Sunday April 24, 2011
Love is thicker than blood
By RACHEL RAJAMAH
A student who grew up in a home pays tribute to the woman who planted good seeds in her.
BEAUTIFUL cook. I knew her from 16 years back, when I was little and she was someone I looked up to. The very first memory I have of her is her in the kitchen. Aunty Tan loved to cook. She cooked every day except Sunday because Uncle Tan would buy chicken rice on Sundays.
I loved to help her in the kitchen. I loved to get my hands all yellow and covered with kunyit or chilli powder, so that I could soak them in salt water later. I loved her fish stuffed with sambal and all the kinds of archa she liked to make, and kuah satay. She could make a lot of things.
Beautiful singer and storyteller. Aunty Tan also taught us songs during Sunday school, together with the actions. After school, we’d come back and watch a fairy tales video (at the time there were no CDs). Then we’d play badminton in our school uniform.
When night fell, she would lead us in worship and read us Bible stories from a big, golden brown book with pictures. She taught Sunday school at Revival Centre until I was 10. She taught the five-year-olds but I would follow her even though I was older.
Beautiful disciplinarian. Aunty Tan was stern yet loving. If she caned you, it was on your hands. She would wait and count to 10 so you could put out your hand. She did not like children to “conteng dinding” (scribble on the walls).
I remember when I put my signature all over the house, she gave me an eraser and asked me to clean up the mess. She also disliked children tearing books. It was the teacher in her.
Beautiful teacher. Aunty Tan was also a very good and gentle teacher. She could teach everything – the Bible, school work, how to sew or cook. I remember the time I wanted to know more about the Bible and cults. I asked her. I even asked why she named me Rachel.
She was graceful and patient whenever she taught. She did not raise her voice. I believe I was nurtured and inspired by her to teach. I love teaching; it is my passion, something I adore. She planted the seed in me.
Beautiful handwriting, and artist. All the time that I’d known her, I also knew her handwriting. Aunty Tan wrote beautifully, always in cursive. She drew the logo for Sunbeams Home. She also painted a mural on the wall at the girls’ home (which has now been painted over). She drew for charity bazaars and taught people how to draw.
When the time came for the Pendidikan Seni (Art) exam, she taught us by drawing a sample so that we could just follow it in school. (Maybe that was a bit like cheating, but I’m sure every mother would do the same so her child could be the best in school.)
Beautiful, responsive mother. When I was seven to nine years old, Aunty Tan would come to school with food during recess. She would sit at the Taman Burung and wait for us to come out. I remember one incident very clearly and it always touches my heart when I think about it.
When I was about 14, I wished her “Good morning” one day, but she just walked past me. I was sad. But a minute or so later, she walked back towards me and said, “Good morning”, and smiled. That melted my heart.
Her turning back to speak to me on my level taught me to be sensitive to others around me.
Beautiful, optimistic and strong. Even when she was ill, Aunty Tan always believed in miracles. She talked about how God can heal people. She was also strong. She smiled a lot when she was sick.
I will always love and cherish her in my heart. She planted many seeds in me. I love to cook, sew and read. Most of all, I am a teacher and I teach at Sunday school.
There’s a saying that blood is thicker than water. It means no matter how other people take care of you, you will still choose your blood relatives rather than those who are not related to you.
I think this saying was thought up by a mere human being who was imperfect, so it may not be true. It certainly is not true for me at all.
I have loved Uncle and Aunty Tan all my life, and I remember everything they have done for me. I am so thankful for all of it.
> Pastor Lucy Tan passed away on April 13 after a battle with cancer. She and her husband, Pastor Alvin Tan, opted out of teaching to start Yayasan Sunbeams Home in 1995 to take care of abandoned and underprivileged children.
Rachel Rajamah, now studying in college, is one of those under their care. She wrote this article in her FaceBook a day after the funeral.
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