My Mum in her 70s, who is a typical traditional Chinese woman. She did accounting job in China as she’s very good at numbers though she didn’t get much education because she dropped out of school in year 3 when her primary school( in a temple) was burnt by GuoMingDang when Communist Party occupied Shanghai in 1949.
Then she had to study in an evening school while taking care of her brother’s kids in the day.
At that time, women were supposed to take care of family and do housework; education was not necessary no matter how good a student she was.
Therefore, my mum worked as a farmer when she was 14.
Before my Dad retired, he’s a kind of workaholics, work was everything. Luckily, he was one of the most successful entrepreneurs for his age.
He’s also a very knowledgeable person, once he was a teacher, he read lots of books with outstanding writing skills.
He’s a big picutre person, he has little patience for dealing with family affairs, that’s women’s duty.
My Mum used to responsible for all the housework after work. eg, washing, cleaning, shopping, gardening and looking after kids, then I gave my Mum a hand when I was a teenager.
My dad didn’t do anything at home, he’s got traditional thinking: a man should be responsible for making money and supporting the family, therefore he devoted more than 98% effort on his career.
However, everyone admires my mum because my dad is the most generous and kind man, he leaves all his money and property under the name of my Mum.
My Dad used to teach us: Money is not everything, the most important thing is what you contribute to the society: “Please don’t talk with me about money”. I know, that will only make him angry, but he’s also the one who supported me study in Australia.
My mum has financial security under the care of my Dad, though my mum has enough money to spend for anything she likes, she has never bought luxury stuff, not even the expensive ones.
She might has no idea how to spend money and where to buy suitable clothes, so every year, when I was back China on holiday, it was my duty to buy some fashionable ones for her.
Probably when she was young, she lived in utter poverty so that she has developed a habit living in a basic standard; so far she’s still wearing clothes and shoes which are cheap.
My Mum respects my dad very much, he’s the only man on her mind, and he’s everything to her.
My mum herself doesn’t spend much money, whereas every year when she visited me , she would bring me cash until one day I called her: “Mum, please don’t give me any if you come, I have enough to spend.”
She’s still trying to support me a bit, my parents are always trying to help their kids out. They think that’s their duty, they responsible for children all their life as long as they can afford.
Barbara- Aussie friend’s Mum
Barbara is 5 years younger than my mum. One day, my friend called me: “Guess what? My Mum bought a red sports car in her 70 years old, unbelievable, she must go crazy!!!”
“Wow, amazing, your Mum’s very fashionable.”
In China, no ladies in her age drives a car; not even many young ladies drive a sports car.
For Chinese might get an impression: Barbara must be very rich. Actually, she’s not, she’s just average.
She lives on her pension from retirement, she sold out the old car and with saving, she bought a new car, after that, she got no money left in the bank.
I was amazed when I heard that she’s still keeping one-day bookkeeper job, which makes her busy. She knows accounting software, how to use the computer, and mobile texting.
I don’t think my Mum can type or use the computer, well, now my Mum can play games on Ipad, and my Mum is very keen on Mahjong, just like most Chinese doing at the moment for a leisure thing.
By the way, I just discovered one advantage from Mahjong, it’s a good exercise, which keeps her fingers very flexible.
One thing Barbara is similar to my Mum, Barbara loved pokies very much since her husband passed away, she was addicted.
Barbara lost money, but she couldn’t control herself, in the end, she had to ban herself from accessing a Poker machine in her area, though that would still be difficult for her stop if she travels to other areas.
Barbara is a lovely lady; she is always in a happy mood and looks energetic though she’s a bit overweight.
She’s very helpful as she’s helping her neighbor looking after their kids for free.
If Barbara goes to a party, she does makeup and dresses nicely with lots of artificial beautiful necklaces and bracelets on.
Compared with Barbara, when my Mum attends friend’s party, she doesn’t use makeup at all, and she never wears jewelry not even the cheap ones: “What’s for?” that’s my Mum said.
Barbara has three children. When her kids were little, she did part- time accounting job while looking after them and shared housework with her husband.
After her husband passed away, Barbara is living with her boyfriend, who is younger than her, though her Mum-in-law(from previous husband) was not that happy at the beginning.
Barbara shares bills, housework with her boyfriend, she buys her own clothes and pays travelling expense on her own.
Anyway, she shares everything with her boyfriend on an equally base.
When Barbara’s kids turned to 18, they moved out, they tried to be independent, so nobody would expect Mum support them for the financial thing.
By the way, in Australia, people(especially the Angro’s descendants) will laugh at a person if he or she still lives with Mum in his 30s or 40s: “That’s unbelievable, is that real?”
However, in China, if children live with parents and take care of them will be regarded as a good boy and be respectful of parents.
Chinese vs Aussie old generation
When I was buying shoes at Collins Street in Melbourne, one shop for selling Arche shoes, a good quality very comfortable one which is made in France. I saw most old ladies there.
Whereas, when I purchased the same brand shoes in a famous department store in Shanghai, I could hardly see old ones, most were young or middle-aged women.
I’ve also noticed, in Melbourne, the elder generation is driving very nice expensive cars, the younger one is driving cheap cars because they have the mortgage to pay, they have kids to raise, or they don’t have a proper job to earn enough money to buy a good one.
In China, it’s completely different, some parents are wearing out of date clothes or using old style mobiles from their children.
Parents save as much money as possible so that they could buy a car or an apartment for their son finding a nice girl to marry.
In the end, a large percentage of Chinese parents have no money left for travelling or buying things for themselves because they are happy if they see their kids wearing nice clothes, who can afford travelling around or being abroad.
Children are everything to them, they are the little emperors.
However, in rural under-developed areas, if older parents have no pension, no Medicare, then Children is obliged to look after them.
Single old ladies in China
In China, Most ladies in their 60s or 70s, after their husband passed away, they will never think about remarry.
That will be very complicated the relationship for the financial thing, and in a traditional way, they reckon, re-marry at that age is not a good sign, they even never thought about find a boyfriend, they’d better stay with children.
One of my classmate’s Mum, who was a widow in her 50s, she has always been single though she’s so keen on introduce a boyfriend or a girlfriend for young single ones.
She’s better being alone herself. That is not because she doesn’t want a man, she believes being single is the best way shows her respect to her husband.
That would be hard for her change value and belief which she learned when she was young how to be a good traditional wife and Mum: “How would other people think about me if I find a boyfriend? I’d better stay single, and then no one can say anything to me.”
I really don’t know which is the right way, in one society, it is completely acceptable, in another one, that’s totally wrong.
Probably we have to change our belief, which makes us happy, then do it. Life is too short to worry so much about other people’s thinking.
As long as you don’t do anything which is harm to the others or bring the negative effort to the society, why don’t change your attitude, just be happy and enjoy life as much as you can.
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