Let’s overcome the awkward silence. I know how hard it is when it’s just you and your old folks in the room. Especially when you are only meeting them a few times per year, during the festive seasons. You try to pass the time by checking your phone and while they stare at you thinking to themselves, “young people these days are just about their phone.”
So, here are some questions to break the ice and to make the time spent together more meaningful.
“Jiak” means to eat in Hokkien, and “simi” means what. “Jiak simi” is asking someone “what to eat?” or “what are you eating?”. Food is generally an easy topic to start with and you can go very far with it. Who doesn’t eat, right? So take this opportunity to find out all about food with your grandparents. The conversation should be two-way, so do share your answers as well.
- Favourite food?
- Cook, eat, or wash?
- Signature dish? Describe how to cook it.
- Food you miss the most right now?
- A food place that you would give an award under your name (e.g. Michelin Star)?
- Most exotic food you have tried?
- Favourite mom’s dish?
- Types of food that you dislike?
- Food that you will sell in your restaurant (if you are to open one)?
- Food that you won’t get bored eating?
“Kua” means to watch in Hokkien. Similar to “jiak simi”, “kua simi” is asking someone “what to watch?” or “what are you watching?”. Please be mindful not to say “kua simi kua” as it could sound quite rude.
- Nostalgic places you would like to visit again?
- Most exotic/peculiar place you have been to?
- Places you would like to visit with your family?
- Favourite show?
- Show you are watching now? / Last watched show?
- TV, Youtube, or Netflix?
- Recommend a book?
- The most memorable event you have seen?
- A person you would like to meet right now?
- Something you won’t throw away?
“Zor” means to do something in Hokkien. So, “zor simi” means “what are you doing?” or “what to do?”. It would be interesting to find out the daily routine and special interest of your grandparents, even during their childhood.
- Sports you can / like to play?
- Activities you always do at home? Why?
- The first thing to do in the morning? Why?
- Funny things you have done?
- Activities you wish you could / would like to do?
- Activities you would like to do with your family?
- House chores you dislike the most?
- A masterclass you can teach others?
- A business you would like to create?
“Gong” means to say something in Hokkien and “gong simi?” means “what are you talking?” or “what say you?”. When coming to storytelling, grandparents usually are not shy to share their wealth of experience! It’s a good opportunity to discover more about them.
- Share a childhood story?
- Share about your day in dialect? (Good opportunity to learn the dialect from your grandparents!)
- Tell a folklore story?
- 3 words your friends would describe you?
- Tell a joke?
- Proudest achievement?
- Person you’re most thankful for?
- Describe your hometown?
- What’s your dream?
- What does happiness mean to you?
These prompts are only to help you get started with the conversation. To make the conversation meaningful, have a balanced two-way sharing. It’s all about getting to know each other better and that’s how bonding works!
Share with us in the comment which is your favourite prompt!