This is our favourite childhood recipe made by my beloved mother who has passed away on the 9th of April 2009, at aged 80.
Grandma teaching younger family members something about cultural cuisine, the making of meatballs.
1 kilo belly pork (minced)
10 shallots (chopped)
6 pips garlic (chopped)
100g tapioca flour
A little cooking oil
2 tsps salt
1 tsp MSG
1. Place minced pork on a big tray. Add in shallots, garlic, eggs and tapioca flour. Combine ingredients manually.
2. Sprinkle in seasoning, combine thoroughly. Stain palms of your hands with a little oil. Scoop up a little meat and slap against the other palm. Repeat the action a couple of times before rounding mixture. Place on a tray and repeat process with the remaining meat.
3. Heat three rice bowls of oil. Deep-fry meatballs in batches till golden. Drain and serve.
Tips: Mincing pork with a hand-held cleaver gives it a nicer bounce than processing pork in an electric meat chopper. The slapping process helps to bind meatballs and gives it a better texture.
Youngest of the eight siblings. Papa sent him for a tertiary education overseas. He now runs his own accounting firm with some associates.
Close bond of a family can span generations. Grandpa is 60 years older than grandson who is 20. Grandma is also 60 years older than granddaughter who has turned 17.
A Dedication To My Parents (written in May 2006)
Much Devoted Endurance Of Hardship Yesterday
Rewarded With Family Goodwill Of Today
Journeying from Kuala Lumpur to my hometown - Kluang is but merely a three hours car ride away. Yet at times, it poses a challenge for me to take a break, to go on a homeward travel. This makes me pause to consider the priorities, conflicting demands of work or to focus on good relationship with my aged parents. Not wanting to sound wayward, I made a trip home recently to look them up with my wife and children in tow.
Over a casual chat, papa brought out the family's lineage documented book and explained finer details to us. I stared at papa's dark eyebrows which was in stark contrast with his thinning white hairs. Looking at mama, she has undergone a change of temper too. She gets easily irritated as she is immobile at present, partly due to a fall last year. But papa does not mind the least helping mama with chores and giving her the medication on time. For them, companionship is very important as it brings this old couple together. It must be an envy to the young ones as their relationship has braved half a century and is a success. Parents need plenty of attention too. Papa was happy to tete-a-tete with me. Recollection scenes of the past started to unfold as I searched my memory for the occasion I faced dramatic punishment as a child. Yes, papa has always this easy going nature but shoulders family responsibilities without a jerk. Yet, when it comes to matters concerning children's discipline, he has his own methodical way. There was this provoked chance with my first cousin, a boy to play truant with. I was only in primary three and it was fun rumbling through discarded metal material at a scrap heap. We missed school but coincidentally met papa on the road. He gave us lunch before adjourning the capital punishment. It was not a caning nor a severe scolding. There was this little lecture on good behaviour expected from us! Next, each of us had to place a lit joss stick into the ancestral urn. We were then made to kneel on cockle shells facing the ancestral tablets with a book placed on our heads. This was not enough, we had to clasped a glass of water in our hands. This was unbearable as the shells pricked our kneels but we had to endure the pain till the last ash flickered away from the joss sticks. After this painful lesson, we attended school daily and dared not loiter around anymore.
During his young days, papa worked very hard to clothe and feed his brood of eight school-going children. He made plans and sourced capital from the loan people of that era, to buy rubber land and a dwelling. From dawn to dusk, he laboured hard but ill-health prevented him from slogging on. As he stayed in hospital for three months, it was an uneasy time for the whole family. My elder siblings stopped attending school, to get employment as child workers for an allowance. Of course papa realized things would get out of hand if he does not recover and the burden would be too heavy on mama. He kept a positive attitude combined with efforts to take his medication according to prescription. Proper rehabilitation gave him the ability to adapt and recover, he was well again. Soon he went back to work after his hospital discharge. Mama never knew leisure as she tapped rubber trees for a meagre wage to supplement family income. Only did retirement age brought about the beginning of a new chapter in her life. Both of them have toiled for years but luckily all their efforts are not wasted. All their eight children have found their own destiny path. Today, with gratitude, we shower them with love and appreciation.
Our children are also taught to recognize the difficult circumstances their grandparents had undergone as filial piety is highly valued in Asian societies. Strong family values will ensure strong relationships with mutual respect.
Final Farewell to My Beloved Mother (written in May 2009)
It was a distressing experience when my mother passed away after a short illness on 9-4-2009. There was this degree of pain felt, a sense of loss coping with the bereavement.
Recalling the days prior to her physical departure, it was a difficult time to handle the phone call from my younger sister as it was the eve of "All Souls Day". Certainly not a good omen as mother then, had taken a turn for the worse. Her stomach bloated badly and the doctor had to drained off the body's toxic materials through a tube inserted into her nostrils. We rushed to Kluang Hospital at midnight but she had been stabilized. Next day, we bade her goodbye as we needed to come back to K.L. But she told my wife, "Catherine, I am dying soon." These were her final words to us, uttered with a conscious look.
But on 6-4-2009, the doctor who has been attending to her felt death is expected soon as all vital organs failed to function and issued a letter of discharge so she could be home with her loved ones. She was in a semi-comatose state. That night Catherine and I had to attend a function in Triang, Pahang. After it ended, I drove straight to Kluang battling against a heavy thunderstorm. We reached home at two a.m. and all my brothers, sisters and families were seen. The Buddhist centre sent their members over to chant prayers continuously for mother's final journey on 7-4-2009. She passed away at six a.m. on 9-4-2008 in a relaxed manner. My father led the whole family in mourning after she breathed her last.
We continued with another eight hours of prayer chanting before her four daughters-in-law and four daughters dressed her in burial robe. Her four sons placed her into her resting bed and she was buried days later in a memorial garden.
When my mother died, feelings that we should have been kinder, more considerate, spend more time with her have harboured but soon, these feelings passed and were replaced by warm memories.
My mother died at age 80 and has been married to papa for 62 years. With her selfless dedication have raised eight children into what we are today.
Mother, we give you our assurance papa will be cared for and loved by all. May your soul rest in peace.