On the train home this afternoon, I sat next to one student who was talking to her friend in the next seat. It was almost three o'clock when most schools finish around that time. Loud, unrestrained and outspoken, she interspersed her sentences with at least one f_ _ _ k (verb) or one f_ _ _ ing (adjective) or sh_t (noun) almost every two to three minutes. I had to endure this conversation between this two Caucasian high school girls for close to twenty minutes. In between talks, one of them would wave to her male friends who were sitting in nearby seats. Before I could pull out my earphones in an attempt to save my ears, here are some lines I heard - loud and clear. "Eff it, I thought I was pregnant! Haven't had sex for weeks now!" Maybe she was just trying to impress her friend. Maybe it was true, I don't know. Whatever the truth is, I don't think the current situation with most youths (regardless if they are Caucasians, Asians, Africans or Latinos) is very encouraging at all.
Well, that (the above paragraph) was what I had heard on the train. Now, I am at the local library in my suburb. Next to me, on my right, is an empty seat. Next to that empty seat is a Chinese man in his fifties. This man is a private tutor who gives personal tuition to high school kids - mostly Asians. He can be seen usually in the evenings when students finish school. Today, I don't see him tutoring any students. A few minutes ago, a woman came in and talked to him. She's the mother of the tutor's student who did not turn up. This woman spoke really softly in a worried tone. I did not get to see her face as she was looking the other way (facing the tutor. The tutor kept telling her 'no problem (mei wenti la) and suggested that maybe he forgot about the tuition today bla bla bla. The mom kept apologizing and told the tutor that her son have always been lying to her - never told her his exact timetable whether for his classes or for his school exams. Then the woman left. The tutor is now reading some articles on the computer.
Just a snapshot of what life is like here in a Melbourne suburb on an ordinary Thursday afternoon. Personal reflections for the train story? Had the girls' parents been stricter about how they should talk, there probably would have been less or no f words in their dialogue. As for the tutor story, had the absent boy's parents not pushed him too hard, probably he would not have lied to his parents.
Note: This blog post is just a personal account of what the writer experienced today. It is by no means an attempt to stereotype or implicate people from any cultural backgrounds. This post is also not intended to be judgemental or conclusive about what the writer saw, heard or reflected other than just reporting the writer's observations and personal interpretations.