Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sharing Nugget #6

#6: Life’s a Bitch. But “what cannot kill you, will make you tougher”.

This is the story of my grandma.

She had a tough life. But she came through.

As a young girl during WWII, her life changed forever when the invading Japanese Army marched into her village in Malaya. She found a hiding spot under a tree where the depression under the roots was enough to hide her small frame. From there, she witnessed soldiers sacking her village. She watched in horror as her neighbor, an elderly man, was stabbed to death in his house.

She hid, trembling throughout, in the hole till the next morning when the soldiers cleared. When she found her family, (who were hiding in the jungle), they started an epic march into the mountains. They were frightened, cold, hungry and weak. But they marched on. After a gruesome week march where their shoes worn out and they had to walk with their raw feet, they found tribesmen living deep in the mountains who gave them shelter and food. They hid there for months.

Then came news of the Japanese surrender over the radio. But they did not believe. (The Japs used fake messages to lure people out of their hiding places). It took a lone British soldier who traveled all the way up to their mountain village in his jeep before they decided to head for home – or whatever is left of it.

I do not know much of her life from then till her marriage to my late grandpa. But I know that life was equally harsh on her as she starts her own family.

She gave birth to 2 daughters, before deciding to adopt my father as the only son. When my dad was 3 years old, Grandpa passed away from lung cancer. Since then, she fed the family by selling the fruits they planted in their farm land in Malaya. I understand that they sold mostly durians. They barely scrapped by.

Grandma now has 10 grandchildren and more than 10 more great grand children. (More coming from our side) At 80 years old, she can still walk herself to the market, and speaks all Chinese dialects and Malay fluently. She can even converse in Tamil with our neighbors.

As a girl who lived through colonial governance, she came to view the Officers with awe. That’s why she dropped tears for me when she saw me being commissioned as an SAF Officer. She told me afterwards that she is grateful to have lived long enough to see me made good (been commissioned), (and subsequently, me getting married). Because of this, she have no regrets in life.

As I start my own family, I will share grandma’s stories with my kids. Her what-else-can-you-throw-at-me attitude will live on in me. Thank you Grandma for making “Zheng” a family name I will be proud of. Thank you for raising me up when I was a child. Please forgive me for being rude and shouting at you when I was a misguided teenager. And I will never forget your lesson of: Life’s a Bitch - but what cannot kill me, will make me tougher.


Anonymous miss q said... come ah ma so biased..din tell me all this juicy life stories?

6:31 PM  

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