Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dear Gu Phor

When I was younger, a baby of 11 months, when both my parents were still working as teachers, they sent me to be taken care of by a baby sitter who lived just opposite us in the Rasah Jaya flats.

She was a sweet little old lady of 50+ then, who was happy to take in another fat baby (me!) into her extended family of babies and kids :)

One of my earliest memories was of me being carried in my father's arms up the steps of the flats to the first floor. It would be pitch black cos it was super early in the morning. I know that because I would be half-awake, but I would pretend to be asleep so my father would carry me upstairs. *confession* (Aheh. :P) Gu Phor would be waiting for us with the gate wide open, and the mattress laid out on the floor for me to continue sleeping on.

I'd successfully go back to sleep with no fuss at all. Later, Gu Phor would wake me up by calling, "Su Li, hong sin hong sin! Moi soi mok lor~" (Su Li, wake up wake up! Don't sleep lor~)

She'd feed me, dress me and then take my hand and walk me to the kindergarten I attended, Tadika Kiddyhouse, which was opposite the flats as well--a mere 3 minute walk :)

I actually have visual memories of Gu Phor holding my hand walking to and from the kindergarten, guiding me across the road. :)

My kindergarten graduation. I noticed that my ponytails were imbalanced @.@ One had a red rubber band, the other was tied with, like, the normal one which people normally use to tie packets of chilli sauce when you dabao chicken rice =.=
I remember Gu Phor tying my hair for me.
I must have lost the other red rubber band >.<

Eventually, of course, when Ming was born, and then Kit, Gu Phor took care of them too. The Three Mouseketeers (as my dad used to call us :P) was born ! :D

Ming, Kit and myself :)
Weren't we just the most adorable little things you'd ever seen? xD
As you can see, I was sporting my favourite hairstyle (according to my mum) -- the 'coconut tree' !! :P

The adventures of the Three Mouseketeers began. :)

With the three of us, I bet we were a handful to take care of. Poor Gu Phor >.<

You'd never think it when you see my brother now, but Ming used to be a big crybaby when he was still a toddler (Man, I hope he doesn't kill me! @.@). He'd wail and cry when he didn't get what he wanted. He'd go, "Ngo oi lek geh! Ngo oi lek geh!" (I want this! I want this!) and poor Gu Phor rarely knew what it was he actually wanted, since that was all the little Hakka we knew then =.=

Gu Phor didn't have much choice but to lock him outside the flat. He'd scream and wail even louder then. But Gu Phor would let him in eventually, when he got tired and hiccup-y. You won't believe that some of the neighbours actually remember him for his crying! "Oh, so this is the hambao ar? So big already ar!" (Oh, so this is the crybaby ar?) @.@

 Clockwise from L-R: Ah Tse jiejie (who passed away from cancer a long time ago), me, Ming, Ah Mei jiejie, Kit and Ah Wei

I was pretty naughty myself. I must have been quite the artist cos I used to draw tiny little ants allllllllll along the wall of Gu Phor's house. And when Gu Phor gave me the yucky goat's milk tablets my mum asked her to make sure we took, I'd actually hide the tablets under the cushions of her sofa ! (And they were really expensive too !! =.= haha~)

Kit would always get his syllables mixed up. I remember standing in front of Kit by Gu Phor's TV and pronouncing, veryyyyy slowly, "Pock-et, say POCK-ET." And he'd say, "Kopek kopek kopek!" @.@ (I guess I had teacher inclinations even then eh? :P) He also used to say that he wanted to eat "nasi melak" !!!! xD

I also remember Puku, a little pigeon who one day, wandered into Gu Phor's house and, by closing the door, Gu Phor managed to trap it for us. I wonder how she also managed to tie the pigeon to the sofa leg using a long rafia string. In retrospect, I'm horrified that we played with a pigeon (we all know they're not the cleanest of birds @.@) but all I remember of that incident was having a gala time playing with Puku. We were laughing and squealing as it fluttered and flew around the house. :D

Clockwise from L-R: Kit, Ming, me, Ma, Gu Phor and Pa

My mum had kept in contact with Ah Lan jiejie all these years, and so last Tuesday, we went to visit Gu Phor, who now stayed with her daughter's family in Sikamat.

She told us that when Gu Phor heard that we were coming to see her, she practically lit up with joy. :) We hadn't seen her in more than ten years since she shifted away from the Rasah Jaya flats.

She looked like she hadn't aged a day from the time I remember her. She looked just the same. And I was so happy to see that she looked healthy and happy. She kept exclaiming how big we all are now, and how she could barely recognize us anymore. She said that we'd really grown into liang moi and liang zai ('pretty girl' and 'handsome boy').

That's Ah Lan jiejie in light blue :)

We spent the day just talking over drinks and slices of fruit, and every few minutes, Gu Phor would exclaim how big we'd gotten, again. Then we brought out the old photo albums and laughed at how cute we were back then. Gu Phor would go, "Lek geh hae Ah Kit ar? Hao tet yi or!" (This is Ah Kit ar? So cute or!)

It was a meaningful time indeed. And I could not help feeling such gratitude towards Gu Phor for taking care of us when we were young. It certainly could not have been a walk in the park. And the very visible joy she showed over seeing us was very heartwarming. 

She is such a gentle old woman, and she has done so much for the Three Mouseketeers--us. :) I pray that God will grant her good health and joy with her family :) May she have beautiful times with her son and daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters :D

Till we meet again, Gu Phor ! Take care and may God bless you richly :)

Thank you :D

p.s: You have been treated to a very precious few photos of my childhood that I have never posted online before, EVER. So enjoy them :D


Aileen said...

wa......the way you describe your Gu Po is really sweet o! I laughed on the part when you mentioned about Ming..lolx..^^

SandraC said...

super liked this post. made me remmember my own nanny i called mama. i guess its time i go back n see my nanny too! thank u for sharing part of ur childhood with us! it was super enjoyable! and i laughed to think that ming was a crybaby! haha

Hannah said...

lol! kit kit so cute...kopek kopek!

Liz said...


Yeah, I recently met with her and brought back all those memories la :P hehe Ming super naughty last time le xD


Ahaha, you're welcome ! :D You should share some childhood memories too ! :)


Yeah ! Do me a favour and remind him about it when you see him aite? :P