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updated 2 months ago

“So-and-so witnessed a serious car accident the other day. He went to check on the victim and all her limps were broken. He even flipped her around to make sure she’s still breathing.”

“He WHAT?!”

An abstract of a conversation I had with my mom. Naturally, I was horrified that her friend moved the victim, even if it’s out of goodwill. I was about to begin lecturing my mom when she cut in to explain her friend’s actions and unknowingly taught me an important lesson.


My mom was born to a pair of villagers — the kind that never had enough food to last three meals, much less worry about world issues or general knowledge. Most of her friends were in the same predicament.

Although she couldn’t make it to university, she read a lot. Novels, magazines, newspapers — you name it, she probably read it. And that was what made her different from the rest of them. While her friends became complacent when they had their stomachs filled, she remained relentlessly hungry for knowledge.

After a heartbreak, she left her city in search of a better life. In Singapore, she continued reading and writing. Her eagerness to learn was not dampened by her relocation.

Back to the story

My mom told me that her friend didn’t know that we shouldn’t touch an injured person in case we worsen their injury. Being a country pumpkin, her friend is unwilling to listen to the science behind it.

My mom revealed that even she didn’t know we shouldn’t touch an injured person until she came to Singapore.

“Oh? Then where did you get that piece of information from?”

“Newspapers. I read from newspapers in Singapore that we shouldn’t touch the injured.”

In that moment, I realised I’ve been taking all the general knowledge I have for granted. What seems like common sense to me might be a piece of knowledge someone worked hard to gain.

The fact that we should not touch an injured person is so deeply ingrained in me that I don’t even remember where I learnt it from.

Despite whatever my mom says about her “chapalang” languages, I always admired how fluent she is in many languages. She studied in Malay, spoke Hokkien. As a young adult, she learned Chinese on her own, and now she can speak a little English as well.

Sometimes when I’m talking in English to 🍅 or my brother, she joins in the conversation, albeit in Chinese. Her ability to understand English even when we’re speaking at a fast pace impresses me.

And the fact that she learned all her Maths and Sciences in Malay but can get all the Chinese and English terms right... Wow. I don’t think I can ever do that.

I supposed lifelong learning is like riding a bicycle. As Confucius said, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.”

I only wish my mom could see her merits and stop being so hard on herself.

Wrote this last night and only saw the #readingwomen challenge today. I guess it’s still pretty apt even though it’s a different kind of reading.

Day 100

Wednesday, 10 Apr 2019

41 0

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