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The Saga Of A Sikh-Malaysian Single-Mum

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The Saga of a Sikh-Malaysian Single-Mum

by LIM SU LYN





Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

When Sarjit Kaur's husband died in 1972 from cancer, she had the enormous task of raising eight children on her own.

She did not know how she was going to feed and clothe the children because finding a job was almost impossible as she was illiterate and could not speak Malay or English.

Fears of losing the roof over their heads were also imminent. But fortunately, the family was allowed to remain at the quarters of Hospital Bahagia in Tanjung Rambutan where her husband Kartar Singh had worked as a hospital attendant.

"At the time, it was like a nightmare, worrying about where we would live after my husband died," said the 80-year-old Sarjit through her daughters Manjit Kaur and Jasbir Kaur, who helped to translate her replies in Punjabi.

"My mum couldn't find work. She was illiterate and could only speak Punjabi. She couldn't even shop for groceries as she couldn't count. But that didn't stop her from providing for us," said 45-year-old Manjit.

Jasbir, 47, said that with financial help from close relatives and income from the three eldest children who worked after completing Form Five, Sarjit managed to put her remaining five children through secondary school and college.

Generous neighbours and friends had also chipped in when she was in need of help.

Jasbir also recounted how Sarjit made a chicken coop and her own stove that used firewood, adding that her mother also fixed the leaking roof.

Jasbir said her mother always waited to see their school report cards although she could not read as she wanted them to excel in their studies.

"She would look for red or blue marks in the report card to know if we were doing well in school. She would also sit with us every night while we completed our homework," said Jasbir.

All eight children are now married and Sarjit is blessed with 19 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.



[Courtesy: The Star]

May 12, 2010
 

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She started life, and lived her life, with much less than I received as gifts from God from birth. By comparison almost nothing. She endured fears and hardships much greater than I have ever endured. Yet she achieved much more than I have ever done. This woman is my idol.
 

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