Singaporean Grandmother Advice

It’s easy to dismiss advice from our elders, claiming that the struggles faced back then were completely different from the ones we face today. However, certain struggles in matters such as love and responsibilities may transcend time.

They say experience is the best teacher, but that experience doesn’t have to be your own.  Here are 20 Singaporean millennials who shared with us the best advice they received from grandma on “How To Life 101”.

Looks will get you to places but it’s not everything

It may seem easier to use your looks to get to places when you’re young and beautiful but it’s temporary. Since young, my grandma has ingrained in me the need to focus on building up my character, intelligence and compassion to feel empowered—not my looks.
Neha S.

Screwing up is part and parcel of growing up

My grandma tells me that screwing up is part of your 20s. There’s no way around it. You have to slowly find your own rhythm in life and not rush it. And if you do mess up, who cares? Just laugh it off and get on with life.
G. Wee

My grandma says that life is like a river; we have to enjoy it when it’s calm and ride the tide when it gets bumpy. We may feel that being in our 20s is the “make or break” period, but these are the years for you to build your character and learn. So don’t fight the current and go with the flow.
Naeha Sitara 

She always tells me “don’t be afraid of anything and let life take its course.” Maybe that’s why I’m so chill all the time.
Adriel Nee

What to look for in a man

She said a man must love you more than you love him, and never date a mama’s boy or you’ll have to mother him.
V. Lim

If a guy treats the waiter badly on the first date, don’t get together with him. And learn how to cook good food.
Natasha Conceicao

Be careful who you listen to

Over the years, my grandma has learnt through the hard way that although everyone has an opinion on everything, they might not be the best in giving advice. She tells me that some of them might not even mean good and hence, to be careful of who I listen to.
Maddy Chua

A break up isn’t the end of the world

My maternal grandma says do whatever you want, just be happy and don’t hurt anyone. Eat well, rest well and don’t think that the guy you love is the answer to happiness. If he leaves, it’s not the end of the world. My paternal grandma just questions whether my nose looks sharp in Hokkien dialect—on a regular basis as if my natural bone structure miraculously changed overnight. But on a serious note, she just thinks that a girl has to look good and carry herself well.
Chev C.

Balance your responsibilities

My grandma’s recipe for success is having balance. Even if you’re a successful business woman, you still need to know how to help with house chores.
Stef Pan

People will challenge your beliefs, but pick your battles wisely

I’m usually very soft-spoken and people tend to push me around. But one day, grandma told me that people will continue to challenge my beliefs—be it my friends, colleagues, even my own family. If I truly feel that my beliefs are worth fighting for, I should speak out. But that doesn’t mean you do it by blindly arguing with others. She told me to always pick and choose my battles; to rationally explain myself and make them respect my decisions.
Zariya A.

Always be kind to everyone you meet because you never know the burdens they carry.
Lynnette Lee

Don’t rush to settle down

During CNY visits, it’s common for nosy relatives to ask about relationships and if you’re single and if so, why. Instead of wishing me good luck and fortune with finding a good boyfriend, which was what I expected, my grandma said, “Find a good university instead of a good boyfriend; it’s better in the long run.” Considering how the women on my mum’s side of the family married early and had kids young, she wanted me to find success for myself, regardless of my relationship status.
Charlene Goh

Sleeping in until noon on a weekend won’t happen once you have kids. Enjoy it while it lasts. Wise words from my grandmother.
Mathu S.

My grandma always tells me to be discerning about people and settle down only if I truly believe it is the right guy.
Annadine Yeo

From my grandma, I learnt that you can’t have anything if you put nothing into a relationship. So don’t be selfish.
Denise Tan

Family comes first

My grandmother told me, “Always treat your parents right no matter how old they become. I had to give them everything in my power because they were the ones who gave me life.”
Steph Neo

My grandma said blood is thicker than water. Regardless of how much you may hate your relatives, you must always keep them close. If someone pisses you off, just whack them over the head.
Lynette Yeo

I know it’s cool to be a rebel nowadays and not listen to our mothers but you can’t deny that they have better judgement than you. My grandma taught me to trust my mum’s maternal instinct and listen to her even if I may not fully understand it.
Hannah Low

But of course, no Ah Ma advice can do without rabak ones

My grandma always tells me, “Iman, make sure your Tudung covers your boobs.”
Siti Nur Iman

Whenever we wash the clothes, my Ah Ma tells me not to hang the underwear with the other clothes… but sometimes I don’t get why because it’s already washed???
Wong Hean

Related: Confusing Dating Advice Asian Daughters Live With

Millennials Growing Up  

Being in our 20s may seem intimidating when we’re trying to figure out who we are and what we want in life. But even if we make bad decisions, they always make good stories to share with our grandchildren (or 70 cats) years down the road.