Happy Birthday

Recently my grandma or fondly known as Ah Ma by her countless grand children and great grand children, celebrated her 94th birthday.

Ah Ma came with Ah Kung (my grand father) from China, to escape the Ching Dynasty oppression in the 1900's. They were the few pioneers that followed Wong Nai Siong who started Sibu town in Sarawak. I didn't get to know Ah Kung very well as he passed away when I was very young. Besides the faint memory of him being bald, smiling in his blue China suit and me sitting at his favorite bench in the kitchen, the only other memory that I can remember of him was at his death bed. It was night time, with so many people surrounding him, little did I knew that I was called upon to see him during his dying moment. I walked towards Ah Kung and stood there, hopelessly watched him raised his weak hand. "Ah Nong (little one) you be a good boy", as he fraily pat my head. With everyone in a somber mood, I just couldn't help but shed little tears and just nodded although I was too young to understand what was happening. I was then ushered to the next room and resumed playing with other cousins. Hours later we heard people crying loudly and continuous weeping. Ma and pa came in and hugged me, they then told me that Ah Kung was gone, forever. The next day was quickly followed by Ah Kung's funeral. Some of us, the grandchildren, were dressed in uncomfortable yellow gunny sack like material. We were made to wear funny hats and kneel beside the coffin and bowed numerous time to pay our last respect.

As for Ah Ma, I have always been very close to her when I was young. She used to visit us whenever Pa managed to get her a ticket. When she came she usually brought my favorite cookies and lots of produce from her orchard. Ah Kung and Ah Ma were self sufficient back then. They worked on their farm, orchard and even reared their own lifestock. Pa used to tell us the stories of how Ah Kung and Ah Ma get them up at 3 a.m in the morning to start work by going rubber tapping. The vegetables were watered and tended to, while some fed the pigs, chicken and ducks. Now after so many years, I know what Ah Ma meant when she said how generation have changed and are better off these days.

Ah Ma is a lady with few words and the only time she speaks more is when she reads and tells me stories. I like her make up stories, although I can't really recall all of them; her funny insect stories used to make me giggle. During the mornings or evenings, she used to take me for strolls. I remembered once we were nearly stranded by the beach when the sudden tide came in. Lucky for Ah Ma's quick thinking, she picked me up, ran and climbed up the nearest bank before the waves swept us away. With her skinny built, she is a strong lady, as she worked hard together with Ah Kung back then. I have seen her carry a full sack of rice on her back, just like a man. Yet, she is as lady like as any women can get. Ah Ma is also a person that could not sit still, she has to tend to something. If there were no chores at home, she will tend to the garden, cutting grass or planting beds of vegetable or fruits, even on our perfectly manicured lawn. She and Ah Kung are strong Christian. She reads her bible daily ever since I knew her and she still does although its hard nowadays with her poor eyes sight. The best thing about Ah Ma, is that she never gets angry at people, there is always a smile on her. I felt bad, as I got mad at her a few times because I was stupid to think that I knew more. But she always forgives me and never take to heart. She has a heart of gold and I love her dearly for who she is.

Happy Birthday Ah Ma and many more returns



Popular Posts