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Nanay is enlivining the Kampung Spirit (Barrio Spirit for us in Filipinos)

Posted Jan 18 2014 8:10pm

moringa 7 The past few weeks, people from different parts of Singapore have called Nanay  and went to our house to get the free branches of Moringa (Ok I do not promote this as much), as the branches are only from the weekly pruning (as we have very limited space on our front yard and our landlord wouldnt want the moringa leaves poking out to the street). (I will tell you something about the bear with a banana in a while)..

We do not have much time to plant so we are just giving it away. Some of the visitors would bring Nanay fruits which she would politely decline at first, saying “No, you dont need to do that, if you dont get the branches, we will just throw it away, as we dont have time to plant. But what a waste if we just throw….so we are glad someone takes it from us”, Of course, she will have to accept the fruits due to persistence..

Very kampung.. very barrio isnt it? It put her in high spirits the whole week and kept bugging me..

N: “do I have a youtube channel?”

Me: yeah, “we do have a youtube channel… for so long already.. cant believe you have just asked me..”

N: you should share what we have experience to a lot of people

Me: huh! isnt that what am doing already?

N: oh ok! how come I cant see it .. when I go to youtube?

Me: because we dont have a lot of traffic.. our theme is not very popular.. we are no make up guru, no beauty guru, no hair guru… not even a herbal guru..

N: what does it mean…

Me… long story.. but yeah.. am sharing as much as I could…

So, that’s how in this day and age, we can still be “neighbours”.. we can still trade goods instead of money.. and share a chat or two…ANd I have a feeling that some of those who come and get the free branches.. do not just want to get the branches but also see the cancer survivor who never had chemo or radiation…

Nanay’s herbs are blooming, basil, sage, oregano, rosemary (but she would’nt allow me to harvest– it seems like those were her pets). I was like, isnt this supposed to be for consumption? She says, yeah, but try not to take too much …”kawawa naman sila” (they are pitiful)..Then perhaps we should’nt really eat meat and fish no? They are also pitiful.

Anyway, I still harvest the herbs, without her looking .. SHHHH!!

I realized too that some plants/trees thrived when always pruned/harvested ==> MOringa is like that.. the more it gives, the more it grows.. while some are like vulnerable herbs, when you overly harvest.. it does not thrive well.. Nanay is really wise without her knowing it.

On my own, I also seemed to have a following– mothers who are working full time and also trying to be healthy themselves, mothers with little kids/daughters who have dental issues… which I do enjoy talking/chatting with (though I profuse my conversations in the beginning.. with ” I am not a doctor, I am just sharing”.. but in the middle of conversations… it begin to become a very warm kind of feeling.. it seems that we have become a “kampung/barrio” in our own way.. where mothers.. would go and visit the other mother, and share every trick or life hack that they have mastered either by trial and error, by experience or by being passed on to them by their own mothers..


So we have decided, Nanay and I will continue sharing our journey, in the spirit of the kampung/barrio. We are citizens of the world anyway– regardless of race, we share the same air, we share the same natural resources, we even share sickness and what NOT! We also have to ensure that we record our learnings — for our daughters and future generations…because in reality.. no one will write books on our daily encumberances and tricks.. as it is no money making machine..I also made a new friend, R –who I have met yesterday.. thanks R for the Z’s leggings! Nanay said, “wow! kakatuwa naman…parang barrio talaga.. palitan!” (wow! it really is fun, just like in the barrios! trading goods!)

In the office, it seems that we are being made to compete with each other.. just like these monkeys in a cage, with a banana on top of the ladder. And Nanay and my closest friends know that I hate competition and if someone wants something so bad, I readily give it.. even if I know its rightfully mine.. just so that I wont get the animosity. So to the managers that I trusted, I kinda made it known to them that I can sense what they are trying to do…and one of them even joked to me … as I was trying to engage one of his team members he said.. ok I would pretend not to see when tiger meets the lion.. and I said, I am neither a lion nor a tiger.. I am a bear.. I am all warm and cuddly– dont make compete with anyone…cause I will just pretend to sleep ….or perhaps I would just shake that ladder.. so all the bananas fall down.. and we all have our fill ( btw, I am not a monkey, I am a bear who loves bananas.. )..the two of them just laughed hard! (hope they get the message, jokes are half meant anyway, right?)


The other manager say, we are all in the same zoo… lets help each other…So, I hope the approach I am taking now in this blog and the wider Singapore community works in the office too.. We are foreigners here in Singapore, but we do not come here to compete but just to earn our means.. and I do understand the sentiments of the locals.. it seems that they are always being made to compete with foreigners like us.. and to that I would say to policy makers.. please try not to do that.. because as in every MNC going through redundancies,, everyone is affected.. those who leave and those who are left behind…And i do try to keep a friendly attitude towards my office mates locals and foreigners alike…and of course companies do not expect us to make friends.. we are expected to bring results.. And I say, I will give what the company needs.. but don’t put me against my friends ..

RIGHT! if you wont give me BONUS or fame.. at least give me happiness!


.And most importantly within our midst.. there are widows.. who are just fighting for survival of their families.. Some of us compete for promotion or a salary raise… while others are just working for their JOBS.. common la.. can you really do the job of 3 people with effectiveness?

So, I would just DO what I could honestly do with effectiveness (enough to feed my family), leaving something behind for the others.. its a  WIN WIN Situation.. and that is how the balance is maintained in this world.. otherwise its an EYE to EYE, tooth for a TOOTH kind of existince, which makes life too stressful than what it should really be!


An excerpt from a local’s blog:

In his paper “That Imagined Space”, sociologist Chua Beng Huat writes, “The popular nostalgia for thekampung, particularly for those who had never lived in one, is rooted in [the] common-place criticism of the stressful life dictated and disciplined by the logic of capital.” To Chua, the “invocation of the abstracted ‘relaxed’ social life of the kampung is not about the desire to go back to the reality of thekampung with all its material disadvantages. Instead…[it] is indicative of the desire to ‘rest’, to be content with one’s lot after having strived for long and ardous years, instead of striving for just that littlebit more.”

All of us are all longing for a place of REST! In fact, even in Biblical times, Job said:

Job 3: 26 I was not at ease, neither had I quiet, neither was I at rest; yet trouble came.

And if all else fails, Jesus Says:


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