THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The basic things in life…

My late mother had always been the type who stressed on the importance of education. While she herself only had the opportunity to go to school up to primary level, she made sure her children were not deprived of higher level education. In her case, too bad she never had the opportunity to go any further, not because she didn’t want to, but because the mentality then was that “girls would end up in the kitchen anyway”. And she, being the eldest, had to give in to her younger siblings.

I thought my mother simply wasn’t lucky enough. All her younger siblings studied up to secondary level at least (2 went on to degree level) and eventually went on to become officers, teachers and clerks at the very least, while my mother got married when she was 17 and became a full time housewife.

But during my recent clinic duty, I met a 45 year old lady who could neither read nor write. Not because she was stupid, but because she never went to school. Not at all. I didn’t even bother to give her our brochure when I met her. There was no point. She wouldn’t have been able to read it.

Ah, but she could get someone else to read it for her, no? Well yes, if only she had someone who could read it for her. You see, this lady, despite having 5 siblings, no longer goes back to her family. The last time she did that, according to her they just reacted as though she wasn’t there, making her feel so left out. When I asked her what could be the reason, she said because they were all successful people while she couldn’t even read simple things. Well, at least, that’s her side of the story. I wouldn’t know her family’s version.

She now works as a cleaner with a pay of RM600/month, renting a room for RM120/month. She walks to work, and when she needs to go to the hospital for her appointments, she walks to the hospital. No family to go back to. It’s just her and herself.

Such a lonely life.

Wow! And I thought my late mother was unlucky? At least she still went to primary school, she could read and write. Hey, even my late grandma could read and write (even though she only started learning how to read and write much later in her life when the “kelas dewasa” was offered in my kampong).

And hey, both my mother and grandmother stayed with their own family.

Moral of the story? No matter how deprived we think we are of certain things in our lives, bear in mind, there are people out there who are worse off than us, who never had the opportunity to experience even the basic things we often take for granted.

So yes, be thankful for all the things we have, and for all the things we don’t have.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agree education very important. What about if there are dyslexics, no proper schools in Malaysia (yet).

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Pi Bani, I'm not sure you still remember me, but it's me, Lee....from Toronto, Canada.
How you doin'? I missed you.
Been a long time.
I enjoyed reading your this posting, very heartwarming.

I do not have a link to your blog, and happened to phone Pakcik Zawi earlier today, then he popped into my pondok, I returned visit spotted your callsign at his pondok.

How's everything with you? You still in Ipoh?
I can see you still an Angel of mercy to one and all.
Good for you.
Here's wishing you all the very best....Ooops! Almost lupa, selamat hari raya.
You simpan satu lagu dalam hati, and have a great week.
Lee.

Pi Bani said...

Hi Unker!! Long time to see! Things have been quite slow on the blogosphere, been doing and reading more postings on FB. It's been quite some time since I last went bloghopping. You bila mau balik Malaya??