peer pressure

November 3, 2010

On the plane I watched this show called Malam Nada Biru featuring the Malaysian talentΒ Yuna. Her voice is so distinct and I feel proud that we have a personality that stays true to her roots by covering up with a headscarf, yet is so world-class in her talent.

One song in particular that caught me was called Peer Pressure. It’s quite a catchy song actually!

I remember having a chat with my friends when we heard about 12 year olds going clubbing. We were all like what?!! How?? Why?!! When I was 12, I was still trying to figure out training bras. No time for Zouk (or whatever the cool club is now).

Peer pressure. That’s it. You see your friend doing it, she makes it seem cool and there’s this itch that makes you desperate to do it too.

And you know what…it’s inevitable. Every kid goes through it. If you say you’ve never felt peer pressure, you probably just want to sound strong or you were probably that kid who sat alone during recess with a thick book. I’ve had my share of peer pressure too. All of us have!

I would be lying if I never wondered what happens after you eat magic mushrooms, or come home drunk at 5 am on consecutive nights. Heck, when I was in school, some of the cool people smoked and they made black lungs seem so cool!!

If there are any younger readers here, let me tell you that it’s ok. It’s ok to think about it, it’s ok to ask questions and be curious. You need to be aware of all these things, not shy away from them. Only then you can decide for yourself what looks stupid or what doesn’t. Whether or not tumbling down the stairs is sexy or puking by the side of the road is elegant.

I’ve done some pretty stupid things myself. Things I’m not proud of until today! (Your history stays with your forever, you know?).. I was a very cunning child who gave my parents headaches. I hated the lack of freedom when all my friends seemed to have theirs!

Even as a little kid!!

I would devise ways to beat their strict system and sometimes, I would succeed. The wrinkles on my parents’ faces; those were my doing. Parents need to understand that it’s all a phase. You need to let your child make mistakes but be very aware of the limit.

What helped me go through peer pressure was that I stayed close to my parents. My parents are very strict, but they were very approachable and understanding. They knew as a curious and stubborn child, I would ask questions. Why I can’t do it, but my friends can….all that double-standard-why-do-you-guys-hate-me stuff.

At the end of the day, even as a growing child, you need to think long term. You can be all crazy and fun-loving, but always be mature. The minute you have doubts about something, your brain is telling you something. Be cool, but stay true to your principles. Stay with your friends. Even if they are doing something you don’t agree, respect them, love them, grow old with them. Don’t impose your principles on them and don’t tell them what to do. Check the mirror because it’s almost accurate that we’re not so perfect either. *ahem* nasty PD haters always telling PD what to do *ahem*

Just focus on sorting ourselves out first. It’s such a scary world for younger teenagers now. Babies being thrown away everyday! Gossip Girl telling us it’s ok to sleep around and snap at our parents. I watched Super Sweet 16 with my dad and all these bratty kids swearing and shouting at their parents for not getting them that Mercedes they wanted. I swear his jaw opened the whole time! And he was so nice to me the whole day after that. (That’s right, parents! Count your blessings. It’s most likely your kids are a lot better than many! So don’t be so hard on them.)

My dad always tells me, “If you get in trouble because of your own stupidity, then that’s your choice. But don’t get others in trouble because of your stupidity.”

In anything you do, you involve your parents because you’re a reflection of them. So if you don’t love yourself, at least love your parents. That’s what I’ve come to realize.

You never know who you might end up becoming one day. An icon, a superstar, the prime minister for God’s sake! Someone people look up to. By that time, you’re a strong career-minded person with good values. You really don’t want to spoil that image by having a photo of your younger self hugging a life-size vodka bottle with eyes closed and legs opened.