Today is the International Women’s Day (IWD) and I promised Marina to write a blogpost. So here we go Marina!
I would like to talk about two of the three most important women in my life, my sisters. The other person is my Umi, my mother. I will write about Umi on mother’s day, God Willing.
My big brother Joe and I are very lucky. We have the most wonderful sisters in the world, Mahani (Kak Ani) and Aini or better known as Adek, that is Kak Adek to the two of us as the two boys came later.
It was my eldest sister Kak Ani who not only mentored and coach me when I was little (I consider her as my psychological father; let me put it this way, when I was ten it was she who explained to me about sex, complete with diagrams and Q and A time!), but she at 17 quit college, started working and sent back almost all her income to support the family. We were part of the poverty group often cited by the government census in the 60s and 70s.
Kak Ani could have been selfish, continue studying and graduate for she was one of those smart kids who jump grades when she was in primary school. But she did not, the family came first!
To cushion the pain of growing up without much, as soon as she could afford it, she bought us birthday presents, raya presents and ‘no any specific reason to get one’ presents as long as the three of us younger ones can experience the happiness of opening and getting presents, something that was missing as she grew up.
My second sister Kak Adek’s biggest contribution towards my life I would say is her ability to love unconditionally. In her eyes we can do no wrong. That trait in her translated into the gift of self confidence in me. That deep sense of sureness that someone who loves you will always be there for you no matter where you are.
Like Kak Ani, she too gave and gave and gave, so that we the younger siblings will always fare better than them. It was Kak Adek who supported me through the early years in Universiti Malaya even when she was earning only RM 800 per month. I had RM 50 per month to survive with until I managed to get a study loan from MARA nearing my second year.
Each Thursday the day she volunteers to do night duty in a counselling NGO outfit, Kak Adek will belanja me makan. I always chose KFC as the idea of eating three pieces of chicken WITHOUT RICE was 'out of this world' then for someone who when he was little only gets to eat chicken about twice a year, Raya Puasa and Raya Haji. Poor Kak Adek, she had no heart to tell me that she was totally jelak of KFC!!
She also ‘sponsored’ me in my extramural activities like AIESEC and college projects where-which I sharpen my skills in leadership, organising and managing. These help me move ahead faster than the average when I started working. These activities need money and Miss Aini was there for me.
I read that the IWD is an occasion to review how far women have achieved equality, peace and development. Ironically, in my case, it was the women in my life that gave me peace, help me develop and gave me strength and the confidence to feel and be equals with my contemporaries as I was growing up.
So Marina, I am happy to write for the IWD for until we both males and females make sure that the rights and full potential of women are ensured, the world will be at a loss. My sisters have proven that.
Especially to my Kak Ani and my Kak Adek, happy International Women’s Day. I love you both very very very very much and thank you for all that you have given. Talk to both of you tomorrow; my night at 10 30 pm as planned ya :)
The above picture L-R are Kak Adek and Kak Ani. They both reside in Austin Texas. This is my favourite picture of them together taken about 7 years ago at Magick River. My sisters and I have Afro hair if we allow our flock to grow and my brother’s are wavy. We probably have Negro blood somewhere along the way as we also dance with a groove, sing with a funk and walk with a funny swing!