Kit Teung Mae (Miss Mum)

Last Saturday was Wan Dek (Children’s Day), and we spent the evening at the talay (beach).

After dinner, before we sent the kids home, he asked if he could sit with me in the front seat of the car. I told him ok, not taking him very seriously because sometimes the kids like to phuut len len (joke around). When the time came to pack everyone into the vehicle, I asked him again, and he nodded his head.

And so we squeezed together into the front seat. Me and a tiny little boy. I had with me a little smiley face ring with pulsating light that I initially intended to give to someone else.

However, at that moment, with him beside me, I felt a nudge in my spirit to give it to him instead. But the ring was stuck in my pocket and I was literally plastered against the car door, after much difficulty, I managed to get the ring out and gave it to him.

Honestly, some things are meant just for kids – I didn’t know the light could be turned off until he did it. I had been walking around like an idiot the whole day with a lighted ring in my pocket. Go figure!

Just two weeks ago, this boy walked back to his own home from school because he missed his mother so much. A 10 years old boy, carrying his school bag, actually managed to slip out during school hours and walked home. None of us would have found out of two of the girls staying at Bethlehem House had not seen him walking out.

At that moment in the car, holding him so close and hearing his giggles as he turned on and then off the light on the ring made me realize just how much this little boy missed his mother. And I felt love – deep, deep love for him fill my heart to overflowing as I hugged him close to me. His mum works at a bar near Chang Inn but she has no time for him. She has promised many times to visit him, but never turned up.

Again, I found myself caught in that strange place of struggle – where I knew I was in no position to judge; where I recognized that I did not know enough of a situation to make a statement even, but my heart was, and even now, is filled with sadness and pain for him, and anger that even the simplest desire of a child – to see his mum and to be with her – is denied of him.

I love his face; especially his smile. And sometimes, in my not so sensible moments, I think, I just might pack him in my luggage and bring him back to Singapore when 22nd February comes around.

First published on 16 January 2013 by Maggie Yew