Spending time with my family reminds me of a memento tucked away underneath the pile of trousers in my wardrobe. In 2002, while still working in Singapore, I organised a Ghost Walk, along with some expatriates who I knew from an online forum.Walking tours were virtually unknown in Singapore then – I enjoyed the tours that I did in various cities before, so I organised it myself. We got ourselves a guide, an acquaintance of one of the girls – it was his first gig, so the tour was a bit lame. Nevertheless, we had a good walk along the neighbourhood.
When we were walking in Fort Canning Park – one of the hilly area near the downtown in Singapore, I tripped and fell on the footpath. One of my knees was scraped and bleeding, my trousers torn. It was only a little area around the knee region, so I brought my trousers to my mum in Bandung, Indonesia.
My sisters told me that mum could sew well and bake marvellous cakes, however mum rarely did so during my years. Undoubtedly, having eight children to take care off had taken its toll, mum simply didn’t have the time or the energy. When I brought my black trousers to mum, mum had a look at it, then proceeded to the old sewing machine. She patched the torn area and did a rectangular-patterned stitch over it. It wasn’t neat but I was still thankful for her work of love. I had never worn the pair ever since and I was time and time again tempted to ditch them along with other clothes that I had stopped wearing.
The trousers were still stored in my wardrobe in my room in Australia. I will keep it as a humble memento of my mother’s simple proof of love. She’s too old to sew thesedays – her eyes aren’t as good as before. The trousers reminded me of an episode of CSI:NY, where the main character refused to throw away an old beach ball that was blown by his late wife. He said that he simply could not throw it away because it had his wife’s breath. It’s the same with my black trousers – even though they no longer fit me, I can’t throw them away because my mum stitched them with love.