I recently went on a short trip to Ayer Hitam in Malaysia to visit my a relative. I’ve been told by my parents that I was going to a kampung place (a small Malay village) , but I can’t remember anyone from there. The last time I visited the place was a toddler at the age of 5.
I never had thought of going to visit them because I was unfamiliar with their location, and unsure who they were. However that particular day, my parents drove grandma and I and all the way to Ayer Hitam, across the Tuas border and into Malaysia and reached our destination hour and a half later.
My relative’s house
The sunset at Ayer Hitam
The path linking from the main road was a small road and it can hardly fit two cars. One has to give way to another. Most of the areas was surrounded by trees of all kinds and some planted by their owners. The place had electrical cables running along poles on the side of the main road. It was a peaceful sight.
Standing in the middle of the road
I had never seen my relatives, my grandma’s brother’s wife. She lives alone while her son is out serving the army in Johor which is also a few hours away. The moment we saw each other and said hi, I could see the relieve in her face and smile in her eyes and she hugged me really tight.
I must have somehow create an impact in her life back then. I couldn’t remember her, but she could remember me. I felt that I missed out on the people who knew me back when I was a kid.
Having to be born in a fast paced country where technology and economy is fast on the rise and growing, I don’t have to really worry about electrical shortage, clean water or having a good environment.
Though the place I went wasn’t as bad as i mentioned on top, it made me realise how lucky I must have been to be born in a green environment, good and steady development , good smooth roads, easy water access, having to have WIFI* easily accessible.
I’m near to the people I care about, and at least about an hour away the most in my own country.
Story Grandma Would Tell Me
She would tell stories of our history as we came from a poor family, how she had the need to tie pocket money coins for school in a handkerchief for my mum so tightly worrying that it might drop, that my mum couldn’t even open the knot when she wanted to buy food for recess break.
She told me of stories of how they would walk miles along the train tracks, just to send my mum to school, with my uncle on her side, and my aunt strapped on her shoulder. She would work in a factory like other workers would, but to earn extra cash, she went to wash the worker’s clothes, clean her boss house and took care of their place.
I still recall some hard moments in her eyes and she express herself out to me, and I see it in this woman that she has gone through a lot to get to where she is today.
It made me realise and reflect, on how I should treasure what i have now.
I’ve yet to understand how the history of my generation of family have gone from the past till now. I would consider myself really lucky. Hopefully I would one day return a favor and help to make the generation of my family live a better life.