(Racheal Tan | 5 mins read | 1333 words)
When it’s raining heavily, water comes into the house…
When I was young, my family had to moved from one state to another due to dad’s job. I remember growing up in a state called “Kelantan” and that state it’s prone to floods… Usually it’s every end of the year, which is the monsoon season.
One day, the flood was getting bad, water rising fast into homes and i notice my mum started to pack stuff up like as tho were moving away. I didn’t know what was going on at that time until mum told us we’re moving back to Malacca.
As I was enjoying my chicken wings. I watch my parents packing up stuff and rising them up so they won’t get wet.
And I didn’t realise how stressful it was for my parents to move around like a nomad with two children – This was when we were in Kelantan.
At the age of 7, we moved back to our hometown in Malacca. That’s because dad got a job in Kuala Lumpur and it’s a two hour drive from Malacca compared to a 2 hour flight from Kelantan.
Finally that’s the end of moving around and dad got settled down with his work there. After 4 years, we migrated to lived with him – That’s when I was 11 years old.
When we first moved to Malacca, we didn’t have a home. We stayed with my aunt. We stayed there for a year or two until mum could afford to rent a small two bed room flat.
Dad visited every weekend. He will travel on a Friday night and leaves on a Sunday.
We had no car back then and dad only had his motorbike.
So, all 4 of us would be on the bike going out for a family trip. Me, Brother, Mum and Dad.
Boyyyy it was fun to be on a bike! Hell Yeh, when you’re a kid and not knowing what poverty is. Everything seemed to be fun, but, can you imagine the four of us on a bike?
So, while living with my aunt and uncle in their wooden home with zinc roof. The only place in the house with cement on the floor is the room and that was the only cleaned place.
The structure of the room is raised a little to prevent water from entering and the living hall were all sandy. We had to put on shoes walking around the house. (Not typical to have shoes in asian homes.)
We were so poor and uncle couldn’t afford to fixed proper flooring.
Every morning my aunt would sweep away all fallen leafs that flew into the house and in the evening, uncle would burn a little to create a small fire that smokes away all the mosquitoes. (Not very good for the environment but it helps killing some mosquitoes for a good nights sleep).
One morning, I was playing around the house and I saw a big pile of bricks…
I asked my uncle, why is there a pile of bricks and what is it for?
Are you going to build something?
Are you going to build a new room in the house?
He said : You’ll know it soon child…
Also, when it rains…
We often have to lay out empty buckets to collect rain water from the holes on the roof. And as a child, I like watching and listening to the sound of water dripping into a metal or a plastic bucket.
I sat there and watch and listen to the sound of it. It’s like, I can’t wait to switch bucket and chuck away the rain water.
It was like a game for me.
Would you like this sort of game at that age? (Playing with water) Who wouldn’t, I would.
Children with that age now holds an iPhone or an iPad. (But then again, that was in the 80’s)
After some time of having fun with water… the rain was getting heavier as the day goes by, water rising and it has entered the house. My aunt walked quickly to the back of the house and called for my uncle.
She then carried me up to a table and told me to sit still.
There goes my uncle, laying down those bricks in the living hall. I scream to him saying, “Uncle, what are you doing? Why are you putting down those bricks in the water?”
He then replied : So we all could walk on it and won’t get our feet wet.
I didn’t understand and realised we were so poor back then…
Now when I think back of those moments. I sometimes break down in tears…
I would just stare and gaze out the balcony from where I currently lived and “THANK GOD” for the life we have right now.
Now you must be wondering if this story is true… YES! It is a true story of my life when I was young.
My dad had to leave the family to make a decent living.
My dad had to work super hard to be at the top of his company so he could bring his family to live with him in Kuala Lumpur.
My mom had to work hard to be a manager so she could afford a 2 bed room flat and also, so she could take a little longer time off from her lunch hour to pick me up from school.
Guess how she came to pick me up from school?
With a public bus!
She would ring the bus bell for the bus to stop and call my name out to get me onto the bus.
Why am I sharing my silly life stories with you?
Who cares… everyone has their own life story to begin with.
Whether you’re already rich and want to be RICHER.
Whether is getting out of that POVERTY.
Whether you’ve lost everything and made your million bucks in less than 3 years.
Whatever it may be, it starts with just one person. “ I “
When I was at that age. I didn’t understand what it is like to be rich. I followed how my parents were.
When I was growing up…
I learn the importance of having money at the age of 7. Only when my Mum explained to me.
So, sometimes I volunteered to work and help out at the school canteen where I could earn 50 cents daily.
My school allowances for food was 50 cents but I brought food from home. So I save that 50 cents and work in the canteen and earn another 50 cents.
When break time is over, I would count my money. (Everyday!)
Believe me… EVERY SINGLE DAY.
My friends started to look at me differently and calling me names.
“YOU GREEDY GIRL!”
“YOU COUNT MONEY EVERYDAY!” – I don’t want to be your friend…
Was I sad? YES (What do you think? I was only 7 years old)
Did I stop counting my money? NO!
I didn’t care. All I wanted was to make money.
Because, I do not want to live in poverty! Because, I do not want to live a life like how I used to! Because, I do not want to see my mum and dad suffered like before! Because, I do not want to collect buckets of water from a leaking roof! Because, I do not want to WALK ON BRICKS anymore!
So, my friends… fellow brothers and sisters…
For WHATEVER REASON it is. It starts from “YOU”
Keep pushing yourself to your limit.
Keep pushing yourself towards your vision.
Keep pushing and don’t walk on bricks.
Lay out a STRONG foundation.
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” — Albert Einstein