I saw this at the Asian Civilization Museum in Singapore.

I sat there for a few moments, thinking what this, Filial Piety, meant. Why do people like me, travelers, choose to be so far away from the people they love, first and foremost, our families? It seems like a cruel way to pay back those who helped raise us, helped us become the people we are today.

I rarely meet other travelers who keep in touch with their family as well as I do. Part of that is natural – I’m closer to my parents than most people. But there’s another side that I find more perplexing, tied to the perceived aura of independence and self-sufficiency of traveling. In this world, being too close to home, relying on your parents or friends, is a sign of weakness, while at the same time, we often praise the cultures in which family connections are strongest.

This proverb, though, put it best. I travel because I feel that I need to – to understand the world in order to help it make it a better place. Staying in Kansas City or San Diego wouldn’t have been good for me, or my family who genuinely want to see me succeed. My parents always know where I am, and I enjoy sharing my travels with them. It’s not an easy decision to leave home and travel far away, but I’ve never felt any pride when meeting people who don’t get homesick. I often get homesick. And it feels good – that there is something back home worth missing, and knowing that people at home miss me.

What do you think? What does Filial Piety mean to you?

Asia Undercovered


Understand Asia. Nithin Coca's weekly roundup of the news, memes, trends, and people changing the continent.




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