Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Poor gets trampled

Once, my Mom was critically ill and Dad had to stay with her in hospital and we were sent to his elder sister's house to stay for a few days. My aunt has 7 kids. Her husband was a successful cloth merchant.

My brothers and I had to sleep on straw mats in the hall at night. The family went about their business and we were largely ignored. One night, the father came back with 3 durians for his two younger sons. He opened the durians and called out for all to come and eat. My younger brother Chuan, was the first to dash forward and grab one seed. Suddenly my uncle snatched it from his hand, pushed him and shouted," F*** your mother! Who said you could eat? Hungry ghosts! Beggars!"

My younger brother was only 5. He was shocked and started crying. I pulled him towards me and tried to pacify him. I forbid my brothers to eat the food. I refused to touch the fruits and I secretly swore never to accept anything from this family. We were no beggars.

That night, the 3 of us sat leaning against the wall in one corner, watching them eat their fruits with relish. My right hand was holding one brother, Meng's hand while the left hand was clutching the other sobbing Chuan. I believe my eyes were burning with hatred then. I didn't tell my Dad about this incident. I doubt my brothers remember.

Another time, at my second uncle's house. His neighbour gave each of us kids a tube of Twinkles chocolates. My cousin, who was only 7, took away ours. I protested but she retorted that they were meant for her because that was her neighbour, not ours. My brothers started fighting with her for the chocolates. Her shouts brought her mother.

This second aunt just snatched all the chocolates from my brothers hands, opened one tube and poured them onto the sandy ground. "Nah, eat!" She grabbed her daughter's hand and went into the house.

My brothers picked up the chocolates one by one despite my protests, washed them under the tap and proceeded to eat the soggy mess. There was still some sand stuck in it. I cried. I realised then that when you are poor and weak, you have no choice but to eat what others give to you.

I think I was hardened by such incidents and became stubborn. I don't easily bow my head to others. I am a very proud person. This bad trait do put me in lots of trouble when I was older. I would rather lose a deal or friend than kowtow to demanding people.

Subsequently there were many such incidents in school and at work, I shall not bore you with those and skip to the more important parts of my life. You can try borrowing the book from Jaymes for my entire story. hehe......

Today, my Dad can now proudly boast that he has the only graduate and two entreprenuers in the family tree. hahahaha................ we did him proud!

26 comments:

  1. Ya, being poor is terrible. I can feel the pain when I read your blog.

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  2. I think your relatives a bit extreme. Make sure right at the top of the list of values you teach Jaymes is to show kindness to the downtrodden.

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  3. Cheers to the family. Err...is your book published for the public, or is there only one copy meant for Jaymes. Lucky Jaymes.

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  5. Jayne, I have relatives who are also like yours. Some of them are my cousins who are much much older then me. Their kids are lawyer and doctor. I've not met them for a while, until we were invited to attend their daughter's wedding. The mother called up my mum and told her that children (meaning my junior) can sit on adult laps because they worried about shortage of tables. What a F***? Filthy rich, can't afford to book enough tables ah? I was then bloody mad and told my mum to boycott the banquet! That was many years back. Recently, I ran into them again, and their jaws almost dropped when they saw me fetching my mum and dad in my "big" car. Can't stand their condescending attitude!

    Oops sorry Jayne... I got carried away... it's your memoirs.. not mine..... But yes, I empathise with you and share your pain.

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  6. You sure did your parents proud. Not many would have turned out the way you did... after facing all the above. I salute you .. my dear ECL..!! you did really good..!

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  7. Orh, now I understand. That's why someone said "Relatives are by chance, friends are by choice."

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  8. Ish ish ish.. such mean relatives.. like a chapter out of Oshin.

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  9. It's good that you can raise yourself beyond all of the poor treatment you received. So many people will just wallow in their defeats and criticims they receive and never step up and out of their circumstances.

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  10. Your tale brings to mind two cliches: "mean people suck but none more so than a mean relative" and "revenge is best served cold and with a measure of success."

    Who needs mean relatives when there are so many nice people on this planet?


    meow

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  11. hmm

    erm.. story no more?

    i wanna read more ley!

    btw: can i play maplestory with ur son? wahahahaha

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  12. i can feel the pain too. Once u are poor and weak, u really have not much choice. But think of the bright side, without these, u wont have the will to become what u r today with stubborn but strong attitude ;)

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  13. I can imagine what its like and I am certainly glad that you guys have made it and succeeded so well that your relatives who were nasty could only eat humble pie. Sorry to hear about your difficult past. It makes me feel guilty as my life was relatively luxurious until I started to work and earn my own money.

    What's strange is that the higher I climb up the career ladder, the less important I feel about success and money and all that hype. I hanker after the simpler things in life when things are more straightforward and less complex. I guess for your case, its quite a different story as you faced tremendous oppression in your younger days.

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  14. I can imagine, but never understand your pain. I should say that I've been lucky. If only I could get my hands on the book.

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  15. That is so amazing!! I am hoping to be the only one on my family tree that has completed their masters program. I want to make my family proud as well.

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  16. You have learned a valuable lesson in life. You know what it feels like to be treated with disrespect. You know that the bond that you created between your Father and yourself and your brothers is a value that only others can wish for. You demonstrated that in order to survive you do not need the THINGS in life you only need the love and respect of the people in your life. You seem to have been able to get these terrible episodes behind you in this life and you are now the teacher.

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  17. a lovely post... i really like the diversity of topics you share about here :)

    take care!

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  18. Great story! Your father has a lot in common with mine.

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  19. hi sweetie damn them you turned out so wonderfully! many kisses

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  20. Your relatives do not believe in karma, heh? I'm sorry you and your brothers suffered so, and at the hands of family! It sounds like the experiences made you strong, and you keep much kindness in your heart for people. You are amazing.

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  21. I tot such things only happened on the tv, soap drama... din know it's so real... so sad... :(

    Hugs to you and your brothers... am glad that you did your father proud!

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  23. not easy for you ah!
    you mush have work very hard! so we youngster should learn from you :)

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  24. Sorry to say this but your relatives are really horrible!!

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  25. You are so much 'richer' in character than some uncles despite being physically richer.

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