My hubby's side of the family had a gathering on 1.o5.10, to remember their late brother's passing 10 years ago, and also just to find the time to be together. My mom-in-law is at the center of it all. Having been a single parent for 28 years, she is both father and mother to all her children. There used to be 9 surviving children, now there are only eight.
I respect my mom-in-law greatly. When her husband died, she was pregnant with the last child, my youngest brother-in-law who is now 28. She was then in her 40s, unemployed, since she didn't have the luxury of getting an education in the post-war era, and with 8 other mouths to feed. Her resilience was and is still great. She tapped rubber and grew rice to ensure that all her children didn't go hungry, and could get a good education. Even though she herself had never been to school, she was very strict to her children about their schooling. Playing truant meant getting punishment in the form of caning.
At first glance she appears very fierce. Well she has to or else her children wouldn't be where they are at present. They all hold good jobs- at least no one has to tap rubber for a living anymore.
Two years ago, mom-in-law was recognized as one of the successful mothers in KK. Her story was written in this special book called "Journeys of the heart: the Malaysian Families". I am glad that her hardwork and sacrifices in raising up her children are acknowledged. I'd attribute her strength, partly in being a Dusun, since okodou o ginawo "strong heartedness" is a virtue very much appreciated by the Dusuns. I mean it doesn't apply to everyone, but people like mom-in-law are definitely strong :-)