Saturday, September 22, 2007

A filial daughter - Lam Chun Chew

While my fellow fanatic about old Singapore places, Peter and I do some 'research' for our next post about Bukit Timah, here's a 'grandfather story' from my brother Chun Chew to keep you entertained.

I had an uncle who stayed in Malaysia and got married during the Japanese occupation. His wife bore him seven daughters in a row. After giving birth to the last daughter, my uncle was rather disappointed because he wanted a son very badly, seeking agreement from his Peranakan wife to give away his last daughter to his elder brother, who himself had several kids. His elder brother was quite happy to adopt this lovely baby girl, but my aunt was so distraught missing her child that she could not sleep at night, crying bucketful of tears for her daughter.

Being a forceful lady, she demanded that her husband to take back the baby from his elder brother, who just lived next door. Having seven daughters was not a problem financially, as my uncle was quite a successful businessman. Next year the couple was lucky with the arrival of a son.

Time flew. The kids had all grown up. What happened to the last daughter? She was the brightest of the lot and did very well in her studies. She graduated with flying colours from a top Australian university, got married to a very successful architect from Malaysia, who himself was also a top scholar. Both obtained scholarships to do post graduate studies in the US. Later on when they returned to Malaysia, the husband was involved in planning many large building projects and she herself holding a high position in the private sector. One day I met my uncle in Farrer Court and he told me that this daughter and her husband are very filial to him and his wife. They sponsored my uncle and aunt to visit the US, Europe and many other places, showering them with unconditional love.

This story reflects some core human values. Namely a mother’s intrinsic love for her child who is irreplaceable, an important role a daughter can play in a modern society and the love of ones parents is a moral commitment.

Photo credit.

Thanks to Flickr member cromacom for the use of above photo for illustration purpose.


peter said...

I can relate to what Chun Chew is stating. It was a practice to treat duaghters as less valuable than sons. Is that an Asian tradition: I am not sure. Somestimes in domestic disputes, a spouse may use the children as a weapon against the other. I have seen it in my in-laws because there was a preference for keeping sons and not daughters. As result, the mother complained a lot to her daughters as to how bad their father was and now I see very strained relationships when they grow into adults and as parents themselves. Their off-springs dont even talk to each other, or if they do meet during Chinese New Year reunion dinners, it will be the standard protocol of "Hi". Period!

For me I reject all notions that one gender is better than the other.

zen said...

I agree with Peter's observation. Family disharmony is really a sad state of affair. At Sembawang Port I saw a harbour pilot in his thirties brought his young daughter (about 3 yrs old) to work. The poor kid played alone in his office while the father went out at sea bringing a ship to the harbour. The girl's parents were at the verge of a divorce. The kid was merely a pawn in a broken down marriage.