My Mother, and everything she has taught me

My Mom is a

Chilli Padi
Santa Claus (my dad gave her this nickname because she keeps giving)
Stubborn Mule
Proud Peacock
And the kindest and gentlest soul with the biggest heart and also the harshest words.
I just wanted to share her story because among all the many, many, many people I have met over the years, I don’t know of anyone else like my mother. I am so proud of my mother.
When we were young, we were always supposed to write compos about our parents and I filled it up with any words I could find. And this is the version I want to write about her on my 35th year into life.
My mother works as a server at a my uncle’s hawker stall. She has been working there for the past 10 years at least. 5-6 days a week.
Almost at least once a week, I have seen her customers buying food, giving her masks, bringing her gifts from overseas when they travel.
In the past few months, her health deteriorated and she couldn’t go to work often. I have since received so many whatsapp texts, calls, asking her how she is. (My mom can’t text).  I cannot imagine how many people would be asking for her at the stall when she is not there to take their orders.
I have seen her receive tips, chicken essence, ang pows ($150?! not during CNY), medications. Knowing my mom, she will deny all these gifts but her customers insist she keep them.
And then she will probably buy even more stuff back for them.
I mean, I am also in the service line. Getting food & drinks is common. But money?!
It is a whole new level.
What on earth did my Mom do to receive such kindness from this seemingly selfish world.
  1. She is genuine and honest
  2. She is generous
  3. She remembers all her customers, their names, their orders, their preferences
  4. She puts her heart and soul into her job
  5. She takes pride in her work
  6. She treats the business like her own
  7. She has genuine connections and relationships with her customers
  8. She is kind to everyone
  9. She always gives, without expecting anything.
  10. She always gives, even with the little that she has.
  11. She is straight forward.
  12. She gives nicknames to everyone and she might change your name to suit her liking.
  13. She is super hardworking
From her,
I have also learnt that
  1. I want to work for myself because no matter how good I do, unless i get really lucky, I will always be making money for others and not for myself.
  2. I don’t want to exchange my time for money until I’m old.
  3. No matter how kind you are, you will still be deemed “unkind” to some or even many
  4. You will never ever be able to please everyone
  5. I need to find an employee like her in order to grow my business
  6. If I were to find an employee like her, I need to treat her good and keep her by my side.
  7. Even with the correct skills, you will not be able to fully utilise your potential if you’re unwilling to step out of your comfort zone.
  8. You may not be rich, but you can be rich in your heart and experiences.
  9. I need to master my mom’s skills.
  10. Somehow, there needs to be a boundary to kindness. You cannot keep being kind to others if it means being unkind to yourself.
  11. I have to dare to take risks, and step out of my comfort zone or be stuck for life.
  12. I have to make money work for me instead of working for money all the time. Or I will be left with no time.
  13. I don’t have to care what people think because people will always gossip. The mouths belong to time. But we can control how we choose to react to these negativity.
  14. What other people say, shouldn’t affect our choices because only we know the real reasons behind our choices and we don’t have to justify anything to anyone but ourselves.
  15. There are still kind people out there.
  16. You may think you are poor, but there are always people who are worse off. So give whenever you can.
  17. Despite being kind and well-like, she still gets mocked and gossiped about having a daughter who looks like a boy and hates it when I visit her at her workplace (because all workplaces are toxic). So she tells me not to visit her.
Thank you Mom for being the the perfect role model, the perfect Mom.
Thank you for taking all the blame for all the stupid mistakes that I had made over the years, for solving all my problems, for always being there for me. She won’t read this. But I want people to know how great my mom is.
My mistakes, my choices have nothing to do with my mother and her teachings. She has taught me nothing but good things.
I am so grateful that she is still with me. I will cherish and make the best of all the time we have with each other.
If you see her at Victory Canton Wok, say hi.
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