My people

Posted on March 12, 2008



My siblings and I were blessed to be born of mixed parentage.

It meant that we learnt right from the home that race was the most irrelevant factor in the many daily choices we make in life.

My late father never made a fuss that we celebrated Christmas with my relatives on my Mum’s side of the family in KL. God bless him.

And come Hari Raya, our house would be thronged by Muslim relatives from as far as Taiping and Kuala Kangsar and Christian relatives from Ipoh and KL. Aside from the fact that my Dad was then the oldest in his clan and so it was a must for relatives to visit, my Mum’s Ceylonese culinary skills are legendary.

My people. A mixed up bunch!

My people does not stop with just the relatives on both sides of the family, though.

Growing up in Ipoh, we had a Chinese lady who lived in to look after us. Ah Kiew. She lives somewhere in KL now.

And a little later, before we moved to KL, there was Mangai, whom I always knew as Akah. Last I heard, she’s in JB.

From standards 1 to 6, Ah Chong would pick me up from home, send me to school and then home again in the evening in his beat-up Vauxhall Victor. My younger brother and I, actually.

Every morning, Ah Fong, the fishmonger, would deliver fresh fish and vegetables to the house. Month end, my Mum would have to scrutinise the 555 exercise book to make sure he hadn’t taken any liberties. He usually had.

The breadvendor would be there every evening; the newsvendor in the mornings.

The dhoby would come every Sunday.

And the teachers, every one of them.

From St. Johns nursery in Ipoh, Kindergarten Madeline in PJ, Shaw Road Primary School, Pasar Road Primary (2) and VI. Couldn’t stand most of them then, but then, that’s usually how it is, isn’t it?

These, and the many, many more unnamed, have led me to where I am.

My people. One really mixed up bunch!

I’m glad Dad fell in love with Mum!

Posted in: Bangsa Malaysia