Friday, March 02, 2007

Thanks Mum!

As we draw close the period of Ayam-i-Ha (a time of service and rejoicing) and begin the month of the Fast (a time for reflection and rejuvenation), I am reminded that my spirit of Ayam-i-Ha is largely attributed to the way my mum raised me.

My sister's comments to my last post on my dad, inspired me to write about my mom too. I just got off the telephone with her last night, and I was very inspired to see how my mom is so enthusiastic about her volunteer actitivies. Mind you, my mum is a heart patient, and has almost crippling athritis. Yet, speaking to her to get updated on her life's activities, I found her even busier than before. She has now added even more things to already helping raise her grandchildren (including tutoring them for school), and her volunteer work at the National University of Singapore Hospital. She now also reads once a week to children from lower income families and volunteers at another day care facilitiy for children from these homes to help them prepare for school. Both additions are exhausting work especially since it is with very energetic young children. Yet. she does not complain and seems to find great pleasure from serving.

So I thought I would add this post to my last post, as I am very proud of my mother as well. Whilst my dad's efforts have finally been recognised by the government, my mother's contributions are a silent but potent one. Being a retired educator, her contributions started as way back as her career as a teacher. She taught Physics at Raffles Institution and besides being a great teacher there, she came to be known for her great heart too. Despite being of modest income, she would help pay the school fees of good students who may otherwise have to drop out since their families could no longer afford school. There are many in Singapore who still remember her fondly for her many such contributions. She also started a student's club called "Charity Squad" so that activities could be organised to help the less fortunate. She would then get my sisters and me involved, and remember being as young as 6 years old standing at the front of the school gate holding a tin can and raising monies for the blind. She would also personalise these efforts by getting us and her students to visit the homes for the elderly, and we would speak with them and find out what they are missing. She ensured when we went on our next visit, the very good items or things they were missing were brought to. You should have seen the light on their faces. My mother sure made many peoples lives happier and a little easier to bear.

I could go on, and maybe I should. What I just wanted to say was "Thank you" for raising me to understand the need to give back. But more importantly, to give back even when you cannot. We don;t have to wait until we are rich to do this but it is the little things that count so much. That is why this spirit of Ayam-i-Ha and service, so typical of Abdul Baha that reminds me of my mom. It always makes her happy to see other people happy because of the little things she could do for them. Thank you mum for raising me the way you did. I just hope I can pass this along to my children too. This Ayam-i-Ha, we spent time with close friends and contributed to service projects our community was supporting. I hope we can do more next time.


Blogger Phillipe Copeland said...

I noticed that in the photo you are using for your profile there is a Baha'i named Karanja from Kenya. I used to know him when he lived in the Boston area. I've linked your blog on my blog Baha'i Thought and hope some of my readers will go and check you out.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Lethika Richter-Addo said...

I can attest to everything she said. Kudos to both my parents! Thanks for all you do. Great article Laina!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Laina Raveendran Greene said...

Have you linked your blog to This is an attempt by some volunteers to create a
"portal" to Baha'i blogs.

Also email me at if you want to reconnect with Karanja.


11:36 PM  

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