I know this is a very controversial topic to discuss. Recently The Star has published an article of parents being abandoned by their children and families in the hospitals and old folks homes. And since then, there have been a lot of debates almost daily from both sides of the fence. Some said that children should care for their parents when they grow old while some said that parents should not burden their children as they themselves are already finding it hard to survive with their own families. The ones affected mostly are those from the middle and low-income groups.

Well, I am not here to take any sides but rather to share on how I am personally going to handle this delicate issue. I am also a parent to 2 great teenagers (hoping for a third child if God agrees with me ) and it is just a matter of time before I will also have to face this same dilemma as everyone else if I do not take steps right now to overcome it in the future.

To me it is very straightforward, I did not bring my children into this world as an old age insurance. Neither did they ask to be born into this world. I love my children and that is why I brought them into this world. And my love for them is unconditional, meaning that as long as I am alive, I will continue to ensure that I will care and support them regardless of whether they take care of me or not. In fact, I’ve always told my daughter, Amanda that she and Amos will always be my little babies no matter what. In my old age, I want to continue be an asset to them and not a liability or a burden.

To say is simple. If it is so easy, why is society still having this social problems today? I personally think that it is all due to the lack of planning when one is still young. Moreover Asians always believe in filial piety. Now, I am not disputing that we should not practice filial piety but rather we just have to move on with time. We are now living in the 21st century where there are a lot of opportunities for us to grab and do something about our future. Time does not stay still, we have to move along with it.

So how am I going to ensure that I can still contribute to my children and not being a burden to them when I gets old? Well, to start off, I will have to ensure that I have got my medical insurance to begin with which will cover me to at least 75 to 80 years old. The same goes for my spouse. At least we will be covered and not burdened with huge medical expenses. And to ensure that we can continue to pay for the insurance premium as well as to manage our own expenses, we need a business that can continue to generate income for us with the least effort. Preferably a business that could create passive income.

And with that, it brings us to the topic that is the most passionate and closest to my heart….Internet Business! Currently, I have been a full time internet entrepreneur for about 9 years and almost all of my entire income is derived passively. Yes, you’ve heard it correctly….PASSIVELY from the internet. No doubt, it is tough to be successful in an internet business, but that does not mean that it could not be achieved. Anyway, good things do not come easy in this world. It requires commitment, effort and time to build and nurture the business. However, once it has been established, it will just grow on its own, autopilot to be precise. And this is the kind of business that I feel that our society should start to seriously look into it.

OK, I know I am already deviating away from the original topic. So I will leave the benefits of running an internet business for some other days. What I wanted to share is that with an internet business, I can continue to be able to support my children even at my ripe old age and not having to be a burden to them as I could even help them financially when they’re in need.

So in short, my belief is that children should practice filial piety but at the same time parents should also have a responsibility to ensure that they will not be a burden to their children and take them for granted.

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6 Comments on Parents responsible for children or children responsible for parents?

  1. Justin Choo says:

    Alvin,

    I am speaking from personal experience. We can plan until the cows come home. In the final analysis, there is no assurance that we will be taken care of come old age. I shudder and shiver what this thought confront me. My wish is to stay healthy until my last day. Then go to sleep and never wake up.

    If you are interested to know my experience, please go to my post:
    http://blackandwhite999.blogsp.....other.html

    Take care.

    Justin Choo

  2. Mr.T says:

    Hi, it was quite pleasant to read some of the comments here as there are some ‘sincerity’ in some of the content. Well, I think a lot about the topic of ‘what will happen to me when I grow old’. I lived in Sydney for almost 12 years and decided to come back to Malaysia because of social issues and the sense of belonging. Another drawing factor is to feel close to people that I can feel the care given since young i.e. my parents. I am now living with them and married to a Malaysian wife that I also met in Sydney, and now with 2 kids. So, at this stage life seems to be great – especially away from the life of single man. And no more searching… of course there are ups and downs in family matters, but everyone goes through it, right. So, now my focus is to ensure that my kids learn all the good Chinese values (after I have seen the negatives of English speaking Chinese – I am one by the way), and with good financials, send them overseas for a wider experience – and then hope that they will return when we grow old. No guarantee though, but at least the lessons are imparted at every level since young. Then it all depends on the child’s mind and how they feel about taking care of parents. That’s why sometimes when we visit old folk’s home, we really learn a great deal about ‘not to leave my parents there, its sad and felt not too right somehow’. I guess, there are many other activities that can touch our souls and then make us do the right things. Overall, I still think that looking after our parents at their old age at home is really a very noble act and only those very skilled in EQ would be able to balance the act. With the maid and help given, I think even with both working husband and wife, we would be able to pull through this quite well. Not perfect, but no complains – especially when I can witness the smiles and laughter of my parents when playing with my kids. Its a ‘gift’ that they will enjoy – not monetary or flashy restaurants. So, at least my duty as a son would be accomplished at this stage & this feeling is just hard to describe (contented perhaps?)… Well, for the rest of you who are planning to send your parents to the old folks home for your own interest / convenience (including migration plans)… think deeper. One day that could be you on that bed too, in a boarding house that has screams at night…. the cycle occurs when our kids learn from our actions and how we treat our own parents previously. So, visit an old folks home or two. Then you would get a better perspective about whether you should send them there…

  3. Alvin Cheong says:

    I fully agree that an old folks home is not an ideal place for parents that have children. I am fortunate because my parents are independent and self-reliant. I’ve provided them a house to stay as they prefer to have their own privacy and they’re able to take care of themselves.

    In turn, I would also like to ensure that I can be self-reliant like my own parents so that I do not have to burden my children in future. Just like what Justin said, there is no assurance that we will be taken care of when we grow old.

    If we don’t plan when we’re young, I feel that we are partly to be blamed.

  4. Mr T says:

    Yes, that is true. Some things are also for us to plan. We cannot depend on others (i.e. the children) all the time. So, better be ready rather than too late. It is nice to know that there are a few good people out there who still believe in proper parental principles and values. So, keep it up to ensure that your community will have a place for good people to flourish.

  5. Cheryl Chua says:

    Yes, you’ve deviated away vastly from your topic. But it was a good turn.
    Medical expenses are the biggest issue our generation face cos many of our parents do not have insurance coverage. But in our generations, I am pretty sure everyone are well covered. Your idea of having regular income till old age are brilliant. Insurance only cover medical, but not for daily expenses, supplements became indispensable thus we need the income coming in. Property prices are at sky high, the young generation might not even be able to start off their lives with a proper roof if parents do not help out with the 1st payment. Which is happening in many part of the world. Relying on children becoming so impossible.
    Those are the points supporting your statement. Back to your topic, I am writing because my dad once told me; Children never owe parents, only parents owe children because parents brought the children to the world, thus is their responsibility to love n nurture them.
    With his word, I felt I owe him more.
    Putting monetory aside, growing old can be very irritating if one do not realise. Looking at my mom and my mother in law, I’ve learnt so much which path I’ll try to be. Our children, likewise us, grows at the different pace of life. They too need the time and life to learn, experience and be understood. We should not hog on them. Remember, they do not owe us. Not their time or their respect, but respect are to be EARN, not ask.
    I do not agree with Mr.Ton’s view on Old Folk’s Home. Not that I am sending any of my parents or in-laws to one, but to those who can’t afford a maid or another room at home. Those that sent their parents to Old Folk’s Home may have their many reasons, but some I know, they make a point to visit their parent/parents in the homes every other day. Spending time and talking to them. Human nature usually happen to take things for granted when old ones are staying the same home, conversations get lesser. Especially when one gets old, body odour get stronger and illnesses inconveniences and old habits start to irritate the younger ones. I am not encouraging Old Folk’s Home, but to widen the view that not everyone that sent their parents to Old Folk’s Home are unfilial. For me, I am ready to go if I need to, so do not brand my children unfilial.
    There’s many homes in Australia and US that are very beautiful. They have a room with bathroom and small living room. A community of their own where healthy food are serve and the old get together to chat and play games. A regular doctor to check on them. Their children will come on weekends to bring them out.

  6. Paula says:

    I agree 100% that diverse streams of passive income is the way to go and that the internet is the best way to do it. All I need is my brain an the ability to type.
    I also think that financial burdens have a very heavy weight, perhaps a 60% of the equation.

    As an only child I can tell you there is another component to the burden, the emotional side. I suffer enough with my parents lack of financial planning, but I am also burdened with the emotional side of their problems. No matter how much money you have, a cancer diagnosis is taxing to the heart. Or seeing my dad unable to walk on his own.

    I know that as I grow older, I need to plan financially, for which I am working to start my online business, but we also need to be very diligent to take care of our healths. For which I am getting myself a full check up, eating better, I need to work on better hydration and some exercise, I do non now!

    I am late in the game, at 40 and the mother of a toddler! So time to get moving

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