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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Spare us the dinner-time economics lecture, dad

By Bryan Toh

THERE is a new dish during dinner time at my home: Economic Recession.

It has become a daily staple and comes in a variety of flavours. Some days it is sprinkled with hints of Credit Crunch, other days it is dressed with Job Loss.

The recent recession has not left anyone untouched, including my parents, who feel its impact on their spending habits and at their workplace.

They want to ensure I also feel their pain - albeit in a different manner.

What used to be a time when my family would come together, talk and laugh about our day has become somewhat of an economics lecture.

Most of the lecturing comes from my dad. Each day, he reminds us of the difficulties he and my mum are facing, how we should be helping them more, and laments that the stock market is not going his way.

Like any good lecturer, he also insists on restating what he has taught - in fact, up to two or three times. Because he does not like to be interrupted, we cannot tell him that we are, in fact, bored.

From his point of view, this economic crisis is big. It is also the first to have happened in my short 17-year life that I am old enough to comprehend.

Though I may not be able to fully grasp the nuances of terms such as liquidation and mortgage, I do get the gist: Money is becoming harder to come by, and I should not be spending so much.

As a teenager, that is more or less what I need to know.

What good is lamenting to me about the stock market, or how you might lose your job tomorrow, when there is absolutely nothing I can do?

I do not play stocks. I am not your boss. I am just a student.

As long as I control my spending and am not totally oblivious to the financial difficulties of those around me, I think I am fine. (After a month of dinner-time talk at my place, it is hard to forget.)

So to all parents out there who are doing the same as mine, please give your children more credit for their general knowledge.

We are not an ignorant generation.

We know you are not having an easy time. And we are helping, in our own way, by cutting personal spending.

So please, can we let dinner time, or any other family time for that matter, be for family bonding?



The writer, 17, is a first-year mass communications student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

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