Posted by: coolerbecky | October 22, 2011

Memories of Ah Kong and Ah Mah

Mr and Mrs Kao Ji Eng, my grandparents and people of faith

Ah Mah and Ah Kong

My cousins recently asked me for my memories of my maternal grandparents, Ah Kong and Ah Ma. My memories of them are a little vague – they passed away when I was very young, just after I started kindergarten.

I remember that both Ah Kong and Ah Mah used to stay at our house, back when I was still living in a big home. As a child, I had difficulty communicating with Ah Kong and Ah Mah. They didn’t speak much English and tended to be fairly silent people.

My strongest memory of Ah Mah took place when I was extremely young. I saw her walking up the steps of our home. She was clutching the handrail of the stairs and putting both feet on each step before commencing the climb to the next step, moving up them at a glacial pace. I probably didn’t have a concept of frailness all that much because my immediate thought was that Ah Mah did not know how to climb stairs. It was clear to my 4-year-old brain that Ah Mah would save lots of valuable time climbing stairs if she simply put one foot on each step and kept going. I remember doing laps up and down the stairs beside her as a means of demonstrating this to her. Ah Mah was greatly amused by this and kept chuckling as she proceeded on her way. That’s really how I remember Ah Mah. She always seemed pretty smiley, even when she wasn’t smiling.

Ah Kong had a very quiet, calm manner about him, which commanded respect. He was a gentle giant, thin and tall – always looking down at me from a great height even after he started using a wheelchair to get around. Mum would cook him Mee Sua very often, which I think he really loved. I remember defending a very precious bowl of mee sua from my sister because it was meant for Ah Kong. Even as an adult, I have a vague affection for Ah Kong. My memories of him are pretty fragmented, but I know that I prattled endlessly to him every once in a while in a vague attempt to understand what he was saying. I also remember thinking that his wheelchair was the greatest thing in the world.

Mummy and my sister have told me a lot of stories about Ah Kong and Ah Mah. I wish they had lived longer so that I could have really gotten to know them better, but I’m glad that they were who they were because they sound like really good people.


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