By Koh Jia Jun 思含 选 闫春蕾 注
We all admit that modern technology has taken over our lives, for good of course. Us, being young people, rejoice at the breakneck speed technology can move at. But there are a group of people who cannot keep up— my parents.
Well, not just my parents. It is the group of people who are caught up between traditional and modern society, sort of like the middle child in technological advancement—not exactly old and resist change, but are trying very hard to become modernized, ending up being stuck in the middle. They range in the age of 40 to 60 (it’s a rough estimate) and holds the latest iPhone or Samsung phone, which were probably the only two brands they know. They are still wandering in the Candy Crush phase and the occasional sister-games produced by King.com. And more often than I like to admit, they buy an iPad just because
1. They can afford to, and
2. To play the same games on a larger screen
— nothing else.
They are almost like the teenagers five years ago, always on their phone with a mindless game or navigating through Facebook. Maybe it is just my country, I’m not sure, but it’s prevalent. And I saw something today that made me extremely sad.
It was a heartbreaking scene. On the train(or tube, subway, metro, whatever you call it), a mother was focused on playing a Candy Crush-like game with her daughter sitting beside her. The little girl, about five years old, was talking to her mother, about her day, chanting the next stop’s name cheerily, commenting on her mother’s long nails—obviously desperate attempts to get her mother’s attention.
The mother? All she did was nod and subconsciously mumble the occasional “Mm hm” and with her eyes glued to the screen, brows creased in intense concentration on how to use her remaining swipes to clear the level. I watched the girl gave a final attempt to at least get her mom to look at her, and to no avail, then she sighed and resigned defeat, falling silent.
It broke my heart, and got me wondering—what kind of game can make you forget you have the most beautiful thing in the world, a being you created, the person you love with all your heart? What it means when you can’t and won’t even look into her eyes and even bother to listen to her.
You might have many balls to juggle as an adult; but to her, you are likely her only ball.
This is not just an isolated example, I’ve seen too many during my public commute to know that this is a very depressing and prevalent sight. I might not be a parent myself, and probably still have a long way before becoming one, but I know what I saw wasn’t right.
The scene was so familiar years ago when it happened, when parents lament how their children were so affixed to their mobile devices that they gave up giving any shit about them. Look how the tables have turned when the slavery now gets passed to them. I’m uncertain whether to laugh or to cry.
But all I can do now is hope that this storm passes.