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Now that you've grown up, you've realised that Mum couldn't be more right. Right? Photo: Sim Ding En

Mother's Day Reflection: Things Mum Said That Make Sense Now (Or Not)

NEWS FLASH: Mother's Day is less than two weeks away. Amidst trying to fulfil her requests for a designer bag or for grandchildren, what if you could pay tribute to the most important woman in your life (gfs and wives, relax, you can have that title on the 364 other days in the year) just by looking back on what she has said all these years and knowing that mothers know best? Or maybe not.


1. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough

In times like these, don’t sniff at this advice – unless you want to attract the ire of everyone in your near vicinity. Also hoping my neighbour (who sneezes heartily throughout the day) reads this.

2. Don’t waste food

A popular legend in Ahsoh’s Fables goes like this: if you don’t finish up all the rice on your plate, your future spouse will have a lot of pimples. While we can’t double confirm the truth behind this, we sure know the importance of not wasting our food now that we have to provide for ourselves. Life is too short to spend queuing at the supermarket, so make every vegetable stalk in your fridge go a long way.


3. Don’t accept food from strangers

Yes, until food delivery services came along and it became the norm these two months to pick up your dabao-ed meals from a stranger in green or in pink.  

4. Don't hop into strangers' cars

Guess in Mother’s time, there was also no Grab or Gojek. 

5. Always call someone 'uncle' or 'aunty'

Your mum wanted to raise you as a polite kid but she probably didn’t hear hearts breaking when you anyhow addressed anyone as uncle or aunty, thus elevating their status from a more nubile-sounding ‘gor gor’ or ‘chae chae’. Also, after you yourself reach a certain age, it gets tricky to call the chye png aunty, well, ‘aunty’. She could be your age or even younger. Do that and don’t complain if you get only a sliver of sweet and sour chicken hor.

6. Obey the law or police will catch you

These days, it could also be a your kaypoh, we meant civic-minded, neighbour who may snap photos of you smoking at your HDB staircase, hanging your underwear in the common corridor, or inviting 35 of your primary school classmates over for a late-night living room KTV sesh. 

7. Don’t always go out (when you were 13)

Followed by "go out more or else how to meet new friends" (when you were 30). 


9. Comb your hair

For what. Now that hybrid work is a thing, we are at home the whole day on multiple days a week. And if we position our laptop cameras in a certain way, our colleagues can only see our chins, not our barber-deprived hair.

10. Don’t be online the whole day

That was what your mother probably chided you about in 2000 because your 24/7 Sims or Diablo gaming session meant that you had the modem on 24/7 too and so, she couldn’t call her mahjong kakis on the family landline. But now, you have no choice but to be online the whole day because your bosses love holding cheonghei Zoom meetings on WFH days.


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