“You’re not wanted! I am going to give you away”
And he did, he gave his daughter to a poor village family. She was born into a decent family but her father didn’t want her, perhaps he wanted a son instead. Thus, she had to live a life of a poor kampung girl.
At a tender young age, house chores have already formed an integral part of her life. She was made to carry an axe to chop wood, firewood for cooking. By the time she was 14, she was asked to look after her elder sis’ daughters… all 4 of them. Her new mom will cane her if any of the sis’ daughters do not behave. She, in turn, caned those girls if they don’t listen to her.
All these responsibilities means she didn’t get to study, perhaps she only managed to complete her primary education before she was forced to grow up. She was asked to take up more responsibilities when her sis passed away due to cancer. Her bro-in-law had to work hard to bring home money. And when her mom also passed away, she had to take on the role of a ‘mother’ for her sis’ daughters… all these, before the age of 20.
Life got tougher as the days passed by, and she moved to KL, and worked as a maid. She was lucky enough to have a good master, and she was a very dedicated maid, always looking after her master’s children. I guess that’s why her master arranged for her to marry a guy in KL, so that she can settle down.
That’s how my mom married my dad.
Cousin told me I should know all that, and indeed, I should. Thinking about it made me realised why my mom is … my mom.
There are certain things that I never understand. My mother has never cared for my studies since young, since the very beginning. She never knew what time I go to school, what I was studying, when I need to take exams. I remember I came back with my UPSR results… straight As and my mom didn’t even look at it. The same thing happened with my PMR results. Some of my friends get hundreds for 2 or 3 As, but I just get a nod for my results. I was furious, and my hatred began to accumulate even further.
My parents also never plan my education. They wanted me to work immediately after Form 5, but I insist I will not. I had a very big fight with my mom regarding that, a story for another time perhaps.
Me being alone in my struggle to get educated has always been my main reason why I hate my parents, particularly my mom, since I don’t really care what my dad thinks. But knowing mom’s history changed all that.
Mom must have hated her birth parents too, why did they give her away. To mom, I guess being parents, the basic responsibility would be to at least look after the children. Well, at least parents should want their children and not give them away. And being so poor, mom must have thought… that putting food on the table for children is very important.
So that’s exactly what mom did, that was her priority in mom’s life.
She will always make sure she will be the one to cook. Whenever I make a passing comment about why she has not cooked this dish or that dish, rest assured, that dish will be on the table the next day or the day after. How does Zewt react to that?...
“Kam mat mo sik. Ngo chut pin sik,”
(Not eating today, I am going out to eat)
I can still remember that look on mom’s face every time that happened. Disappointment, but she never make any noise. Time and time again, she will make sure I have a motherly dinner at home, to which I so conveniently took for granted. And now, I will not even get to taste a single grain of rice that mom cook.
I think mom also wanted very much to be near her birth parents, she wanted her birth parents to be by her side. Hence, she wants me to be by her side all the time. She will nag me if I go out a lot, and she will complain that I am not homely.
“Ah tuck, ah ma jan hai em seh tuck lei,” mom hugged me and cried 2 days before I left for China for that short working stint. (Ah Tuck, mom will really miss you if you go)
In my mind, I thought… I only wanted to be away for 2 years, and will come back occasionally, nothing to be worried about, and I don't understand why can't she let me go. Of course, to my mom, 2 days away is already eternity, 2 years would be too much to bear. Mom wants to be the mother she didn’t have, the mother who is always near her child, and prepare her child.
Mom was very happy when I returned abruptly. But she didn’t tell me, she told me I should have stayed if it’s good for my career. But deep down, she was really happy to have me back… I know, because my cousin told me that night.
Ya’ know, I always said to people, that I am who I am because of the way I was treated when I was young. But I failed to apply that to my mother.
Mom was trying to be the mom that she never had. She must have wanted her mom to be near her, to hold her, to clean her clothes, to cook for her. As such, she became that mom to me.
Ya’ know, me and my siblings suggested that we employed a maid so that mom can rest. Mom said no, her
So many times we complain about our parents… Oh, why they didn’t do this. Why they didn’t send you overseas? How come they don’t buy you a Honda when they already got you a car. How come this and how come that.
Of course, there are parents out there who are not worthy of the title ‘parents’, but I think as a human… we all want to be the parents that we never had. And that may not be enough to you and me, but it’s the best that they could do. No matter what and how well they did, it will never be enough in our unappreciative eyes, but do try to understand life from our parents’ perspective.
My mom never understand the need for education or a car or that Gucci bag or an i-Pod, but she understood the need for love and care for her children, and she did just that.. right till the time of her passing. And that to me… is enough.
Love you mom.