My Chinese Amah As my Mum got older, she found the steps of the Parsonage a challenge. The kitchen was moved up to a galley kitchenette, against one wall of the dining room and she had almost everything within arms reach. We did not have house help, after our old Amah stopped working, when she became older and almost blind. She was a lovely old Samfoo clad Chinese grandmother, who loved us all. She used to work at the St. Anne’s Clinic, with my Mum and come home and help out. She helped my mum, for several years, till she could no longer climb the steps.

She understood my mother, well enough, to work with her, for several years. She anticipated my Mum’s needs and set the trolley for the delivery, before the baby arrived and handed my Mum, every instrument she needed, without asking. Once the baby was out , she used to clamp the cord and take the infant to the side table , hold the baby, by both the feet, upside down and smack their pale, meconium stained bottoms, all the while crooning in Mandarin. Only when the baby screamed gustily at the top of their lungs, would she leave the baby wrapped in a warm towel in the crook of the adoring mother’s arms. If a mother or baby was sick, or needed her attention , she would stay back without being asked. She was my Mum’s right arm and her left arm. She was my Mum’s Mandarin speaking Guardian Angel.

go to site Reluctantly, we had to let her go. Eventually we went to say our final goodbyes to a warm hearted lady who had adopted us, as we had her. It was the end of an era for us.

follow site After Amah, we had many young ladies who came and went with the times. More went, than came, with time. Eventually they stopped coming and we started fending for ourselves. The factories and shops welcomed unskilled workers with better pay packets and work hours giving them dignity and offering them security. A better option to be one among many workers, who could stand up for their rights, rather than be at the behest of a temperamental employer, who could hire and fire as they pleased. That is how we all learned to do all our housework by ourselves, cook, clean and wash with only part time helpers if any. I remember my Mum sweeping and mopping the floors well into her 70s.

get link After she shopped, cleaned, cooked and did the dishes.

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