Monday, December 24


“It’s been a long time since I saw Auntie Lina,” said my brother. “Time to call and disturb her, hehehe.”
My mother smiled. She knows that my brother gets along better with middle-aged ladies than he does with young ladies. Amazingly, he and Auntie Lina had taken an instant liking for each other, despite their great differences in age and temperament.

Auntie Lina* is a Japanese and a Muslim. At a young age, she ran away from Japan to be her Malay boyfriend, converted to Islam and married him. Unfortunately he was a playboy. After years of marriage and a huge amount of debts using her credit card, he divorced her for another woman. Auntie Lina was left with two young children and debts which she eventually paid off. Despite hardships, Auntie Lina remained in Malaysia to bring up her teenage daughter and infant son. Unlike some who deserted Islam after divorce from their Muslim husbands, Auntie Lina remained with Islam. With her ability to speak Japanese and Malay fluently, she found a stable job at a Japanese company. She is an easy-going and friendly woman.

My mother almost had a heart attack the day Auntie Lina appeared in a tudung.
“Cantik tak? Do I look pretty?” Auntie Lina asked her, showing off her new headscarf.
“You look like an old woman,” replied my tudung-hater mother, knowing very well that Auntie Lina is beauty conscious.
Yet, despite my mother’s negative comments, Auntie Lina continues to wear her tudung. She doesn’t seem to mind what people think of her, and doesn’t seem to bear grudges. She has assimilated herself well into the Malay culture, speaking Malay fluently. Only her fair skin differentiates her from a normal Malay lady.

Allah s.w.t. blesses her with two good children. Her daughter married and she gained a filial son-in-law.
“I’ve never seen such a good son-in-law. He’s better than her own ex-husband,” my mother was full of praises for the young man.
“Every morning, that son-in-law will pass he house, drive the little boy (Auntie Lina’s son) to his primary school and Auntie Lina to work. Then at 5.15pm, he’s at the gate waiting to fetch her home.”
Well, I had met the whole family before when they visited my mother during the Chinese New Year before I became a Muslim. Auntie Lina was her usual bubbly self while the handsome son-in-law was calm and quiet during the one hour visit. Her children were good-looking and talkative.
I don’t know if my mother had contacted Auntie Lina after I became a Muslim but if she did, I’m sure Auntie Lina would say, “Don’t worry-la… be happy.”


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