Monday, December 5, 2011

Leave the Kids at Home.

The other night I went out to eat at a neighborhood restaurant and expected to have a very relaxing evening. I was going out alone, as all my friends were busy and I just wanted a quiet evening alone, so I could enjoy having a few beers and taking in the scenery. It was about 8 o'clock in the evening and when I first entered the restaurant there were only a couple of lone patrons, also sitting alone.

I must tell you that I live in Penang, Malaysia, where most people go to food courts and hawker stands where the local food is very good and cheap. They also have the tendency to bring their children with them. The restaurant I went to was more or less a medium priced restaurant selling both local and Malaysian style Western food.  I was enjoying a cold beer and a plate of beef stew and was thinking of ordering a few more beers after dinner and just kicking back relaxing. Suddenly the calm ambiance was shattered by a family of 2 parents, 2 grandparents and 4 screaming miserable little brats,under the age of 4.

One kid was stomping up and down the wooden floor as her grandfather stupidly looked with delight at her obnoxious behavior. One little boy was not crying, but just screaming for no reason at all. The other 2 kids were pounding on the aquarium in the restaurant, terrifying the poor fish. I am sure the owner did not appreciate this, as these fish were by no means cheap. The ignorant adults made no attempt to discipline the children, but smiled and actually encouraged their behavior.  I was amazed at their stupidity and complete lack or respect for the other patrons of the restaurant. They definitely lacked any kind of parenting skills.

At home this type of behavior would not be condoned in a restaurant other that fast food chains or family friendly restaurants. If someone wants a quiet meal back home they know better than to go to such family friendly restaurants. Also back home, it would be considered abusive or neglectful to keep children awake so late at night. Most children I know of go to bed about 8 PM, but here it is quite common to see them falling asleep when they are out with their parents at 11 or 12 at night. I know this is a different culture, but I still think forcing kids to stay up all night and not disciplining them for unacceptable behavior in public is a form of neglect.

Needless to say I did not order another beer, but instead I went home in complete disgust. The only thing that made me feel better was the knowledge that these ignorant adults will have to live with these kids, who are destined to grow up to be selfish, spoiled and undisciplined teenagers.

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