I recently found out my mom never got the news about superbugs and antibacterial cleaners. She looked at me suspiciously when I suggested to her that buying antibacterial soap was probably not a good idea. She called my sister for a second opinion who confirmed this. Why she didn’t believe me I don’t know. I am the oldest after all. Maybe it’s because I never believed the things she told me?
When we were growing up, my mom always had bits of health and beauty advice that were ahead of their time. Sometimes she said it was just something everyone knew or sometimes she said she read it in the Chinese newspaper. My sisters and I were always skeptical. We saw these tips as Chinese superstitions or old wives’ tales. It wasn’t until we saw these same suggestions in an American or European news source that we believed my mom’s words. Why didn’t we believe her in the first place? After all, she found out about Jen and Brad’s break up from the Chinese newspaper days before we heard about it from The Enquirer. I think in our attempt to fit into dominant American culture we didn’t want to be seen as the kind of people who followed “ancient Chinese secrets.” It could also be we were just like most children who don’t appreciate their parents’ wisdom until they become older and wiser themselves. Time and time again though, we were proven wrong, because the science behind her words would eventually show up in what we considered a credible source.
Here are a few of the tips I learned from my mother:
• use watermelon rind to make your skin glow
• drink tea when eating dim sum to cut the fat
• drink bone broth for overall good health
• eat seaweed to make your hair more black (Okay, this one turns out not to be true.)
The moral of the story is you really should listen to your mother. But you already knew that.