My parents being illiterate, do not have much advice to give when we were growing up. They were pretty ignorant and ill-informed people. They were too busy making a living. But through their actions, we could feel their love for us. They were a loving couple. They were always holding hands when they were walking together and they often took baths together.... haha.
At that time, I envisioned myself doing that when I get married. Their love gives me a positive feeling about marriage. Ilook forward to it and I am lucky to marry Chris. I think Jaymes looks forward to his marriage too. He has seen many good examples of marriage in our family.
My Dad loves my Mom very much. When he has extra money to spare, he would buy a small gift for her. I remember once, he brought us to People's Park and at one of the goldsmith shop, he bought a gold bangle that has a dragon carved on it. He must have won a lottery or something because that would cost a lot of money at that time. Mom gave me that bangle 3 years ago. It was her most treasured gift. I could feel my Dad's love when I hold the bangle.
When I was 16, I started giving tuition to the kids within my neighbourhood. I was able to earn some money to pay for my studies. I got about S$100 a month from giving tuition. I was an Ace student. I got 4 distinctions and 4 credits for my 'O' levels. It wasn't easy, I spent a month on the chilly balcony preparing for my exams because my family couldn't sleep with the lights on. haha.....
I didn't attend the 3 months Junior College after my 'O' levels. I went to work as a sales assistant in a departmental store. When I happily show my results to Dad, he told me gravely that he could not afford to send me to JC. I still have two younger brothers. A typical Chinese man, he said girls do not need to study too much. I accepted his decision. I understood the financial situation at home.
When my form teacher and Mandarin teacher heard that I wasn't going to continue with my education, they came to see my Dad. But my Dad was adamant that I stopped school. A cousin's husband offered to help pay for my school fees. He sent in my application for me and I was accepted by Hwa Chong Junior College. But my Dad turned down his offer.
We did not know of any scholarships or help schemes at that time. Like I said, my parents were illiterate and ignorant. Surprisingly, my teachers and school didn't tell us about it too.
This is something that I want to help, for the many girls who do not have the means to further their studies. I once joined a professional women's club to highlight this problem, but all these successful and rich ladies want to do are to organise talks and have dinners at expensive hotels. sigh.........