Sunday, July 10, 2011

In memory of a great mentor.

Hello all and welcome back to the webway.

Unlike my other posts, today I feel like talking about a great woman who is a great mentor to me, and perhaps if it were not for her I would not understand the fine workings of mathematics and in a way she is also vital in my understanding of probabilities. That woman is a person I always known as Aunty Pat.

When I was a young lad of primary school age, I am somewhat of a wild kid who does not like to study but paradoxically loved to read. When my results in school were not good, especially in math, my mom decided to send me to a tuition teacher (in the US I guess you could call it private tutoring) since apparently it is not forgivable that I suck at math (A Chinese kid should know math like how a Cadian should know how to dissemble a rifle and reassemble it back and be a good shot at it by the time s/he is 12) . I was a young dumb little kid at the time, and I was brought to the tuition teacher's house without me realizing and as my mom brought me into her home, I find that somehow...somehow this is something I will not like.

When I first saw Aunty Pat, she is perhaps what a normal guardsman would feen when they seen a fully-fledged warboss. She has a stern face and she is quite literally something of a bitch at first to me. Suffice to say I was taught into submission with numbers in my head and mathematical formulas in my little brain. I have to honestly thank her that if it were not for her, I would not temper down to something much less restless. And if I were to make a jest out of it, it is thanks to her that I can calculate simple math quite quickly (which helps in 40k as I have to judge distances and stuff).

I always remember that I would attempt to be sick or find some sort of excuse to not go. But in the end, I started to feel that math is not so bad (safe that of college algebra) due to a few reasons. One of them is the fact that despite her stern demeanor, Aunty Pat is a kind woman who is very selfless and is willing to withstand my temperament (which now that I think of it, it is an accomplishment at the time as I am talkative and hyperactive). The second reason is that she always come up with the most interesting quotes that I know of. I remember a time where I was talking with some of my friends in the class and she said, "Are you speaking German back there? I will hang you upside down the tree if you do!"

Aunty Pat became a close family friend as well, and she is perhaps the first Christian that I have ever met who practices what she preaches. And indeed, up to the day where my family moved out from Kajang and into the hustle and bustle of the city she gave us her blessings and prayed for our wellbeing. Despite being apart, we do keep in touch from time to time.

Thus it was to my surprise that when I heard that she got cancer a few months back as in my mind, she is those kind of person that would look down on cancer and it would whimper and run away at the sight of her. But nonetheless, I got the news from my mom that when my mom went to Kajang to meet her, she is as cheerful and as spirited as always. When my mom recollected the tale, I was convinced that my previous assessment of her situation is true; that she is a strong woman who laughs at cancer.

But two days ago, my mom told me that she is now in a hospital awaiting for Him to take her back to her embrace. My mom told me that when Aunty Pat's niece told her of me being back in Malaysia for the holidays, she managed to muster the strength to say 'About Time!" in a spirited voice despite her failing condition. My family planned to visit her in the hospital as soon as my sister does her US Visa interview on this coming Monday, but alas I did not manage to get the chance to do so; she had passed on peacefully surrounded by her family today.

So right now, despite the fact that I know it is a sad thing to know of my mentor passing on, but I do believe that she had lived a good life. She's been good to me despite my misgivings, and taught me skills that I continue on to use today. I will be going to her wake to see her off.

Rest in peace, Aunty Pat.

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