An unhappy meal: a video about not living up to family expectations


When a family sits down for a meal together, it should be full of love and laughter. For this filmmaker, it’s filled with tension, disappointment and unfulfilled expectations


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Last summer, I produced a one minute video with the help of Unicef HK’s Make A Video tutors and their assistants.

The video, Dinner, is about a family of three at dinner. The parents point their chopsticks at their son and scold him.

“Why are you so sloppy in whatever you do? Even [here] at dinner, you’re so careless. The rice is all over the table.” The son remains silent while his parents continue to berate him. Finally, he puts down his chopsticks and the bowl, and leaves the table. This reflects my family life.

I have a comfortable life thanks to my family, but they have very high expectations of me, particularly in regards to my academic studies. They often scold me and point at me with their chopsticks during our dinners. Sometimes when I’ve failed to meet the standards they have set, they will shout at me because they think I have not done my best. Because of that, I’m really scared of communicating with them.

Once, I really improved in my studies at school, but my parents still weren’t satisfied with my results. They believed that there was still room for improvement. So at dinner, they told me off again for not trying hard enough. I felt really wronged and upset with their unreasonable demands because I felt like I had actually done much better in my studies than usual.

I hope that my video will help parents realise how important it is to listen to their children and to give them praise instead of just scolding them all the time. I’ve shown this video to my parents – and after they watched it, they have decided to pay more attention to me and will try not to criticise me for everything.

UNICEF HK Make A Video gives young people a chance to express themselves through video. The project is co-organized by ifva, Hong Kong Arts Centre, with support from Hang Seng Bank and Young Post. Check out the videos here . Email your feedback to [email protected]

Edited by Ginny Wong

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