How would you remember a number
like 8729? That is my car plate number. When I bought it in 2009, I had
difficulty remembering it. Well, I must admit I am not good with numbers except
for the years and dates in history. Do you know how long the Qing dynasty was?
This last imperial dynasty of China ruled from 1644 to 1912 or 1911 as some
historians put it. How do I remember 1644? 16 together sounds like “all the way”
and of course “4” sounds the same as “death” in Cantonese. So 1644 is “all the
way to death!
It was my mother who ingeniously
thought of a way to remember 8729! Multiply
the first and last digits, you get 72! Six years ago, she was already 82! I
wish I could be this clear-headed when I am her age! Readers of Babbling could all rightly assume that
my mother is my idol and dearest friend.
Despite her advanced age, she
wants to live! She is the patient all doctors would love to have as she follows
doctor’s advice to the letter. She is most punctual in taking her medication.
Walking cheerfully towards the dining table, she says in English to the helper “eat
medicine now”. As she has been diabetic for close to three decades, she knows
well what she should not eat. But all ladies in our family have a sweet tooth
and so every now and then she would be tempted by the dessert we are enjoying,
whether it is the crème brûlée, mousse or sweet dumpling. She would ask eagerly
if it is sweet expecting us to give her the answer she prays for. Then she can
have a bite!After her recent check-up at the
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, my mother was warned that the potassium content in
her blood is too high. She painstakingly memorizes all the food with high
potassium content and diligently instructs the helper not to have these items
on the table.
Seeing how the elderly try so
hard to live on, I can but sigh as I watch the young staying up late to play
games, stuffing their mouths with charcoal-like chicken wings or puffing away