When I started raising funds for my healthcare in December 2005, many people from the public questioned my authenticity and where the donated monies were going to. They called me with all sorts of names. I have been emotionally affected and became guilt ridden until today. But they were wrong about me being a cheat. I wanted to prove them wrong by making sure that every cent went to the cost of my surgeries and nothing else.
I believe my position is a little different now. People have started to see me as a complete person and not just someone in need of their charity. At the Malaysian Rare Disorders Society meeting recently, Anna Chew urged me to introduce myself in the Malay Language so I spoke about my illness and then asked the floor if they had any questions. Dato’ Hatijah then asked me to talk about how I have been studying to encourage our youths. I did just that by recalling how difficult it has been to study at local colleges with hearing impairment because I was not deaf until the age of 19.
They liked my speech so much that someone asked me how much I need to continue my studies. That’s when I realized that it will mean a lot to people when I can achieve my educational goals against all odds.
Besides the need to raise funds for my healthcare, I am also the only daughter to aging parents and people seem to understand that too. Dad has acquired the habit of telling people that I paid for his cataracts surgery last year. He also told Carol Ring from the U.S. and Nancy Lee from Taman Melati when they visited last Wednesday. Nancy said she was speechless realizing that I have to take care of my parents despite everything. They bought my books and tees before leaving.
I thought it was inappropriate to pay for Dad’s surgery from the money people donated towards my healthcare so I had planned never to mention it again. But it looks like my fears were unfounded.
The neighborhood community (RT) organized an event in conjunction with Chinese New Year last week. Dad phoned the chairman saying that he will be bringing my F&N OYA poster there to show people. When mom told me about the phonecall, I felt embarrassed and related it to Faye. I had planned to go with Dad, but now I was not sure whether I should. The neighbors will remember us as the show-offs who live at house number 166.
Faye replied to my lamentations, “Do you know the reason why your dad wanted to bring it to the gathering? He told me, in an earlier RT do, he was angry to hear someone talk brusquely about your T-shirts being on sale. He felt that person was rude & insensitive. I think it is his way of telling the people they shouldn’t take you lightly as you are an intelligent & capable person. Cross my heart, he did say “my daughter is intelligent and capable“. He is truly proud of you.”
Last Wednesday evening while I was putting on makeup, Mom told me that Dad invited passersby to come in and look at the poster. Because last week’s RT gathering was cancelled when it rained. Dad did not get to bring the poster there after all. When I heard from Mom what Dad did, I was at the brink of tears while applying make up in the mirror. The stroke he suffered twenty years ago left him with cognitive impairment so the way he expresses emotions can be different from most people.
Tiam Loong then came to pick me up for a C.A. meeting. I reminded myself not to let my sadness affect those around me and so I said nothing about what happened.
At the meeting, I felt sure of my business objective now more than ever. I have a responsibility to care for my parents which I can‘t deny. It is my conscience. My parents are always at the back of my mind.
I am thankful that people see it and understand too.