Thursday, 19 July 2012

Disney • Pixar’s BRAVE film & Musings about Mom

Disney • Pixar’s new animated film, BRAVE, takes on the classic trope of the unconventional and brave heroine who defies custom, brews chaos but ultimately emerges independent and successful at the end of her trials. Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), the protagonist and heroine of BRAVE, is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus 
 (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson) of Scotland. Defying tradition through her actions, she angers the lords of the land: Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane), causing chaos to erupt. Merida has to contend with bad decisions, troublemakers and difficult obstacles to her attempt to undo a beastly curse that she inadvertently brings upon the land through an ill-fated wish granted by the eccentric old Wise Woman (voice of Julie Walters).

Merida's bravery brings to mind a heroine in my own life: my mother. While her story is not as exciting as Merida's, she is in her own way a heroine worthy of respect. She survived the ravages of WWII due to the goodwill of her neighbours, set up a family in Singapore, and once her children were born, bravely quit her job to take care of them. She has been unemployed for 20 years and counting, but this is false. Where are the records to show for her full-time job as a mother?

When we were sick, she was always the one sponging our fevers until they went down, force-feeding us medicine even when we pouted and refused to open our mouths, brewing ill-tasting but nutritious Cantonese soups to aid in our recovery. As we developed from rambunctious little children to gawky teenagers with minds of their own, she has had to deal with our temper tantrums, late-night escapades and boy/girlfriend problems.

Those aren't the only problems she had to deal with, but there's nothing she can't fix. She's the self-proclaimed DIY Queen of the House. From faulty pipes to cracks in the walls, she tries her hand at fixing them all just to save on the cost of servicing the house. The light of glee in her eyes when she manages to improve some facility around the house is strangely familiar and comforting. While we may smile, amusedly, at her efforts and make a few light-hearted comments, deep down there is a wellspring of appreciation that doesn't often surface. The conflicts we have had with her are numerous, and the tension that exists is evident - we are growing into our own skin, becoming our own people, and while reluctant, she has had to let us go, leaving some string to reel us in when we fall like kites.

She was strict, but kind, and less strict now that we are almost adults. Nothing like the Asian Tiger Mom, yet everything like her, because of the way she made us strive to achieve our best in every area of our lives. We got the As, the music diplomas, the CCA points and the opportunities that life had to offer. Now we are making our own opportunities, thanks to the foundation that had been so firmly set by her fierce love.

No matter how old her children are, she will always slip into the role of mother as easily as she slips into the role of wife, daughter and perhaps, grandmother in the future. One day I won't be around in this house to hear the pad pad pad of her slippers as she rises early in the morning to make breakfast, stops by my room to tell me she's going to the market, retreats in anger and sadness into her room after a quarrel. One day she will no longer slip into those slippers and do the things she does every day - a cup of coffee in the morning with a newspaper on the table - her simple, domestic pleasures. One day I will miss her, even the quarrels, the shouting and the crying. But I will also miss the laughter, the support and the love she has shown me in her own way. Though I have never said all this to her - these confused, jumbled thoughts of love, anger and sadness - thank you Mom, for being my heroine. You may never read this (though I know you read my blog sometimes), but I love you and do appreciate the things you've done for me.

My mother - her bravery in how she has led her life - inspires me to be courageous and independent in the way I lead mine. There's no one moment or situation that she has been the bravest, because the way she leads her life, in her fierce, brave and independent way, has always shown me a multitude of moments and situations where she doesn't back down from difficulties or problems. Like Merida, and my mother, I salute all the women out there who dare to live their lives as they wish to and are brave enough to make their dreams come true.

I can't wait to watch BRAVE, as it rings true to my life philosophy, which is perfectly encapsulated by this quote
"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Catch Disney • Pixar’s BRAVE in cinemas this 8 August 2012 and like the Official Walt Disney Studios Singapore Facebook Page, follow the @disneystudiosSG and subscribe to Official Disney Studios Singapore YouTube Channel!

Rachel loves sharing about the beautiful things in life from different perspectives. She writes on beauty and lifestyle in Cherchez Beauté , and does more abstract stuff on Antelune . When she's not writing, she's playing with her dog Holly, doodling and reading fiction. You can follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .