When I received a text message from Rosnah, saying that her daughter needed a pen drive to do her school work, and asking if we could help get her one, I figured it was about time I went to visit them. The last time I went to visit was end of last year when I brought the girl shopping (without her mother coming along as Rosnah had to work). Getting the girl a pen drive is not a problem at all. I can always use the donations I get regularly from generous friends.
And since Rosnah stays in the same town with Laila, the one and only daughter of the late Shila, I figured I might as well visit her too… to see how she’s doing and to invite her to join us for our coming Family Day.
So yes, after zohor, off I headed to visit them. First up was Rosnah’s house, as her house was very near the toll exit. Her daughter was having her afternoon nap – she was tired after helping out selling stuff at a flea market. You see, to get some extra income in addition to her salary working at a factory, Rosnah has started renting a space at a nearby flea market on Saturdays. She sells used books.
The family seems to be doing okay. Rosnah has agreed to join us for the Family Day, this time not only with her daughter, but with her mother as well. They missed last year’s Family Day but did join us the year before at Lost World of Tambun.
After about half an hour at Rosnah’s house, I headed off to visit Laila. Initially I took the short cut Shila had taught me before, but when I got to a bridge that was there before, I noticed the road was closed and the bridge was no longer there. So I had to turn back and follow the longer route. Goodness, there seemed to be so many changes. New housing up… road widened… had it been THAT long since my last visit? Oh dear…
When I got to the house, the first person I saw was Laila’s grandma, followed by Laila. And when I got inside, 3 toddlers were in their cradles, sleeping. All of them were Laila’s cousins. Quite a few of Laila’s aunts and uncles stay in the same house, so Laila is never alone in the house.
The girl was her same usual self – even when her mother was still alive, she never talked much. She just smiles. Even when I asked her anything, she’d just smile, and then she’d say, “Tak tau.” Somehow that seems to be quite a standard answer for many kids nowadays. Easy way out, just say tak tau.
I brought along a few UPSR revision books for Laila. Apparently Laila had already missed 2 motivational courses for UPSR students organised by her school. Reason being… they had to pay RM65 each time. And they didn’t have enough money to pay. Of course, I had told them earlier to inform me should Laila require any money related to her studies. Her grandma remembers that, but the problem was, Laila, thinking that her grandma and aunt wouldn’t have enough money to pay, just kept quiet about it, and only told them at the very very last minute.
So today I told Laila, in front of her grandma and aunt, to inform me immediately if there are any similar motivational courses in future which require payment.
When I asked Laila if she’d like to join us for the Family Day, she just smiled and nodded. But her grandma immediately apologised when I mentioned the date. Apparently, that very same weekend, she had promised Laila’s paternal grandma they’d be joining them for a trip down south, all expenses paid by Laila’s paternal side of the family. So Laila won’t be joining us for our Family Day this year.
Remembering that my other children needed to pay PTA fees to their respective schools recently, I asked about Laila’s. True enough, she too had to pay RM80 to her school. But I guess they were too shy to inform me about it. Partly my fault I guess because I had not visited for some time. They may have felt that we no longer offer the same help we used to give when Shila was alive.
Hopefully with my visit today, they’d feel more comfortable to call and inform me of any financial needs related to Laila’s schooling…