Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Beautiful and Beloved Sister


Eldest Sister Lee Lee resembles my beautiful mother. Hence, she is attractive and beautiful too.

Making a pot of "Ren" tea or what is nicknamed as "Birdnests for the Poor".

A bottle of home-made peatnut jam with olive oil - a healthier version than peanut butter and just as tasty!

Every drop and every fibre is not wasted with the use of the M Plan Fruit Juicer and Food Processor
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When I hear of siblings fighting like dogs and cats, I thank God for my two wonderful older brothers and two beautiful and capable older sisters. Now my readers know my ranking or pecking order within the family. As the youngest, I am spoilt in some ways, especially in the area of domestic activities. As a young student, I was good at helping mama carry heavy baskets when she went marketing, and I was swift to oblige whenever I was asked to run to the grocers. However, cooking and house-cleaning bore me to tears. Hence, I never learnt to cook until I was a student in Canada! As Singaporeans like to say in Hokkien dialect, "Bo pian" or Mandarin, "Mei yiu fang fa." (Can't be helped- no choice).

My two older sisters are great cooks. For this article I will focus on eldest sister. Sister is both motherly and sisterly. As mama had the habit of spending most of her free time at the gambling tables, eldest sister took the initiative to help look after papa and her younger siblings. She often brought me with her to the church and other interesting places. Even when she was dating, she would sometimes bring me and Sister Ean Ean along to Penang Hill and the beaches at Batu Ferringhi. What a generous sister! Sister, Lee Lee was a self taught dress-maker, and often sewed pretty frocks and blouses for me. Sister knew that I feel warm easily, and hence would often use cotton materials for they enable my skin to "breathe". I particularly remember one pretty white frock which she sewed and which was my pride and joy. It was pretty enough to be a dress worn by flower girls at a wedding. Once, sister asked me to lend this pretty dress to one of her students who was selected to participate in a singing contest. I readily obliged because most of the students in sister's school were from humble homes.

Sister taught me to give. I had always thought that since we were quite poor, it would be the rich who ought to give and help the needy. But Sister taught me that I could also give the "widow's mite". She taught me that if I could stinge on myself by not spending money on unnecessary things like sweets and chocolates, I could still afford to give!

Eldest sister is 12 years my senior and has taught me so many wonderful things. As a herbalist, she taught me the great value in taking herbs and better still, to grow them. Hence I began to take a keen interest in gardening.

Recently, Sis introduced me to an amazing kitchen gadget which could blend fruits and vegetables into drinks. The fibre is not wasted, and hence, the drinks are filling and help to reduce weight and cholesterol. Sister taught me how to make peanut jam with olive oil. After this bottle of jam is consumed, I will try to make almond jam with olive oil. When Sis came to stay with me recently, she also brought a bag load of "ren" plants. After boiling the leaves, I replanted the stems. I had so much of the tea that I was able to share with my neighbours Irin, Wendy and Helen.

Eldest Sis is a natural speaker. Whenever she speaks, her audience will be mesmerised and inspired by her. Sister has never joined a toastmasters' club before. I always tease her that should she join one, she could easily become a champion!

She is keenly observant and analytical. When I continually failed in my Mathematics and Science subjects in school, Sister would encourage me to persevere. Sister is my role model, and I am encouraged that even when I was in the abyss of despair and grief, Sister never once doubted my character or capability. Like my two older brothers, she thought I was too obliging and helpful like papa. Sis taught me the importance of wisdom, and reminded me of the advice from the bible that we are to be sharp like the serpeants but gentle like doves. When I pondered over her struggles and perseverance as a daughter, wife and mother in the past, I was uplifted and this is why my maxim is, "Life is not about falling down. It is about picking ourselves up again." (Vince Lombardi). This is why I never allow myself to be disheartened for too long, but to find things to be thankful for. Even when things don't work out, I still thank God for He always has a purpose for everything. With my constant cheerfulness and Sister's excellent cooking and love, it is indeed hard for me to lose weight !!! :-)

Whenever Sister comes to stay with me, she will help me to clean up my apartment. I am inclined to be messy and disorganised. However, recently I tried my best to be neater so that when Sister comes again, she can spend more time telling me stories and sharing new things that she has learnt, and I can take her to visit interesting places like Hort Park, etc.

Sis is mesmerised by the world of nature. She once shared with me about the uniqueness and beauty of snowflakes - how every snowflake is uniquely different, just like our finger prints. Sister has never seen snow before and I know she yearns to see snow flakes. Hence I am planning to take her with me for a skiing holiday in Korea this coming January.

May God bless my eldest Sis (whom I affectionately call Chieh Chieh) with continual good health, joy and energy so that she can continue to serve Him in various churches in Sarawak and West Malaysia. As a pastor's wife, she has been such a blessing to countless people as Chieh Chieh always likes to help others and share her knowledge and talent.

Whenever anyone gives me compliments for being capable or versatile, I will say, "Wait till you meet my eldest sister. I pale in comparison." I love my eldest sister and am extremely proud of her. Everyday I thank God for having given me a most wonderful sister.

Gan Chau

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