During the darkest period of my life I wrote my grandmother’s story. Before I begin, I must warn, I am not Arundathi Roy. I am me and my english sucks. The reason I wrote the story was to find out who I am.
In a way I felt her story had to be told and when I blogged about her this morning I thought may be it is time, I let the world know about her.
My grandma died about 4 years ago.. I don’t know when, where or how she died. When parents get divorced, they divide the grandparents as well..My grandma was the price I paid for chosing mom instead of dad
Every women should have a place to go back when life overwhelms her, then again there are some of us who has no place to go back. Who aches for that place where we spend wonderful years growing up, place that is so near yet so far away. When going back is not possible then you could open that little chest, like the one they sell at Ikea with so many small drawers that hold your memories, your dreams your hopes and the story of your life. This is my story. It is not remarkable, may be just a plain ordinary story, but my soul is there and I am inviting you to be a part of that story.
Daughters of Tomorrow.
Dedicated to JL
Who taught me that,
Having choices doesn’t equate to freedom
Making decisions sets you free.
That is the latest question from the 7 yr old.
Mama was a little dare devil, when she was young. Climbing trees was my forte. Girls are not supposed to climb trees..leave that for the boys…grrrr
once when grandma went to the market, I quickly climbed the mango tree infront of our house. I was sitting on top of the tree,relaxing and eating a fresh ripe mango. I knew grandma wouldn’t be home for at least an hour. Little did I know that she would forget her handbag and would return home soon. I looked down from the tree and saw my grandma waiting patiently with a nice rotan in her hand. There ws no way I was going to climb down and get beaten.. .. She didn’t utter a word.She just sat down, waiting for me to climb down. Battle of the wills.
Unfortunately anyone who ever climbed the mango tree would also know about red ants. It didn’t take too long before the ants made their battle field on my body. I tried to scratch and whack and push them off..there were thouands.. I couldn’t endure anymore biting and I climbed down.. I ran, grandma in close pursuit. Gosh even at the age of 50 she could run faster than me.. She whacked the life out of me. She also taught me my first lesson in Crisis Management.. trouble never goes away, it only gets bigger if you wait!!!
Although I was forbidden to climb trees I never stopped and succesfully broke all 5 left metatarsal bones, when I fell down from the same mango tree 2 years later.( I still think I only broke 1 by myslef and my mom’s beating that followed after the fall broke the rest!!!)
I am not scared of heights, not scared of insects/snakes/bugs etc. I am only scared of one thing.. Failure. I am so scared of failing. It is worst now.. Each interview I attend here is driving me down the road to depression. Some how the Canadians are good at making you think that you aren’t good enough.. How ever high I try to jump, they keep raising the bar. I am a medical doctor with a master’s degree, However Canadians are trying to make me believe that the only job i am capable of doing is cleaning their toilets.. How much more will they push me down?
Oh my goodness.. i saw my first mutant mosquito today. Everyone warned me about the bugs and insects in Canada. I thought you are speaking to me? Someone who trekked the wilderness of Sabah and spend time in the back waters of Kerala? Me scared of mosquitos/bugs, No Way.. I have seen and had close encounter with more mosquitoes than an average person.. eh?
I was relaxing this morning with a cup of teh tarikh and reading John Grisham’s The street lawyer. From the corner of my eyes, I could see this thingy flying across the room and I thought..oh the spring is in the air and the flies are also in the air.. I thought about the market in Malaysia and the Durian season and the flies every where and feeling nostalgic.
Suddenly without any warning the stupid thingy decided to land on my leg and bite me, only then did I have a close look at it.. Goodness it is a mosquito and it is a giant one..atleast three times bigger than the Malaysian one.. I have never ever seen one this big, and i did exactly what I am supposed to do..aimed the ‘street lawyer’ straight on to the magnificient body of the mosquito and there …one female mozzy down and dead.
and now they tell me the ones in PEI is three times bigger than the one i saw and killed this morning!!!!!
What are they feeding all the mosquitoes here for them to grow sooooo huge???
A kid I know is going to North Africa to do missionary work next month. The question I wanted to ask why Africa? Why not here in Canada? Why do people see the need of spreading the gospel in far away land and conveniently avoid their home turf?
In England, my university hostel was a former church, built in the 18 th century. The church was sold to the university because there were not enough members/believers!!! Yet most of the people I knew from the university church were planning to go to Pakistan or Africa. To spread the gospel.
It is the same here in Canada.. most people don’t even go to church. Yet people want to go to far away land and convert others to their religion.
Why do we have to convert people and their religious beliefs? What would happen if a person is Hindu??( it is the oldest religion in the world !!). Why do they have to be christian or muslim to be eligible for a visa to heaven? Why can’t religion be a personal business?
Why can’t people mind their own business?
I got up in a good mood, was making her snack, then she asked me if I would drop her to school this morning.
It is raining and i haven’t even brushed my teeth. I told her baby it is raining and I don’t want to walk
“But you promised me you will drop me every wednesday “(which is a walk to school day and today is tuesday!!!!)
I replied, I didn’t promise, I said I will try and it depends on the weather.
“No, you said you will, you never keep your word”
That tripped my sense and sensibility. I grew up in a family, where my mother didn’t know anything about keeping her word. Like the time, she assumed I am sick because my hair is long( irrelevant that I always wanted long hair) and promised me, she would buy me a budgie, if I cut my hair. She took me to a men’s salon because they have the shaver that can cut my hair really short. I endured getting bald, so I could get a budgie. When the ‘annai’ finished cutting my hair, I looked like an army recruit on his first day at the camp. We come out of the shop, me still happy because I am getting my budgie, and my mother looks at me with a straight face, “you know dad doesn’t like us buying things without his permission,let us write to him and get his permission, then we will buy the budgie” I was 10 then, and now at 35 she still hasn’t written the letter to my dad. I made a promise to myself then that I would never do the same to my kids and still make sure that I only promise what I can honour. I have even driven around KL looking for a pasar malam, so I could give my daughter jagong that I promised to buy. But the seller near my home was sick and didn’t open his stall. I drove to Ampang and bought her jagong the same day.
When she told me I don’t keep my promise i was angry with her. Because as a mother, i felt hurt, even after making sure that all my promises are kept, she still expects more from me. I don’t have any more to give and I told her to go to school without a kiss.. And I know that was mean.
The government will not hesitate to use the Sedition Act against non-Muslims who “incite the sentiments” of Muslims, warned Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.
It is time Nazri shuts his stupid mouth. he has been speaking far too long, far too much crap. Now he started threatening the non muslims in the parliament.
The Sedition Act, originally enacted by British colonial authorities, limits free expression by broadly criminalizing any speech that is judged to have a “seditious tendency,” including speech which tends to “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against” the government, promote “feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races,” or question constitutional preferences in business, education, and government employment opportunities given to Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak. The speaker’s intent and the statements’ veracity are irrelevant. A violation of the act is punishable by up to three years in prison, a 5,000 ringgit fine (about U.S. $1,315), or both(hrw.org)
Why don'[t you take you sedition act against the muslims who converts the hindus and buddhist malaysians? Wouldn’t that be considered creation of hostility and ill will between the races?
Why don’t you take your sedition act against the corrupted ministers and their cronies, especially the ones who give approved permit only for the malay Malaysian and inentionally creating ill will among the other races?
Just in case you have forgotten encik Nasri, we are all equal under Malaysian constitution.. You have not been given any special rights to punish me, if i am critical of you or for that matter any Malaysian.
If you actually feel threatend when i question why you should be given a discount to buy a car/house/uni admission etc because you lack a small piece of an appendage, then perhaps you should look at the whole picture. You and I are Malaysians first.. together we should be standing.. if you are feeling threatend, then perhaps you are not standing with me, cause I am not scared/worried/threatend.. I am a Malaysian, always will be..And i have nothing to lose, unlike you Encik Nasri.. you have your house, car, your sataus, privilleges? What will happen to them if I start questioning you eh? How will you be able to fish without getting your hands wet eh?
There was an article in today’s Now http://thenownewspaper.com under the title “win for overqualified man”. How the community based organization stand with the man wronged by a govt agency
Actually when you read the article, you feel, they are the organization you must approach. as they work for you, work with you in your quest to find employment. They understand your struggle and fight for justice.
They are in fact starting a day care center for the elderly. They probably got the contract from the Fraser Health, because they are providing more job opportunities for the immigrants. Few weeks ago there was an ad in the papers for an Administrator
these are the job requirements
Overseas the management of the seniors residence, assisted living complex and adult day care center. Responsibilty for budgetting..human resource management…Program cordination with BC housing and Fraser health Authority and the administrator should have 5 years experience in a residential care setting or geriatric services,
What they are indirectly meaning that you should have experience dealing with the Canadian health systems”
and guess what.. they too need you to have the magical mystical Canadian experience. beacuse at the end of the day, whether you work with or for the immigrant, the Canadian experience is all that counts..
And they speak about telling the govt”Give new immigrants a job, and let them prove them selves if they are worth anything”
I don’t know whether I should cry or laugh…the hippocracy of it all
Unlike Malaysia, you can travel to 90% of Canada without paying toll. Every sat we go around exploring. Mama certainly can’t buy a lot of materialistic stuff for the kids. how ever mama intend to give them a lot of childhood memories..
Our idea of fun is something safe, cheap and can be done on a day trip.
We rely on this site entirely
Today we visted Lynn Valley suspension bridge.
the bridge is built in 1912, it is 50 meters above the canyon and believe me it really really shakes when you reach the middle of the bridge. The last time I saw a suspension bridge was in Donggongon in Sabah. I never had the courage to walk on it.
This time I had no choice but to walk, because by the time I put my foot on the bridge, my son had already reached the middle of the bridge.. and then he started to swing his body so he could shake the bridge more. i wanted to scream, but no sound came out.. I didn’t look down till I reached the other end. and then I did the next dumbest thing. Decided to hike the trail. The map said 15 mints walk.
They probably haven’t heard of Malaysian shuffle gait.. and worst.. there were lots of steps and they were only going upwards!!!! we made it after 45 mints, 4 egg sandwiches and one big bottle of tang later.
All together..we had a great time.. and the joy of not paying toll, not paying parking ticket by the minute, not paying money to walk on the suspension bridge, not paying money to hike the trails, not paying money to use the loo( clean with tissue too) and a clean neat cafe with the world’s best ice cream($ 9 for 3 after gst and pst !!)..indescribable
Some how by virtue of my brown skin and black hair, I fall in to the category of”ignoramous kampong lass”. Because of where i was born and the fact that the plantery constellation at the time of birth wasn’t favourable, I must not speak english. If I did, it shouldn’t be at the risk of making the matsalleh feeling ashamed.. If i could speak broken english and with a heavy accent, the matsalleh will be PLEASED.
He thinks only he should speak english and that too perfectly..
First question the ignorant matsalleh always asks me is “oh where did you learn your english?”
English is one of the easiest language to learn if you can master the silly grammer. Who really cares, if Rama killed the snake or if the snake was killed by Rama? The snake is dead.. End of story right?
I only learned english as a subject till I was 17.. My elglish teacher said once. you know you mastered English, when you dream in English.
The first time I spoke english in my life was at the med school. The first novel i read in my life was “third bunker” by Irwin Wallace at the age of 18. I read Freud and Kahlil Gibran before I was 20.
Mastering english language was the easiest thing I ever did it. believe me I have considerably less grey mattter than average human being.
And now at the age of 35 I dream my dreams in English.. and worst I made a matsalleh of my kids. I didn’t make any effort to teach my kids Malay. I don’t have any excuses, except that there were so many books in english for them to read. My 5 yr old told me yesterday he saw a humongous spider out side and I grinned.. not bad for an ignoramous kampong lass eh???
Very often I hear people asking me when I complain i don’t have the miraculous magical and mystical “Canadian experience” they would ask me.”Have you considered volunteering”.
For me it is one of the most annoying question. When I am jobless, ofcourse i would have tried all the options. When I volunteer, it means I don’t get paid. That would be fine, but what will I do with my kids? Which Canadian would volunteer to care for them free while I volunteer and get the “Canadian”experience”?
Even if i get a day care allowance, itsn’t enough for sending 3 kids to daycare. Unregistered one costs about $25/child/day. And I am blessed with three kids.
Then there are immigrant service society that advertise everyday in the papers about helping immigrants with finding a job. I registered with ISS. They don’t accept online application. They wanted to see me personally.. Which involved me and the three kids taking 2 buses to down town Vancouver, just to hand in an application.
The next day I was so happy to see a job opportunity email from the ISS. My heart was beating with trepidation and I opened my email.
‘Dear Dr, we have found a job for you in granville island, they need someone who speak malay to be a telephone operator from 2 till 8. Your pay will be $10/hour. You can start work tomorrow.”
Wow i earn $60/day( much less after the tax)!!!! and then spend $8 on all day bus pass and $75 on child care costs.(child care will be more, cause after 6 it is extra, oh I forgot the child care center near my home closes excatly at 5.30pm and after that it is $10/child/each15 mints).
When I told my “mentor” I won’t be able to take up the job, because of the above reason. She was cheesed off. that was the last i ever heard from ISS.
Sometimes it is frustrating when people think that i don’t try hard enough. Yes no one actually pointed a gun at my head to have kids. That was my personal choice. But I shouldn’t be penalized because I have kids.
My kids safety is the most important thing in my life. I don’t have any family member in any part of Canada. I am not willing to send my kids to a stranger’s house while I go and find a job. I want to be able to send them to a place that is registered and that costs a lot of money.
I am sure I can ask my neighbour for help. I once saw my neighbour slapping her 5 year old son.. How will I send my kids to someone who slaps her own kids?
I might be stubborn with my ideaologies.. But they are my kids and if I don’t think of their safety who will? If anything happens to them, isn’t it me who is going to live in regret for the rest of my life?