My cousins need to assist their old folks back in Kuala Sepetang to get their CNY groceries shopping done, so we were off to Kuala Sepetang for the long weekend. I was there just to eat lah as usual. Haha. But, I think things turned out to be more satisfying than gluttony alone.
Each day I spent doing nothing (I didn’t pig out like crazy either!) but hung around at my aunt’s hair salon, reminiscing the old post I wrote earlier in year 2010. That was four years ago! Sad to hear that, the elderly ladies who lived on the other side of the river had passed on. So my aunt no longer need to cross the river, with her apparatus to perm their hair. This year, I saw more elderly people coming to my aunt’s salon – most of them are wheel chair bound.
It’s been so many years, the residents of Kuala Sepetang relied on the sampans to get them across to the other side of the river, eventhough they have been pestering the government to build them a bridge! Promise after promises after so many freaking years and finally, they built a bridge for the residents. I am already almost 38 years old and this is the first time, I stepped foot on the other side of the river using the bridge as I am rather panicky to ride on the rickety sampan to cross over!
As I was sitting there, I thought of the house that I have been visiting since I was little. So I asked my aunt about the house they are staying now. I know they had a rather difficult childhood. I know of the pains and tribulations they had gone through as children, living in poverty and at mercy of their relatives.
When my mom and aunts were little, they were all living under one roof with their aunt – their dad’s sister. My aunt told me, actually, her dad (my grandfather) had a house but then, since the sister (my grandaunt) is in need of cash to start up a coffee shop, offering him (my grandfather) a partnertship and also for my grandfather’s family to stay with her and her family, my grandfather sold his house to put in money for the coffee shop.
As usual, the promise was not kept. Indeed, they stayed with her family in a house but they were all treated like servants. My grandma had to cook for the entire family and coffee shop workers – no less than 30 of them, and had to hand wash all their clothes, iron and starch them! And my mom and her siblings had no freedom, they had to help out to do work for the coffee shop, as well keeping the house clean.
As my aunts grew up, they already planned their next course of action. They couldn’t possibly live in such repressing house the rest of their lives and my grandma was not getting any younger to be working like a mule! So my eldest aunt took up the responsibilities to go learn hair styling so that, she could open up her own salon and make money to fend for the entire family. They finally moved out to a house, offered by a friend who wanted to partner with my aunt for opening a hair salon.
They started the hair salon on 50:50 basis. However, customers very much preferred my aunt to style their hair compared to the friend. So this got the friend really jealous and embarrassed at the same time.
I asked if the friend is also entitled to her cut since she’s not doing anything and my aunt said yes. So what is there to be upset about? Apparently, the aunt of this friend who also lived with them in the same house – without paying rent, was bad mouthing and creating grapevines due to jealousy. It’s obvious that they were jealous of my aunts and my mom because of their industrious spirit, their network of friends and not to mention, their beauty. My eldest aunt is considered one of the fair maidens of Kuala Sepetang in her hey days!
The aunt began to spread lies that my aunt was not truthful in reporting the profits she made to split among them two. Whenever my aunt was not around, the friend would still take business and reported just half of it, in order not to pay the right amount of profit to my aunt. So things began to sour since then.
My mom and third aunt, were hawking refreshments at the other side of the river to assist with the family’s expenses and by 6 pm, they would go back home, jumped into the shower and traveled to town to work at the amusement park till midnight.
Then, the husband of the evil aunt would purposely hog the bathroom from 6 pm onwards so that the girls (my mom and aunt) couldn’t take shower in time to rush to work. He did that on purpose. I don’t know how my aunts and mom could tolerate this but they had no choice because they didn’t have a house back then and had no where to go. So, they began to come home earlier and hog the bathroom so that they could be on time to get to their second job at night.
This angered the husband tremendously and he maliciously put some kind of chemical (which could accelerate the ripening of fruits – and I was told it was very poisonous) into the bath tub before my mom managed to take a bath. My mom ended having allergies all over her body.
I was horrified by this story. There were indeed people with really malicious thoughts and act despicably in this life! And if I didn’t know this story, I would probably still think my mom is too naggy to be tolerated. I wonder how much more could my mom and aunt bear, being caught in such dead end situation when moving out is the solution but then, with limited cash and resources, they were trapped. Furthermore, my grandfather was bed ridden due to stroke and couldn’t work or fend for his girls…
Stories to continue…