“hai la hai la, ho ba bai la! Yat ko yuet wan do gei chin man ho chi ho ba bai kam yeong”
(ya la ya la, damn big shot now. Think you earn a few thousands a month, as if you’re damn big shot now)
My mom always says that to me when I give remark about how incompetent this person or that person is. I will also get the same words from mom when I proudly belittle the achievements of others, claiming that I would have done a better job. And I will definitely get those comments from her when I belittle her work.
This afternoon, when I was trying to remove the laundry from the washing machine, I broke the handle of the machine door. I pulled too hard I think, and now, the load of laundry is still in the machine as I type. Repairman said they will come either tomorrow or Thursday, which means probably no laundry for the next 2 days.
Today is the second day I have to clean the dishes after dinner as my sis was in charge of cooking. During the first day, I had no idea where to put which plate and where to put which scoop and where to put this pot. And clean dishes does not mean end of cleaning. There’s also the kitchen floor and stove and throw away the remnants and replenish certain stuff to prepare for the next day.
The floor is getting a bit sticky; my bro just mopped it yesterday. He is doing his prayer and I am hoping he will do the mopping since he didn’t do much today as he went to work. I wonder how often mom mops the floor. I never recall the floor being sticky. Ok, maybe once in a while… but I am sure you get what I mean.
As today is only the second day since we realistically commenced life without mom, I am sure there will be plenty of discoveries in the days ahead.
For all the promotions and increment and other accomplishments that I have in my life, and the proud thinking that I will be able to ‘survive’, I was made to think otherwise. Mom humbled me yesterday and today. And I am sure she will keep humbling me in the days to come. And I thought I was damn big shot.
“Ni you le ni je ji the jia. Ni ke yi jiao gu ni de jia ren, jiu shi yi ge sing gung de ren,” cousin told me that night. (When you have your own family. When you can look after your family, that’s when you’re successful)
Of course, many of us have our very own definition of success. But to mom, success means being able to look after one’s own family. And ‘look after’ here probably doesn’t mean only in monetary terms. This is probably due to the mom’s upbringing. Therefore, being there for the children, preparing everything for the children, or maybe even nagging the children makes one a successful person, a good person.
This is also probably why mom is always quite angry when I belittle other people’s achievements. And the fact that the house can be quite a mess in my hands means I am nothing without my mom, I am certainly not successful, not yet at least. Mom never considered all my grades, all my promotions, all my sports medal (a few la), all my appearance in the paper (a few times la), all the money I made as success.
I will only be successful in mom’s eyes when I have achieved what she has achieved… to be able to really “look after” your own family. And I am determined to do that. And I promise not to belittle other people’s achievements anymore.
On a relatively unrelated note, society pressures us to measure success by the number of digits in our bank account, the number of cc of our cars, the number of staff under us, the number of months of our bonus, etc. No matter how much we deny it, somewhere in our mind, this notion is quite true. However, if we were to ask ourselves honestly AND answer it honestly, we will probably realise that money is not the ultimate success. You can shower the children with PS2 or i-Pod or the latest handphone so that they can appear cooler in front of their friends and employ a maid to look after each child, but if you can't cook a simple meal the children, I believe that’s not quite success. Of course, you can disagree with me.