My Origin Story from the 70’s- thanks to my mum’s meticulous diaries

My mum shared an old diary of hers with me. “All my secrets” she said. She recorded all her purchases and gifts she received since the 1970’s.

The first thing that struck me? Wow, the inflation. Cars were a fraction of the price then, even in relation to salary. Technology related things were expensive though. A tiny black and white TV in 1970 cost $770.

There are interesting newspaper ads, my mum meticulously glued on pages as well. I was most thrilled to see that my Papa put up an ad (from my mum and him) announcing my birth and thanking the Obstetrician and staff at KK Hospital. They announced I was a daughter, discovering it just when I was born, as there was no ultrasound technology then. Kinda blows my mind.

My mum said they do it for the first born. Take an ad out as an announcement. I wonder who else had an ad like that amongst my first born cousins. Or did it go out of fashion in the 80’s. Anyway I’m super thrilled to know they did it. I hardly feel special, so now I do, a little.

The most exciting thing I discovered is that I may have been conceived in British Colony Hong Kong in the 70’s. Although my mum was terribly embarrassed and told me to do my own calculations about her honeymoon.

Well at least it’s a step in the right direction, as I am very keen to gather as many facts as I can. There is no time for embarrassment when you’re on a valuable mission.

She was expecting (pregnant) soon after the honeymoon. I was born 9 months after the wedding, a fact I’m weirdly proud of and that my mum is embarrassed by. What an irony that I had terrible womb related issues while my mum was super duper fertile. She claimed that even giving birth naturally was easy for her (not much pain – bearable), but it might also be due to her relatively young age or just her bravery. Also the lack of environmental pollution.

If not for the two is enough campaign and tight finances she may have had more kids. Although I don’t think she would have been keen, but that’s another thing I have to confirm with her. I’m curious – did she or my dad want a son or were they perfectly happy with girls? My dad always said he was happy with us. But I never had a chance to ask him again as an adult.

I did ask my mum this question recently, and told her I wouldn’t be offended. Would you be ok with being single with no kids? She said she’d be okay with not getting hitched or having kids and just being free. I understand, as arranged marriages are not easy. As the eldest I’ve witnessed it all and it is probably why marriage scares me and also some of my cousins. To me it means a lack of freedom and that is scary. Worse – a lack of compatibility. I have the best parents and am grateful, but I’ll be the first to admit this. They sacrificed a lot, especially my mum (sexist times then) for me and my sister to even exist.

I so regret my dad not being here to answer my questions. He was so willing to tell me everything, but immature me always shut him down. I was an idiot.

So you out there. My best advice to you is ask all the questions you want right now, if your parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents or loved ones, who know your history or ancestry, are with you. It’s the most priceless thing that you don’t give a thought to this when you’re young and carefree. Don’t have regrets like me.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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