Very often, we hear psychologists or family experts giving the ubiquitous phrase, “You should spend quality time with your children”. But what does quality time mean, exactly? I was just at McDonald’s having supper after water polo training (wah sibei siong – 3 hours of ancient torture), and beside us sat this perfect nuclear family – 2 parents with one boy and one girl. The first thing I noticed was that they were out at McDonald’s at 11pm, and the kids were aged about 9 and 14 by my guess. When I was their age, I never stayed up past 11! But anyway, the interesting thing was that after buying their drinks, the four of them just sat there without talking. The father and son each had brought their laptops, and were respectively engrossed in their own things. On the other side, the mother sat reading the Straits Times, and the daughter a novel.
I’m not sure exactly how psychologists or experts would classify this type of family time – is it genuine family bonding time, or is it merely another regrettable outcome of our fast-paced, digital lifestyle? I mean, you could see it both ways. The whole family evidently made a concerted effort to troop down to McDonald’s so that they could spend time together. I’m sure they could have remained at home in their own rooms doing exactly the same activities – but instead they made the effort to do them together, so isn’t it genuine bonding time? But then again, they were all engaged in individual pursuits with very little interpersonal interaction – how can a family bond without interacting? Haha, yes, quite a philosophical post! But I just found it intriguing. Personally, I think I’d enjoy this kind of family time.
To make this post more visual, I have attached a photo of McDonald’s food. Incidentally, this is a typical McDonald’s meal in Hong Kong. They serve the option of Iced Milk Tea with your meal – I’m jealous! They should offer that in Singapore. Also, this is their version of a McMuffin, with a fried chicken fillet topped with scrambled eggs. Interesting, huh! Oh, and something really scary about McDonald’s. I went to wash my hands in Hong Kong McDonald’s, and it was exactly the same soap they used in Singapore! It smelt identical! Talk about freaky monopolistic suppliers. No wonder it’s hard for franchises to innovate, as almost all their supplies are dictated by the parent company.