Thursday, January 15, 2009

Living Room

This is one of my 2008 Christmas Photos - good friends with good kids in a nice living room- a typical Sarawak photo depicting different races happy together - Kayan - Chinese - Melanau - Iban - and mixed race children - between us we speak Kayan- Hokkien -Mandarin - Foochow- Melanau - English - Bahasa Malaysia - Iban and Hakka.

About four in the afternoon of one working day I had a lovely call from a young man who was home for Christmas.

"Aunty can you come to my house this evening by seven? We want to give you a surprise!! WE have also invited a group of carollers to come and you can request for your favourite carol too."

A person who loves surprises (Not the nasty types of course)I said yes immediately. And I am the type who sings Christmas carols the whole year through. My son had been spending the whole day with them making cakes! L's home is always open to his school mates all these years. Bless the hearts of his lovely parents. The lovely phone call not only made my day but it was definitely the best in the year 2008!!

A chocolate fruit cake from L's 1001 Chocolate recipes.

Cupcakes making the season so merry and blessed by the hands of the three good friends.

The Carollers of their age group.

Having a great family in Sibu meant a great deal to me. Aunts and Uncles rallying around for every occassion - happy or sad - create a greater meaning in my life. Having cousins also made my life so much more exciting. We were always in and out of each other's living rooms.

And now as I age I value the company of my children's friends and their friendship!!

As the "kids" come home for their university break for Christmas and New Year I actually got to spend time with them and reflect on their contribution to our society!! How valuable they are,even in their youth!

They made cakes for carollers over Christmas.

They attended church services and helped make the congregation hopeful that another "good" generation is coming up beatuifully.

And most of all they make the older generation feel good about themselves - a generation which has struggled hard through thick and thin to raise them and hopefully to make the society a better one.

In the light of Obama's grandmother's endeavour I would like to believe that every grandmother I know has walked down that rough road to bring up their grandchildren properly and be of use to the society.

Too many parents have been setting bad examples in recent years (re: quadruple parking outside school gates - parking their huge cars in the middle of the road and walking to pick their kids up and causing a huge traffic jam - using swear words - smearing campaign against other students - putting other mothers down - teaching their kids to look down upon others - not allowing their children to mix with the poor and needy and other races - paying high fees to school teachers to become their children's tutors - and the list goes on)

And most of all many of my friends have been wondering why after 50 years in Malaysia many still cannot accept another race's existence .

Living rooms always make me think of one Chinese New Year a long long time ago. My son, who was attending Chinese primary school,at the age of eight was not allowed into a classmate's living room because he "did not look like one of them" and he had lots of mosquito bites on his legs (Having an asthmatic father my son has bad skin problmes).It was like a friend's mother banging the door on the face of a classmate. He ran the lonely way home to my great surprise very dejectly (naturally). We actually live just two roads apart. That was his first experience of social and racial exclusion, to put it in the mildest way. Even being half Chinese was not good enough. He was truly traumatised.

But not long after that my son made firm friends with more inclusive children who are from ordinary and humble families . These are the people who make my world a better place today. Their friendship transcends race and social standing. And we parents from different races have bonded well all these years. Spiritually I have been so enriched because they are God fearing and faithful members of their church.

When called upon by the school these children are ever ready to lend a helping hand. When called upon by the church they are ever ready to sing and play their musical instruments. When called upon to cook for an occasion - they are ready to dig deep into their pockets. At the end of each year they put their old books and some good files in a box and send to the Red Crescent. And when the floods come up their drove an old junk to send some cooked food and biscuits (bought with their parents' pension money) to some acquaintances living in the squatters' area.

When called upon to keep an old lady company they say "Aunty sure!! We will help!" No questions asked.

I like to think that there are good parents out there who have brought their children up well. And their school principal and I often talk about how great they are. It warms my heart.

May God bless them. We need to have that ray of hope that some people out there are still decent parents and bringing up decent children.

And it is wonderful to meet/know parents who allow children into their living room.

I like to feel that God is smiling up there when He sees people visiting each other's living room. Whenever I have these feelings such a living room just become so different. As a friend has said to me - "there is a special feeling in this living room. There is a special spiritual presence! I feel so comforted here."

Michele Obama

“It has been a blessing for us to have this opportunity to spend this year traveling the country,” she tells Ebony magazine. “We’ve been in almost every state in this nation—in people’s homes, in their kitchens, in their community centers, and just having the opportunity to be reminded of how decent the American people are and how our values are so closely linked, that gives me hope.”

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