Words! Words! Words!



Words! Words! Words!
I’m so sick of words! I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?

Eliza, from the musical My Fair Lady


My mother is tired. Physically, mentally, and most of the time.

I don’t think she is fed-up. I think she really is tired, just a combination of old age and the cocktail of medication that keeps her bodily functions in check.

Some days I wonder what will happen if we were to take all the medication away. Maybe her body will bounce back and reset itself. Maybe it won’t, so that’s a dangerous strategy.

Everyday presents a new challenge in trying to engage my mother with her physical exercises. I try all sorts of things to keep her interested. I have seen how bad things can get when we don’t actively employ our muscles. The warning ‘use it or lose it’ is so accurate, as muscles atrophy (waste away) very fast when not used.

This afternoon I asked my mother to count out loudly as she did her side steps and lunges. This was very low-key. Yesterday we gently swung our arms and twisted our hips to Engelbert Humperdinck’s Quando, Quando, Quando. On another occasion we were slightly more vigorous with Chubby Checker’s The Twist. Our friends at wikiHow show you how to do it.

But as I said, my mother was tired today. However I still wanted to challenge her, hence the counting out loud. I asked her to do this in English, Hakka, Mandarin, Cantonese and finally in Malay. Surprisingly she enjoyed this challenge very much.

In the afternoons, before her 3 o’clock nap, my mother and I play a made-up version of Bananagrams. I choose words based on what book she has read that morning, and she has to find the letters and make the words. Today, I thought she should make up words in Malay. It was fun. I am glad my mother likes words. She was so pleased with the results.



For dinner I went to Madam Kwan’s and thought about having Nasi Lemak, but then decided to have Nasi Bojari instead, as it came with a large piece of fried chicken drumstick. I get so hungry at the end of the day after working with my mother. Madam Kwan’s has its origins in Sakura Restaurant in Jalan Imbi. I used to meet my mother there after school and we would have our favourite dishes together. Those days are long gone. It has come to this. Most days I don’t have a strategy when I walk into the house, and I don’t know how the story ends. All I know is that I need to do my best, because every patient sinks or swims not only on their own efforts, but also on the efforts of the team around them. For now, I am thankful that my mother is managing to paddle very well.



I am a big fan of the Bee Gees so I end this post with their song Words.