The Hills Are Alive.. -- February 12 2008
Everytime I get exasperated with my two teenaged kids - in particular with my 15 year-old daughter, I am reminded that, Gosh, I have only two children.
How difficult can that get?
My parents had 10 kids. Of course, there are only 8 of us left now. Our eldest, Kak Piah and our fifth sibling, Kak Eda are no longer with us. (Al Fatihah)
Back then we were growing up, we were very active and, er, er....naughty, as kids are wont to be.
I never gave that a thought until I had my own children.
Remembering our childhood, I have absolutely the highest respect for my parents -- for all their patience.
Goodness! We were a real handful. And that's putting it so mildly.
I try not to be too hard on my daughter, Shaira, whenever she's out of line, or displays streaks of stubbornness.
I've been on that teen road so I understand, although sometimes my patience does fail the test.
But, well a mom has to do what she has to do in her child's interest.
When Shaira gets upset, she goes into her room, and sulks. Well, so far so good.
Based on my own childhood experience and my understanding of parenting, I am always reminded not to go overboard in disciplining children.
That's a fair reminder, I think.
I know that the teen years can be the most trying and difficult for some parents and their children.
Some teens have been known to run away from home because of clashes with their parents..
I fear that sometimes.
When I was 15, I probably did more or less the same as Shaira does. But I'd drown myself in (story) books.
So there was more daydreaming than sulking.
When I was younger about 9 or 10 , while we were living in Section 5, I had a place to which I'd retreat after getting a good scolding from Mak.
It wasn't just me. Kak Olin and Kak Eda found much "solace" there too.
Did I say we were a handful?
Oh, can you just imagine. We must have driven Mak up the wall, sometimes.
We lived across Gasing Hill which was, well, a hill. No houses atop.
It was nothing like what it is today.
That was the 60s. Just thinking about those wonderful years sends a shiver down my spine -- a nice shiver.
Until today, Gasing Hill or Bukit Gasing is the major landmark in Section 5. It has the only remaining secondary forest in PJ.
How much longer remaining, remains to be seen.
When you were atop the hill, you'd get a panoramic view of PJ and KL.
We used to check out the little "caves" that dotted the hill. We'd trek into the forest and meet monkeys. I don't think they were the common macaque though I am not quite sure what they were. They were lighter-haired and had longer limbs.
There was a big pond and further up, we chanced upon old gravestones.
Even in those days, the hill was a favourite lovers' haunt.
Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I would usually get a scolding together. So, we were "one for all and all for one".
Can't quite remember why we'd get scolded, really. Messing up the living room, perhaps.
We'd all "merajuk" and head straight for the hill.
Sometimes, we'd go up the hill on our own, alone.
Somehow there was no fear. I suppose kids have very little fear, for anyone (except for their parents, policemen and teachers) or anything (except some hantu2 and only at night).
The hill was like a salve for the soul.
No, our soul was not punished.
Sometimes, we'd go up the hill for no reason at all. Just for fun, perhaps.
When our Singapore cousins visited, we'd take them up for a "tour".
We'd climb the hill from the foot at Jalan Lembah, maybe about 100 metres from our house. We'd pick "buah letup-letup" along the way up.
An we'd always remember to quietly utter "datuk, nenek, cucu tumpang lalu" as we made our way up, or past along a new or unknown spot or route.
If we didn't, we could fall ill, we were told.
Oh...don't ask me who told us to say all this. A well-meaning cousin, I think.
When we had completed our ascent (ahem...dreaming of Gunung Kinabalu), we'd just sit or stand on top and let the wind softly blow -- our body and soul.
We were kids.
Today, I'd not let any of my kids go up no hill. No matter how tempting the experience is.
Indeed, the hills around us are just as alive as Gasing Hill was back then.
Well, Shaira sulks in her room.. But she seems to get good therapy by going into her Facebook.
"Shaira is feeling crappy today. Mommy marah....." she writes.
I'm so fine with that.
Better that than any hill....