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Poor-In Rain

In the pouring rain on my way to Pak Ngah Studio to pick up Monchies the other night, I got a call from Edrick. He asked for my permission to get a drink at Pak Ngah Café. One for kaka Kitreena, and one for himself. I asked him if they had enough money for the drinks, as I don’t usually give them pocket money. They go to their classes at Pak Ngah after supper at home and they have their water bottle. So no pocket money for dinner or snack is necessary.

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But that particular evening, the kids only had cream of mushroom soup with garlic toast and steamed broccoli for supper and wanted nothing else. So I told Edrick that it was okay if they got themselves some Keropok Lekor. Edrick, in his innocent question to Kitreena that I overheard on the phone, asked, “Kitreena, do we have enough money for some krupuk?” There was only two ringgits left.

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It was when Edrick, in his innocent voice, asked, “Mom, what can two ringgits get us if it’s not enough for krupuk?” … that I suddenly felt sad.

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Sad in a way; that I don’t give Monchies enough money to buy what they need when they need it. Although I tried really hard to not pity myself after we hung up, what Edrick said in all his innocence broke my heart. They climbed up into the car that night, half-drenched by the rain and told me that Kaka Rina at Pak Ngah Cafe was so kind to only take one ringgit for the drinks. And that she gave them a big bag of Keropok Lekor for their two ringgits. I quietly burst in tears.

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I felt so ‘poor’ until later that night when I saw this saying…

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Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.
~Robert A. Heinlein

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I knew then as I thought I have always known it… that being ‘poor’ is sometimes a blessing. And so, I started counting.

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Coat Of Many Colors

Back through the years as I go wonderin’ once again
Back through the seasons of my youth
I recall a box of rags someone gave us
And how my Momma put the rags to use

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There were rags of many colors and every piece was small
And I didn’t have a coat and it was way down in the fall
Momma sewed the rags together sewin’ every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors that I was so proud of

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As she sewed she told a story from the bible she had read
About a coat of many colors Joseph wore and then she said
Perhaps this coat will bring you good luck and happiness
And I just couldn’t wait to wear it and Momma blessed it with a kiss

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And my coat of many colors that my Momma made for me
Made only from rags but I wore it so proudly
Although we had no money I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors my Momma made for me

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So with patches on my britches and holes in both my shoes
In my coat of many colors I hurried off to school
Just to find the others laughin’ and makin’ fun of me
In my coat of many colors my Momma made for me

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I just couldn’t understand it for I felt I was rich
And I told them all the love my Momma sewed in every stitch
And I told ‘em all the stories Momma told me while she sewed
And how my coat of many colors was worth more than all their clothes

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But they didn’t understand it and I tried to make them see
That one is only poor only if they choose to be
And I know we had no money I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors my Momma made for me
Made just for me.

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If You Don’t

“If you don’t like the truth, don’t lie. Leave.”

~Enida Supian-Johnson
November 7th 2012

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Lately… Ethan doesn’t seem to be interested in playing with Edrick anymore. It breaks my heart to see Edrick handling rejection, but I don’t really want to interfere. Friendship is something only ‘friends’ have to go through to figure it out. Mothers have to step back. It is a learning process.

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But they do chat on the intercom phone almost every day like any other BFF’s do. Sometimes for almost half an hour. After one of those calls the other day, and with tears welling in his eyes, Edrick was ready to talk…

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Edrick: Ethan doesn’t want me to go over to his house, Mom. *sobs sobs*

Mom: Oh okay, why don’t you ask him to come over to our place?

Edrick: He doesn’t wanna do that either.

Mom: Oh okay, maybe you guys could go out to the pool.

Edrick: He can’t. He’s grounded.

Mom: Ohhhh okay. That explains.

Edrick: Ethan’s grounded for playing too much iPad.

Mom: Playing too much iPad? How much is that?

Edrick: I don’t know. He’s grounded for two weeks!

Mom: That is long, man! But that’s what happens when you break the rules.

Edrick: But there are no rules in Ethan’s house, Mom. He can play with his iPad whenever he wants.

Mom: If there are no rules, then what is there for him to break?

Edrick: I don’t know. Ethan doesn’t know about the rules either.

Mom: Hmmm… that’s pretty tricky, eh?

Edrick: Yeah, how can you know what is right if you don’t know what is wrong?

Mom: Oh boy! You’re absolutely right.

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I knew I was talking to my Little Big Man.
But I didn’t realize he was that big already.

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My Not So Little Big Man.

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Maybe Not

The X-Ray image showed Kitreena’s spine developing scoliosis and Dr. Boden immediately put her on the 24 physiotherapy sessions with Leah. And that… was yesterday, March 26th, 2014. Tonight, after Pak Ngah last joget class, she asked me if I had told Daddy about her scoliosis. Yes, her scoliosis. She had a condition this time.

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Kitreena: Mom, have you told Daddy about my scoliosis?

Mommy: Yes, I have. I emailed Daddy last night.

Kitreena: So what did he say?

Mommy: He hasn’t said anything yet.

Kitreena: What do you mean he hasn’t said anything yet? Has he read your email?

Mommy: I don’t know sayang. I can’t tell until he responds to my email.

Kitreena: Maybe he doesn’t care.

Mommy: Nah, I think he hasn’t checked his emails.

Kitreena: Maybe he just doesn’t know what to say.

Mommy: Maybe he hasn’t read my email yet.

Kitreena: Maybe he thinks you told him because you wanted him to pay for the treatment.

Mommy: Nah, it’s not even an issue. I was just telling him about your condition.

Kitreena: So… yeah, maybe he doesn’t care.

Mommy: Maybe there’s something wrong with his email.

Kitreena: Maybe he just wants to keep quiet.

Mommy: Maybe he’s writing a reply right about now.

Kitreena: Mom… stop it! *looks away*

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I am running out of excuses and I have no more defenses. Let’s just watch Hope Floats for the 932nd time, shall we?

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Perhaps love...

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Anak-anak saya, yang saya panggil Monchies, ada satu perangai yang menghairankan saya. Sesekali saya singgah dan beli pisang goreng dalam perjalanan pulang ke rumah dari menjemput mereka dari sekolah, Monchies tak sabar-sabar nak makan. Dengan tangan tak bercuci, dengan pisang goreng yang sangat panas. Bila sampai di rumah pun begitu. Berterkam!

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Tetapi sudah menjadi syarat dan peraturan, mereka tidak boleh makan pisang goreng atau apa pun sajian minum petang sehingga mereka menukar pakaian seragam sekolah kepada pakaian basahan di rumah.

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Yang peliknya Monchies akan mengambil masa setengah jam atau kadang-kadang sejam dua menukar pakaian sambil bermain dan bergurau di bilik sebelum teringat akan pisang goreng yang hampir sejuk menunggu.

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Betul kata emak saya, anak-anak kita mudah lupa. Harus dipesan dan diingatkan selalu. Jangan jemu!

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Saya suruh Kitreena dan Edrick turun belikan pisang goreng. Bila masuk ke kereta semula, Monchies and I had a conversation:

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Kitreena: Mom you make us go buy the pisang goreng now. It feels like a job.

Edrick: Yeah, we are doing it for you now Mom.

Mommy: Well, I am so glad you guys are old enough now. I can order you around.

Monchies: Oh! That’s not fair.

Mommy: Eh, when you were babies, I did everything for you tau. Everything.

Kitreena: Yeah, and you still have to do a lot for us to make sure we grow up well.

Mommy: Tau tak apa. I still drive you guys to school because I want you two to be successful and get a good job so you can pay for my vacation. Hah!

Kitreena: I’ll buy you a good car Mom.

Mommy: No, get me a handsome driver so I would be motivated to travel. Hahaha!

Edrick: And later I’ll buy you a wheelchair, Mom.

Mommy: Chehhh! Kecik hati aku. Ah well… okay, I want a motorized one okay.

Kitreena: Sure thing, Mom.

Mommy: Ohhh don’t worry. I will grow old rich. I don’t want your money.

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Although the Mommy in this picture will grow old rich, her Monchies would still get her a good car and a handsome driver.

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Speak and Span

I have been thinking. And that, the thinking thing, is always a good thing.

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I have been thinking about the way I speak. Well, not just the way I speak. But about what I speak of and how I speak about the things I know and the things I don’t. And I have been thinking and wondering how it would feel like to be watching myself speaking. Of course not to myself. That would be surreal even though I do that in my head and in my closet all the time. But really, how do I speak?

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Do I speak humbly? Do I speak clearly? Do I express wordless stories in the way I blink my eyes, or the way I touch your arm whenever words fail me? Do I smile when I speak, or do I smile more when I listen? Do I breathe in every word I hear, or do I search for words in your eyes? Do I make faces when I speak? Do I make sounds as well? Am I rhythmic in my speech, or do I shoot my syllables?

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But then again, since I am down to writing my thoughts… do my words speak to you? Do you almost hear my voice when you see my written words? Do you see me speaking to you in these sentences?

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Do you feel me?

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Goodpie My Love, Goodpie

With a heart in the middle....

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Some pie hati.

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