A Mother’s Day tribute

by Nic, thehapi8wanderer

You won’t be making any more dumplings for us anymore. I did try to learn how to pack the glutinous rice inside the bamboo leaves but never got it right. I didn’t have the patience.

You would always find ways to cook and prepare delicious food for us. In the days before the advent of the Internet, I’m not sure how you got those recipes.

It was your way of introducing us to the joy of preparing food ourselves. I remember making the “love letters” activity after you managed to borrow the metal clamp from someone (or did you purchase it?).

Waking up as early as 5 a.m. to cook and prepare lunch for Grandfather during your teaching days (and my primary and secondary school days). The dedication to carry out your duty as the matriarch of the family.

Encouraging us to save money from young. We didn’t get much pocket money as you had prepared and packed breakfast for us at school. I remember the tons of kaya jam that Grandfather used to make and you’d spread butter on the bread.

Breakfast was kopi-o and half boiled eggs, which were replaced by Milo and half-boiled eggs when I was in secondary school.

You also picked up sewing to make pyjamas for us kids and Grandfather, and to sew curtains as well as sofa seat covers.

I was a pampered kid, having no need to iron my school uniform or wash my school shoes. My time was spent enjoying myself.

Our first occasion of separation was when I went to Singapore to study, and eventually worked there, spending a total of 10 years on the island down south. With the money earned, I bought an Aprilia RS125 and vroomed home to Malacca to show it off to you. But you were not humoured, I reckoned. Don’t worry, I promise to be careful when riding till now.

We had many journeys within Malaysia after I returned in 2003. Many food outlets and places of interest. We went on drives. Enjoyable memories. We’d continue our adventures from young where you’d bring us on trips in the Datsun 120Y, with Father driving.

It was always the Drinho Chrysanthemum drink packets and assam boi (to prevent motion sickness) during our eight-hour drives to Penang.

While in Singapore, I made an effort to call you every Sunday during the 10 years that I was there. Speaking from the public phone with an international calling cards facility was a popular thing back then. I obtained my first handphone in 1999 (Ericsson GH388) and our conversations from then on were from wherever I was and no longer confined to the public phone area.

One of my best life’s decisions was to return to Malaysia to be close to the family. And to continue enjoying your cooking, seeing you and speaking to you in person.

From 2022 onwards, I can only think of you on this occasion to celebrate the greatness of mothers. And to write this post about you.

So, on this year’s Mother’s Day, we’d still buy you a cake with candles to blow. There’s always some celebration and merriment in the house once in a while other than the cultural festivals. Thank you, Mum!

Nic, thehapi8wanderer