Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I learnt of my adoption from a fortune teller. This happened during my teens. We were curious what the future holds and a group of us went to a fortune teller. After commenting on all my friends, (and mine you he was really saying the 'correct' predictions) it was my turn. Checking on my birthday and time, he looked at me with a screwed face and said "Are both your parents alive?". I said "yes". He looked at me and said "impossible" and that if my date and time are accurate, one parent will pass away. I was angry and was wondering why he said that. He said I am born with an arrow in one hand. Gosh ! I look at him with disbelieved and unhappy with what he said. So I kept this prediction in my mind.

One day we were watching TV and the show was about adoption. I took this opportunity and said "A fortune teller said I am an adopted child because both my parents are alive." My Dad was quiet and my Mum said "What if you are? Your natural Mum kept you for 10 months, we looked after you for sixteen years. Take into consideration the love and care since you were a baby and to your education today, I believed our time given to bringing you up cannot be measured." I heard what Mum said. At this point Dad said "All the three of you are from the same parents. Do you remember the Uncle and Aunt you visited back then (we have left my birth country and is living in another country now)? Do you remember the two boys you called Kor Kors? They are you natural family. I did not react to this. My mind was calm and I wanted to let matters rest.

Life went on as usual, nothing was said again on adoptions. I did not feel anger, I did not feel remorse, I did not feel betrayed - and now I know why. Simply because I am much loved by my parents. They were very strict with my upbringing and yet they have never let me feel insecured, unloved and uncared for. I thank them for their graciousness and willingness to tell us the truth. Dad explained that Mum only bored one child and that was Wai (she passed way) and Mum love children. They both decided to adopt one more child. News got out that a couple was looking to adopt a child and that was how they were connected to my natural parents. I am not born and both Mums met up. My adopted parents expressed that whether it will be a boy or a girl, they will accept this child. So both sets of parents became friends. I am born in early morning on 1st of May. A baby weighing 10lbs and a bundle of joy to my adopted parents. I was taken away one day after I am born and have no knowledge of my natural parents. Thinking back now, my natural mum must be very sad. I am the second child given away and which Mum will want to give their blood and flesh away if not for the better of the child.

Few months lapsed and one day, knowing Mum was in a good mood, I asked her how she went about adopting Ya and Meng. This was what she told me.

When Ya was born, they have not found an adopted parent for her. It was inconvenient for my natural mum to bring the baby back to the workplace (they lived in the quarters), my Mum being crazy for kids agreed to look after Ya. It was during this time that Mum realized that Ya always went into fits. Mum continued to care for Ya and every time she threw a fit, Mum was so frightened that she may die. Dad used to put his fingers into Ya mouth to stop her biting her own tongue. Many months went by and finally a Malay Haji family wanted to adopt Ya. I remembered this family. We used to visit them too and they have so many children and lived in a long wooden Malay house. In my mind, I remember one type of food we ate, it was starch rolled on a stick and dipped into spicy asam soup - yummy! Never found this again till today. So as the story goes, Ya was left with this Malay family to try out. When the final day came to make a decision, Mum could not bear to give Ya away. Mum took care of her for 10 months now and has created a bonding with this child. Ya became my sister. Mum gave her a nice name 'Precious Pearl'. This name means that since no one wanted her, she is the precious pearl (掌上明珠) of our family.

As for Meng, he was given to a couple but they went back to their country before his birth. Mum took Meng into the family. This was not easy for Mum and Dad. When they took the three of us, both were into their late forties. Dad retired a few years later and we all were plucked from where we were born to a new country. Mum and Dad needed to look for a new place to stay, we needed to go to schools and school fees, books, uniform and daily school pocket monies weighed heavily on Dad who was jobless. We do not have relatives in this new country except a few friends that Mum and Dad knew.

Those years were the most memorable. I grew up knowing we have no money, Dad had no job and doing odd jobs like bookkeeping for a few small companies and filling up tax forms and writing letters in English for people who wanted to send them to their children in other countries. Mum became a washer woman. Meat and chicken were luxury. We mostly ate rice with black sweet sauce and oil. At times we have salted fish and cheap fishes from the wet market. I had never felt deprived. This maybe so because I am a happy and contented child. I adapted myself to whatever environment I am placed. These were good trainings that assisted me when I started in the working world.

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