a mother's life story: the hideout

If you're wondering what's this series, "A Mother's Life Story", is all about, its really just me making sure that my conversations with my mom are purposeful and meaningful (you can read more about the series in my first post here). And I hope that my mom's moods will be lifted up too as she tells these stories. Thankfully, she always seems relaxed and joyful when she shares. Storytelling about your life is actually one of the therapeutic tools that some counselors use.  Some call it life story interviews as well.

Interestingly however, today's sharing is one of a somber mood for both of us. I asked her about life during World War 2. My mom was borne in 1945, the last year of the occupation.

My mom was just an infant during occupation but she remembered my grandparents telling her some things about the war. During the war, life was very hard. The family travelled all the way from Race Course Road, where they lived, all the way to Hougang. And In Hougang, they had to hide in drains to avoid the soldiers. It was scary. It was very frightening times in their life.

Obviously the drain that I've painted is too small for everyone to hide in. My mom is the middle child in the family of 2 boys and 5 girls. Maybe it was one of those canals with those shelters inside for a family of 6 (3 of the other children were born after 1945). One of her sisters was also borne during the years of the occupation. It is hard to imagine how my grandmother could bear 2 children during the Japanese occupation. She was truly an amazing woman.

My mother doesn't remember anything else and she said she didn't really want to ask my grandma about the war as well, seeing that it was such a difficult time for her. I guess perhaps that is why you don't see the older folks caring much about politics. They will rather have peace than anything else. I got a little teary when I painted that little drain of mine.