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Family History

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Family History

Many of us don’t appreciate what a life gives to us. At times, I am a culprit myself. But over the years and a recent project that I had to do for this American Literature class, I have learnt to appreciate everything I have today. I am blessed to be in the situation I am in. As I was working on the family history assignment, I have discovered many things that I would never have known if I didn’t raise any of the questions I did to my parents. Some of the new things I learnt about my parents and their family history were shocking. Although I am from Singapore, my ancestors came from China. Learning about how my father and mother grew up, makes me cherish everything I own and possessed as I could very easily been growing up in a poorer family.
My father grew up in a small kampong or village in Malaysia. Why we call it a kampong is believe the house he lived in was made of wood and a small area. He had 4 brothers and 5 sisters in total and he was the second oldest in the family. Being the oldest, he knew he had great responsibility and he knew that he had to find money to support his family. It was very easy for him to wander about and waste his childhood time by playing with his friends. Although there weren’t as many distractions back then compared to today, they were still there. My father is a hardworking man, and he can attest to this as he constantly tells us that the reason why he is owns his own business is because of hard work and nothing else. My dad started from scratch. After school, he had to give out tuition lessons to the richer students to make some pocket money. He would then give this money to his parents. My dad was always studying and never associated very much with his classmates as they were playful and not diligent as he was. My dad was awarded a scholarship where only the smartest 7 in the whole of Malaysia were awarded that to go to the top University in Japan. None of my dad’s education was paid by his parents, it was all his hard earned money and recognition from other organizations.
Even today, my dad is the sole bread winner of his entire family. Many of his siblings were not successful in life, struggling to support their children. My dad even told me that the house in Malaysia right now occupied by two of his brothers and parents are bought by him. Two of his sisters are working for him. None of them worked as hard as he did and now they are regretting. My dad was hungry for success and he persevered throughout those hard years. He didn’t want to suffer as an adult and struggle to support me and my brothers. If not for my dad, I wouldn’t be in IMG right now. I wouldn’t be in the United States. I wouldn’t be playing be playing golf maybe since it is an expensive game. When I am feeling low, I try to think about how much differently my life would be if not for my dad. Only then would I start to appreciate things more.
My mom grew up very similarly with my dad. She was poor and very living at the minimum cost. She never slept on a bed until she married my dad. I am the same. I never owned a bed until I came to the US. I only slept on a mattress on the floor. I never had my own room either. Going back to my mum, she was the only girl and she had 2 brothers. Because her family was so poor, she was the only one to finish high school education and eventually go on to Boston College. Her other two brothers on the other end, only finished middle school. After that, they had to work to support the family. Because of this, they were never really able to get a high paid job because of their low education. However in order to support their family, they had to do whatever they needed to do.
While interviewing my mother, I learnt that she grew up with no television. She had to go over to her friend’s house if she wanted to watch television and she would sometimes peak through the window over to her neighbor’s house just to catch a glimpse of a television program. She also had to walk to school every day which took her about 20-25 minutes. She couldn’t even afford public transport. Her first job was cleaning people’s shoes and she said that she hated it and quit after a week. She grew up poorly and that has made up the person she is now. Her poverty has shaped her character. Now, whenever there are any charitable events or donations, she would always willingly volunteer for it, making donations to bless the less fortunate. She would even request us to donate any shirts that we don’t wear to them. With two parents who grew up with tough lives, they understand that success will not be handed to a person. The only way to reach it is through pure determination and handwork.
The way my father and mother grew up has definitely played a part of how I grew up and the background of my life. I think that knowing one’s family history is important not only for the sake of knowing and knowledge but to understand how different it was back in time. I always consider myself lucky and fortunate to be living in the life I am, playing the sport that I love every day and going to school to get an education. Knowing that my parents didn’t really have the same luxuries that I am enjoying now makes me appreciate things much more. I could have easily been one of them and struggle growing up. Now, I see things differently and hopefully I can inspire others to work on the same project as I have.



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