Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Promise and Popinjay Soap

My late maternal grandmother was adopted at the age of four. It was in the turbulent days of post Great War. Not out of poverty, not due to any dire circumstances. It was all because of a promise. A promise made between two good friends. Two who were of different religion, race and nationality. Two men who became friends from working together, yet trusted each other more than blood brothers. A promise between a man who kept losing his child and another one who longs for one.

She only had two vivid memories of her Japanese biological parents.

One was that they use Poppinjay soap in their household, and that's why she uses them for as long as I can remember. Every visit to her Kampung Melayu house I will see rows upon rows of the green soap, she was buying and stocking up on them like they were going out of fashion.

The other was that walk from the their house to the waiting buggy, and the long drive up the avenue-like driveway to her new home, the whole journey shaded by trees on both sides of the path. She was dressed in a red flouncy dress. Her straight hair falling to her chin.

That was the day they gave her up to their best friend, to keep to the promise they made even before her birth. They kept to their promise out of love no matter how difficult it must have been.

In memories of my Tok Nani, Kechik Fatimah binti Abdullah, her biological parents and the family of Mamak Chelom who raised her like a princess, believing that she brought with her good fortunes.

disclaimer : this story was written based on stories I heard from my late grandmother, uncles and aunt. while no fictionalization was added, I can't guarantee that all facts are accurate. Like I said, too bad I was born a few decades too late.
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