As told to Trysh Banson
Art by Zo Canaria
Some parents really are a different breed.
There’s probably some saying, somewhere out there, that talks about how parents are parents as soon as they have to clean up some kare-kare colored substance that is most probably poop, get projectile barfed on, wake up at ungodly hours, or some other unseemly task that normal people would purposely avoid (or be forced to do if they’re stuck with very very very drunk friends).
Just as snowflakes are all unique little things, so are parents. In recent years, the term “TIGER MOM” came into existence, to describe the particular type of parent known for their “intense-supervision-and-intense-desire-to-produce-the-next-Einstein-or-supreme-ruler-of-the-world” parenting style stereotypically found amongst Chinese parents, a.k.a. the type of parents you would hate to have and maybe just might end up being (‘cause we’re all a buncha hypocrites).
Hypothetically, when we imagine the Tiger Mom, she’s got a bob cut. Not a single hair is out of place, her clothes are pressed to perfection and she only dresses in calm neutrals, in clothes that could never ever ever be mistaken as anything but conservative. She’s fluent in English, Filipino, Chinese and some Random European Language, and switches between the four based on the situation. English for everyday, Filipino for teaching you the basics of Florante at Laura, Random European Language for added sosyal-ness, and of course Chinese is for when she sees that her child is not in the 99++ percentile for his/her grade in math (just, you know, the 99+ percentile).
Though our hypothetical, stereotypical, Tiger mom lives in the middle of the city, where she can easily drive her kids to violin, piano, and Cantonese lessons in her super stylish yet functional minivan, our “Tiger Mom” (or better yet “Tiger Dad”) lives in Manila, and we’re still debating whether or whether not “Tiger Dad” is even an appropriate title for him.
While most kids live their teenage years doing things they will most probably look back on and laugh at (we’ve all seen your picture card) and things they will most probably regret (we know what you did last Bora), some kids didn’t.
Tricia had what could maybe be called a “Tiger Dad” — he’s insanely protective and any grade lower than a line of 90 means a slight reprimand and retrograde amnesia regarding all other grades that are above 90 and other previous achievements.
Just how protective is protective, the standard for Philippine law in taking care of anything is “With the diligence of a good father of a family”, so maybe he’s just being exactly that. But when you’re on the bus service to and from school — a school you live five minutes walking distance away from — while children in Japan start to ride trains alone at age four, well… you know.
Tricia thinks it might have something to do with being the “tester child”, the curse given to all firstborns as the parents (well, new parents) wade their way through the murky and sometimes tempestuous waters known as child rearing. Being a firstborn means that all your firsts are their firsts. You’re the first baby, the first to potty train, the first first day of school, the first teenager, and eventually the first to leave the house. All of which are insanely daunting tasks in the eyes of a parent, which may be why Tricia’s parents only let her attend her first sleepover and out of town trip this year… for Ecosoc Execomm Plansem… because she obviously couldn’t miss out.
Tricia also thinks it may have to do with her being a girl. Oh the joys of having two X chromosomes and a monthly visit from Lady M. As the oldest of two, Tricia can see the clear difference between how she’s treated and how her brother’s treated. When I asked her the golden question, “What about boyfriends?”, the answer was a Kris Aquino level LOL, followed by “Sobrang magagalit, feel ko.” On the other hand, her brother, who’s in second year high school, has full parental support and even help with some girl. He was also allowed to commute in second year high school, something Tricia only got to do sometime during college.
Some parents really are a different breed. Whether they have found another use for the “Find Your iPhone” app or just need a text when you get home, tiger parent or not, parents sometimes show us that they care in the weirdest of ways. It’s up to us to take it for what it is and just love them back.
This article was written about the life and times of Tricia Cañavaral. Tricia is a backwards vampire, and for a while had to be home before sundown (curfew lol). If you need any execomm number, just ask Tricia’s parents, as they’re all on their family’s ref, from when Tricia went to Execomm Plansem.
Trysh Banson is the Features Editor of Echoes. She is the founder of T.U.P.A.C. (The UP Adventure Club), which is basically the UP Mountaineers but minus the skills and double the fun. Her dad surprised her with a giant unicorn from S&R for Christmas.