Sunday, May 10, 2020

Tribute to my mum on this Mother's Day

NEVER FORGOTTEN, ETERNALLY GRATEFUL: On this Mother’s Day, let me pay tribute to this woman I have the privilege of calling Mum (1925-2015). Though forever missed, we will never forget what she had gone through in her mortal life - a lot of suffering and trials; living in poverty; but always standing by her husband our dad throughout who later went missing in May 2000, at the same time looking after all of us. This video resonates with us how bad life was in the 1960s and 1970s, but never forgetting for a single moment one of the most important values of Chinese culture - our filial piety towards our parents.

In fact, mum had a miscarriage during her first pregnancy when she was 18. When her first child, a girl, was finally born, mum was a weak and frail 19-year-old girl herself. It was also in this year (1943) that our paternal grandmum in her 40s died. Believing that the newly born girl had brought bad luck to the family, maternal grandmum then decided to let the poor baby girl die in the cold outside.

She came over to Malaya with Dad in March 1947. They first settled down in Sepang, Selangor and toiled hard as pig-farmers there. A son was shortly born but died a few days later, again. Still childless at this time, they decided to adopt a girl in 1948 in the belief that later pregnancies would be smooth going. In November 1949, their own child, a girl, was born and this was followed by a son in October 1951. Much to their dismay, one more miscarriage happened in 1952. In June 1955, they were blessed with another daughter. But life then was still bad, and they lived in poverty and under the constant fear of the communist insurgents which Malaya was fighting at this time. As the pig farm was located far away from home, their livelihood was severely affected by the many curfews imposed by the security forces. When another girl was born in 1957, like so many other Sepang residents then, they had no choice but to give the child up for adoption by the Christian missionaries in now known as the Convent High School, Seremban. Years later, it was discovered from the records kept at the Seremban Convent High School and confirmed by the National Registration Department that the baby girl named Mary Agatha Tan Ah Siew had died 3 months after her admission from pneumonia.

In 1958, they decided to move down to Yong Peng. The family of 6 lived in a small rented room. There, another girl was born in 1959. With the proceeds of the sale of the Sepang house and the pig farm together with the pigs and some borrowings from relatives, Dad bought a 6-acre piece of land in Yong Peng for 800 dollars which he later planted it with rubber trees. It was also in early 1970s that I learnt how to tap rubber trees.

But our access to education finally broke the chains of poverty. We managed to give her and Dad a better life from the late 80s onwards, leading to the great celebration of her 80th and 90th birthdays.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers. Thank you for all your sacrifices.🙏

永不忘记,永远感激: 在这个母亲节,让我向这一位我享有特权唤一声母亲的女人致以敬意。虽然永远无法再相见, 我们将不会忘了她这一生所经历的一切 – 她在经历了那么多的痛苦和考验; 生活在贫困之中; 却始终陪伴在她的丈夫,我们的父亲身边 ,(我们的父亲随后在二零零零年五月失踪), 同时照顾着我们。这段视频让我们对六十及七十年代的生活是多么的糟糕产生共鸣,但一刻也别忘了华人文化中其中一个最重要的价值-那就是对父母的孝道。


她于一九四七年年三月随父亲来到马来亚。 他们先定居于雪兰莪的雪邦,并以养猪为生。 不久,母亲产下一名男婴。可惜,出生数天后便夭折。他们当时尚未有任何子女,于是在一九四八年收养了一名女孩,希望她会为家中带来兄弟姐妹。次年十一月,他们首名女儿出世,紧接着,于一九五一年十月又再诞下一名男婴。翌年,母亲再度流产,令他们深感气馁。一九五五年六月,二女儿的出生为他们带来无限欢乐。可惜好景不常,他们的生活变得十分艰难,除饱受贫困之苦外,亦因当时马来亚正值共产党叛乱,他们备受战火威胁。由于养猪场离家甚远,加上军方实施宵禁严重影响了他们的生计。一九五七年,母亲再诞下一女,就像许多雪邦的市民一样,父母无力抚养她,只好把她交给芙蓉市的天主教传教士收养。数年之后,经由芙蓉市修道院中学[译名]的记录得悉,并经国家人口登记局证实,该名女婴,被命名为玛莉,并于她患上肺炎三个月后离世。




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