I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be cast as Ah Ma (grandma) in Best of Me 2016 school tour in Singapore. Privileged to witness the tears and laughter of our audience and hear their appreciation for their family, teachers and friends after each performance.
My own grandma passed on when I was young. Life wasn’t rosy for her, but she made the best out of everything. A young widow with toddlers and babies in tow, she worked multiple jobs and raised her children singlehandedly. Life was sometimes quite (terrifying) an adventure for her children. Mom vividly recalls being scalded by hot soup while peddling food on the streets with her sister when they were aged 4&7. The pot overturned as they were fleeing in panic from street police because they didn’t have the means to obtain a food stall license in those days. They also couldn’t afford the luxury of getting new clothes for the lunar new year. Mom apparently had a keen eye for aesthetics and it sometimes saddened her when she couldn’t wear pretty clothes like the other kids.
Grandma’s fave question was “jiak ba bei” (have you eaten), probably because she herself had gone hungry once too often, or the worry over putting her family’s next meal on the table could have been constantly on her mind. But grandma’s choices and actions spoke louder than her circumstances. Despite difficulties in making ends meet in her younger days, she had a desire to contribute towards building a better community in the village where she had grown up in. She saved as best as she could and gave generously out of the little that she had. She visited relatives and friends in China when she could and even managed to contribute sufficient funds to build a school and a residential compound for her hometown. Her grit and generosity is legendary among her offspring. Mom’s stories about grandma never fail to amaze and inspire me.
How grandma has lived out her life helps me see that the essence of success in life is not measured by the amount of money one makes but by the lives that could be touched and changed by the choices and actions that one takes.
Thank you Ah Ma <3