Sunday, March 04, 2007

Poverty robs me of an Education

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.........


  1. When I read stories like yours, it is hard for me to realize in other parts of this planet life is much different then here. I give you much credit for pursuing your dreams and trying to help other girls and women become learned. One voice does make a difference. I wish you success and offer some prayers up for you and your pursuits.

  2. Ignorance kills so much. Usually time and best efforts.

    My ignorance led me to the Army for an education. Thought the discipline led me graduating with honors, the time lost of earnings cannot be recovered. I always feel older than equivalent candidates and this translates into less confidence. A personal problem I know.

    Sad that the rich ladies cannot understand your desire to lift up young woman. Maybe piak them with a silver spoon to get their attention.

  3. Sorry to hear you didn't got the chance, but it seams like you have a rich life after all:-)

  4. Hey but you managed very well on our own! I'm sure your parents are proud of you!!

    Ps. the rich can never truly understand, even if they do 'something' there's always a motive behind it.... like getting attention.

  5. I have always been sceptical in so-called "professional clubs" which preaches their desire to reach out to the needy. Most of the time, the members are only keen to seek self validation that they have made it up there.

    All the finance that goes into a high classed conference, a good portion of it probably could have been used for more constructive purposes, rather than to buy glam.

  6. The teachers and/or counselors should have recommended scholarships or loans to you. It is their duty to ensure people gets educated!

    I admire your perseverance. Truly inspirational.

  7. I suppose the good thing is that even though you had missed out on JC (?), you have never stopped learning. :)

    Ah....if you want to help girls who needs need to further of studies, I can know of people who will benefit from such sponsorship leh.... :P

    Anyway, keep safe.

  8. Hello teacher Dave!
    Having been to several 3rd World countries, I discover there are many more unfortunate people than me. I am a very blessed person.
    Thanks for remembering me in your prayers.

  9. SA dear,

    I'm planning to do more for the underprivileged young women in Singapore. Even if I cannot get help from the rich or successful ladies, I would still go ahead with my project. There are lots to be done to help these sisters, I hope more people would support my cause.

  10. Hello rennyba!
    yeah, I'm rich - in experience and friendships!

  11. Wah wokking mum!
    My parents are truly proud of me!

    I meet some really caring and humble rich people though. There are many types of people in this world la!

  12. Yo endoh taiki!
    You're right! The 'professional clubs' have lost their objectives! I don't look to any such clubs for support anymore.

    I just hope that they would organise less glam parties and channel the money to more worthy causes.

  13. Hi narrowband!
    Thanks for coming back! You are such a dear!

    Hey, if my teachers had got me the scholarship, I wouldn't have meet you! hehe....

  14. PY darling!
    Nobody should stop learning, even if they have a doctorate! There are so many things to learn everyday. I enjoy my learning process. So much to learn and yet so little time!

  15. pinkie darling!
    You are a strong woman too! I believe your strength builds up when the going gets tougher.

  16. Yeah! Learning is fun! Especially when one learns because one wants to learn. :)