So I’ve been wondering, how many people from my generation (the post-80s, they call it) actually pay their parents a monthly allowance (家用)?
This has been a topic that my dad has brought up repeatedly with bitter undertones, hinting at the fact that I’m essentially a bad daughter for not contributing to the household monetarily for rent, bills, furniture purchases, grocery shopping, etc.
Before anyone starts shaking their head at me for being a selfish little brat, let me clarify that I have been earning my own spending money since I was in high school. I was never given a supplementary credit card, never asked my parents for money to go out with friends or to go shopping, took out a student loan for my university tuition and paid for all of my holidays with my own hard work even if it meant I had to take on three tutoring jobs. Granted, coming from an average family but attending international schools I grew up with privileged kids so while my ‘accomplishments’ seem like a huge deal compared to those around me, they’re nothing new to a lot of other people who come from lower-middle class families.
When I first started working, my mom (who is obviously way more open-minded) and I reached an agreement that she didn’t want money from me and that she’d be happy as long as I could support myself financially, but in return I promise to take care of them when they’re old or when they need the monetary help. I think that’s totally fair, as opposed to the archaic Chinese tradition of paying your parents a portion of your salary to show how much you care about them. I’ve always hated how in Chinese culture, money always represents something that should be emotional and sentimental - cash vouchers replacing wedding gifts, elders giving money to children for Chinese New Year, paying for meals for the mere purpose of giving face.. I just don’t get it.
I did a quick Google search to see what others think about the concept of 家用 in today’s society and it seems there are a lot of people who blindly agree that it’s an acceptable way to pay respect to your parents even if they don’t need the money because that’s what they’ve been taught (read: indoctrinated) to do, and that you’re essentially irresponsible, ungrateful and cheap if you don’t. One comment I read on a forum even said that the parents are better off getting financial aid from the government than having to ask/depend on their children for money.. even if the parents don’t actually need the money. What?
I’ll be moving out in the next few weeks, and have already planned to start a weekly ritual of treating my parents to Sunday dim sum lunches. I think that’s a far better way of showing how much I care and am willing to spend time with them than monthly bank transactions, psh.