Title: A Mother’s Touch
Every time I come across mothers who have aged and perhaps who are no longer in the best of health, I would imagine them when they were in their prime, more youthful days. In amidst of my attempts of regenerating a younger look of these unknown women, I am drawn to the precious recollections of my own dear mother when she was still alive. She was always this person who had unfailing agility and efficiency in carrying out every task she did. The absence of a formal education with others who were more fortunate was something she never allowed to get in her way of achieving a sense of accomplishment in her own way. Mother was an extra-ordinary cook, a weaver who was keen to details, and a tailor who had hands like a sewing machine. She was forty two years old back then. Mother could cook various types of foods. I, the daughter of my mother, will never come close to the culinary talents of this figure I highly regard of. ‘Nanggiu’, a Kadazan-tribe dessert popularly savored among the community, is one of my favorite. I vividly remember her pair of hands scooping the ‘natok’ from the clay jar, rolling them onto her palm to make miniature balls, and putting them into boiling water until half-cooked. I watched how the appearance of her rough hands and fingers contradicted the graceful movement of kneading those half-cooked ‘natok’ balls, and flattening them to be sliced into thin strips. She sliced the flattened ‘natok’ dough with care using a very sharp knife to get the even sizes of the strips. As she went through these steps of preparation, I could see how strongly she portrayed patience in her character. For mother, preparing ‘nanggiu’ was almost like a routine for her as she would do it during weekends and during the much celebrated Chinese New Year. Her father, who was of pure Chinese decent from Hong Kong, also celebrated this yearly occasion when he was still alive. However, he succumbed to a fatal disease when she was still of tender...
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