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DEAR AUNTY D: AUGUST 2021

by Aiden

Aunty D advises you on matters of love and life.

HER BEST SHOT

Dear Aunty D,

My aged mother, who lives with us, is 89 years old, and the worsening Corona situation here is making me paranoid about her health. I want her to get vaccinated, and with an effective brand, as soon as possible. After pulling all the strings I could, I got her an appointment next week, only to find out that my own husband thinks it’s a bad idea! It’s not even about the vaccine brands available – he thinks any vaccine would be an unacceptable risk for her because of her age, especially with all the reports of side effects. How do I get the stubborn man to see that it’s precisely because of her age that she needs as much protection as possible?

Dear Her Best Shot,

Like every decision in life, let your and your husband’s common sense and reasoning stay afloat and not be drowned out by the conflicting din on the internet. Neither should either of you lend an ear to the unsolicited hearsay from local aunties or overseas well-wishing relatives and WhatsApp friends. You three should visit your mother’s physician and get his opinion and have him explain the pros and cons of the vaccine in detail. If, despite her advanced age, your mother is sound in mind, then it is her prerogative to decide her own fate. If she is not capable of making the decision, then you as her child are left with the difficult task.

LACKADAISICAL OR LUCK-ADAISICAL?

Dear Aunty D,

Don’t get me wrong, I love my little brother. But even when we were kids, he was always a bit of a buddhu, and he hasn’t changed since. All the decisions he’s made, in his personal life and in business, lack common sense, and he’s naïve to the point that it’s a wonder he hasn’t already fallen victim to the latest phishing scam. Despite this, however, he’s been a very successful businessman, and good fortune always seems to be on his side. I’ve got a much better head for business, and yet I always seem to fall short of this duffer. Is he just lucky, or is he much smarter than I give him credit for?

Dear Lackadaisical or Luck-adaisical?

Common sense is not at all common and a person can either lack it or possess a healthy dose of it, regardless of education or class. It means having a good grip on practical knowledge and most importantly, applying that knowledge at the proper place and time. On the other hand, intelligent people like your brother excel in knowhow and are successful in their chosen fields, but that same intelligence often overrides their common sense. To explain the difference further: a child slips and twists his arm; the successful, businessman dad panics and yells about the hows and the whys, but the maid is quick to react because of her common sense and immediately starts cold compresses. The dad then exercises his intelligence and drives the child to the hospital. In your case, since your brother seems to be doing very well for himself, just let him be, duffer et al.

SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

Dear Aunty D,

My son’s latest report card has come in, and – the embarrassment! He’s failed almost every single class, and the school has informed us that he may have to retake the entire year. His mum and I are both academics, so I know that he’s perfectly capable of doing better if he just applied himself. I’ve already arranged for rigorous tutoring sessions outside of school hours, and I’m sure the shame of seeing his friends move on without him will be just the kick up his backside he needs. My wife, on the other hand, thinks that the current school system is not a good fit for him, and wants to move him to a different school, with a new, experimental approach. I’m not sure I agree.

Dear School of Hard Knocks,

Mothers have the child’s best and most unselfish interests at heart, but sometimes we over-parent and over-protect. It’s ok for the lil’ boy to experience the inevitable bruises on his shin, and dents in his psyche. He needs to muscle up for the hard knocks of real life. Also, though we mums know best, being over-directive can squash the child’s belief and faith in his own decision-making ability. His juvenile blunders, including failing his classes, are good lessons to teach him that he is responsible for his own decisions, and the consequences thereof. We mums also need to step back from being concierge moms who give and do too much – including homework and designer sneakers. Help him realise that the world is not his oyster, and money doesn’t grow on trees.

Have an etiquette question? Send your dilemmas to aiden@masalathai.com and write “Dear Aunty D” in the subject line.

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