I started going to a preschool kindergarten when I was six years old for one year before I went into primary school for six years. This period of time was when I met and mixed with other children that were same age as me and I made some friendships and had learnt something about life from it.
Whether it was an inborn quality of me or I was taught to behave in such way, it really doesn’t matter. Because it is something so strong that I believe in myself until forever – Truthfulness. Usually I was very careful not to commit any wrong doings. If I ever did something wrong unintentionally, I would admit and apologized automatically. Sometimes I forgot to do my homework, I would go to the teacher and told the teacher that I didn’t do my homework and gave my palm to the teacher to punish me with a stroke of cane. Or when the exam paper came back, when I found out that the teacher had mistakenly gave me more marks than it supposed to be, I would go to the teacher and asked for remarking and deduct the extra marks from it. Whenever I found something unattended in the compound of the school, I would bring it to the teacher. Whenever the cashier gave me extra change, it doesn’t matter if it is small or big amount, I would give it back to the cashier so that he or she wouldn’t get into trouble for losing money from the cash machine. I wouldn’t take any thing that doesn’t belong to me. I usually would not accept any gift from anyone unless I know it was coming from a pure and sincere heart.
I was very self-independent and initiative. I didn’t need my parents to wake me up in the morning and to prepare myself to go to school. I was always punctual and responsible for myself and my duties. I never changed my word after I made a promise or confirmed a date with my friends to meet up. Even though i had made an appointment with somebody for three months later, I will remember it and show up for the appointment at the actual time that we had said.
Even my primary school class teacher had noticed my character and once had granted me with an honour that she would guarantee that “I am an honest person that won’t lie or steal” in front of all the classmates to stand up for me and to defend my innocent due to one little incident that had happened. There was someone in the class had been stealing things from most of the classmate. Things had been missing from our bags or on our tables. One day the classmate who was sitting just in front of me reported to our teacher that his exercise book had went missing. And so, our teacher had called up everybody and asked whoever who had taken his exercise book to come out and return the book and he or she would be excused and be forgiven. Our teacher then asked everyone to search their own bags to see if there might be somebody had mistook the exercise book. Somehow I didn’t know why, and I found the exercise book in my bag. And without any fear or guilt I spoke loudly and said that the exercise book was in my bag and I might have mistook it or might be someone had put it into my bag intentionally or unintentionally. For me it really doesn’t matter to me because I knew I was innocent. But the truth is the mind of all people no matter they are young children or adults, they all were having the same reaction thinking that I was a thieve and that I had stole the exercise book. But due to my usual behavior and personality that always being truthful, honest and straightforward, my teacher immediately stood up for me and defend for my innocent. She asked everybody to believe that I was innocent and believe in me that I was an honest and truthful person that I wouldn’t tell a lie or steal anything, and she would guarantee that. Thus everyone stopped judging me but respect me for being a truthful and honest person. And so, I always believe in being truthful and never tell lies and be totally honest will gain such trustworthy, confident and respect from everyone. Even when somebody who was jealous of me and tried to accuse me of something wrong that I didn’t do or when someone questioned about my honesty, people who knew me would believe in me and unmoved by those slandering and would stand up for me. That’s the power of truthfulness and honesty.
There was one time during the celebration day of dumpling made from glutenous rice, my whole family had came together and made a joke on me. Actually eating too much glutenous rice is indigestible and will cause drowsiness. That afternoon when I came back from school, I ate a few of those dumplings made by my mother and they were really delicious. Not long after that I felt really sleepy and I went for a “nap” which had turned into a deep sleep for a few hours. My mother came to the bed and woke me up and told me that it was time to go to school. I was still in a very drowsy mood. I couldn’t remember what was going on and I believed what my mother said to me. I took a look at the clock, it was six something (usually the school bus would come around that time in the morning to pick me up). And I could hear the bus went passed our house. I quickly jumped off the bed, ran to the bathroom, cleaned my face and my mouth and ran back to my room to change into my school uniform and took my school bag ran out to to the gate of our house and wait for the school bus to come back for me. I could remember that “I still haven’t done all my homework yet”. And while I was running to the bathroom at the end of the house, I saw my bother was in the hall pumping up the kerosene storm lamp for the house, my mother was cooking in the kitchen (usually they wouldn’t do all these things in the early morning). And while I ran out to the gate I saw many children were playing and talking everywhere (usually nobody were playing and making noises in the early morning). But I still had not a clue what was going on. I was so blurred with the drowsiness and so naive to believe what my mother said to me. I was standing there with with my school bag and in my school uniform. A few moments later, everyone were looking and laughing at me. After a while , my mother came out from the house and lifted me up with her arms and carried me back into the house while telling me that it was evening time and not morning. It was time for dinner! No wonder there were so many children playing out there! No wonder My mother was cooking and my brother was pumping up the lamp for the night! And the school bus that I heard was sending school children home from afternoon school session. Until today we all still remember that incident and we all laugh out loud about it.
I was an out going girl who liked to ride my bicycle and went everywhere, danced most of the time, climbed a tree, played with boys or fought with them playing kung fu fighting, played football, basketball, and baseball, flew a kite, caught some butterflies and hanged around on the sand hills and the wood factory opposite our old house or hanged around at friend’s house. I was the leader of the gang of our friends, to organize games or singing in the school bus. Due to my activeness, I had several scars on my knees now caused by falling off from the bicycle many times.
There was one time I went to my best friend’s house for an overnight stay. I brought my own pillow and bolster and by myself I walked to her house which was about 200 meters away from our house (I was about seven years old then). And so funny that I had peed on her bed while sleeping, and I apologized to her parents the next morning. And then I walked home with my pillow and bolster. Everyone was making a laugh at that incident. Both of us had spent so much time together while we were living in Kampung Pinang. Somehow after we had moved to the longhouse, we had lost touch for more than 23 years until lately she had found me on Facebook.
I was a good friend to a few people who were living in the village. There was a Punjabi girl had picked up lots of Cantonese from being friend with me. I even organized a “bank saving account”. I was the banker, and a few of my friends would save some coins everyday with me. I would write down the amount of money that they gave me or took out. Sometimes we would use the total saving to buy some tidbits and shared among ourselves. It was such happy days.
For the first three years in primary school, I wasn’t good at Chinese but very good at Malay and English due to the kindergarten that I went to was an English medium school. And I was always very good at mathematics and science. I always pay attention in the class and would asked the teacher if I had anything that I didn’t understand. I also had very good image memory to remember what I had read. Usually I didn’t need to study after I came back from school. I just need to went to sleep early the night before the exam and got up at 3 in the morning, and went through the text book while listening to music. I would remember page by page of what I had read and answered the questions exactly like a print out from the book. Usually I would get very good result from the exam although I never bothered about my results and placing in the class. Maybe it was because my parents never put pressure onto us that we have to be in competition with everybody.
All these changed when I was about fourteen years old in 1984. My family suffered from financial crisis due to some reasons related to my sister and her husband (he had died from a horrible accident a few years later in 1992), which made me very angry and depressed for more than two years. I had shut myself off from everybody. I was full of anger, hatred, and depressed. I didn’t want to talk to my family for a long time. Locking myself in the bedroom and danced every night for a few hours to relieve my unhappiness. I had developed a very special affection for small insects during that time and would prefer to talk to little insects especially bugs, than to talk to people. I would went out in the middle of the night and sat on the hilltop all by myself watching the sky and not afraid of anything. It is true that when a person is full of anger and hatred would not be afraid of anything not even God, Devil or Hell. Because when a person has intense hatred in the heart, he or she doesn’t believe in anything at all. And so, what is hell and what is God are meaningless to this person. I would pray to Devil when I was so upset and cursed everything and everyone (including my parents, the sun, the moon and God) even though all these has got nothing to do with my unhappiness. So unhappy and evil was I. My brother who was three years elder than me was also being disturbed by our family problems and became very cold and rebellious and couldn’t forgive what had happened for many years. I stopped going to school a year before the secondary school graduation, which was a pity but I never regret about it because at the end wisdom and happiness are not to be found from schooling education but from life and within our own self.
I was lucky to be able to heal myself and came out from misery after two years of darkness and started to talk back to my parents and care for them, but my brother was very unhappy until recently a few years before my mother passed away and showed forgiveness to my family and started to care for my parents again.
Thanks to dhamma, Madonna and those beings who had been helping me from behind. And thanks to my parents who didn’t question me for my bad behaviour, and didn’t abandon me and being patient with me and continue to love me and care for me, gave me their supports to pursue my interest in dancing and for me to be able to teach aerobics classes as an income for living to support myself and my parents (my mother was the driver who sent me everywhere to teach classes, waited for me and sent me back home because I haven’t learnt how to drive yet, which is another story to tell later). And thanks to myself, who had helped and healed myself and pulled myself up from the ocean of ignorance.