Wednesday 28 March 2007

2nd chance with mom: Hard work vs success

I am a very proud person. I have always considered myself a self-made man, that what I have achieved today is due to my own hard work, that my parents never nurtured me along the way. The fact that I did performed well in certain fields despite not getting any support from home made me a really proud person. I also believe that I would have been able to achieve much more if my parents have nurtured me since young.

“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.

I clean scrubbed the bathroom floor yesterday, because it was getting slimy due to the layer of soap accumulating on it. Just now, as I stepped into the bathroom, I realised I have to scrub it again. At that moment I realised, mom scrubbed the floor every single day…. 24/7. And I have not even mentioned toilet. Have you clean the toilet of your house before?

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.


ManaL said...

Shi shang zhi you ma ma hao
you ma de hai zi xiang ge bao.
tou jin ma ma de huai bao
xin fu xiang bu liao

shi shang zhi you ma ma hao
mei ma de hai zi xiang ge cao
li kai ma ma de huai bao
xin fu na li zhao

Zewt, this is the only chinese song about mother that i know, thx to that old nespray advert few years ago.

Btw, u shud wait at least 5 mins after the washing machine stops before u try to pull its door open. What u did was a classic mistake at my old hall, i tell ya.

mistipurple said...

yup. mothers are the best. and dads too. take care. i can tell you're going to be alright, more than alright.
(there will be bad days, but it will get better. the pain will get less.)

mistipurple said...

i should add, sisters and brothers are good too. just that we take each other for granted. or they take us for granted. whichever way. and some aunts and uncles can be good too. amazing how many people are nice to us, and we also take them for granted. again, it goes the other way too. it is sad when people stop caring. we cannot force people to care though. so, anyway, you get my drift.

Anonymous said...

You're right.....a lot of us tend to think of success as our position at work, how much we earn, where we live, etc....but if you're a terrible person and "earned" all that by making others that really success? Anyway zewt, in your case i would define success as appreciating your mom, appreciating everything she ever did for you (better late than never) and trying your best to keep things as normal as possible for the rest of the family, now that she's gone. And in that respect, I think you have been truly successful, my friend and your mom would be proud of you. Take care. And remember your friends are here for you.

rainbow angeles said...

I'm glad to know that you won't belittle other peoples' achievements anymore. Hey, you are still learning from mom! Wow... :)

Sometimes I think to myself that I'd rather be happy than "successful" (in whatever context)...

So today, lemme just wish you this, May you be happy always! ;)

me said...

u r a very strong person. i know u will be able to carry on and make yr mother proud, be it in yr career or taking care of yr family. stand tall and be strong...for if you collapse, they will follow. in the days ahead, the battle may get a little tiring. u may feel like hiding. come here and talk to us. we will listen.....

my hubby told me that the hardest thing to do is watch our own parents leave. i told him that if it was reversed and they see their children leave before them, it will break them and make them very painful. so, if we love someone, we must be strong and try to spare them the pain. we have to take on the pain ourselves.

take care.

Huei said...

i totally agree with you, and i used to think like you do, work hard, get a lot of materialistic thing, but after reading this, i just realize i can't even cook a meal for myself..let alone, my future family.

carry on your hard work zewt, one day, you'll be as successful as ur mum :)

Seaqueen said... chores eh...well, it's a good time to learn and make your mum proud while she looks down from above.

So about the handle, I'm thinking, hand wash will have to do for these few days..another character building chore... =)

At least the skills can help you gain brownie points with your gf... =)

Purple~MushRooM said...

Everyone is good in their own ways. Never belittle anyone or look too highly upon yourself. Just be humble.

Zewt, your pinyin sucks la. I have to read through so closely to understand what the sentence is. Haha.

Purple~MushRooM said...

Another note: I noticed you have the statistics of total visitors by countries. How come no China? I guessed could it be that China blocked blogspot? I am actually going through a US proxy to read all the blogs and even my own. Stupid China.

Anonymous said...

I guess its natural for you to be abit arrogant bout your achievements as we normally see some young punk driving around in some flashy car paid by his parents n crap...TONS OF IT IN SUNWAY COLLEGE........

I guess its the way success is potrayed by the media/friends/relatives that causes us to be like that...

Success is being there for the ppl you care...Like my uncle story i told u last time....He was the least successful int he family (monetary wise) but at the end of the day who was there for my mum...its was him.....this tells you kenot buy love, companionship and all the intangibles....

Weig said...

I hope you will see that your mother did give you the support in your achievements even if you thought you did it yourself. Here's how.

You had the time to not to laundry, but to study so that you may achieve those grades you had been so proud of.

You had time to not cook and clean, but to work late and hard at the office so that you could get those promotions.

You had time not to scrub the toilet, but to practise your sports and win those few medals and pose for pictures for the papers.

Its ok to admit that those were successes. But you were successful in those terms because of your mother's support. Never forget that.

Anonymous said...

To see whether you are capable of being a good parent or not, try getting a few pets, for example hamsters or puppies.

If they are still surviving after 2 years, then you are qualified to become a parent.

If you can spend almost 2 hours a week or few times a week just to clean up their cages, and feed them food on time everyday, then you are a good parent.

Otherwise, don't even try to think of getting kids of your own. Hoi sei yan only.

Horny Ang Moh said...

Agree with your mum totally.U r a great men when u can look after your wife & children & give them a good family. U r great when u becum a good father to your children & a great husband to your wife.
Next time be gentle to your washing machine it is not a car. (last time my machine broke down, I have to wash by hand, really terrible! mine hand half dead after that)

Lil Daydreamer~ Make The Impossible Possible said...

Hi zewt,
Like i always said we should cherish everyone and everything thats include my parents, my brother, my friends and everyone who cared for me. But people always will take things for granted (include me) so i gotta always remind myself to appreciate them more..Because i born with a certain skin disease that can't be cured in my home country "Malaysia" So i know to my parents eye (especially to my mom) that me thier daughter be a successful person is to be able to take care of myself and be independent of myself and be happy always..Sounds simple huh ? But to me kinda a tough task...
Anyway take care my friend...

Anonymous said...

Zewt, Usually, I mop the kitchen alternate days depending what food I cook.. The more oily the cooking, then you must clean the floors after cooking. Try using some warm water and floor liquid. As for the toilet, clean it once a week.

It takes everyone to lend a helping hand to make sure the house is clean.

Anonymous said...

I also think I am the greatest, especially surrounded by all the idiots here (you know what I mean...).

Hehehe... just trying to cheer you up!:)

You are doing great. Keep it up.

LanunDarat said...

Bro, my deepest condolence on your loss..may the sweet memories with your mom are etched forever in your heart and mind..

neno said...

i m not so sure how many times ur mum mops the kitchen floor but i do noe it needs to be mopped regularly esp after cooking..

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

You know..your articles on 'mom', seriously has create so much of awareness on the job scope of a mom..that i constantly try to when i can to make life easier for her..and yes..everyone can bcome a mom..but not all a good requires alot of hardwork that often goes un noticed..hopes more people will turn into a new leave like me..and start to love their moms more..

King's wife said...

We don't realise how much work is involved unless we do it ourselves, huh?
I'm sure in time, everything will run smoothly once a routine is set. Slowly but surely. Hang in there.. :)

good guy said...

After reading your blog like months ago, i started try to please my mother. It's really pain if our parents leave us. My parent are divorce, mummy is migrating to oversea and will leave us alone. We'll try to survive without her. I always love her as she is the best lady that i've ever seen.

zewt said...

manal - wow, i am impressed! nice song indeed. can u sing it? ya, i got to know the wait-for-3-minutes rule now. got it repaired today, was quick.

mistipurple - you forgot one more person... bf/gf... we tend to take them for granted too. basically, it's human nature to be selfish... have to remind ourselves not to fall into it. get the drift...

yesyoushouldleaveEYandfollowyourheart - if you truly mean what you said... then i am sure you know what you should do next. you know what i mean...

angel - yup... must be humble... everyone has their own worth. thanks for your well wishes :)

me - indeed, i am sure my mom would be filled with immense grieve if her children were to lie in the coffin. as for your comment in my other entry... you're right... she went away peacefully, painfully... so i should be glad, in a way.

huei - better learn to cook something soon. well, not exactly cooking but the ability to 'take care' of others... i am sure u know what i mean, right?

Jessica - got it fixed already, the man came today. thank God! brownie points... so that's what you give your fiance eh?

zewt said...

purple mushroom - i have yet to master how to speak properly... of cos my pin yin sucks. maybe you can change it for me. and yeah... no stats from china... but u can go thru US... impressive.

economist - yeah man, those fellas think they are big shot, much bigger than you and me. anyway, we can so honourably proclaim of our beliefs in money not able to buy love and companion... but i am sure many of us will set off forgetting about this and concentrate of making lots of $$$ soon enough... kita mudah lupa.

cirnelle - as always, you have your own ways of looking at things. but i have to say this perspective of yours is very englightening. thank you for your words of wisdom (not being sarcastic).

april - hmmmm... that's quite a good analogy. i used to have a lot of rabbits and they breed like hell and suddenly, i have like dozens of them till i have to give them away... i guess that's a good sign, no?

hor ny ang moh - thank God they got it fixed just now. and yeah, a real successful man is one who can do what you mentioned.

fiona the confusing girl - hmmm, what disease is that and you're not in malaysia? sorry to hear about your condition. i am sure your parents did a lot for you already... love them!

zewt said...

SiwwyPig - thanks for the tips. but i think my toilet is quite a tough nut... perhaps twice a week.

deisy - if you're in china, i get what you mean...

LanunDarat - thanks bro... appreciate your kind words.

neno - for my kitchen, i think it's once every 2 days.

someone who is constantly craving - well, i am glad those entries touched many. moms out there deserves much credit. turn over a new leave... and stay there bro.

king's wife - thanks... hanging on. yeah, i always thought my work is tough... taking care of the house is much much much tougher.

love menz - wish your mom well, i am sure she has her own reason. i am glad you know she is the best. best wishes to you too... and welcome to my blog.

Anonymous said...

Your post today has offered me some solace for the past decisions I have made. Thank you.

Based on your readers' comments, good to know there is still hope left in this materialistic world! :)

Kenny Mah said...

I have heard many definitions of success in the past, but this is definitely a new one to me. And a very good one.

I wonder when I will be "successful" then; I can barely take care of myself as it is --- retaining my sanity alone is a monumental task. Our generation really does complain too much; our parents come from one which just take things in their stride.


Lil Daydreamer~ Make The Impossible Possible said...

I lived in Malaysia, but my disease only can cured in US, for more info just read my blog around last year post..

Y.E@eevet said...

"jen sik yan qing yan"
We look , but we don't see
We hear , but we don't listen
We touch, but we don't feel
We think, but we don't ponder..
So many things we take it for granted, and yet do we care?

Only when we have lost it, then we realize

Glad that you have it seen, listened , felt and pondered.

God bless ya.

baggie said...

ah, that reminds me of an article I've read about from Robert Needlman, M.D. on Love and Presents... I've posted it on my blog couple of months back.. :)

zewt said...

kat - well, i am quite speechless. i am glad whatever i have done... have some positive effect. well, hope will set us free...

kenny mah - yeah, we have been pampered with too much comfort... that when we are put on the frying pan... most of us will just melt.

fiona the confusing girl - i shall when i have the time.

Y.E@eevet - your first word means a lot... jen sik yan qing yan... appreciate those in front of our eyes... let us all do that... all of us.

calvin's wife - then i must have read it ... right?

may said...

it's good to hear that you're doing ok. I know I sometimes take it for granted that there's a cooked meal waiting for me at home, with clean floors to walk on, fresh clean laundry on my bed, and the garden's flowers are blooming. and now being so far away, I think of it often... and miss my mom. thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Here is a million ringgit tip. For your toilet, try this:

Mix with some water and pour over the flooring. Leave it there for few minutes. Just simple scrub with broom and you'll get sparkling clean toilet. Won't take you more than 10 minutes. That means, more time for blogging ;)

Hang in there. Adversity toughens the soul.

Nora aka Anon Fm Miri said...

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by means of good luck. Love, injury, illness, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul.

Love has its own time, season and own reasons! You can't ask it to stay, you can only embrace it as it comes and be glad that for a moment in your life it was yours!

zewt said...

may - i am not exactly ok ... as in ok... but i am coping well i think. you're welcome, though i dont mean to remind anyone.

hasilox - hey... saw you a few times in rocky's blog, welcome here. thanks for the tips. definitely need to go groceries shopping.

anon fm miri - that was so so meaningful. though i failed to embrace it when it was here... i shall always keep it in my memory.

Anonymous said...

kekeke.. u are definitely a good daddy to your ermm RABBITS! So, in order to make your dad happy back and also ur mom in heaven, faster get married and make alot of babies. :)

Jazzi said...

=) I'm sure all students who study abroad on their own develop a deep respect for mothers who can keep a house in order.

I think your mom will be proud of you right this moment, her effort a nurturing was not in vain.

You finally get it. =). Kudos.

Mat Salo said...

Oh Zewt... your story moved me so much, that I now KNOW what I'll do when I go home to Meshia. Thanks for that wonderful piece, and I realize now that I'll never know what I miss 'til it's gone... I haven't finished reading it all yet, but you can be sure I will... God Bless..

Anonymous said...

I got your link from 5xmom.
Your thoughts about your mom's comments are true. She wants you to be able tp accept ppl's weaknesses as well as strength, so that you will be able to accept your own and your love ones.
I have 2 small sons. From time to time they would laugh or complain abt other's weaknesses, I would tell them not to do so.
Just like the way every mommy would.
Yes, you are successful when you can take care of your family. It's useless to be so successful in career and yet there is not happiness and security in a family unit.
Zewt, you sounded like you have matured - from what I read. Your beloved mom is definitely proud of you.

zewt said...

april - hahaha... those rabbits multiply so much, if i make babies like them... i will be broke in no time.

Jazzi - thanks... but i think i still have a long way to go. but i will ensure my mom's legacy will be here to stay.

Mat Salo - hi there, welcome here. thanks for reading... and i am glad you now see your mom in a new light. all mothers deserve the love and respect that we can offer.

anonymous - hi there, thank you for your kind words, i am truly touched. but i am sure my journey towards maturity will continue.... it's a lifetime learning experience i am sure. and you sound like a good mommy... it is my wish that your children will grow to love and respect you much more tomorrow than today.

Anonymous said...

You have lotsa sad posts about your mom, and I know how it feels as I have lost my dad too... You'll never be able to forget, as all this will ALWAYS ALWAYS be fresh in your mind, and you'll always remember it like it happened yesterday...

What you say about never taking people around you for granted, is very very true, and with the experience of 2nd chance from your mom, do remember to always grab the first chance with everyone else... Your dad, namely, I'm sure he'll need lotsa support too, for losing his wife...

Do take care and may your mom's soul rest in peace...

the witch's broo said...


this is so so late.
my apologies.
i missed your beloved mom's passing, if you know what i mean.
i am so so sorry to know about her death.
how are you and the family?
i hope everything is ok... i know it must have been so hard.

i have been away.. really away.
please take care.

zewt said...

ShannonC - hello there. you're right... whenever i think about my mom, the pain is always there. but i am also sure that mom will be very proud of what i have done over the last 2 weeks. mom maybe gone, but her legacy will always remain and indeed, let us all not take anyone or anything for granted. thank you for your kind words.

the witch's broo - hi broo, no worries. i am feeling much better now as compared to 2 weeks ago though the pain is still there. thank you for your kind words and looking forward to read how are things with you since you're away.