“To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
After the Japanese left Malaya in 1945, Dad had wanted to resume with his apprenticeship at the village workshop in Batu Gajah but found it was burnt down. The owner and his entire family were killed by the Japanese soldiers.
He was already 25. So the next step would be to move to Ipoh to start a new life. With RM300 in his pocket, he rented a place and started a coffee shop with his mother and sisters. That was how Nam Foong Coffee Shop at 188 Hugh Low Street began.
As time went by, business began to pick up and he needed an extra pair of hands. It was also time he needed a companion too. So he was looking for two persons rolled in one.
At the same time, Mom was hoping to escape from childhood poverty and a nagging stepmother. She was a young girl of 15 staying in Kampung Kuchai.
Through a match maker, photos were exchanged and a meeting arranged for them. And it turned out to be love at first sight for them both. Months later, they were engaged.
During their courtship they like to stroll along Hugh Low Bridge, People’s Park and Birch Bridge in the evenings. Sometimes they would go to cinema halls to watch a movie or two and to Jubilee Park for amusement. They often took a ride around town in a rickshaw because Dad could not afford to buy a car.
Mom and Dad eventually got married on November 22 1950 immediately after she reached the age of 20. It was a modest wedding attended by family and friends from both sides. A wedding luncheon was held at the Nam Hoi Wui Khun (Nam Hoi Association) along Clare Street.
Like any couples, they had their fair share of quarrels and fights but nothing could rock their strong and solid union. Despite everything, they stayed glued together to weather out all the hardships and obstacles that came their way in raising a large family.
In April 2000, Mom was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure. Dad was very devastated. He just broke down and cried. It was almost like his whole world collapsed on him. Knowing her end was very near, he helped me to take loving and tender care of her although he was already 80 and frail.
Mom succumbed to a heart attack on 24 November 2000 at home with Dad and me by her side. It was only 2 days after their 50th golden wedding anniversary which they could not celebrate due to her illness. Dad was beyond consolation. He had lost a partner of 50 years and the greatest love of his life. A loss so profound he could not recover from, even after many years.
When he passed on later, after 7 lonely years, their ashes were finally placed side by side at the Paradise Memorial Park in Tanjung Rambutan.
天长地久 ……Forever and ever……..
* HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 母亲节快乐 http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=1585
* At the doorstep of hell….well,almost. http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=1489