Today is the eve of the New Year, which means that for the next 15 days, there will be rounds of visiting and merry-making. There will be lots of alcohol, I hope. 

More and more these days, I see social media posts and ad campaigns about how to respond to relatives who ask prying, personal questions like: when are you getting married, why so fat already, how much money you making now? 

We see these questions as annoying. But lately, I’ve realised that perhaps these questions are the only words our elders have to express how they feel. 

When they ask “when are you getting married”, they’re really saying, “I hope you have someone to look after you.”

Any questions related to size and weight mean “I want you to be healthy.”

And when they ask how much money you’re earning, what they actually want to say is, “Are you happy? Is life treating you well?” 

Having lost family members throughout the years, I’ve begun to appreciate even more the ones who are left. 

When I listen with my ears, it’s easy to become annoyed. But when I listen with my heart, I can hear all their wishes of love, concern and good intentions. 

And instead of annoyance, I am grateful that they are still around. 

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