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November 20, 2005

Comments

Skunkeye

yikes... I certainly stayed with my folks too long (on and off). The real estate situation in DC is simlar to London - maybe worse - there's no possible way I can afford to buy when studios are going for 300-400K. I'm renting of course, but what I'm paying is ridiculous and does not leave room for very much else in my life (travel, and um..children...)
She's Leaving home is perhaps m favorite track off of Sgt. Pepper - thanks for posting the lyrics.

torn

I don’t think you can be too prescriptive about the “right” time to leave home; these are your parents after all. If the parents and the child can see through the latter’s often awkward transition into adulthood together, and change their relationship accordingly, that’s a great thing. I am sure that in many ways the friend whose e-mail sparked my post is glad his daughter is still around, as were yours. And your circumstances were atypical — moving around the world and staying in official residences, and sharing all that with you parents, is not quite the same as rubbing together in a two up two down for year after all.

It seems to me though that over the past 30 years the nexus of power in many families has shifted down a generation. In many cases it seems to be the teenage kids and young adults that make the rules (but perhaps every generation thinks that).

I’ve been humming “she’s leaving home” all day. Slipping a slice of social realism like that into a surreal project like Sergeant Pepper’s is a mark of genius I think (and that’s from someone who wouldn’t call himself a huge Beatles fan).

gonzo

I'd forgotten about that tune, thanks for reminding me. &^*@#! poignant i have to say.

As for the phenom of kids leaving the nest a lot later these days, my opinion is that it really does depend on your relationship with your folks. As an Asian i always found it a bit cold to hear of the Western tradition of booting out the kids when they hit 18. I seem to always think of it in terms of a maturing capitalist Western economy, where people are only as useful as their economic output.

I don't mean to simplify complex human relationships into black&white stereotypes but in the West they put old people who have outlived their years of economic productivity into nursing homes, and are generally seen as a burden on society. in asia, old people are revered and respected for their wisdom, acquired through years of living on this Earth.

Maybe the late age that kids are leaving home these days isn't such a bad thing. Maybe we need to think less in terms of a person's economic value and more in terms of family. But what do i know, my family is a masterpiece of dysfunction and screaming arguments, hahaha.

Frayed

I left home at 30 yrs old but by Manila standards, that's actually young for a woman. Most of my friends still live with their parents (or with their parents' financial support) til they get married. Some even after.

One of the things I value most is freedom and independence. There's just nothing like being able to do things without having to ask anyone's permission, fix your own place up, pay your own bills (I really don't mind). Oh, and I finally grew up. I doubt if I would have if I stayed. I have never looked back, don't think I ever will.

Btw, that Is one of the greatest songs of the Beatles (but that's coming from a huge Beatles fan)

dayuhan

I don't think there ever was a "western tradition of booting out the kids when they turn 18". When I was growing up, 18 wasn't when you got booted out, 18 was when they couldn't force you to stay any longer. I couldn't imagine staying in my parents' house a day longer than I had to: not that I disliked or quarreled with them, but there were things I wanted to do that I couldn't do under their roof. That feeling was, as far as I could tell, pretty much universal in my generation.

Of course it meant a pretty ragged life, but freedom was worth it.

The current trend of kids staying on comes, I think, from two places. First, parents are a lot more permissive than they used to be. If kids can't smoke dope or get laid in their parents' house, they are a lot more likely to go elsewhere. Second, kids are pretty spoiled. This is particularly the case in the Philippines, where a lot of young people, particularly from the middle classes, are unwilling to accept the reduction in lifestyle that comes with leaving the nest. A lot of Pinoy youth, raised with maids waiting on them, are simply unable to take care of themselves: it's not just that they don't want to cook their own food and clean up their own mess, they don't even know how.

Pascale

It sounds familiar to me. No, I'm away from home (I was 23 actually as I left). In France, this phenomenon is well known to (rents are high in Paris too...) and these people are called "génération Tanguy". After the movie "Tanguy" by Etienne Chatiliez (remember Life is a long quiet river?). This film from 2001 is about Tanguy, a very nice "kid" of 28 years still leaving with his parents. The only thing is: his parents cannot stand him any more. And try their best to make his life unbearable at home. So that he leaves at least. Not easy, this is quite a conflict...

torn

No doubt Westerners deserve it for all the generalizing about other cultures that they have done over the years, but this notion that "in the West they put old people who have outlived their years of economic productivity into nursing homes" is a very inaccurate stereotype. This view has been so successfully propagated by Lee Kuan Yew and other proponents of “the Asian way” that most people east of Suez take it to be gospel, but in my experience it is completely false. I know many people in Britain who have made huge sacrifices, financially and otherwise, to care for aging relatives (not necessarily even parents). An American friend of mine in Manila is almost literally killing himself to keep his father-in-law on life support – every penny he earns goes into this endeavour. That’s an extreme example but in my experience the attitude of Westerners and Asians towards their elderly parents is very similar: some do almost nothing, some do a bit, and some are heroic.

The Asian take on Western attitudes to the old is classic case of seeing something different and assuming it is inferior.

Lee Kuan Yew might like to ask himself whether an old person living in “sheltered housing” in Britain (which is often very nice and a far cry from the nursing homes of many Asians’ imagination) actually has more dignity than granny kept cooped up in a back room in a Singapore HDB apartment and wheeled out for family reunions.

And Filipinos might also ask themselves how much their willingness to take in elderly parents depends on being able to recruit an army from the underclass to do their dirty work for them.

But we are all at least agreed that it is a great song, just wish I owned it!

gonzo

seems a touchy subject this caring for the aged. But i suppose you're right, torn, individual families have different approaches on caring for their senior members and it really doesn't matter what neck of the woods you're from.

And frankly, it is much easier in Asia (or at least in 'developing countries asia') to care for the old, as we have, as you say, an army of househelp from the underclasses.

But the subject is kids staying on longer with their parents.I suppose again it's all subjective, and all depends on what you prefer as a parent: empty nest or full house. (Sounds like competing tv sitcoms).

I have noticed that some parents (i.e. extremely wealthy ones) prefer to have their kids around, makes the golden years a bit less lonely. Others couldn't give a hoot, but in general, at least in this country, noone is booted out of the house based on age bracket. it's the local culture. And i don't think you will argue when i say that you still see less of this in the West, even with the latest socio-economic developments you've described.

torn

Sorry if this appears argumentative, but I think I'm with Dayuhan on this. It is very rare for anyone to be "booted out". Heavy hints perhaps, but I think there is a stigma against actually ejecting kids. the fact is that, at least when Dayuhan and I were growing up in the late medieval period, neither side would want the children to carry on living at home. It just seemed "natural" to us for kids to leave home -- though it appears that that was just a temporary phenomenon.

[But from what Pascale says, "booting out" is not unknown in France -- or perhaps the movie Tanguy just reflected a deep yearning among some parents for "independence", rather than depicting an actual situation .]

I actually believe that children staying at home into adulthood in the Internet and "one TV in every room" era may lead to all kinds of weird pathologies. As always, Japan is in the forefront of this. A whole class "shut-ins" has evolved.

Check this out:

TOKYO—Akiko Abe has barely seen her 25-year-old son in six years, yet they live in the same small house. He leaves his room only when he's sure his parents are out or asleep, she said. She can tell when he has used the kitchen, and she knows he goes to the living room to watch television and use the computer at night.

She has waited patiently for him to tire of his isolation, sometimes standing outside his door and talking, to herself as much as to him. But, afraid that many more years would pass like this, she finally approached an organization that works with shut-ins by making home visits. It will be difficult, because he won't open his door, she said quietly.

As many as a million Japanese—most of them young men—are considered shut-ins, either literally cloistered in their rooms or refusing to work and avoiding all social contact for periods ranging from six months to more than 10 years. Forty-one percent live reclusively for one to five years, according to a government survey.

Some shut-ins suffer from such illnesses as depression, agoraphobia or schizophrenia. But experts say the vast majority shut themselves up at home for six months or more without showing any other signs of neurological or psychiatric disorder.

More at: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/55a/547.html

gonzo

Well, you have to admit-- news of weird behaviour coming out of japan isn't exactly rare. I mean, look at the themes that run through their porn videos (not that i'm an expert haha) . And what's with the schoolgirls' used knickers fetish?

I think citizens within Japanese society, it being a first world nation with a mature capitalist economy, are vulnerable to similar feelings of alienation and loneliness as in the West.

I actually have an uncle--he must be pushing 60 now-- who himself was a shut-in. I remember he would go straight from work to his room, in his mother's house (she must've been in her mid-80s then) and not come out til the next morning, and go straight to work. Very weird. But this was in san francisco and they had been living in the US for decades, so they were no longer your typical filipino family...

frayed

Gonzo, you make not-getting-booted-out sound like a good thing, but I really don't think it is. I think it's more harmful than good. While it might appear good for both parties on the surface (the aged get to have company if they like their kids, the kids save money), it can't be good for the kids. Because these "kids" will always stay kids way into their 30's and 40's (or throughout their lives). They'll still be the spoiled brats they were with not much responsibilities and decision-making (well, they might have to decide which side of the garage to park their car or something but that wouldn't be much of a major decision). This cannot be a good thing.

torn

I don't think you can generalize about this one way or the other. A kid could leave home, learn self reliance, become the world's greatest pastry chef, whatever. Equally, he or she could end up miserable and lonely, become a petty criminal, drug addict, sex offender, whatever. What works for Peter may not work for Paul.

Perhaps he or she could beome the world's greatest pastry chef, a miserable petty criminal, AND a self-reliant drug addict. That would be interesting.

cedricdunstable

Glad to see that our domestic arrangements aroused a deal of interest.
An observation from the comments of those above.
The only reason I would ever want to 'boot' one of my children out, would be so that they could 'cut the apron strings' and become truly independent.
While kids (young adults @ 23!) remain at home, they can still be wilful/disrespectful, and similarly you will, at times, treat them as 'kids'. A situation which is no good for either party.
But then this comes from someone who hasn't grown up yet @48

dunzo

Nice tune btw

torn

Hi cedric/dunzo -- bienvenue a la wild and wonderful world of Philippine blogging!

Just one thing to add to my post of last night. Frayed said this morning "so leaving home is not good for someone who is psychologically insecure" and I can see that could be an interpretation of what I said. While that is probably true, I don't want to frame this wholly in negative terms. People don't just stay at home because they can't handle "outside"; many stay there because they love their parents and feel comfortable living with them. Everyone will have their own reason for leaving or staying.

dayuhan

Late Medieval, speak for yourself... early Reformation, in my case.

It amuses me to hear young people say they are staying on with their parents because buying/renting housing is too expensive. I moved out at 17, and for the next 5 years could carry everything I owned in a backpack and a guitar case. Slept on a lot of floors, shared nasty little places on the wrong side of the tracks. It's not about money, it's about the willingness to live rough in exchange for freedom. Living rough is also a fairly educational experience, one that a fair number of young people these days aren't getting. Some may say they are lucky, I'd say they're deprived.

I've had many conversations with upper and upper middle class Manilans about what appears to me to be the habit of spoiling the youth. They see it very differently: to them, if you love your children you buy them everything they want and ask nothing of them; they feel that expecting children to help out in the house and earn money to buy their own goods is indicative of a lesser affection for the youth. To me it's the opposite: if you really love your kids you prepare them for life in the real world and teach them the skills they will need, rather than sheltering them and fussing over them, which in the long run does more harm than good.

Cultural thing, I guess. Possibly one reason why I choose to live in Sagada, a place where even well-off people often don't have maids, where self-respecting people do their own physical work, and where teenagers still do chores. A little more like home, and I'd much rather have my kids here than in an urban subdivision...

frayed

I totally agree with Dayuhan on this one

gonzo

you live in sagada, wow ...what's the food like?

dayuhan

We eat pretty well in Sagada... vegetables of course are very fresh, though no seafood to speak of. There are a couple of good restaurants, though I generally do my own marketing and cooking. There's a French chef who has settled here, bakes bread 3 times a week and puts out a buffet at one of the restaurants on Saturdays... I guess all around we're pretty spoiled. Pace of life is pretty slow, so a lot of us grow our own herbs, spend time thinking of ways to use them, and invite each other to dinner a lot. Really a different world culturally; Igorots are very different from the lowlanders. Not for everybody, but I like it...

gonzo

Fascinating... the dumb thing is i've never been to sagada. Stupid, really. What is the best way these days to get there? and what's a good place to stay? Is the info on the lonely planet guide reliable?

Joey

As a mid-20's Filipino I have to say that the biggest impetus for me to leave was the house was so I can have a good, decent place to get laid where I don't have to worry about my mom or baby sister coming in my room accidentally while I have female company. Consider as well that my parents are typical, conservative, religous types.

Now I got my own place, it's clean and decent, but with a killer rent, where I could make all the love noise that I want. Before my options were to take dad's car and hit it in a parking lot somewhere or get a motel (yikes!). or wait til my parents are out.

Makes me wonder how my fellow Filipinos get laid living with their parents.

dayuhan

Getting to Sagada takes a fair bit of time. Driving gives the most freedom, but you need to drive something capable of handling fairly rough roads. Two ways to get there. One is through Baguio: once there, if taking public transport you look for the Dangwa bus terminal, behind Center Mall on Magsaysay St. The Sagada bus is Lizardo Trans., trips start at 5 AM, last trip is 1 PM. The buses are by no means luxurious, but a good deal more comfortable than the ones that ran that route 15 years ago. The first 2/3 of the trip is mostly cement, after that it's dirt road. If you're driving, just go out to La Trinidad and keep going straight. Turn left to Sagada 6 hrs later, about 9km after Sabangan town.

The other route is through Banaue; this is quicker if you drive but public transport requires several changes. Best bus option is the once-a-day Cable Tours trip leaving Trinity College in QC and going straight to Bontoc. From there it's a 1 hr jeepney ride to Sagada. Or take a bus to Banaue, another to Bontoc, and jeep to Sagada. If driving, it's NLEX to the exit for Cabanatuan and Cagayan valley, then north until just after Solano, where you go left toward Banaue and Bontoc.

Simple rooms start at about P150, that's with common bath. Working up the price scale, for about 800-1000 you can get private bath and hot shower (gets chilly here), and the top of the line would be private cottages, smoe even with fireplace, for 2-3000.

Haven't seen the Lonely Planet guide, not sure how reliable it is. I'd guess good enough on the basics (most of the reputable guides are), but maybe outdated on prices, and almost certainly not mentioning many of the best hikes, etc.

Best to have at least 5 days or so for the trip; it's hardly worth 12 hours of travel each way to spend less time than that.

lucy

As a 27 year old who has worked overseas and used her mother's house as a temporary resting place for several months at a time between jobs I can see both sides of the story. I would rather have lived independently but when you get back from Manila and have no job lined up it kinda seems sensible to go take up the free accommodation on offer. More importantly there's no contract when you live at home, even if you do pay rent (as I did once I found a job). Contracts tie you down and if you don't know where life is taking you you can't afford to get tied down.

I'm now independent again though a student, and it's great. Then again, living with mum was great too as my parents are divorced, she's on her own and likes the company, and we're both into many of the same things (not sure what that says about us! I think my mum is way cool and I'm prematurely old). However recently she's been seeing a man friend (yes, in THAT way) so I would not be wanted!!!! I think living at home post-college has worked wonderfully for me but I won't be going back... you do need to move on as soon as you're financially able.

Jon Limjap

Hey torn, frayed, been a while since I hit this place.

I kind of live in an ironically reversed set of circumstances; I learned about leaving the house and being sort-of-independent when I was 13, when I lived in a dorm to go to highschool at the other end of the metropolis at the time the MRT was still a dream being dug out of the ground. I cherished the independence, learned a lot from that. But I went back home for college since the university is just a 20 minute ride from home.

I'm still here. In a way I'm "guilty" of the not moving out thing, in that at 23 I got married and "moved-in" two people with my parents; my wife and my daughter. My parents didn't mind though; at least both my wife and I are working, and even my mom says it's more efficient this way.

We share bills, share the nanny/househelp, we buy the rice and cooking gas and pay for the internet aside from our own phone bills. My daughter gets to grow up around relatives (as opposed to growing up inside a house alone with only the nanny around all day... the thought makes me shudder), which is good considering the lack of viable options like proper daycare facilities in this country.

But my wife and I know our limitations. It is a conscious thought that we oughta find a place of our own by the time we decide to have a second child (another won't fit in this house). We're dreaming about moving to the province and taking up a business that would involve export; the cost of living is cheaper, and you'd live like a king if you have a lucrative sustainable source of income.

Let's see how this goes... I'm 25 right now. Hopefully we're out of here before we hit 28.

Que sera sera...

Accommodation San Francisco

You know, if you lived in Russia, there everything depends on whether there is a possibility to leave parent's home. As far as I know, there's a huge problem to find money to afford oneself a place to stay...

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