Monday, 12 July 2010

Do you have an older sibling? Or perhaps you're the younger sibling?

I think most people do not realise how much their younger siblings look up to them. I remember that when I was young, I wanted almost everything that my older sister had. Some of them are even downright embarrassing. She went for Japanese classes, I wanted in too. She performed in a musical (I think!), and I wanted to as well.

From recounts told by my mother, and of my own experiences, I have come to the conclusion that my sister probably has the maturity of someone older. Although she goes through normal phases in life, and has the mannerisms of someone her age (or younger), in some ways she reacts to situations in a very different way.

Sometimes I think she has the intelligence of a genius. Growing up, I had to ask her to set up a toy train track for me, which was in the simple shape of an oval. Mum had always said that while my sister analysed problems, I rush into it without thinking first, and if it doesn't work, then I give up. So of course, she could build the track.

But that's not all. For years she also acted as my translator. You see, for a short while in my early years my grandmother took care of both of us while Mum went to work. Unfortunately, I spoke only English, whereas my grandmother spoke only Cantonese. So (according to my mum) whenever I want something or want to tell my grandmother something, or perhaps she me, Sis had to do the translation, as she spoke both languages. This probably continued till I picked up some Cantonese myself, or if the parents are around.

You can probably tell that she has a good grasp of language. I was told that she was reading Enid Blyton books when, at the same age, I was only learning 'this is Peter. This is Jane' (Mum later said that if she were to flip back one page, I would not recall how to read those sentences). Of course, she, too, picked up Hokkien (to converse with my maternal grandparents) faster than me. And that was probably why, coupled with the fact that she's older, that she could always beat me in arguments when we were little. I remember that I got so frustrated every time she managed to silence me, that finally, when the day came that I turned the tables on her, I was ecstatic (though I must say I used her way of arguing against her).

Sis was also a protector of sorts. Throughout my childhood, there was always someone looking out for me. When my parents could not do the job, like when I followed her into her Sunday School classes, or when we went to functions where the children were separated from their parents, most of the time that responsibility fell on her. I probably stuck to her a lot too, considering how shy and timid I was! I remember once when I had vomited during my Sunday School class, and although I had cleaned myself up, I went looking for her as the parents are normally hard to find, especially around the temple.

Throughout the years, we grew into very different individuals, but we still went through many phases in life the same way. We look totally different from each other, behave very differently as well, but beneath that all, is a degree of similarity that I believe only siblings can have.

Happy Birthday, Sis.
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