• Pritam Singh

Happy Mother's Day

“Would you mind if I worked at MacDonalds….but just for a couple of hours each day, you know, to keep myself active?”

This conversation took place some years ago. That mum had to ask, kind of bothered me. Was she afraid someone would wonder why she needed to work since her family was blessed enough. Or perhaps she thought “people” would think lesser of her son and therefore, better to ask “permission” to work? Maybe.

“Of course mum! Go ahead and do it! I am so proud of you (I meant every word).”

For a lady who spent her entire life raising her family and minding the home as best as she knew how, it was quite a leap. She had never been in the workforce before. A number of thoughts did cross my mind. The politics of the workplace, the colleagues, how race-blind your supervisor would be, amongst many other things - it was rather late in the day to build up one’s constitution to these realities of the working world in Singapore.

But mum ploughed away for a number of years, spending a few days each week working at the local MacDonalds. She only stopped completely when her doctor advised her to.

Mum proved adaptable, resilient. I didn’t expect her to impart any significant life lessons in her golden years. But it looks like she’s got more home-runs in her! Subconsciously, I have taken a special interest in the mature workers and seniors I meet and see everyday. I see many of us, both Singaporeans and foreigners, giving up our seats on the MRT, clearing our trays and tables at the hawker centres, and consciously exercising more patience towards our seniors. In the hustle and bustle of Singapore life, it is easy to become self-absorbed. Maybe if we saw our mums (and dads) in our seniors, we will have a better Singapore.

Happy Mother’s Day mom! Thank you for the life-lessons you have taught me, in your own way. You are a truly a comet in the sky, and will always be my rockstar.

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