I used to see this Chinese Auntie every Saturday midnight – if I did go out for the midnight food distribution. Being a non-paid PR /Publicity/Event/Food Sponsor Director (the list go on to ‘kuli’ and ‘bidan terjun’ for emergency and if needed) – I have a choice not to be on the streets as we have our own dedicated non-paid ‘Food Run Leader’(as they are called) every single day. This is the time when I admire my husband Pete for never missing a beat on his duties as the Operation Director/ Run Leader both for Saturday 5.30pm and 12 midnight food distribution, every single week. Believe me, it could be so tiring and exhausted mentally and physically.
Back to this Chinese Auntie, she always waited around for our food at AlWira Restaurant – very quiet lady , don’t speak much and not chatty unlike some Saturday’s afternoon aunties who not only chatty but always asked for more and more and more (and it could really creep down on your nerves).
Today, we shared table as all tables were full, the auntie wanted to leave but I said stay, talk to me. So I am in the mood to be ‘kepoh’. (There are times, street feedings can make me highly strung as being an ‘Energy Master’ as what my students called me – I can read and feel people’s energy) – that’s why I stayed away when I have to.
So ok! Auntie and me talking bla bla and she told me she is 65 years old, all her siblings died, never married before and have worked in many places as domestic helper, confinement lady, factories, restaurants etc. Now she is old and she just does odd jobs here and there.( I am a Counsellor, I can always make people talk hehe!) I asked Auntie if she wanted ‘Teh Tarik’ – she politely said ‘No, thank you!’. I said “Never mind la, I pay!” and she smiled and nodded.
By then, some volunteers already turned up and huddled around our table. Auntie quietly moved away and I asked the Restaurant ‘Ane’ to send the ‘teh tarik’ to her.
As we prepared to go to do our food midnight run and Peter went to Cashier to pay our drinks , he found out all our drinks(plus the other few volunteers) have been paid by the Chinese Auntie! ‘Huh??’ I thought?
I went to her and asked her in my chinglish “aiyaa auntie why u pay aa?? You should keep your money maa??”
She answered me with a thankful look “Takpa la, you olang manyak baik, tiap-tiap minggu malam-malam datang kasi makan, saya hati manyak sayang …duit kalau takda manyak pun saya tak kira, saya kongsi”
(Translation: “It’s ok, all of you are nice people, every week, midnight you come and give me food, I feel very touch, I don’t have much money but I don’t mind sharing”)
I feel touched too. There were times when things were difficult and you just have to grit your teeth and moved on but those moments were erased by this sort of simple thing – that what we do in Reach Out boomerang and sometimes it is so fast!
My mom used to tell her friendS ‘My daughter, semua kawan dia Cina! That was because I lived in Hong Kong, mak! and when I went to Stamford College pun semua classmates Cina jugak! But because of that I grew strong and competed against the odd and the best! My Chinese friends did not judge me for being a ‘Melayu Pelik!’.
This is dedicated to my Chinese friends who are and were so much a part of me and contributed to who I am at one point of life or another, Happy Dragon Year !! Dragon is my favourite animal and I do not look at you guys as a race! I look at you as people with good human qualities and Im glad you are part of my life!
This article is dedicated to Teh Li June – my dearest friend from College and all those hopes and tears we shared – you and I are stuck as good friends for the rest of our lives, Elaine – we had fun being naughty in College, Mrs Chia who adopted me as her favourite student in Bintang Academy! Kymberley Tan – my dearest friend who kept me sane in Hong Kong, her sister Evelyn Tan for being sweet always! (You both made my years in Hong Kong bearable), Alice Nathan – my flatmate in Hong Kong, I never see you differently and I hope we will be friends again! Master Albert Eee – My Feng Shui Master who were there during my darker days and who later taught me Numerology – Thank you and it is time for me to move on. Dexter – whom I can always called to chat during those restless days. The late Shereen Leow – Who died at the hand of a violent boyfriend , I am sorry I wasn’t able to influence you to be strong and leave the bastard!
To my 2 Chinese housemates in Budapest, Hungary ! Hope you guys are having a good life now. Patricia, I remembered when I have to drag you out from a Club in Budapest because you were pissed drunk!!
Feung – you are always remembered as someone sweet and I miss our days with Janet at Master’s place in Kota Damansara. You accepted me as I am – the soul seeker! .
To Wong Hee Ling my business partner in Nuskin - Long Benefit Malaysia currently – I stay because of your value ! All the other Chinese Business Partners in Long Benefit Malaysia – you guys rock!! Mrs Vera Waters and Benny Cheung (Business Partners and Uplines from Nuskin Long Benefit Hong Kong) – both your passion sustain me in the business !
Patricia Lum, our sweet Mentor who are also our Advisor in Reach Out’s operations!
And last but not least, our Chinese Volunteers in Reach Out Malaysia , thank you for being a part of us! You guys make Reach Out truly One Malaysia and not to forget all the other races too!
This video is dedicate to you guys !! All of you – each one of my Chinese Friends on FB ! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR !! GONG XI FA CHAI!! MAY ALL OF YOU BE A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING ALWAYS !!
朋友 (Pang Yau - Friend of Mine) - Alan Tam Wing Lun (譚詠麟)