Wednesday, Nov 14th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 26 November 2017 00:00

When You Have Aged, I’ll Care for You Tenderly

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, KL & Selangor / Translated by Lee Hui Yieng

The relationship between Vishalini and her mother, Saraswathy, has improved after a near death experience. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]

Seventeen-year-old Vishalini a/p Chandra shared the true meaning of filial piety with the students and parents at the Happy Schooling Scheme Presentation Ceremony.


Vishalini a/p Chandra is a Form 5 student, who will be having her SPM examinations this year. Even though she has been busy with her studies and increasing schoolwork, she has never neglected her sick mother. Instead, she took the responsibility to care for her and fulfil her filial duties.

Vishalini and her elder sister were raised in a single-parent family by her mother, Saraswathy a/p Munuswami, and her maternal grandmother. Her grandmother was an amicable person, and had been taking care of her in every possible way. As they lived on the fifth floor of a flat without an elevator, her grandmother had to use the stairs to bring her to school every day, and she had never complained. As Vishalini became more mature, she was able to understand how physically taxing it was for her grandmother, and how hard her mother had worked as a helper in a restaurant. So, from young, she began to share her mother’s burden in doing house chores.

A few years back, an obese Saraswathy underwent a gastric bypass surgery for weight control purpose. Unfortunately, the tube detached when she attempted to carry her sick mother, and her health has been deteriorating since then.

Before the surgery, Saraswathy’s legs would sometimes fester without a known cause, and the wound has become even harder to heal post surgery. As she was unfit to work in the restaurant, she switched her job to become a temporary security guard in a primary school. The unstable income has worsened her family’s financial conditions.

Kept her grandma company in her final days

Since her elder sister went to a college in Ipoh to take a legal administrative assistant course three years ago, Vishalini was left with her ill mother and aged grandmother at home.

Saraswathy was deeply touched by her daughter’s filial piety. In 2016, Vishalini’s 78-year-old grandmother fell sick and she attended to her with attentive care, like helping to change her diapers, cooking and feeding her, helping her to shower, taking her to see the doctor and even clearing her excrement. She felt fortunate to be able to accompany and take care of her grandmother until the latter’s demise at the end of the year.

Saraswathy’s leg pain turned worse after her mother’s demise. It was so bad that it needed to be fully bandaged with gauze to prevent bacterial infection. Hence, Vishalini would clean the house daily. It is usually late at night when she finishes the house chores, and she would only start her revision till past midnight after her mother falls asleep. Despite all these, Vishalini was undeterred. Instead, she studied even harder in the hope of providing a better life for her mother.

Saraswathy would make a fuss and pull her hair frantically when her illness strikes. On one occasion, she overdosed on painkillers and was rushed to the hospital.

She related, “Vishalini quickly got her friend to rush me to the hospital. She was so angry. She said I shouldn’t simply take drugs because that is life threatening. I felt so sorry for her.”

Saraswathy confided the incident to volunteer, Yong Sheek Wai with tears in her eyes. Vishalini apologized to her mother for being harsh at that time. Now, she could bear with her mother’s outburst because she understands her pain. To Vishalini, taking care of her mother is not a burden but a responsibility.

“I love you, mum!” Vishalini hugged her mother following those grateful words. This moment of warmth made Saraswathy more determined to heal her legs to stop her daughter’s worries.

Vishalini also shared with the audience that her ambition is to become a teacher. She was inspired by her primary school teacher who gave her free tuition and showed concern on her and other students with difficulties. The teacher’s love has motivated her greatly to become a good teacher to other students too.

Saraswathy was grateful to God for her encounter with Tzu Chi and for bestowing her with an understanding and filial daughter. She smiled when Vishalini handed her the certificate for Filial Piety Award and the blessing card. This award certificate meant a lot to Saraswathy because it carries not only financial aid, but also love!

Vishalini told her mother and Sheek Wai that she too wants to become a Tzu Chi volunteer to help more people in need. Saraswathy agreed and hoped that her daughter would become a teacher one day and guide more needy students to constantly improve themselves and do virtuous deeds.


 

Vishalini (1st right) attended the Happy Schooling Scheme Presentation Ceremony. She is seen here performing sign language together with other student beneficiaries. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]   Vishalini (left) and her mother, Saraswathy, shared their stories in the company of the emcee, Yau Wai Leong. Saraswathy thanked Tzu Chi for the study grant presented to her daughter in the past few years. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]

Vishalini (1st right) attended the Happy Schooling Scheme Presentation Ceremony. She is seen here performing sign language together with other student beneficiaries. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
Vishalini (left) and her mother, Saraswathy, shared their stories in the company of the emcee, Yau Wai Leong. Saraswathy thanked Tzu Chi for the study grant presented to her daughter in the past few years. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
Besides financial assistance, volunteers also brought Vishalini care during their home visits. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]   Vishalini understood the physical pain her mother is going through. She expressed her love towards her mother with a warm embrace and “I love you”. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]

Besides financial assistance, volunteers also brought Vishalini care during their home visits. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
 
Vishalini understood the physical pain her mother is going through. She expressed her love towards her mother with a warm embrace and “I love you”. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
Vishalini, Saraswathy and volunteer Yong Sheek Wai took a picture together after Vishalini received the Happy Schooling Scheme’s Filial Piety Award. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]

Vishalini, Saraswathy and volunteer Yong Sheek Wai took a picture together after Vishalini received the Happy Schooling Scheme’s Filial Piety Award. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]