My mother has just celebrated her 86th birthday. She is
diabetic and has been so since 1980s. But she is still going to her old
neighbourhood to play mahjong two to three times in a week. She is concerned
about her look. “Oh, my hair is thinning!” “Oh, my skin is so dry!” are among
some of her complaints! She is my idol for her resilience.
Brought up in a rich family in Shanghai in the 1920s, she moved to Hong Kong
with my father and me as an infant in 1949. With the family financial situation
deteriorating and with the number of children growing to eight, she ended up
washing and cooking for a family of ten at the time when there were no washing
I can still remember how in the 1960s when there was water shortage and supply
was limited to four hours every four days, she was running up and down the
stairs bringing buckets of water! She was amazing! And she still is!
Now, my mother is enjoying life cautiously avoiding all the sugar, high
potassium foods etc. Though she does not say it, she wants to live. It does not
mean that she has no worries. She worries about me being too busy, my sister
sleeping too late, the grand children not getting married etc. Her head is so
clear that she keeps record of all her mahjong gains and losses. There is so
much to write about her that this has to come in two parts.
Today my mother’s only worry is that I am not warm enough when the temperature
is so low. She actually called me this afternoon checking on me.