected to excel and lives up to their expectation, and they too, always compare me with my cousins in terms of academic achievements. I was expected to be a good role model to my cousins who are younger than me. And so, I stole my uncle’s spectacles. I wanted attention. Foolish thing to do, but what can a child do to get someone to pay attention to her again when everyone around her seems to be oblivious to her feelings and needs?

Children do not usually express themselves well. They won’t go around telling their parents that they want and need attention, because they do not even realize that they need it. Their minds are not mature enough yet to have such wisdom. Children do things to get notice, and I am sure, whoever took psychology study, would understand the predicament that I was put into when I was a child.

Not to say this to justify my act. Stealing is wrong, but I am writing this so that my readers who are parents themselves would understand and forgive their children if they ever did somethingย  that similar to mine and love them unconditionally regardless of the little mistakes that they did. Parents should protect their children, and protecting too, means protect their children’s reputation in the eyes of the family.

What good does it do to you when you gives all your children’s dirt to your other family members? Tell me, what good it does to you and your children? The family would continue to talk about it, because people loves to gossip about bad stuff that befalls other people’s family. And your kids will have low self-esteem if the talking goes on continuously to shun their mistakes.

I meant to share my childhood stories with my readers. For those who do not get me…there’s moral in the story of my childhood. They are:

1. Reminder to all parents to not neglect their elder children when they had another child and play the favouritism card. Children are usually very sensitive in regards of parents love and attention. Especially young children. Toddlers too. If they do not get enough attention or they think their sibling(s) is replacing them, they will do anything that they think would make their parents pay more attention to them. Same goes vice versa. Don’t compare one child with another. Each of them is special and unique in their own way.

2. Talk to your children and be their friends instead of judging them and condemning them on the things that they did to displease you.

3. Protect your children’s reputation from being tarnish by extended family members. People can gossip non-stop about your children’s mistakes and wrongdoings. As a result, children grow up being pushed into a small corner and not notice, even though they achieve well in life afterwards. People have no absolute respect for your children, and once a black sheep of the family, will always be the black sheep of the family. People usually remember the bad, and not the good, even when you grow up and have children of your own.

4. Never ever listen to your mother if your mother tries to get you have her ways in regards of your marriage with your spouse. Same things goes with your fathers and whatnot. Marriage is meant for two people, and not three. There should only be a husband and a wife in marriage, not outsiders. Some marriage are destroyed not because of infidelities, but because of the ‘talks’ that certain family members do to cause tension in a marriage. Being a dutiful and filial child does not mean you have to listen to their ‘venting of dissatisfaction’ on your spouse. If you are happy with your own choice, kindly disregard ” I don’t like your wife because she…. ” or ” You know, I don’t like your husband because….” conversation.

5. Trust is a crucial element. If you don’t have the heart to trust your spouse 100%, you should at least trust him or her 90%. Trust is a must.

6. And between families, love must be unconditional. Unconditional love is hard to come by, but you could at least try to love unconditionally.

Cleffairy: Not making mistakes is the biggest crime a human can do, because without mistakes, human learn nothing to improve themselves.


  1. pochp says:

    I’m the eldest grandchild too and suffered the same way you did- without stealing anything- and suffered much worse.
    Anyway, people should read your post- you’re advising the right things.

  2. kikey says:

    relationship thing is very hard, sometime if the son just listen to whatever what his mother said, that really a big trouble, i hope my future partner and mother-in-law won’t be like that..

    p/s: I had done something wrong when i was young too.. no one is perfect..

  3. claire says:

    cleffairy… before i write anything else here, i want to *salute* you and pls receive a *hug* from this lady here… you are one real lady… when i read yr piece, i can imagine how hard it was for u then…
    let me tell u, i too have a colourful history of myself that i can even write a book with it… but i don’t think i will have the guts to write them out here yet…as yet…oh, i didnt “kill” anyone.. or hidden some “skeletons” in my closet… but what I have gone through was also something that I will never forget… unless i reach the age of the “aged” that i hope i will not be able remember much then…

    actually my intention to come here is to give u the chicken potato recipe.. well, perhaps later… later…in your next posts…

    Your outspokenness in this post will definitely benefit a lot of parents, grandparents and all age alike….

    God bless u…

  4. stephy-nie says:

    wow.. family politics are the worst thing that could ever happened cuz they’re the ones who’s supposed to love and care for you sincerely.

    It’s pretty true that young kids are very sensitive towards favouritism and all. I remember when I was little, I was always paranoid about my parents loving my younger sis more than me. x_x

    Anyway, its good that you post up on this so that people out there know that they’re not alone. But against relatives, sometimes you just have to suck it up and go. It’ll be a waste of breath and energy to hold a grudge on them.


  5. BlurryLeo says:

    I agreed with you on point 1, 2 and 3. Particularly on 3, that is really something very important. As parents, we are the shelter / home to our kids when they are down and lost. Where else can they turn to if we join those criticising donkeys as well. But don’t be surprised that there are such parents around. Sad but true.

    On point 4, I would think that marriage is like marrying 2 families. It might sounded lame but it’s very true IMHO. But the most important thing here is that the couple must have strong trust with one another. It’s hard to avoid those bitching in-laws / relatives most of the time but so as long the couple trust one another well enough, they’ll survive those ‘devils-in-disguised’ ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. jen says:

    i hate being in a big family as well, not to mention about those comparisons. it hurts when everyone in the family compare my cousin and i in the sense pf physical appearances, sigh..

  7. kenwooi says:

    im the eldest in the family of 5 siblings.. and i believe that each and every one of us gets equal love and care.. except that i get more stuffs than the rest.. hahaha.. probbaly coz im already in college, i have needs to support my own life by myself in college now.. anyway its my final sem.. gotta start supporting myself very very soon.. haha..

    regarding your story.. ahh, everyone is mischievous when they are young.. kids do mistakes, adults as well..

    also, great reminders you got there.. thanks for sharing!

    all the best and take care ya =D

  8. Cheeyee says:

    I don’t think it’s difficult to pay attention to the elder child when you have another child. But how much attention is enough to their eyes? And paying attention is not sufficient. We have to take care about their feelings too, as you said they are sensitive. They get jealous over small little things that you do to the younger child easily. As you said, they don’t know how to differentiate what is good and what is not good, what should not be done, and the adult’s expectations towards them being the elder child. Definitely it is not easy to understand a child. It requires lots of trial and error, and adjustment (for both parents and child) when there is new family member.

    Besides trusting our spouse, we have to trust our children too. I believe with trust, you wont get affected by other people easily. MIL (or some other people) not only can have in her ways in regards to your marriage, but also on how you should bring up your children. I won’t say my MIL is an evil MIL, but she’s also not a lady that I can easily deal with, especially before we get married when I was still dating with her son. One thing I’m glad that she does not interfere on how me and hubby bring up our children. She may make comments and suggestions but decision still on our hand. She may not bad mouth me but I think she did make some comments about me to others. Well, I don’t care as long as it does not interfere with my life.

    One thing I learn about staying in marriage – is set no expectation. Not sure if this is related to Unconditional love?

    p/s: You take care. Damn busy in work and other stuff. Will find some time to reply to you later of the week.

  9. Tera Bok says:

    I wonder who has never made a mistake. I dare anyone to raise up their hand. And a child at 8 years old? Labelized and stigmatized? Lizzie, you are a good case study. Lol.

    I call them the ancient ones. The grandparents. Mine are all dead now. Your story reminds me soo much about my own grandma and some of the relatives we have. The experience of growing up and being compared to a cousin of mine which is more smart, beautiful, fairer and etc kinda traumatizing cause I still remember every bit of it till now. Imagine, being compared to up front? I grew up so timid, scared and afraid to voice out anything, until I became a teenager. Then the rebel within unleased! This whole comparison thing is so asian don’t you think? So kiasi and kiasu.

    My dad also reviewed every detail of my issues, not only to the family members but to his friends cause I always retaliate towards him. Well, him and my grandma. How come they never talk about the good stuff? It is always the bad? It’s so typical that they look only at the others flaws (EVEN THEIR OWN KINDS) when they don’t even look at their own, and they wonder why we’re so stubborn towards them.

    Just wondering, does it mean we’re relatives (parents, grands, others relatives) that they can impose their morality towards us? Do they expect us to listen, obey and respect when they’re are stepping all over our confidence? Patience also got limit lah. Of course I love my granny and dad but it doesn’t mean they can crumple my confidence, heart and expecting no response from me right?

    Write more of this stuff Lizzie. Hopefully it will be of a good use to some parents. If you know what I mean. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. chrisau says:

    wow..what a long read. well, i do agreed with you. Everyone deserves to be treated the same, thus I always triede to pay attention to my eldest kid after the arrival of his sister as I knew my wife would have to pay 100% edattention to the baby as she need to take care of her. Thus, my in laws thought i sayang the boy more.haha… I always tried to give attention to both of them, and not forgetting my wife too.

  11. rjzyra says:

    Honestly, I’d normally have problems reading long entries. But yours, is just amazing cleff. Hats off to you. Not anyone would want to share this part of life with others, but you did it really well, equipped with your two cents in your conclusion, amazing. simply amazing.

    I’m only 20 :P, and have no idea how marriage life is like, I’m the eldest, but also the only girl, so I guess being deprived of attention was never a problem. Thank God for such loving parents of my own.

    I picked this up somewhere in,

    ” Life is like photography. We use negatives to develop ”

    Thanks for sharing it with us cleff.

  12. Bridge says:

    That’s quite funny you have a hectic month and it’s May. Mine happens every April. I celebrate my husband’s birthday, our anniversary, and my mother-in-law’s birthday. Also, all of my graduation days (elem, HS, College, MBA) happened in April ~ so I don’t know whether I am always anticipating the coming of April or not because sometimes celebrating all of these just make me tired, but HAPPY! And that’s the most important thing right?

    I only learned today that you are working as a writer. Wow! I used to write for local newspaper too. It’s quite hard to write, especially if you are the kind of “perfectionist”. You always edit, polish, and revise things. You don’t want your editor bringing back your paper for grammatical errors or wrong use of preposition, conjunctions, etc. These are all less important compared to the thought or the substance of the article. Sigh. you remind me of my “quite-boring-life” as a free-lance correspondent.

  13. calvin says:

    hi clef… your post. i guess this disease, favouritism that is, has always been with us for generations. especially us chinese. mostly favours the boys than the girls. i’m lucky my mom loves me and my sis equally. when she buys something for me, she buys something for my sis…and vice versa. and i think some religion plays a part in it as well. it’s sad. aren’t we made equal and perfect in God’s eye.

    one of my buddies kena hentam from me the other day becoz of this. but since he is on s-o-b, can’t get it thru his head. really kesian his lovely daughter. ๐Ÿ™

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