It’s been a while since I last wrote. Seeing as it is Chinese New Year (CNY), I thought I would share something my father shared with me.
On Saturday (the eve of CNY), while pumping gas, a woman came up to my father to sell cakes for RM$2. She pleaded with him to buy her cakes, as she needed money for her meal. My father has previously seen her around the market a few times, trying to sell her wares.
“I don’t want your cakes, but here’s some money.”
This woman’s situation reminded him of his own plight when he was younger. It was the eve of Chinese New Year’s eve in 1958. My Er Peh (second uncle), who was studying in Singapore then, had just returned home to usher in the New Year with the family. My Ah Neh (paternal grandmother), a seamstress, couldn’t get her then employer to pay her her rightful wage. She had to claim it, and yet, it fell on deaf ears. Determine to make a good New Year for her children, Ah Neh was forced to pawn off her eldest daughter’s gold bracelet. Er Peh, through much embarrassment, sadness and tears, had to hurry off to his friend’s pawn shop to pawn off the piece of jewelry.
Even though I am not home for CNY (and haven’t been for a while), I am counting my blessings. I am blessed for the good life my parents gave my sisters and I.
We are well-educated. We had a good roof over our heads. We had three squared, home-cooked meals everyday. We cherished what we were given and were taught to share with those who were not so fortunate. We were never wanting or lacking.
Life is tough. We all know that. For some, it’s cutting back a little of the luxury. For others, it’s skipping a meal or two, or even all. We all have our mountains to climb, our Goliaths to overcome. But in the midst of our celebration, let’s not forget the less fortunate who are truly trying their best to make ends meet.
Suddenly, fretting about hubs bringing home durian instead of pussy willow for CNY decor doesn’t seem so important. Or that the floors weren’t swept or the house dusted before the stroke of midnight on the eve of CNY. Or that the garbage wasn’t thrown, or the dogs weren’t cleaned. I may not have much, but what I have is a lot for many. Even though I can’t be home in KL with my family for CNY, I have a home here in NJ with hubs and my dogs. Even though I can’t have a reunion dinner with my family, I still have porridge to warm us up.
We have. And for that we are thankful.
Happy Chinese New Year to all! May the year of the Black Water Snake bring good health, fortune, and peace to you.