Thursday, May 8, 2008

Human painful

Since Dad was a Finance Manager, he could have saved and we should be living comfortably, so where were all the monies? This part of the story is a sad one for Mum. I was too young to understand but I knew my parents were quarrelling. They do not talk to each other. Dad was out most of the time and Mum smoked lots of cigarettes one after another. I used to run after my Dad and every time when he left, I will cry. I was a naughty and gutsy child. To be with my Dad, I would open the window and jumped. Thinking back, I have no fear of falling, hurting myself, pain etc. but to ran after my Dad. He had no choice but to take me with him. He visited a place of worship. There was a lady and she went into trance, cut her tongue, and wrote on yellow papers with her blood. She burnt these yellow papers to ashes and threw them into water and everyone drank it. She had a daughter about my age and we used to play with each other. I loved it when it comes to deities festivals with all the colors and people moving around. Although I was very young but whenever my Mum asked me where did we go, what did Dad do, who did we meet - I just shut up! I will not say anything. In my little heart, am I aware of what is going on? Why did I not reply to Mum? Am I standing by my Dad. My Mum considered me a disloyal child, a culprit with Dad, a spy for Dad. She said I was my Dad's child. Being a child, I am not able to express my fear. Yes, fear. I did not say anything not because I am on my Dad's side. I do not know what my Dad did was right or wrong but I do know that if I say something, my parents will quarrel again. There will be loud voices shouting back at each other, there will be angered silent, adults will do their own things ignoring the kids around. One sulked and one cry. Do you know now? it was my fear more than my loyalty even when I am a five years old child.

Later from adults' conversations, I realized that Mum said Dad had a woman outside. Dad had to see her often and neglected the family. I am an ungrateful child because I only know how to run after my Dad. Mum was also angry that Dad swindled away all his monies and now we were left with nothing. We need to borrow monies to make ends meet. This war between my parents never stopped. To a man, his wife is not his everything. To a woman, her husband is her world. Woman at my Mum's era were not educated. They were the submissive ones. Unlike today, women stand no nonsense from men. Divorce is nothing now a day but during Mum's time, it was taboo. It was shame that your husband have another woman. It was something to do with BETRAYAL..! betraying the marriage vows, betraying the love, betraying the family. As I grew older, I realized the pain my Mum was going through.

She did not leave Dad. She plodded along. She kept her pain but I knew she has never forgiven Dad. Forgive and Forget? I think only saints can do that. Many years lapsed, Mum on and off harped at this issue. She blamed Dad for squandering all his monies and we have to live a difficult life. Deep inside her, I know that she loved Dad. This was even more obvious during Dad's sickness and we knew he was going to leave us.

Whether that 'woman' had anything with Dad, I do not know. I really did not see anything going with my own eyes, but again who wants to do 'adult' things in front of a child. I gave my Dad the benefit of doubt. I know my Dad was suave, good talker, good sense of humor and very much a PR person. It was not difficult to like him. He was generous, he had a soft heart and was compassionate. What do you expect from a man who cries? He definitely has lots of Love. He loved me tons and my siblings or else he would not have given the three of us a roof over our heads. It was simple if it was just a roof. This roof came with lots of commitments to a man at a retired age with three young children.

I started to hate 3rd party woman. No one said anything to me or contaminated my mind but I just 'brand' them 'home breakers'. I angered at men who are irresponsible to their family by having affairs. The pain of seeing my parents fighting caused me uncertainties of my future. For the pain I am going through, I hated to see others in the same position. I am 'one' sided all the way.

Mum told me years later that the day she took the three of us to a photo studio to take a photo together, she planned to kill herself and take the three of us with her. Oh My God !! When she looked at us, she felt we were innocent and she should not impose her pain on us. She loved us too much to want to harm us. She remembered the process she went through to adopt us and all these stopped her for taking her own life and that of ours. Close shaved.

I thought that my Mum hated me. She hated my guts and my loyalty to my Dad. It affected my studies. I can be a brilliant student but I slacked in my school works. My results fluctuated - I was the top three students one year and failed the next year. Of course, I got lots of canning from Mum. My school results suffered badly. I failed my final exams in primary school and have to repeat instead of moving up to higher school. When I do move up to higher school, I did not get to go to any elite school but some neighborhood school.

We were poor. Mum brought us to visit some friends and I knew she went to borrow monies. Everyone was so afraid to see us. Friends were afraid that my parents will not be able to pay them back. Reasons : My parents were old, and we were young. They do not see any future with these kids - not exceptionally bright and did not achieve good results in school. I could not forget the unkind remark passed to Mum (this is a Cantonese proverb): "when you don't have 瓜(kua), why do you want to carry a 茄(chair). 'Kua' and 'Chair' are vegetables. Kua is cucumber like type of vegetable and Chair is actually tomato. What it really mean was 'you do not have any kids and why do you want to carry others kids to be a burden to yourself'. I realized human can be very unkind. I also realized words hurts and can kill at the same time.

The funny thing was I never blamed my Dad. In our most difficult times, I am in school and wanted a fountain pen which was costly at that time. Dad bought it for me. How? He went to do small jobs and save to buy me a pen. It was a Parker pen. I will never forget ever.

Mum was the disciplinarian of the family. We can be poor but we cannot forget our manners. She was particular when we eat. We cannot eat all of the favorite dishes as we have to leave some for others. We have to pick food in front of us and not our favorite chicken drumstick that was facing the opposite direction. We cannot dig into dishes to find the favorite piece of meat we liked. We cannot waste food or rice. We have to sit straight when we eat and study. We cannot lie.

When I went to higher school, I was moving into teens. We spent lots of time in schools, with classmates of both boys and girls. This was also the time we became aware of boys. We want to look good and want to have a boy friend. It was an 'experimenting and growing up' period. I went to school early in the morning and returned late at night. When Mum asked, I just showered and went to bed covering my head to toes with a blanket. No matter how she canned me, I refused to cry - I was that REBELLIOUS!

There was one incident whereby I was canned because I did not come home until morning. I was with classmates and we went to the beach. We forgot the time and there were no more bus services. My Mum was fuming mad when she saw me. Mum scolded my Dad 'see this is what you have done, you have spoilt her'. Dad did not reply. While she canned me, I ran behind my Dad and he tried to block some of the blows so he got beaten up too. This was the first time Mum issued a warning " If you misbehave and ended up pregnant, you will not walk out of the house - I make very sure you CRAWL out of the house!!!!!!". I was taken aback by the 'killing' look in her eyes.

The most hurt I caused my Dad was running away from school. Dad sent me to school every day. He left me at the gate, saw me walked in and he went off. Seeing Dad's back, I ran out of the gate to meet some of my boys' classmates. We went to jumped drains, catch tadpoles and guppy fishes. Not far from school was an infamous pool. Weeds were growing underwater and there were plenty of colored fishes. Many kids swam and drowned and we played there. This truant was found out when Dad ran into my class teacher. My teacher mentioned that I did not turn up in schools for the last five days, am I sick? My dad was puzzled because he sent me to school and saw me entered the gate before he turned away. When I returned home, Mum was sitting there smiling cynically. Dad's face looked like thunder. I am stupid enough not to realize that something was wrong. Dad asked me 'how is school?'. "Oh, OK" was my answer. "Show me your school work and what did you learn today?" - I stunned. He opened my school bag, checked through my exercise books and looked at the date and he took up the cane. This was the first time in my life my Dad lifted his hands to caned me. MY DAD CANED ME - can you believe it? That was the worst canning I got. It was worst than what Mum did. Mum said "Ha, good and now you know how good your wonderful daughter is". You spoilt her and this is what you deserved. When I scolded and caned her, you sided her." Oh, Mum was adding oil to fire! Dad caned me even harder. My hands and legs were full of cane marks. I was not given food that night. I cried and cried and I hated my Dad. I decided I am not talking to him. The next day, he sent me to school as usual and this time he walked me right to the playground and watched me going into class two by two. My classmates were laughing at me because my cane marks were so VERY obvious. Now a day it is called 'Child Abuse' - last time it was called 'Discipline'. This is the different - talking about human rights! I refused to speak to Dad for two months.

Although I am a rebellious teen, I knew and worried for the family financially. I followed Mum to a house to wash dirty plates. I went to work in a night bazaar's funfair as a sales girl selling apparels. I even thought of working part-time as a bar waitress. I am slowly growing up to be a sensible and responsible young adult. Somewhere in my mind I knew I need to do my duty as a child and my Dad and Mum were no longer young. I had two younger siblings that needed to go to school and expenses to meet households, school fees and text books etc.

Hey! I was fat, real FAT. I became shy, stammer when I spoke and very conscious of my look. My self esteem was low. I stayed in the background in functions - what is the word? Wallflower? Can you imagine at my age? I admired all the pretties and good-looking. In my final years in school, my teacher asked "what do you want to be when you go out to the working world?" There were many high aspiration classmates. I thought that mine was a humble one, I said "I want to be a secretary." The whole class broke out in laughter. One of the boys shouted "All secretary are Boss mistress, they are thin and pretty - you got chance or not?" Ha.a.a.a.a.a.a., the whole class laughed again. I calmed up but deep in my heart I promised myself - If I cannot compete in look, I will compete to excel in my work. This did happen and I have by-pass the goals I set for myself many many folds over. I targeted that I will be happy if I earned 3,000 and I have exceeded this amount too. I have outgrown my goal as a secretary to something much much higher.

In summary - my parents' unhappiness, the making ends meet circumstances, three growing up kids that need supervision and guidance was an unpleasant situation....

This Spoilt Kid at later years became the breadwinner of the family. I will not say that I am a filial child but I did my duty to my parents. I love them as much as they love me. I have given them a house of their own. We are not rich but we can afford to eat out and enjoy a bit of luxury. I am no more frightened that I am not able to meet my parents' medical expenses and need to borrow monies. My Mum finally said to friends "If I have not taken these three tomatoes, I will not be so comfortable today. They were the ones that provided me joy and a decent old age life."

Yes, I know why Mum said this. Do you remember Wai was her own daughter. No matter how much she wanted to do her duty to Mum and Dad, she was limited financially. She had five kids. My bro in law was a carpenter and they were trying to make ends meet, let alone supporting Mum and Dad. Wai died of brain hemorrhage because she fell in the wet market and knocked her head against some hard object. Although I spent very short time with her when I was a baby but at later years we became close. She was poor but every time my birthday she will buy me a tub of ice cream with the monies she saved. God knows how long she had saved and I blessed her for that. I deeply appreciate Jie, wherever you are. I was learning Buddhism and I told her not to kill and she stopped. Chicken to poor people are luxury and Wai bought chicks (they were cheaper) and reared them until they were big. Wai killed these chickens during festive seasons to give the family chicken. She knew that her children were not bright and could not contribute much to the family. She worried that if she had to die she would not have a coffin. Can anyone imagine the worries of poor people. However I promised Wai that I will see to it that she will have a decent burial. When she was talking about this it was like predicting her own death. I fulfilled what I promised her - she had a more than decent funeral. All expenses were met and my bro in law need not borrow monies from Mum or anyone else. For the love Wai gave me, I gave her back. When I started working, I bought her materials and made her clothes so that she had some nice things to wear. This was sisterly love. Who said that people who do not share the same blood cannot love one another like siblings????

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