A friend emailed to say that he may be going to work in the Middle east, in Saudi to be precise.
I wrote back to say that I have never liked that country myself. I find the oppression of women quite unacceptable, and I feel that the country is on the whole quite backward.
No he said, he is quite looking forward to the experience, besides, he said; there are quite a few good things in that culture,respect for old age is one.In this country,he continued,we do not care or respect our older generation.They are,at times treated with contempt.
I thought he did have a point there. Having grown up in India, I know what he means.When I was younger and was nursing in this country,I loved sitting and talking to the older patients,who had some fantastic stories to tell. But were quite lonely in theirlives.
The attitudes in the Eastern society are very different. I think the religions there dictate that parents should be revered. There is meant to be a great debt of gratitude to be repaid to them.Mothers especially almost get the status of a deity(no chance of that for me!).
So how does that comes about? As I have said every eastern religion preaches this,then it is the society which is some extent quite interfering and you are pilloried if you fail in this duty.And of course the Bollywood films encourage this,and so does the television.So those are expectations and the reinforcements. No old person ever lives on their own,you will never see an old person fetching their shopping for themselves.If the family is not there then the neighbours or acquiescences rally round.
I often see old people here,some of whom can barely walk.trying to take their groceries home,sitting on their own day in and day out,waiting for someone to drop in.
Is this the ideal way to grow old? Was it always this way in the western society,or have we carried the concept of “freedom” too far? Do you believe that the images we portray through the media do affect the way we conduct ourselves.
So how do you feel about this issue,and would you like to grow old on your own or would you like to be near your children,and is that a good/bad thing?
As for me,I have not made up my mind yet!