25 May 2017

Remembering grandma

Too much of culture-related content in the conference today made me miss grandma so much. We called her 'ina' (mother, in Dusun), following our mom, aunties and uncles. She passed on in 2007, and yet it feels like just yesterday I was talking to her, listening to all her stories.

Grandma wasn't the most open person when it came to personal matters. She was kind of private and the only time she actually talked about her past in length was when I met her last before she had a stroke, which led to her passing on.

So the thing I wanted to know the most was her first husband. The fact that Dusun people of her generation married a few times before settling with their final spouse is quite well-known. The reason why they divorced have to be coaxed out of them though.

And so I asked her quite bluntly...why did you divorce your first husband? At first she refused to tell...but my persistence got to her and she told me her story in an unusually gentle voice, untypical of my military-like grandma.

She, like most girls of her generation was match-made. And funnily enough, she thought at around 13 she married late. People in those days got married but didn't sleep together...until...until...they discovered what conjugal love meant. Grandma was married-off but still lived in her relatives' household (having had lost her parents early).

A few month after the wedding, an elder relative told her she was to be divorced. The reason was, her husband who stayed in his family farm had his eyes set on another girl. In those days, openly liking a person was a taboo...much less liking a person when you were already somebody's spouse.

I asked grandma "aa ko ddi tinumogod?" (Didn't you get angry?). She simply answered in the softest voice, "nunu gia katagadan?" (What was there to be angry about?)

At that moment, my respect for grandma increased a hundredfold. She accepted her destiny and moved on. Perhaps that was because she never did discover a wife's feeling for a husband. But she could still have had her pride bruised and got angry. Yet she didn't.

She lived up to the saying "If you love someone, let him/her go. If s/he is yours s/he will come back to you. If s/he doesn't, it is never meant to be..."

Grandma, a wise woman long gone. Still our inspiration.

05 January 2017

Back to Blogging (2017): rambling on New Year resolution and theme

Happy New Year 2017! My self-imposed blogging-exile is over. I've missed my blog and because life is short, am determined to write stuffs because writing is one of my passions.

We, the Dusun, generally aren't very good with resolutions. Either we don't make them at all, or we just don't achieve them, like yours truly. "And why is that?", you would wonder. Some years ago I blogged on the culture of not making plans for fear of evil spirit's interference. I supposed we the modern Dusun people must have subconsciously absorbed the cultural belief; hence, the not-so-good with resolution (just my assumption, not proven by any empirical research).

I imagine that in those days secret resolutions might have been in the form of aiming to harvest more crops than the year before. Or perhaps during the head-hunting era, it could have been, aiming to "harvest" more heads of the enemies...(and the purpose wasn't to display the skulls as trophies, but some other deeper significant which is a blog topic for another day)...

Anyway, I do have my own personal theme for each year. That, might qualify as a form of resolution. As I wrote in my FB post recently, this year my personal theme is "Kindness and Compassion, good-samaritan-style". It was inspired by the kindness I experienced when my car horn malfunctioned and kept on blaring on 2.1.2017. Hopeless, as my automobile knowledge is practically null, strangers around me stopped by to help disable the sound, showed me the parts related to the horn and advised me on what to do. That was enough to remind me that there are still many kind good Samaritans in the world. So I am convinced that if others let themselves be my angels, then I can let myself be others' angel too. That's how life works anyway.

Of course I cannot help the whole world. But doing my part for people I can reach out to should help the world. After all, it's the work of many small hands that create wonders. (BUT.., we should be wise in giving help. Besides the good people, there is a fair share of vultures out there).



Being fully aware of this, I am reminding myself that "it is in giving that  we receive".