I want to first thank Aaaaandrea for inspiring this post. I also want to thank notcarl for kicking off the 30days challenge in the first place. Today's the 2nd day and the theme is 3 people you're grateful for. That's too limiting, don't you think? There are too many people to be thankful for.
Also, it was Thanksgiving a few days ago. Growing up Malaysian Chinese (the more traditional and less banana type) you never really hear about Thanksgiving, let alone celebrate it. It's an American holiday first and foremost, we hear about it only in Western Media I guess.
An Annual Thanksgiving
Duh, Thanksgiving happens once a year.
What I'm trying to say is that I hope to do this big thanksgiving post once a year from now on. When the Americans celebrate with stuffed turkeys, I will be here writing my gratitude post.
Also to kick off the first to many, the scope of this post will be from when I was born up till today. The future ones should be less diluted and for that year only... I guess? I don't know about these things. Maybe this will be the only post and in the future, Janson will decide to be lazy or forgetful.
I've been thinking about this for a while but I think the best way I can do it is through eras or periods specific to my life. Under them will be groups or specific people I want to thank. I will also be calling out special mentions or moments that I want to highlight. Somehow, while planning this post, it seems like it will be a public chronicle or highlights of moments I have lived. This will be highly personal and also chock full of namedrops. Let me know if you want me to hide your name or if you're angry I left you out! Sorry, memory be hazy.
Early Years (0-12 years old)
Mami (What I call my mum)
- According to her she just let my ah ma (paternal grandmother) do all the baby work. However, she took up the role of the homemaker in another capacity. She arranged trips, managed social events, bought toys and the many computer games I requested for. She also brought us to church and that's where I got my moral compass from I guess.
- Grateful for the sacrifices she made and the love she showered her little ones with.
- Thank you for bearing the weight of being a single mother and still raised us somehow.
Baba (What I called my dad)
- Grateful for the times he would literally cane me for not following him to his Sunday jogs.
- For teaching me a secret Maggi curry recipe - add eggs, garlic, and onion to the instant noodles. I have never made that even once after but it's a memory I have of him.
- For working hard to have left us with whatever earthly remains 20 years ago.
Ah Ma (What I called my paternal grandma)
- For her disciplining and nagging. She used to ask us not to be "chee chee xiong" I still don't know what dialect that's supposed to be or what it's supposed to mean. I kinda got the feeling that it meant not to be mischievous or naughty.
- For her unconditional love how she looked on us with her warm eyes behind strict and tempered demeanour.
- For making the best 梅菜猪肉 (braised pork with preserved mustard) I've ever had.
Sisters and cousins
- For creating many childhood memories together.
- For the times when we watched Little Lulu, TVB dramas, Doraemon, Power Rangers, Baja
- For the unmistakable bland carrot white rice porridge and butter-sugar sandwiches. Retrospectively it doesn't really seem like they cared or knew much about nutrition...
- Sunday school - for the fun activities and catchy songs. The fruit of the spirit, is love joy peace, patience kindness righteousness...
- Youth - for going around the room and reading passages of the Bible. Might've been my first avenue for public speaking (reading, at least) practice.
- Cell group - for rotating facilitation of stuff. Led ice-breaking games once and it was the best group word search I've ever done. Thinking back I really liked facilitating ice-breakers. For the adults, they rotated facilitation of venue, food prep, worship, etc.
- Thanks for showing me Fallout and other times we played computer games together.
- We used to play computer games together but one time I dodged him when he came to my front gate calling out my name. I'm sorry, I guess that's the equivalent to ghosting back then. I think we didn't play much together after that. Thanks for wanting to hang out so much.
Johnson & Zhi Yuan
- My best friends in primary school. We used to spend time together a lot. A lot of it is lost to me now... I remember computer games and comic books.
Chin Keat Ming/Kiat Ming (sp?)
- For starting a "pass-the-book-and-continue-the-story" thing. It was Star Wars themed. It was bad. I didn't even watch Star Wars. A lot of "Meanwhile" was used to segue back to the story whoever's turn is wants to tell. Thank you for igniting my like (I feel like if I used "love" here I'll actually have to write well) for writing.
- Thank you kakak Enda for being like an actual elder sister to the 3 of us.
- Thanks for all the times when you made us Mi Hitam (it's just a name we gave to this dry version of the Maggi Ayam instant noodles, plus soya caramel I think and maybe some spring onions or fried shallots?) on demand, every time!
- Thank you 何老师 (That's Pn./Cikgu Ho if I did SK instead of SJKC) for your passion for education, I will always remember that one time you came into the classroom giving us a long emotional lecture (that I now forgot) and how you cried in front of us afterward. You deserve the best.
- Thank you 颜老师 (Pn./Cikgu Gan) for being a great teacher. I don't remember much of what made you great now but it left an impression. You must have done a great job. I pray and wish you well wherever you are.
- I think we were really bad students back then... Because... I would also like to thank Cikgu Effendi, whom I think also cried after lecturing us or scolding us for something. Must've been us neglecting homework or for bad behaviour. Figures. But the passion, professionalism, and giving so much for what you believe in and love is what leaves a lasting impression on young children.
Formative Years (13 - 17 years old)
- For pushing me to my limits. This was back in Form 1. I was just a fat kid minding my own business but you took the initiative to reach out and train me in basketball. I had zero knowledge. Thanks to him I can now play the game fairly ok. I guess back then he either saw something in me (unlikely) or just wanted someone to play with? We stayed at the same condo and I guess he noticed that I had above average height and could make a good teammate. I never made any sports team though.
- Ruben stayed on in my life and played a bigger part later in Form 5 when he introduced me to my first part-time job ever at Friendster Cafe. The first glimpse into the service/F&B industry! It was a great experience.
- Thank you for being an inspiration. You were always and are still such a go-getter.
- Thank you for looking out for the "little ones".
- When I first got into Seksyen 1 Kinrara as an exchange student in the middle of Form 2, this guy showed hospitality and was friendly to the new guy. Of course, we were all kids back then but Hwai Yee had this natural big brother aura about him. The confidence and swagger he carried with him were of another Form, at least.
- Thanks for the good times, your generosity, friendship, and for playing so damn much basketball together.
Still the best of friends.
- Thank you for bringing out the "philosopher" in me. Our conversations back then were literally "I am 14 and this is deep" material. These were the years where we cycled a lot, we also played a lot of basketball together.
- Thanks for the good times, deep conversations, and for being an inspiration to me.
- Thank you for creating with me. We explored many creative avenues together at a young age. You had access to the latest and greatest gadgets and you put them to great use. We made countless stupid videos and unfinished RPG Maker games together (same with Alan) and I'm glad we used our time doing that more than anything else.
- Thank you for tolerating your bully (me apparently) and showing humility and endurance through it all. I sincerely apologize for all the misdeeds. Alan told me that back then, I'd extort and exploit your generosity for the occasional coconut jelly. I took it for granted and thought that you just like buying me coconut jellies for some odd reason. I honestly didn't think I was maliciously extorting you for jellies. My bad. LOL.
Jeh & Mabel
- Thank you both for taking care of me, of each other. We really pulled it off somehow. Grateful for having shared our unique journey of growth together. I'm sure we had our quarrels but I don't remember the bad things for long.
- Thank you for putting up with my bullshit. As a grown man now I understand how dumb it is to have a guy like you but not tell you while telling the rest of the world about it.
- A bigger part of the "rest of the world" a mentioned above. I don't know how you did it. Why didn't you just advise me to back off? Although, in hindsight, you may have done many such things... And they might have just fallen on deaf ears. Thanks for being such a rock through those years though.
My other brothers from other mothers:
- Alric, Jason, Kah Yan, Hon Wai, Woon Kee, Vincent, Tay, Edwin, William. Thank you for sharing our teenage years together. They were some of the best times of my life! Those stories deserve their own posts but that's for another time.
- For believing in me since my early years, even when we don't see each other much, only at the annual reunion dinners. Unsolicited, you will always flash that reassuring smile, side-eyeing me as if you and I have planned that I will somehow make it in the future. Coming from a teacher, that always was encouraging and kept me hopeful. Something about teachers and leaving lasting impressions huh.
- Your comforting smile and caring eyes will forever be imprinted in my mind. Thank you for being there all these years. Your overflowing love for your children and grandchildren will be passed on for generations to come. Hopefully, your dry mee sua recipe makes it too.
I'm ending this at the end of my teenage years. I will explain that in the Addendum.
Writing this post requires a lot of memory recall. I've read online that human memory is terribly flawed and unreliable. So the above may outright be constructs of my own sentiments and ideals.
This exercise definitely made me feel nostalgic.
It also made me realise how many people have encouraged and inspired me on my path to adulthood. And I can only be eternally grateful.
I started writing this about 2 weeks ago. I have originally intended for this post to be far longer, with its content extending up until the present day. However, seeing that I cannot get my procrastinating ass to finish the remaining parts after an initial burst and having left it in draft for more than a week, I have decided to just post it as it is.
I will let the 1-year-wiser me finish the rest of it, next year.
Finally, thank you, reader.