Monday, May 6, 2013

A tribute to my Mentor and Friend: My Mum

It has been said that you do not know how much a mum's sacrifices mean until we are mum ourselves. That is certainly true for me. I enjoyed a good lifestyle during my younger days as my dad had a good job then. I remember that we used to Yum Cha frequently at a famous Chinese restaurant around City Hall area which overlooks a big clock tower. However, my dad did not spend his money wisely and we were badly hit during the 1980s recession when he lost his job.

It was also during then that my brother went  through 2 surgeries and the hospital bills were massive as he spent almost a year in a recuperation home. Mum stepped in and took on 2 jobs.

My mum is a very strong woman. My dad has an estranged relationship with his mum (who has passed on some years back) hence, my mum did not have any help of any sort from his side of the family. It was when we were older that I learnt that my paternal grandmother abandoned my father and remarried into another family. However, my paternal grandma only brought along her elder son to the new family and basically left my dad with my paternal grandfather. Out of respect though, my mum continued to keep in touch with her over the years.

It was only years later, I came to know from my mum that my paternal grandmother did not even visit her once in the hospital after the birth of my brother and passed her an 'ang pau' through my grandaunt which my mum subsequently returned because of some snide comments she made. During those days, my mum did not have the luxury of a 'confinement'. Because she delivered us both by a C-sec operation, she took a bit longer to gain her strength (about a week odd) and went back to toughing it out with her 2 jobs thereafter.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that she was literally working herself to the bones - she often finishes work after midnight and would be up and about by 530 the next morning. Perhaps it was also the financial pressure and the constant worry over my brother's health where during her younger days, mum used to 'snap' easily. I remember being caned on so many occasions with cane marks 'etched' on my arms and legs and being stared at by my classmates in school. However, after all the caning, she'd usually be in tears and apply ointment for my brother and myself.

Mum never stinges on us but herself. She shared with me that during her bleakest period where she had to pay the medical bills by the hundreds each month (a lot of money then), she would skip her breakfast and lunch just so that she can have the money for a bus ride to get to her second job, as a 'supervisor' for restaurants. She will then have her only meal of the day there.

My brother unfortunately developed asthma and the medical help then is not as good as it is now where we can rent a nebulizer and use it at home. During one of my brother's worst attacks, my dad was not around and it was pouring. Mum could not bring me to the hospital and I was left alone at home with strict instructions. She bundled my brother up and she literally carried him and walked / ran to SGH (which took her a few hours) in the rain as she could not afford to hire a taxi and buses do not ply during the late hours then. Such is the iron will of my mum.

I was also not an easy child to look after as I was very prone to having high fevers when I was younger. Till this day, I can still recall my mum tending to me by the side of the bed and sponging me down in the middle of the night and she will head back to working her 2 jobs the following day.

Though money was tight, I do have recollection of family excursions to Botanical Gardens, the movies, Zoo, etc. Whenever she can, she'd cook for the family. My mother also made sure that we had our birthday cakes, swimming lessons and for me, music lessons. She'd always remind my brother and I to study hard so that we are able to get a good job and lead an easier life next time. Though I do not see her daily now that I have my own family, the strange thing is that even till this day, I have never once felt that she was never there for me.

When I got married and became someone else's wife and daughter-in-law, my mother has been truly fantastic in dishing out good sound motherly advice. As mine is an inter-racial and inter-religious marriage (initially), it has not been a easy ride. But with my mum, I can call and discuss (complain) with her about anything and by the end of the call, she would have calmed me down. :)

She has mellowed a lot in the recent years and we have grown even closer if that is even possible. She pitches in to help with Dumpling whenever she can and has shown Dumpling so much patience that I do not even recognise her at times. :p While she used to cane me, with Dumpling, she'd just talk and explain to her.

Though I am a tad too impatient at times and do not communicate with her in as nice a tone as I should, she does not get upset with me. She is always fussing and worrying about me, even now, when I am a mother. :) When on vacation recently to Australia, she brought back kilograms of cherries (one of my 2 favorite fruits) for me. When I look tired, she'll quietly brew tonic soups and ask my helper to bring it home for me to drink.

Whenever Dumpling achieves certain milestones, she celebrates them with me. When I was battling through my Post Natal Depression, she cried with me while holding me in her arms. It is because of her love and selfless sacrifices that I am inspired to be the best mum that I can to Dumpling; just like how great a mum she is to me. It is also when these memories come flooding back while writing this post, that I realise how much she has moulded me as a person and what an 'unsung heroine' she is - for being my mum, my mentor, my pillar of strength at times and certainly one of my best friends.


Do you have a heartwarming / inspiring story on your Mum to share? For this Mother's Day, come and celebrate with Adeline's Loft and Beanie N Us

Adeline's Loft is owned by Adeline Oon, a talented work-at-home-mommy who designs and makes lifestyle jewelries. Adeline was also named and awarded as one of the most inspirational woman by Cozycot during International Women's Day in March 2011. I am very pleased to share that Adeline's Loft is sponsoring the lovely pair of earrings below for one lucky reader!

Made with high quality silver plating from Korea and paired with purple faceted agate gemstones! Worth $30.

:: Here's how to win:
1) Share your heartwarming / inspiring story on your mum with us! 
2) Leave your email address and full name below so that we can contact you! 

To be notified of more giveaways, do remember to like us at Adeline's Loft and Beanie N Us!

Giveaway closes on 10 May, Thursday at 2359 hours. Results will be announced on 11 May. Good luck!


Congrats to Serene Seah! Adeline and I both love your story! 
Thank you for sharing and we will be in touch shortly!


  1. Love your story and nearly bought me to tears but tts coz I controlled (in office, cannot have them staring at me). Reminds so much of my own mum, and with her current health I hope I can spend more time with her but not possible. Wish I can stop time now.

    1. I am sad to know that you are going through difficult times too Jen. Hugs.

  2. Your mom is a great one indeed!

    Here's mine about my mom, in short.

    There are so many things that I can talk about when it comes to my mother but I'll just share one. It's her passion for learning. My mom only possesses P6 education and she came out to work early to support the family and herself. She loves to learn and when I was growing up, she would bring me along when she was attending baking, cooking, flower decorating, dancing classes. She helped my father in his business and also made it a point to cook every meal. Despite her busyness, she embraced life and LEARN.

    Her passion for learning has influenced me in a sense and I'm grateful to her for that.

  3. Alicia, nice sharing on your bestie-mum ! Sounds like mum who have gone through all the hardship to just provide for the family and never did "abondoned" us till now we have our own family. Gotta love them more !

  4. It was nice to know that you have such a wonderful mum. I have a mum who has sacrificed a lot just to put me through university & although I can't say we are the best of friends (coz we have our differences at times) but I really appreciate what she has done for me. I show my love to her in other ways coz I'm not a very mummy's girl in actual fact.
    Amie Chen

  5. My mummy wanted to buy me the biggest cake she could find for my first year old birthday - turned out to be a 5kg one! She also bought me my piano and walked me to and from all my piano lessons. Most of all, she was very present, throughout all my growing up years. I was blessed to come home to home-cooked food, and to have a listening ear every day!

    Full story here!

    Lyn Lee
    lilbluebottle (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. It's heartwarming to read of the close knitted relationship you share with your Mom, the collage of photos shows your strong bond too. I respect my Mum for her resilience and dedication to raise my sister and I up single-handedly. She took on two jobs to pay for our fees, put food on table and keep a roof over our heads. She puts our needs above her own, and I never once heard her grumble or complain even when life was very tough-going. It was her sacrifice and love which made it possible for my sister and I to be who we are today. When I became a Mom, she camped over (and took the midnight baby shift) to show me the ropes of caring for a newborn. When I suffered childlosses, she took it upon herself to nurse me back to health with the tonics and soups she brewed...Whenever I need her, she's just a phone call away...It's strange that even as an married adult now, I feel a special sense of security and fuzziness whenever Mum is around...and it never fails to bring a smile to my face when I witness how close Dana is now to her maternal grandmother...I guess that's what they call kinship.

  7. It touches me so much to read what your Mom had done for you! The power of a mother's love for her children. :)

    Here's my story of my Mom >>

    Rachel Lim

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  8. I am thankful to my mum.... As she has been there for me when i am up and down. She would joke/concern for my friends when ever my friends come over. As my friends would say that they never seen a mother who would joke or even show concern for them. No matter, how low her education is. She was ready to learn anything.

    She would tell me stories about anything under sun. Everyone who see her handwriting in her book anywhere when she need to write , they would say that her handwriting is very good. Even better the mine.

    Rebecca Gonzales

  9. My mum, as with many mums, does so much for my late father, sister n I. Too much, I think sometimes. Special tribute to my mum for giving herself selflessly, thinking for us many steps ahead, praying for our families and volunteering her help even before we asked. From staying over at our place to help mind four little ones during our recent bereavement, to plunging straight into the role of 'confinement nanny and cook' for my sister right after without a day of rest, she gives herself tirelessly.

    Carol Lim,

  10. Till date, I'm still clueless at how did my amazing mum did it to raise up the 3 of us and plus my youngest brother who was a down syndrome child single handed with really minimal contributions from my dad nor help from my paternal grandparents.Going in and out of the hospital with the hefty bills incurred almost like every month for my brother is one of the issues she has to deal with. She scrimped and saved, to provide us with the best she could provide us with.

    Given my nature, I am the sort who doesn't express my appreciation directly to her in person. But deep down, I really appreciate the hardship she went through and the unconditional love she has given to us. Even till now, I have my own family. She is still fussing over us when we are sick !

    Serene Seah

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway !

  11. Hi Alicia, reading about ur mom makes me really appreciate how precious our moms are, and how they would do anything for us without a blink of the eye. Thanks for sharing, i love reading mom stories, it is always nothing short of inspirational!

    Sharing My story at

  12. What race is the husband?


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