Triggering Singaporean Mums

We often assume our mothers live in a different world and things which upset them are ‘old people problems’ that do not affect us. After all, their everyday lives seem to revolve around very different things compared to ours.

They are mostly focused on their work, or how much and what their children are eating. ‘Camping’ for a Sephora sale to start will be quite a foreign concept to them. Neither would they really understand the concept of ‘swiping right’.

However, after talking to some Singaporean mums, we realised first world problems do not discriminate. Our mums get triggered by the same things that make our eyes roll too.

1. Frenemies


Like you, Mum probably has friends she dislikes. These are the friends well-versed in humble bragging and those who post updates like, “I am so sick of going to London”, or “The business class seat is such a stretch I cannot touch the screen #sad”.

These people are also experts in being paggro. “Oh, I love your hair! It’s amazing how your stylist managed to merge the white hair with your highlights!”

Whenever Mum rages about friends like that, don’t bother telling her to block them or take them off her social circle. How will she contribute to the gang’s gossip chat if she blocks these frenemies?! How much will she miss out?!

Just like an acquaintance you don’t follow on IG, but still FB search now and then, mums share the same kaypoh streak as all of us.

2. Public Transport Issues


These triggers include people who: lean against the pole and use their butt cheeks to grab the bar tight, clip their nails and let them keratin bits fly down the aisle, have no hygiene (sneezing in people’s faces), and have zero concept of personal space.

The only difference is that while you roll your eyes silently and rant about the situation on your IG story, Mum makes sure the above offenders know exactly their crime and how they should repent.

The above is usually done with her placing one hand on her hip, and not stopping until the offenders rectify their behaviour.

3. Private transport issues


If you think public transport is bad, private transport can be worse.

It can be harrowing to follow an in-built GPS that doesn’t seem to understand itself. Six turns and four rounds later, one can end up at ‘Tam-pines’ instead of ‘Yao Chu Kang’.

While tech-savvy Millennials will use another application like Google Maps to steer them to the right destination, Mum is most likely ready to give up. Await an “I don’t know what happened lah!” call from her.

Like you, Mum probably hates it when she realises the only carpark lot left requires parallel parking, and is incidentally in front of a coffee-shop full of men, all ready to sneer at the ‘woman driver’.

The honking and the flashes of light by impatient drivers waiting for you to fail so they can steal that lot? Those are real triggers, no matter Mum or you!

4. People who say “anything”


You know them. The ones who reply “Anything” when you ask them what they want for lunch, and then say “Eee, don’t want” when you give them your suggestions.

Likewise, Mum hates it when she asks what she should cook, or where the annual family vacation should be, and no one commits to an answer. Extra trigger marks if “Anything” is emphasised with a shrug.

5. When service staff don’t know service


Nobody likes poor service, and nobody likes salespeople who insist on following shoppers around the shop, arranging hangers we barely touched.

While offenders will merely receive severe eye-rolling from younger victims, they’d be lucky if they were subjected to only a tongue-lashing from the older ones. While you hide behind and try to drag your triggered mother away, whispering for her to let it go, you think, “GG, loser” inside.

6. A lack of validation


It must be easy to assume Mum is above flattery and the need for approval. After all, she seems to have it all together all the time.

But truth is, it annoys her when her effort is not appreciated. No one spends hours in the kitchen and not hope for at least an “OMG this is so good, Mum!”

And like you, she gets ruffled when the likes and comments on her usual social media platforms fall below the usual.

Not understanding FB algorithms is another trigger to be discussed when she finally understands why FB limits the number of people who can see her post about using baking soda to unclog sinks.

7. Terrible K-drama plot lines

Caption: Aww this is so sweet except the x-ray is inverted.


Have you had those moments when you watch Korean dramas with mum and the both of you start rolling your eyes at the same things?

Like you, she can’t imagine why that back hug needs to be replayed from six different angles.

Also, it is unfathomable why nearly every K-drama needs a transplant of some sort. The organ or cornea needed is usually from a poverty-stricken but earnest character, and he always ends up *gasp* the true heir to the donor, who is always the chairman of some conglomerate.

8. Getting blue-ticked


Mothers seem to have a treasure trove of articles and videos like those on the benefits of placing onions in one’s living space, or inspirational notes on ‘letting go’. Also in her arsenal are videos of life hacks, usually involving apple cider vinegar or paper clips.

The problem is, instead of enjoying these little nuggets of knowledge on her own, she sends them to you, when you’re at work, or in the middle of a conference call.

You see them. But you don’t respond.

Mum receives a blue tick.

Or worse, she receives a “K” in return.

Guess what she does after being triggered? Yes. She sends you more videos and inspirational notes.

Just like how you hate getting blue-ticked, it won’t take you more than a minute to thank her for sharing the health benefits of onions. So do it for your own sanity!

9. People who stop you to tell you about the ‘next best thing’


Some companies still feel planting sales agents outside train stations or supermarkets is the best way to sell their products. But when you’re on your way to the carpark with 15 kg of groceries in one hand, it’s unlikely anyone would want to stop and talk about ‘the best insurance policy in the market now’.

“Oh yes, I think I should commit to a payment of S$350 per month for the next 35 years because you stopped me on my way to catch the bus to talk to me about how amazing your insurance policy is,” said no one ever.

While you steadfastly try to avoid eye contact or plug in those earphones, Mum makes her annoyance known. Sometimes she punishes them by making them carry her groceries to the car.

10. Loneliness


Mum feels lonely too. And when it hits, she feels the blues as much as you do too. She may not have as many options to occupy herself as you do, so don’t forget to include her in some of your plans.

She usually hides this loneliness by stating, “YOU TREAT THIS HOUSE LIKE A HOTEL! COME AND SLEEP THEN GO OUT AGAIN!”

Don’t give her so much grief about her addiction to Pokemon GO, Candy Crush or Facebook. These things ‘only old people like’, probably help her spend the time while she waits for her brood to come home.

Getting Annoyed 

While these little inconveniences like these can easily ruin Mum’s or your day, it doesn’t hurt to have a little patience. Don’t sweat the small stuff and bear it with a grin; having an optimistic attitude will go a long way!


Cover image: Source