• Melissa Kartini

#MyFamBam: The Dining Table

Photo by Shanice Ying

Food is one of the ways that my mother and grandmother show their love, through a more non-physical way. Coming from a typical Chinese family, we hardly show our affection physically. We find it hard to open up, it's sort of not in our culture.

While almost everyone is busy with their own lives, it’s getting hard to get connected through face-to-face conversations. Texting has become the way that we keep in touch. Anyway, we would always sit down together during lunch and dinner, and catch up. This is what strengthens our bond; eating and chatting around the dining table, with all the dishes that grandmother had prepared. Eating is a routine, so ordinary that it is taken for granted, especially the hard work and effort put in during the preparation of all the dishes. Grandma will not tell you that she loves you. Instead, she gets our favourite food ready on the dining table when we return to our hometown. She remembers that my uncle does not favour ginger and garlic. She remembers my sister wants more scrambled eggs in the baked beans dish. She knows everything about my grandfather, who is a very reserved man. She knows.

These are all the little things in life, and she keeps them in mind.

She seems to be so unbreakable, so tough, but there was once, she teared when she talked about the time when my grandfather suddenly passed out in the washroom. She loves my grandfather so much, and she never wants to admit that. It could also be that those are tears of joy because my grandfather is fine, not leaving her alone. I am grateful.

She doesn’t use many wise words to teach us about life, because education was a luxury back in those days. She spent her younger age at a rubber plantation, at home being a dedicated housewife and raised a family of six children. She shows it through her actions. That was what she taught us about life.

In this age of picture-perfect, celebration-only, seeming-success in every social media posting, there're more things that are beyond what the eye can see—which is hard work behind the scenes. To them, my grandparents, success means seeing us do well in life, and most importantly, be happy and healthy. It’s really that simple. And, they are willing to sacrifice themselves to help us.

It is time to learn to see things from different perspectives.

Dear grandparents, you're the strongest pillars of strength in our lives. I'll be your pillar of strength too! #myfambam

Photo by Shanice Ying

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