Think NUSWhispers and you might think of memes or trolls.

And while the Facebook page does offer relationship advice from time to time, it generally focuses more on the romantic side of things.

But on Oct 1, the page showed its kinder side, with the community rallying to show support for a fellow student who feared not being able to repay his parents due to financial constraints.

In post #70512, an anonymous NUSWhisperer asked other readers who shared a large age gap with their parents, whether they ever felt like they were running out of time, too.

The Whisperer wrote: “My mom is 43 years older than me while my dad is a whole 46 years my senior.”

He continued: “Recently, my friend’s mother passed away. She was only in her early forties. [Since then], I keep feeling like I don’t have enough time with my parents.”

The Whisperer explained that due to their financial situation, the Whisperer’s parents would only be able to ‘enjoy life’ at least four years later, once the Whisperer and his brother graduate from university.

However, this would mean their parents would effectively only be able to retire when they’re in their 70s.

“I’m so afraid that I will lose them before I [can] repay them,” the Whisperer continued. “My parents spent all their lives slogging for so little. They’ve never even owned a passport.”

The Whisperer added that while he does desire to show them how much he cherishes them by bringing them on trips and more, he is nowhere near his financial goals: “I am so afraid and I just want to give them as much as I can now, but as an undergrad with little savings, my hands are tied.”

He ended the post dejectedly: “I can only pray that time is on my side.”

While there’s no way to verify the published account as the submissions are sent in anonymously, netizens were quick to jump in with empathetic and supportive comments.

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Netizens respond with words of love and support

His post tugged at the heartstrings of netizens, many of whom shared their own experiences with their elderly parents.

“I feel you,” one Jess Neo commented. “My father passed away at 75, when I was 33-years-old. Anyone can go to heaven regardless of age. Time is a commodity that cannot be replaced.”

Others praised him for his sense of duty and filial piety.

Facebooker Julius Heiwa commended the Whisperer for being “an awesome kid”. He continued: “It’s admirable that you are thinking of these. Sincerely wishing you all the best in all that you do and may all the goodness falls onto you to make your life smooth. continue to have a humane and filial heart.”

User Tan Yue Qian Clarissa understood the stress the Whisperer is going through, stating:
“I just graduated two years ago. My dad turns 70 next year and my mum is going to be 63,” Tan wrote. “The stress is real when you feel you don’t have enough time to repay them with the good life they deserve. And, I’m still not financially stable yet as I intend to pursue further studies.”

Tan added: “But bear in mind, most parents will only wish the best for their children, so as long as we are doing well and happy, don’t make them worry, and don’t be pai kia (“bad kid” in Hokkien), they will be happy for us.”

Many netizens offered alternatives

Other users also responded with suggestions, reminding the Whisperer that he needn’t repay his parents with financial gifts, as time is precious, too.

One user, Siti Raihanah, commented: “There are other ways for you to make your parents happy and contented.”

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Image Source: Shutterstock / Ampyang

She added that travelling is more of a perk, not a necessity. “Treasure your time with them and show appreciation even for the little things that they do for you,” she wrote. “I lost my parents when I was in my teens and there are so many things that I wish I could have done better or be able to do with them now.”

Another user, Kelly Lee, agreed that it’s the little things that matter. “You just have to spend time with them instead of bringing them to fancy holidays,” Lee wrote.

Lee added that small everyday actions, like cooking for them, taking them out on activities, and giving them a massage when they tire, are great ways to show appreciation.

Lee also urged the Whisperer to start cherishing his parents now: “Time is in fact in your hands right now,” Lee wrote. “Why wait?”

Facebook user John Lin ZJ agreed, saying simply: “A happy family is one that spends time together.”

It’s heartwarming to read the original Whisperer’s post and to see so many users take time to pen words of support and to offer suggestions.

How about taking some of these suggestions to show your parents, elderly or otherwise, how much you appreciate them?