While at my grandma's wake today (3 Sep 07), I recounted some stories of my childhood with my Por Por to my 2 younger cousins. Some of them took place at The Club. My cousins had not been born yet, and therefore had not the privilege of knowing that part of Por Por's life which I was so lucky to share.
Por Por is to be buried with her jade bangle which she had worn for so many years, it was practically permanently etched into her wrist. I remember having one too, when I was little. It was something I had asked for because I saw Por Por with it, and I simply had to have one just like hers. The ownership was a shortlived one though, because it broke soon after when I tripped and fell playing at The Club, and the jade bangle broke. I cried when that happen, not so much because of the fall, but because my 'Por Por Bangle' was no more, but Por Por told me that at least it was the bangle that broke, and not my arm. Good logic.
Butter Sugar Toast
One of the best treats Por Por would make us was buttered toast with LOADS of sugar sprinkled on. Por Por would take out blocks of cold butter from the fridge and with a knife, cut a perfectly even slice of butter from the block, laid neatly on a piece of toast. Then came the sugar - YUMMY! Cold, sugared butter on hot toast melting in your mouth was the best kind of teatime treat any kid could have.
I always enjoyed reaching out to touch Por Por's double chin. So soft and squishy, and so nice to play with! My parents used to scold me for playing with Por Por's double chin 'cos I guess, really, it was kind of rude to do so. But Por Por always let me, and she would laugh whenever I did. Just the kind of positive encouragement a kid needed to keep at something.
Never had being called "stupid" seemed so funny and not the least offensive. My Hainanese has always been just plain pathetic, and if there ever was one, singular word I knew well in the dialect, it would be "Bong-gahng" or "stupid". Now, in normal circumstances, being called "stupid" would most certainly upset a child terribly, possibly even leaving a deep, psychological scar. But Por Por never made me feel silly, stupid or dumb for not being able to speak or understand Hainanese well, even though relatives would often comment that "this one can't understand Hainanese, ah?" In fact, attempting to communicate with Por Por in Hainanese was always just so funny to me, I would often end my English-Mandarin-Teochew-spattered Hainanese (not forgetting frequent yells for help with translations to my dad) with giggles and a highly apologetic, "Nong di Bong-gahng" ("I am stupid"), to which Por Por would always say with a laugh, "Du di Bong-gahng!" ("You are stupid"). Never failed to crack me up. And I dare say this - I believe I inherited the love for languages from Por Por.