Abstract: Mother’s Day
摘要 : 母亲节
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day.
On Mother’s Day every year, our family members will celebrate and honour the Great woman in our lives, the mother, the grandmother and the great grandmother for we always have a family representation on this auspicious day, my siblings, my children and my sister’s children and grandchildren.
So that would be 4 generations.
And this year, the family get-together was at my sister’s house, a cozy gathering with simple meals, and my mother beamed with joy and happiness.
My mother will be 90, come this May on the lunar calendar. My father passed away two years ago, where he lived up to a ripe old age of 94. They were married in May 1947 in a small village in Guangzhou, China. It was a blind marriage arranged by my mother’s brother and before that, they had not even meet each other at all. But what my mother’s brother saw in my father, he liked and when they were wed, love blossomed and they were bonded for 69 years of a happy married life, until my father’s passing. Both of them were highly educated by the standard of that time, especially for my mother, as she came from a well-to-do family.
My mother’s health is considered good for her age, though her back is often racked with pain because of the fusion of some of the vertebras on her spinal thoracic, making her to bend double. She walks with a slow gait, occasionally using a three pods walking cane. However, her mind is still razor sharp and her memory is remarkable.
So I engage her daily, having small talk with her on personal things, seeking her counsel on various matters, learning classical Chinese text, proverbs and poetry, and the most interesting part is for her to narrate old stories of Guangzhou.
Just like my father who was a keen reader of the works of the famous poet of the Tang Dynasty, Li Bai ( 705 – 762 AD), the Three Hundred Tang Poems (唐诗三百首) my mother is equally adept at numerous poems by the said Poet.
When I was 8 years old, my mother taught me a Li Bai poem in Cantonese and to this day I can still recite it by rote. This famous poem is 静夜思,or loosely translated in English ‘Contemplation On A Quiet Night’. This short poem is well recited by almost all Chinese educated children and it remains one of the most favorite poetry for recital at school events.
And my mother can recite it without any reference.
I search through numerous English translations and there is none that I feel reflects the beauty of this poem clearly. I give it some thought and come out with the following translation which I hope will reflect the mood, essence and the ‘longings’ of the poet when Li Bai penned it.
Contemplation On A Quiet Night
The luminous moon hung over my bed room
Icy frost glistened on the earthly loam
I gazed raptly at the round silvery moon
When I bow my head I long for my home.
When I travel far and wide, this poem is always in my heart as I think of my mother.
So, we have a great gathering on Mother’s Day, albeit some of us who are overseas and they too sent their well wishes for Mother though our own Whatsapp group chat. And Mother too read all these messages, for she is by now quite adept at reading her smartphone.
And our fervent wish is that we will continue to celebrate Mother’s Day year on year. To those whose mother is still around, may you celebrate Mother’s Day with your dear mum year on year. And to those whose mother has left this world, may you remember her as always to be the Greatest Woman on earth.
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我的母亲在这个农历五月就90岁了。 我父亲两年前度过了他94岁成熟的高龄去世了。我的父母亲他们于1947年5月在中国广州的一个小村庄结婚。 这是我母亲的兄弟们安排的一场「盲婚」，在此之前，他们甚至都没有见过对方。 但是，当我母亲的兄弟看到了我的父亲后都喜欢他，当他们结婚的时候，爱情才刚开花结果，他们在69岁的婚姻生活中幸福快乐，直到父亲逝世。 他们都受到当时标准的高度教育，特别是对于我母亲来说，她来自一个富裕的家庭。
我母亲的健康在她这样高年龄上看来是被认为是好的，尽管她的背部常常因为脊椎胸椎上融合了一些椎骨而疼痛不堪，使她弯腰加倍。 她步履缓慢，偶尔使用三荚手杖。 但是，她的头脑仍然敏锐，她的记忆力非凡。
就像我父亲最热衷和喜欢读着的唐代名诗人李白（公元705 – 762年），我的母亲同样擅长李白的唐诗三百首诗歌。
我8岁的时候，妈妈用广东话教了我一首李白诗，直到今天，我仍然可以背诵它。 这首著名的诗是「静夜思」，或者是松散地翻译成英文的“安静的夜晚的沉思”。 这首短诗几乎所有受过中文教育的孩子都会背诵的，并且仍然是学校活动中最受欢迎的诗歌之一。
我们热切的愿望是，我们将能够继续每年庆祝母亲节。 对于那些母亲仍在身边的人，你可否与你亲爱的妈妈每年庆祝母亲节 ? 对于那些母亲离开这个世界的人，你是否还记得她是一如既往是在这世上最伟大的女人 ?
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