Right, so everyone knows the stereotypical Asian parent that only wants straight A students, with a glitteringly bright career in medicine or sciences or even law, as children.
Quite frankly, they aren’t the only ones with that stereotype attached to their names.
In an Indian family (here in South Africa at least, if you tell your father you want to study anything other than a law, medical or business/accountancy degree it’s like a mini world war 3 in your home.
I personally had no aptitude for business or accounting so conflict arose at the end of my Grade 9 Year as Subject choices for the following three years would be taking place.
The 4 compulsory subjects where:
– Life orientation
And a choice between either
– Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
( Stern Indian father says – Mathematics, no questions, queries or arguments)
The subject choices my school offered:
– Life Sciences (Biology)
– Physical sciences
– Computer Applications and Technology
– Home economics
And last but not least
– Music (Only for students who had at least 3 years experience playing an instrument/could Sing)
Being 15 and confused (to an extent) I went with an obvious choice, Bio. Physics I took since I actually loved chemistry (and my father’s hopes for a doctor rose) and then came my final choice. Business and myself did not get along at all nor could I even begin to hope that I might be blessed with the typically Indian love for accounting and all things money, so I chose Computer Applications and Technology , Man did my father have a fit.
I mean my aunt was held up to me as some sort of Idol as she’s this big shot accountant or actuarial scientist or whatever. Even the son of one of my dads friends (The one I met at the career fair)as I’ve mentioned before HE was always off at uni or whatever being a brainiac actuarial-scientist –to-be and he was always the “idol” held up to me, a girl with an Indian dad and one who wasn’t following the norm and doing anything in medical, financial or law related fields
Eventually my dad agreed, falling back on a long (self) nursed hope that I would study Law when the time came. It wasn’t like he was 7 credits short of graduating or anything. Also he knew I (in my intense boredom and love of reading) would read his Law textbooks and various case studies (as much as he used to complain about it, I knew he didn’t mind). High school almost at an end and I had to make my choice, filling in various application forms etc
My marks weren’t the best, but they were okay enough for me to gain acceptance into university.
When I told my dad I was doing a Bachelor of Arts degree, I thought he might have a stroke. When I told my dad I was taking only languages, foreign ones at that, I was certain he might just drop dead. Then came the arguments. About how wrong the degree was, and if I make nothing of it he’d cut me off. Eventually he came around to it though and well here I am.
Another beautiful example of an Indian stereotype in South Africa, “all” Durban Indian males drive a vehicle that’s been supped up to the max and have more gel in their hair than actual hair follicles.
As one my one friend said, He’s not Indian, “Cape Town Indians don’t drive a Toyota, there’s no gel in my hair and my car isn’t suped up like space craft and look! Proper pants”
Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like, if I let my parents live their dreams through me.
My choices may not be right, but they are my own.
As typically “un-Indian” as I may be, I’m content.
Nothing is worth more than that
On a side note: There is money to be made in translation and interpretation, so THERE! :p