Paying for your Parents, or How the Tables Have Turned
I like think of myself as being raised the Chinese way in a British setting, therefore (hopefully!) getting the most out of those two incredibly different cultures. This way of parenting filtered into nearly every aspect of my life, from education (grades did matter, but I wasn't pressured into studying a particular degree subject at university) to extracurriculars (I've had a piano teacher since the ripe old age of 3, but practised mostly when it took my fancy) and eating utensils (chopsticks were used at dinnertime but even mum drew the line at attempting spag bol with them). This was a Tiger Mother upbringing, localised to a teenager in London - and I've turned out okay...right?
However, I do have a few favourite Chinese traditions - one of which is the custom of using your first grown-up job paycheque to treat your parents and extended family. The idea isn't to just give your money away, but to see it as the first real opportunity to express your gratitude for the effort, time and money they have invested in you.
Paying for your parents in whatever means possible seems to be a widespread phenomenon among Asian cultures (other examples here). From experience, I know my parents, aunts and uncles all willingly contribute towards the living expenses and arrangements for their parents. I also remember the proud look on my granny's face when she's taken out to lunch by one of my cousins with their own salaries, and look forward to doing the same very soon.
But first, I needed to treat my amazing Tiger Mama. I surprised her with a meal at Madam Sixty Ate a few weeks ago, and she was proud as anything when I settled the bill with my earnings. She even took a photo of the receipt, which you can see on my Instagram feed (check it out @smallval). Best of all, we went during Hong Kong Restaurant Week, so my graduate salary stretched to a three-course meal! Our favourite dish from the night was the sweetcorn soup, which was freshly poured from a silver pot right in front of us.
My question to you is - how did/would you spend your first paycheque?