Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Bouquet For Ana

There I was, happily browsing through some karaoke VCDs at Speedy's in One Utama Shopping Centre this morning, when the phone rang. It was my chatter friend Ana, who teaches English in a secondary school in Ipoh.

She was in One Utama herself, checking out the department stores for Raya clothes. She arrived from Ipoh earlier this morning for a quick visit to an ailing uncle and had to be back in Ipoh by the breaking of fast, to be with her children.

It has been almost a year since we last met. We embraced warmly, found an empty bench next to British India, and made ourselves comfortable. Under normal circumstances, it would have been endless chatter and lots of laughter over mocha or latte at Coffee Bean or Starbucks, but it's Ramadan...

I asked after her eldest, Melissa, and was pleasantly surprised to note Melissa has completed her degree course and would be graduating very soon.

I have nothing but admiration for this plucky, single mother of three who raise her children single-handedly while holding a fulltime teaching job. This diminutive woman faces challenge head-on.

I vaguely remember her pursuing her masters programme on a partime basis in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang; faithfully travelling up and down from Ipoh to Penang every weekend for two whole years, despite every conceivable constraint (mostly financial), to attend classes and lectures.

I asked after her studies. "Oh, I have just completed my course and have received a teaching offer in Penang," she confided. "I am taking it up because I intend to pursue my doctorate at the same time."

What she said next almost broke me. "Would you and Pak Abu represent my family at my convocation in March next year? My kids are not likely to make it and there isn't any one else." Oh girl, you can count us in to be with you on your big day! Insyaallah..


bergen said...

I was raised by Aunt - a single mother.

Kak Teh said...

OOh, what a wonderful woman, and what a wonderful friend you are!! It means a lot to have friends and relatives on such an important occassion. Believe me, to do the MA at our age is no easy task. I did it four years ago...beranak lagi senang. And on my graduation day - all my sayang mamas and my Pak Awang were there - with a bouquet of flowers.

bergen said...

Btw, the picture of you with your singing friends. I really think the glasses are cool. Ada simpan lagi ke? You've gotta to put those on together with the bell bottom, baru groovy. He he

MrsNordin said...

Oh, that's so sweet! You must go then!! Women are strong, especially when circumstances pushed them to do so. I have nothing but admiration for your friend..

Puteri Kamaliah at-Tarawis said...

Bergen, I have nothing but the highest regard for single mothers. They are so resilient in the face of adversity... (I was there once, remember?)

And those specs and bell-bottoms; aren't they cool! nowadays, kalau pakai macam tu, they call it retro..hehehe

kak teh, you are so so fortunate to be surrounded by those you love. At my own graduation in 1984, nobody from my family could make it except my (then) mom-in-law.

Mrs N, indeed women in general are very strong in every aspect (except physically la kot).