3rd June 1961…

3rd June is an important date as that was the date that Mom, Florence Yip was born. Therefore tomorrow would have been her 60th Birthday. Usually, I would send her flowers, get her a gift and treat her to a nice meal with cake of course. This is the first year that we haven’t been able to celebrate her Big Day. It’s been almost 6 months since she left us and not a day goes by without us missing her. We can’t visit her tomorrow because the current FMCO (Lockdown). I’ve made her Rose scented beeswax candle for her. Will have to wait until the lockdown is lifted till we could go visit her. Mom, we didn’t forget your birthday. I hope that you know that.

Mom grew up poor in Ipoh. She was the 5th child to my grandparents, She was the youngest and the cheekiest on top of things as she got my grandfather wrapped around her finger. She was the only one who was sent to an English Convent for her school education. I remember Mom telling me that after her dad passed when she was 12yrs old, she started working part-time after school hours to give money to her mother. She worked as a seamstress and also tutored. Prior to her dad passing away, the family ran a canteen business at the army camp. She even had a pet pig at one point in time.

Despite her circumstances, Mom was an extrovert that loved helping people. She was also very active in sports and represented her school in Volley Ball. Mom was well known as being a social butterfly. I’m pretty sure I got that trade from her. The ability to make friends just instantly. My Mom was always surrounded by her group of girlfriends that she kept in touch all these years. People are naturally drawn by my Mom’s energy. She’s always been very bubbly and her smile is infectious.

Before Mom met dad when she was 18. She was working at a car battery shop and dad saw her walking past daily during lunch break as at that time, dad was a site supervisor and he was high up and saw her. My dad then decided to ask around to find out who Mom was. Eventually, he learned where she worked and he decided to write her a letter. That was how my Mom and dad met and the rest was history.

My Mom always had a huge heart when it came to people and she would never think twice in helping out those in need, I guess she developed this compassion for people because she had nothing growing up. That’s another reason why she taught me to be charitable since I was young and that we should share. Friends and neighbours and family nevertheless loved Mom because she was very friendly and she would always be there for you. Mom was never selfish but always giving. She never demanded for anything but, dad pampered her because she deserved everything in the world.

Dad took good care of Mom from the day he met her until her last breath. He made her quit her job to start a family with him and supported her financially. My dad definitely is 1 in a million. Also, when Mom was bedridden during her last 6 months on earth, dad did everything to look after her. He fed her, changed her diapers and cleaned her while he slept on the floor beside her. It made Mom very sad but if that’s not proof that true love exists, what is? Will I ever be lucky to find love like that?

XoXo, VA

Happy Chinese New Year 2021 – The Year of The Ox…

I would like to wish the Chinese and anyone who celebrates Chinese New Year @ CNY a very Prosperous & Healthy New Year ahead. This year it’s the year of the Ox based on the Lunar Calendar. It’s my year, It was supposed to be Mom’s year as well. In our family, my grandma, my dad’s mother is an ox, my aunt Linda, my dad’s sister is also an ox, Mom was an ox and so am I. So, it was clear to state that our family consists of very strong women.

This is the first year celebrating CNY without Mom. She’s only been gone almost 2 months now but she’s clearly not forgotten. When I got dressed to head to my grandma’s place in Bangsar for our Reunion Dinner, my Mom’s words echoed in my ear, “Remember not to wear black on Chinese New Year!!” I also remember when my Mom heard about my Pre-Wedding Photoshoot, she said the same thing. As I went through a stage in 2015-2018 that almost any piece of clothing that I bought were all black. She was worried that I’d chose a black wedding dress.

Anyway, Reunion Dinner is one of the most crucial time to be home with family to enjoy a feast. This dinner is carried out on the Eve of Chinese New Year. If one is married, the wife will attend this dinner at her inlaws place and then on the first day of Chinese New Year, the pair will have dinner at the wife’s family home. So, if your hometown in in different states, you will then travel on the eve or on the first day of CNY.

Chinese New Year’s main purposes is to start the new year on a good note, there is no better way to do that than to be with family and have a big feast while children and the non married ones will get Red Packets or “Äng Paos”. It’s a time to let water under the bridge aka forgiveness as well.

I remember growing up celebrating CNY in Ipoh, Perak with my Mom’s side of the family when cousins, aunties, uncles, great aunts and uncles will meet up. It was always filled with snacking on CNY cookies, food + getting red packets, fire crackers and aunty and uncles gambling. My favourite CNY Cookies would be Pineapple Tarts, Love Letters + Beehive.

I think since Mom’s no longer with us. We’ll be celebrating CNY in Kuala Lumpur with my dad’s side of the family from now on. Not sure when I’ll ever head back to Ipoh, Perak TBH. Maybe if Hubs visits and we have something to do or see I guess. I was never really close to Mom’s side of the family. Mainly because of the language barrier. I suck at speaking Cantonese. I can only speak a few words here and there but I can understand more than speak. Ipoh definitely has good food that I will miss.

Anyway, we did the Reunion Dinner at my Grandma’s place and high chances, we won’t be doing any visiting for CNY as we’re still under MCO 2.0 (The Movement Control Order) and also because Mom just passed away not too long ago. Chinese tradition states that the family in mourning should not be celebrating anything for the year. Mom was Chinese so, I feel that we have to honour her traditions. This means, I would not be giving out any Red Packets this year as well.

Talking about Red Packets, my Mom and I had our lil tradition. I was not allowed to open any of my red packets until the 15th day of CNY which meant that CNY was over. I had to write the aunty/uncle name that gave me the red packet on the packet itself too. I got a strong feeling my Mom just didn’t want me to appear rude and open the red packets infront of the aunty that I just received the red packet from as may kids does. Some ungrateful kids would also comment about the amount that they receive. So if the amount was small, the kid would say it out loud. LOL.

Everything that I do and as the days that passes me by, I can’t help but, be reminded about Mom and the things she used to say to me. That’s just how much I miss my Mom.

XoXo, VAS