When we were younger, as our parents struggled to raise 5 children on a combined government servant’s pay (Mama was a police clerk and Abah was an army officer); we don’t get to go for vacations a lot. The most Abah could do is whenever we go back kampung for Raya, he will dropby all the historical sites along the way, making us feel that the experience was within the balik kampung journey – hence, ‘a vacation’. He never felt the pressure that his peers were bringing their kids away overseas or constantly picnicking everywhere. He does things within his practical means because the focus is always the kind of conversation he exposed us to, not the luxuries of life.

Even after my dad has retired, financial was never our luck. We were blessed to have enough to get by but it was never a luxurious life. I don’t have a shopping habit because we buy things out of necessity, never for personal pleasure.

Now, as we all grow older and even could be able to afford chipping in, my dad took it as part of a redemption to make sure he treat us a vacation once a year – be it locally or internationally. It’s his personal glory, one he couldn’t afford to do much earlier when raising us. And going for family vacations at this age gives us all a different perspective to the experience. One which is more wholesome and personal compared to if we have gotten the chance to go when we were smaller.

As I learn more and more about my parents, I slowly feel the pride of owning to the traits I inherited from them, while I am proud of being my own unique individual that I am.

Celebrate the love of the ones you’re with and choose to appreciate life. That’s all I hope everyone gets to live on.

(Written during a family trip to Lumut, Perak)

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