I just finished my chinese class, walking down the NTU Alumni’s narrow path heading to the train station. It’s 10pm in the evening, my body almost zonk out, my mind quickly thought of getting a cab home. As I was thinking in my head, why did I even want to get myself into this; offering my Tuesdays and Thursdays to a three hours class after a long day work, every week, and taking an hour plus journey and got home almost midnight, I suddenly think of my mother, of her fighting spirit and sacrificial love for us her children. When she was my age, just how many countless ship rides, boat rides, bus rides (poor condition and non-airconditioning) and inconvenient walks under rain and shine she has been through. I stopped the grumbling within and continued my walk to the train station. And the overwhelming thoughts and memories of her just kept flowing. I have been missing my mom since last week. I am not saying that I did not miss her other than last week. In fact I remember her all the time. But sometimes I just do not have the courage to respond to my feelings, to contemplate on my thoughts and to pen down the emotions at the times they came.
Those ships rides from Pemangkat-Serasan, Pemangkat-Pulau, Pemangkat-Subi and some other routes that I never know of were awful. It was 10 or more hours rides. The only memory I could remember out of those long rides were my anticipation of going home to see mom, once a year during school break. But compare to mom, my total ship rides would not even amount to 5% of what she performed.
Those small boat rides were the least safe rides imaginable, not few people got drown and died due to sinking boats and minimum rescue assistance. And it was during this small boat rides that I usually threw out, the engine smoke and smell itself was enough to make you feel sick, plus the seasick, it was always a journey of torture, it took about 3-4hours rides depending on the weather and sea condition. But the expectation of seeing mom was my motivation to endure all those long haul torturing rides.
Again compare to mom, these small boat rides, I don’t even dare to estimate how many percent would mine make up to, as she travels to other small islands like Subi, Midai, Serasan, Batu Berlian, Tarempa, Sematan (Malaysia) and countless others.
The bus rides, poor condition bus, without aircond, with two kenets (not sure how to pronoun this) hanging on each doors, the bus doors were never closed in fact, growing up riding countless bus/minibus to school, I could testify to just how much inconvenience my mother had to endure during her travels.
We did not own a house or any motor cycle or any car in West Kalimantan, not until my parent bought a house in early 2000 or so, and until today we only own one motor cycle, so mom either walk or took the public transport back then. I can still vividly recall my memory of childhood walking with mom, across streets and alleys to buy stuffs to be resell at our shop in pulau (pulau panjang). Through rains and shines we walked, she walked I shall say. When things got too handful, she will pay for a trishaw ride (by human power).
Those were the days when we stayed over at mom’s relatives at Singkawang and friends at Pemangkat.
I just reached home, I was typing this along my train ride from Buona Vista station-Bedok Station and Bus ride from Bedok Station-my rented place, all with vehicle of good condition, safe and air-conditioned.
Remembering mom made me realize that I should be grateful and appreciative of my current condition. I am not saying that we should not take cab at all, but really to take time and pause for a little, to count what we have that our parents or previous generation did not have or consider a luxury.
Remebering mom, writing all these definitely bring tears to my eyes. But also joy of being reminded how blessed and fortunate I am to have a mother like her. Missing you mom, always…