Sunday, 11 May 2014


 My mother is probably not the best mother in the world. I can't tell as I haven't placed her name in the running for that unofficial competition where everyone declares their mother is the best hands down. But what I can tell is she certainly is a beautiful woman. And you know what the best part is? She doesn't even know it. 

Mama as a 21-year-old nursing student, next to what looks like David Cassidy's poster.

That's one trait of my mother that I love: unassuming. My youngest sister and I have a running joke that her being self-effacing makes for a lacklustre personality. I've never in my entire life heard her hum a tune, seen her dance to a song, witnessed her get drunk, (we did smoke once together and her puffing resembled a chimney that needed to be checked for not doing its job), speak in public, confidently walk into a room, or even embarrass herself. I think she left all of these for me to do, especially the last part.

She has her own pool of talents though. I grew up in her household where she can do a one-woman catering job for big parties and dinner all by herself (I can't even fry 2 eggs without the first being dead cold before being served). She's a kitchen gadget showroom personified. While my dad was the life of the party, my mum is the Chef de Partie. She's funny in such a silly way that her sense of humour is so far removed from her usual composed self. She can sew. And she can heal wounds. Literally. She has a fine taste for beautiful and fashionable items. She doesn't do drama. Or hold her children to emotional ransom. She doesn't just drop in (at least virtually) just because she's entitled to as she's my mother. She respects my privacy. But most importantly, she respects my choices in life, and doesn't judge (and nag) me for my mistakes and shortcomings.

Mama at 31, with me and my younger sister who's now a mother herself to a 4-year-old girl and 6-month-old baby boy

Mama's an emotionally robust woman. She lost my father, her father, bestfriend, and other equally important measures of a successful and happy family life all in the same year, but she never faltered. Do all of these make her the best mother in the world? Again, probably not. She's so self-deprecating she'd laugh off the title.

Aside from her recipes which will be passed onto us despite my sisters and me not inheriting the culinary expertise she's born with, Mama has plenty of acts of wisdom I have learnt throughout the years. I say 'acts' and not 'words' as she never actually utters most of them, but rather, demonstrates them, except for the last one which never fails to make me laugh.

Mama does and says. . .

 Always dress the part. You'll never know who you'll run into.

Mama and Papa in the early 80s

 Be mindful of others' needs. Life is not all about you. Or your needs.

Be kind. It's just the right thing to do. Period.

Don't judge others by the decisions they have made at certain periods in their lives for you aren't privy to what they're going through or have gone through. 

Prepare what you need for the following day the night before so you're not running around like a headless chicken in the morning.

Be humble. You'll never know if you'll ever need the help of that one person you thought was beneath you. But don't abuse others' generosity.

Be organised. You'll curse yourself when it's crunch time and the only way out is that piece of paper left unfiled.

Don't talk about yourself or your children when not asked. Your child may be the cutest or a high achiever, but not everyone is interested.

 Don't speak ill of how other parents bring up their children. You actually might not be doing a good job yourself.

Don't make people wait. It's rude.

Don't always assume you're the best. Just do your best. If you can't help assuming you are, do it silently.

If you can't be a good homemaker, then be good at your job. 

Always give the best gifts you can afford and source. It's not only a reflection of your taste, but how worthy of your time, effort, and attention the recipient is.

Be generous. With your time. With your money.

Don't stare. Don't physically express disapproval in public; it might get you into unnecessary trouble. 

 Mama and my 4-year-old niece

At least be a reliable family member if you can't be a reliable friend. But it's always best if you can be both.

Don't be nosy. Don't ask inappropriate questions to someone you just met or you're not close to. Always observe and listen to slowly find out about the person you're talking to. 

Keep to yourself until you know whom to trust.

Always purchase the finest things you can afford. Never ever look and act like a rag doll.

Always wear your best undergarments. Why? You might get knocked over by a lorry while out and have to be rushed into A&E, be stripped of your clothes, and be found out wearing mismatched undies, knickers with holes, and white bra turned grey. Not classy.

Happy Mother's Day to my Mama, my sister, and all the mothers--whether biological, surrogate, or adoptive--being honoured today in parts of the world celebrating Mother's Day!


  1. So many wise quotes, I will copy them and re-read in the future. A beautiful post in honour of your mother. She is a great gift that you have in your life.

    1. Thanks Anouka! My mother has no idea she taught me these :)

  2. Beautiful Mama, beautiful post and wise words, some of which I've heard my mum utter from time to time. I bet she's not pleased to hear you say you haven't got her culinary skills ha ha; mothers are always so proud of their recipes and only like to share them with their offspring and see them put to good use. Those photos are fabulous - love the one where she's 31 with you and your sister beside her. How nostalgic for you. I always dig out old photos of family and friends and use them on the Moonpig birthday cards. Have a lovely week xx

    1. Thanks Colleen! I can cook a little, but my mum can do magic in the kitchen. I love seeing her photos when she was in her 30s :) I love Moonpig, too! Thanks for the idea of putting old photos there. Hope you're having a lovely week x

  3. Such a lovely post about you mum, she sounds like a wonderful woman. Great words! I also love your humour in the post. Yes, mismatched smalls are no good, hehe! :)
    /Madison xx

    1. Thanks Madison. Oh, thank you for enjoying the humour--no one has ever told me that :) No mismatched smalls policy! x

  4. Such wonderful wise words. Your Mother sounds like a very cool lady!

    1. She's cool in a very quiet and subtle way. Thanks Ruth!

  5. I've already read the post days ago and now see that I didn't comment - I was 100 % sure I left a comment here. I guess I didn't have the time back then... No, I should say I didn't take the time, shame on me. Anyhow, I can't stand arrogant people so in my book it's better to be overly humble but when I read "She's so self-deprecating she'd laugh off the title." I felt kind of sombre for a moment... She does seem like such a wise woman, I hope she realizes that she is on some level. And I basically agree with all of her words, especially with the fact on children - people should learn not to go on and on about them because I'm not interested and I should learn to hold my tongue on their upbringing, because what do I know about that?!:D

    1. I like the 'she is on some level'. Hahaha. I do wonder soemtimes if my mum is crazy in her own world coz she's just lovely. Boring sometimes, in my world, but a great companion nonetheless. Children is a tricky topic. I'm very polite when I have to listen to parents moan about them. But I do get tempted sometimes to say, it's your choice and you say it's the best thing that ever happened to you, so please don't put me off having my own :D

  6. What a great post to honour your lovely Mum and these certainly are wise words, some of which I have also heard from my Mum and Grandmas in the past paricularly the one about the undies!

    1. Thank you miss b! Aren't mothers great? Well, if we're lucky enough to have one who isn't difficult, selfish, self-absorbed, and demanding--as some mothers I know. The undies one I always remember in my head :)


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