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DEAR AUNTY D: APRIL 2021

by Aiden

Aunty D advises you on matters of life and love.

SICK OF IT

Dear Aunty D, 

I have a dilemma that a lot of the youth of this community will resonate with. My sister is sick and has been for a while now – an anxiety disorder. Our father, despite being a doctor, has not done anything of significance to help. Forget helping, he’s not even willing to accept that she’s sick. He, like some other oldies, don’t perceive mental disorders as a legitimate sickness. I thought that him being a doctor would mean that he’d be more understanding and accepting. We’ve tried explaining it to him that mental health is equally important as physical health, but anything we say is just dismissed as nonsense. What should we do? 

Dear Sick of It,

Social media platforms have estranged us from human interconnectivity, and the measure of our self-worth now comes from the likes and approval ratings we receive. So, although we’re surrounded by others, we’re lonely and vulnerable. Papaji needs to let the doctor in him squash his old-fashioned sentiments, and acknowledge that depression is a curable malady and no longer a stigma or a dirty secret; one that has totally uprooted didi’s (sis’) trust in life, in others, and especially in herself. He should encourage her to reach out for help and support from whomsoever she is comfortable with, whether it be her mum, aunt, friend, school/college counsellors, or the very many options and avenues of professional help available today. Let her find somewhere that she can exorcise the constant barrage of negative thoughts of real and unreal past disappointments and future worries, and re-establish the faith in her own capability to confidently face life. She needs to love herself, for who she truly is.

SCHOOLED

Dear Aunty D,

Since the economic situation has been severe, to say the least, my parents want my school fees to be reduced, and understandably so. We’ve been switching between online and on-campus classes and we haven’t had full access to the facilities. However, the school has made it clear that they cannot do anything about it and now my parents are seriously considering putting a pause on my education because they cannot afford it. I really don’t want this to happen, what advice do you have for me?

Dear Schooled,

This is the one time in human history, for better or worse, rich or poor, that we are together in these unstable and unpredictable times. For those with no assured income, the astronomical cost of international education in Thailand is too heavy a strain on finances. But looking at the flip side of the coin, the teachers, too are going through that same lean period. They too are struggling with the expenses of a family and the education of their kids. The school, though not in full physical sessions, still retains the staff on their payrolls, as well as the expenses of the upkeep of the school facilities and premises. So, let’s grit our teeth, and hope that the dawn is nigh.

BITTERSWEET

Dear Aunty D,

Recently, my maid has been lethargic and incompetent. The house is a mess, meals are never cooked, and my kids have gone from sweet tooth to candy-addicts since she’s been bribing them with sweets. My wife and I both work full-time so we hired the maid to help out. I have every reason to fire her except that my kids absolutely adore her, and this never happens. She is the first person besides us that our kids are attached to, and it would break their hearts if she left. How do we deal with this dilemma?

Dear Bittersweet,

The maid is not the culprit, we are, though a threat of the decayed tooth bill coming out of her salary might work. We’ve never, ever rewarded or celebrated our children with fruits and salads; instead we’ve always dangled a sugary reward or offered sweet bribes to get tasks completed and to appease tantrums. We’ve hoodwinked our own conscience by adding terms and conditions for allowing the indulgence: “you can eat only two pieces and that too, only after finishing dinner/homework/etc.” Our generation has successfully gotten our young addicted to sugar; an addiction much worse and harder to wean off than any of the drugs that we frown upon and ‘chee-chee’ with disdain. So, ‘as ye sow, so shall ye reap.’

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