Father left us some money in his life insurance policy. I remember one morning a man with thick peppered moustache and another one younger probably in his early thirties without the moustache and two quiet ladies a lot younger sat in our living room. Just tea, no cakes, and a cheque laid flat on the coffee table. I did not remember what the two insurance men were talking about but I remember I felt embarrassed to stand up and pinch the corner of the cheque with my one hand and the man with the peppered moustache who did most of the talking pinched the other end and Mother stood beside me smiling before the second man without the moustache showered the living room with flash of light for a second and two. It was not because I had to pose for the camera that made me feel embarrassed but it was all about the ladies presence and I forgot to wear my underwear underneath my track trousers.
Before that we had cattle cheeks and tongues and tendons and some real beef stuffed in the kitchen freezer from previous Eid-ul Adha celebration. Father gave me two decapitated cattle’s heads and forced me to extract the meat from that poor carcass as much as possible with a knife so dull it couldn’t even slice a cake days before he left us. That hit me at my spiritual sense, having a thought that God planned all this beautifully and amin to that. That was the first time I tasted the best beef cheek and tendons and tongues in my life and it would taste better if Father was there at the quiet dining table but that was alright because cattle’s cheek meat tasted like normal beef.
Long before that someone I knew from the blogosphere generously deposited RM500 in my bank account for us to live after Father’s demise before I got a decent job and I am today still thankful to her. Never met her in real life, yet it was so kind of her to do kindness to a stranger. She has stopped blogging because of reasons. I don’t know. She just disappeared, probably eating egg tarts at an apartment’s balcony overlooking Hong Kong skyscrapers with a pot of green tea by her side and stuff like that. I remember her deeds well and I know she wants me to do the same to other people and I am trying to do that as well, but I am so annoyed with those people knocking on my car’s window asking for a Ringgit or two during traffic jam.
All these memories come back after I saw the news reporting a man misappropriating public donations channelled into his bank account initially claimed to be spent for the well-being of his two orphaned nieces after their parents’ life ended on the road in a car collision. Blindfolded by greed, he siphoned large fraction of the fund elsewhere and that caused public uproar.
While the netizens are hitting their keyboard hard in anger, I had a bath under shower head long enough that life reflection was inevitable. As I said, Father left us some amount of money. We had a talk about this and I compromised – agreed that I leave it all to be taken care of by Mother, for I can find a job and build my own wealth, so I would never have to worry about Mother anymore with that eighty thousand Ringgit in her hand. Mother later insisted that I should buy a new car which made us not talking to each other for two weeks because I wanted to stick to the old 1991 Perodua Kanchil. Eventually, I compromised; bought a new car that put a smile to her face. Mother persuaded Sister to do the same, so she had one herself too. Mother gave us enough money for paying the down payment, all deducted from the inheritance.
Years passed by and things are not going to the way I always wanted it to be. I hated it whenever somebody else related or not interferes my financial planning. The son wants to save, but the mother says “spend”. The grandpa told to demolish the house down to build it again from concretes. The uncle taps the wooden wall and reminds me that this house will go down one day if I have not done something to it. The aunts ask haven’t you found your soul mate yet? These aggravate me and it all boils down to my parsimonious nature which is the trait passed down from nobody in the family. I have been a little rebellious lately, showing more disagreeing than approving, avoiding meeting certain people and turning down a family vacation plan to Indonesia and Mother now understands that her son is finding life of his own.