(This is the final post of my year-long series recounting stories from my grandmother about her life and the old days in Singapore. For past entries, links could be found at the end of the post. Scroll down to view more pictures.)
After a whole year of recording down bits and bobs of my grandmother’s stories, I am a little sad to announce the end of the series.
‘My grandma’s stories’ documents Ah Ma’s, a name my family members call her, lifetime worth of experiences, If you are interested to read previous stories, scroll down to the bottom for links to individual postsIn this final entry, I would like to share some personal memories of Ah Ma, who spent her twilight years bringing my siblings and I up.
Years before we were born, grandma was already working as a part-time nanny, having taken it up as a sideline job to earn extra dough for her family. Although she was illiterate, she did a fine job of bringing many children up, a few of whom are still in close contact with her up till today.
In her 60s, she moved in with my parents to care for the three of us as both of them head out to work in the day. There was a lot of nagging, coaxing and disciplining from grandma but it was in her weathered hands that we grew up with, and I still look back in amazement at how she juggled three little tykes.One of my fondest memories of Ah Ma would strangely be of her standing under a jambu tree, the jambu being a fruit commonly found in Southeast Asia that is crunchy and juicy. She would always take shade under one of those trees, found aplenty outside my kindergarten, as she waits patiently for me, umbrella in one hand, to be released from school at noon time. Once in a while, she would bend over to pick up the ripe jambu fruits that had fallen to the ground.
Despite being of no particular importance, this scene has somehow stayed with me through the years. Probably the feeling of happiness at seeing a familiar face after a whole morning at school has left such indelible memories in my young mind it just remained with me.
At 85 now, Ah Ma is still relatively healthy though having to still deal with the inevitabilities of old age as she suffers from poorer eyesight, osteoporosis and arthritis. Although her mobility is now aided by a walking stick, she is still well able to stroll to the nearby market and enjoy hearty chats with her friends through the phone.And on that note, I thank you all ardent followers of this series for dropping by in the past year. It has been my pleasure hosting you here on the blog and I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading the little nuggets of stories that I have put together.
Personally, it has been a fabulous year where this project has been the perfect excuse for me to properly sit down and listen to Ah Ma narrating her experiences. Some stories are intriguing, others have honestly shocked me, but they have taught me new things and a deeper appreciation about my grandma, my family history and the history of this nation.
Every family has a different history and a different story to tell. What is your family history? You can share them in the comments below. Maybe it is time for you to start recording them down too! (Continue to scroll down for more pictures)
You can catch up on previous posts below:
The 10th part is about grandpa and his illness.
The ninth part is about the houses that Grandma’s used to live in.
The eighth part II is about Ah Ma’s Hungry Ghost Festival entertainment experiences.
The eighth part I is about Ah Ma recounting cultural rituals of Hungry Ghost Festival.
The seventh part is about Ah Ma’s children.
The sixth part is about Ah Ma being a child bride.
The half-way post is an update about the difficulties I faced when writing this series
The fifth part is about Ah Ma’s job after war
The fourth part is about daily life during the Japanese occupation.
The third part is about the early years of the Japanese occupation.
The second part is about Ah Ma’s family.
The first part is about Ah Ma’s early childhood.
The introduction gives some background information about “My grandma’s stories”