Another Tribute To My Mother

by Patrick Liew on June 4, 2012

My mother gave me something that no other person could give – my life. She has moulded and shaped me more than anybody else in the world.

When I was born, she gave her heart to me. I have since then carried M…a’s heart with me and will do so till the end of my life.

It was strange that even though Ma was not quite educated and have never gone through a course in motherhood, Ma lived out her role almost naturally. Her love was unconditional, a love that never falter and would last forever.

Ma was a full-time mother and a full-time laborer, an act that only good mothers could do. After a long and hard day at work, she would return home and ensure that everything that needed to be done would be done.

The family would be together and there was warmth, enough for seven of us in a very small house. There was not much material comfort but nobody ever complained about a lack of love, care and concern.

When I was young, I took for granted that Ma had to go to work everyday to help support all of us. I never knew what she had to go through until she brought me to work one day

Ma did it to keep me besides her, and mainly to keep me out of mischief. For me, it was an eye opener and a shocking experience.

I saw my mum working alongside burly looking men at a construction site. The sun was beating cruelly on her suntanned and sweaty body.

Ma had to mix the concrete and scoop them into buckets. She had to carry them to brick layers before the concrete set and therefore cannot be used. In between tasks, she had to lift up bags of cement and throw it on her shoulders and then carry them up the uneven steps to the higher floors.

She worked almost non-stop. The only breaks she took was to look at me every now and then, just to make sure I was safe and well occupied. That heart wrenching scene never left my mind.

There was not much to eat during our meals at home and I remember we would normally finish the rice first. Then, we would slowly savour the few pieces of meat and vegetables that we had to share among ourselves.

We might have an orange at the end of the meal. We would slice it into eight slices to share among the siblings and our grandmother.

Years later, it dawned upon me that Ma never had a share of the orange, not even a small slice. She gave the whole fruit to us – and never showed any desire for, let alone grumble about it.

One of my brothers past away when we were young and Ma never talked about him since then. I knew, like any mother would know, it must have broken her heart to lose one of her own.

Ma carried the pain in her heart like so many other tragedies in our family life. She bore the burden of any sadness and never for once did she share it with us – a sacrifice that could only be made by a mother.

In terms of education, Ma was ahead of her times. She did not emphasize getting good grades as much as developing a good character with sound values. It was almost instinctive to her that what matters most was not what was printed on the Report Card but the track record of how I will live my life.

Once, I jumped off from the top off a cupboard, pretending I was Superman and trying to save the world. Unfortunately, I slipped and my forehead landed on an empty Milo can.

I had a deep slash on the top part of my forehead, the scar of which still remained until today.

Ma and my Papa rushed me to the hospital. She sat besides me while the doctor performed the operation. Ma held my hand and stroked my forehead in the loving and gentle way as only a mother could do.

As the doctor, stitch by stitch, sewed and closed up my wound, Ma must have suffered intense anguish and anxiety.Her heart must have been broken to see her child screaming in pain.

What happened next was an experience that would forever be etched in my mind. My parents bought me my favorite bun, a rectangular shaped bread with sweet creamy fillings.

I sat besides them and felt like a prince. We were so close together. The feeling of love still coast through my being as if I was there again.

Ma’s love go beyond any other earthly love. It’a selfless love that embraces me no matter how bad or disappointing I might occasionally have been. In that love, I can always find comfort, kindness and compassion – and it’s priceless.

As an adult, I feel like a ship. I can be tossed by choppy water, suffer through stormy weather, and sail to unchartered territory but I know, I can always return back to the safe haven of my mother.

Ma’s thoughts were all on me when I was born. I know she will have me in her thoughts until the end of time.

Without Ma, who am I?

I am nothing.

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.


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