Monday, January 14, 2013

Resilience In Times, Training Throughout Life

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For the past two years, I have been going to Helen for my monthly massage. Helen is in her mid-fifties. She is a divorcee with 3 grown up sons. Her eldest son has a congenital heart disease and does only odd jobs. Her second son is also a divorcee and works as a salesman. Her youngest son is serving his National Service.

Ten years ago, Helen was a rich tai-tai of a building contractor. She lived in a spacious condominium and had a maid to take care of household chores. She drove a luxurious continental car,spending her time playing mah-jong, meeting other tai-tais for meals or shopping.

One day her less well=off sister-in-law pulled her along to sign up for a masseuse training course supported by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA). Helen went through the course to keep her sister-in-law company. Never did she know she would depend on this skill for her livelihood.

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When her husband left her for a younger woman, Helen found herself with a totally different life. Suddenly she was the breadwinner. She bought a HDB flat and worked as a masseuse in Holland Road. Her monthly salary was only S$1500 which was not enough to feed her kids. Her ex-husband was also not prompt in his maintenance payments. She signed up for advanced training and found a better paying job at another spa.

Helen is very hardworking and eager to learn. Her company has sent her for several upgrading courses.  She is popular amongst her customers and sometimes has massage sessions booked back to back. Although she is busy, she derives much satisfaction from her job as she gets to meet interesting people and lose weight. She has lost 16 kg since she started working in this spa. 

I am fortunate to have Helen as my masseuse. She responses to my breathing and sounds and is methodical in the way she massages. She does not short-change me by skipping any parts of my body or shortening the session. She usually asks me which part of my body needs massaging before she recommends a suitable massage. I feel totally relaxed after her pampering.

Against all odds, Helen has remained resilience and taken charge of her own life.

14 comments:

  1. You are lucky to find someone who cares about you as a customer.

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    Replies
    1. I have changed quite a number of masseuses and Helen is the most suitable one for me so far.

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  2. Good for Helen.

    But sad that she's left to fend off for herself & kids.

    No legal recourse to get help from her husband?

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    Replies
    1. Years ago, it was difficult to seek legal recourse when the ex-husband refused to pay maintenance. She really went through hard times.

      She was a PR, her Mom and siblings are in Malaysia. She was practically raising her kids on her own.

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  3. I am glad to hear she got the training, got a better job and is now independent.

    I hope you have a great week ECL!!

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    Replies
    1. Glad that Assistance Schemes are available in Singapore for Helen who was struggling as a single mother. Her life has indeed transformed and she is a happier person now.

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  4. so sorry to hear she went through this experience but i'm glad she's getting on with her life...:)

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    Replies
    1. She is happy in her job and has many friends now. She is one of the top performing employees in her company and is regularly being sent for new courses to upgrade herself.

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  5. Replies
    1. Being an active social worker, you have many inspiring stories to share with us too. :)

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  6. life can change in an instant. she's lucky and brave to face the changes that come her way productively. i have yet to find my "personal" masseuse, who will understand my needs. lucky you.

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    Replies
    1. Helen has been through a lot of hardships. She started working when she was 15. She became a full-time housewife after her first child.

      Just when life was getting better for her after her husband became a successful businessman, he left her and her children for a younger and prettier woman.

      She was indeed brave to face her challenges and overcome all odds.

      It took me years to find a suitable masseuse for my needs. We have become good friends who would look out for each other. :)



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  7. What an interesting and inspiring story, good to hear Helen has the confidence and respect of her clients like you. :)

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  8. Now I feel like going for a massage also! :)

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