Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love, undiluted


By MICHEAL TEO

A young man’s cup runs over with the sacrifices his parents have made for the family.

SINCE I started my tertiary studies in Sintok, Alor Setar, I have had little opportunity to go back to my hometown in Labis, Segamat. The bus journey takes about 10 to11 hours, so I only go back when I have a long holiday, about every three months. Inbetween those trips, being separated from my parents has made my feelings of love for them grow deeper.

Both my parents are rubber tappers, so they need to wake up early every day. One day, when I was at my friend’s house, his parents, who also are rubber tappers, told me that my father had fallen into a drain in the estate from his motorcycle. He had not had enough sleep the previous day so he couldn’t concentrate while riding.

After I heard about the incident, I felt so guilty because my father had never spoken about it.

When I was nine years old, my mother was bitten by bees while picking cocoa. Mum picks cocoa for others to earn extra for our family since the money from tapping rubber is hardly enough for our daily expenses.

As mum cried in pain, my heart felt like it had been strangled by a rope – why did she need to suffer all this?

I still remember once when I was injured in my head after being hit by a stone thrown by another kid. The next day, I noticed that mum had cleaned the wound and put some medicine on it before going to the estate early in the morning. Every time I reminisce about that, my heart will feel warm and touched by her love for me.

To relieve my parents’ burden, I will do the housework every time I go home during my semester break. I also go to the rubber estate to help my father as he is getting old.

Working in the rubber estate is very tough as we have to put up with mosquitoes. Every day my father will take two shirts with him so he can change after one gets soaked in sweat.

The thing that rubber tappers fear most is the rain – they have to stop working if it comes suddenly. Sometimes the rain is unpredictable and it will incur a loss to them. This is because the price of the latex depends on its density. If rain gets into the latex, its price will decrease.

I had the experience of being drenched by rain while helping my father collect the latex. We had to do it fast, before the latex was washed out of the container by the rain. At that moment, I could see the helpless desperation in my father’s eyes. After hours of hard work, the rain can ruin the harvest in just a few seconds.

All this time, I have not had enough courage to tell my parents how much I love them because I feel shy about saying those words to them. I can see and feel their love and care for me

Although my parents cannot afford to give me a luxurious life, they have provided me a comfortable life which is filled with so many happy memories. The sacrifices they have made for our family are uncountable. Mum, dad, I love you both.

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