All posts by myvoiceathome

BEING A DOMESTIC HELPER

By: Jean RAGUAL

 

Being a domestic helper

 

My heart is without pain

If they call us only HELPER

The sadness of my will

Who are the educated people of the world?

 

They still lower the real meaning

And the importance of being a HELPER

 

You are a hero and very helpful person

Your blessings will be rewarded

GOD to create you will be praised

 

You are a hero and very helpful person

Your blessings will be rewarded

GOD to create you will be praised

 

Sweaty day and night

Soaked at work

She will remain stable

Because each drop of it

In life it is symbolic

Sacrifice has its rewards

By Jo Ann Dumlao

A mother without a doubt loves her children very much. A mother’s love supposes a willingness to struggle, to work, to suffer and to rejoice. It is a love that brings her satisfaction and ultimate fulfillment even if it means reaching beyond herself. Because giving is more important to her than receiving.

Sometimes this kind of love that a mother has for her children pushes her to leave her family to serve somebody else to be able to provide some, if not all, of their wants and especially all their needs. A mother has to sacrifice herself and suffer in order to provide for the children, be it a necessity or a luxury, their whims or caprice.

The only consolation for such a mother is the thought that she can provide a better life for her children. And this can become an inspiration that gives her the strength to carry on; the thought that you are giving your children financial security, an education and material things.

The decision to go away from my children was the hardest decision I have ever made. I did it because of some unfavourable situations that have significantly affected my family especially my children.

I have 3 children who need my guidance and supervision all the time in their studies and in their difficult growing up years. Most of all, they need my love.

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Janwin Kirby, my only son, was 9 years old – a 3rd grader – when I left him together with his 2 sisters. Shaine was 14 (now 25) and Jilliane was only 7 (now 18). I was aware that at that age, he really needed maternal guidance growing up.

And now, Janwin Kirby is 20 years old and a fresh graduate from University with a Bachelor in Secondary Education. He was a Latin Honouree-Cum Laude! Yes, I can say that I am the proudest migrant mother of my son’s accomplishment in his studies.

It was not an easy journey for us. There were times that I asked myself “Can I still make it? Will I be able to support his studies all throughout his course until he graduates?”

I know that he has always been diligent in his studies: the moment he started his first subject in his first year in college, he set himself a goal. He became a College Scholar but his goals were higher still. To be on the stage, receiving medals during his graduation was his ultimate dream. And believe it or not, in his last semester in College, he computed his grades from 1st year to 4th year to see if he could make it or not. And he was confident enough with the computation he made.

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How did I receive the good news? How did I react? I can still remember! It was April 12th, 2018 not so early in the morning. I answered one of my son’s calls (I ignored the first 4 calls actually). So I answered and said: “hmmm what’s up?” And he replied; “Mommy I have something to tell you and please let me talk first.” My heart beat fast waiting for what he was going to say and then he blurted out; “Mommy, I made it, I am a Cum Laude!”

Did I hear it right? I didn’t believe him and I even said: “That’s a big time joke, don’t do that to me!” “Mommy, mommy listen to me, I have fulfilled my promise, my goal I am a Cum Laude! I hope I am making you happy and proud of me!”

Tears were abundantly flowing, from a silent cry to a sob. I was speechless and when I found my tongue “Thank you son, I am so proud of you and I love you” were the words that I said.

The night before his graduation April 28, I came home. I was so excited, so overwhelmed, overjoyed. I needed to give him my tightest hug and kiss him all over his face.

On his graduation day, it was as if I was floating in the air. Standing side by side together with his fellow Honouree graduates and their parents in front of the rest of the graduates as we marched down.

When I heard his name being called up in the stage to receive his medals as a Cum Laude, I was teary-eyed. I still watch the video of it and I think I haven’t absorbed it fully yet.

Being an OFW mom is not easy at all. It never will be. I am just so blessed with my 3 children who are so loving, respectful, God fearing and responsible especially in their studies. Even when we are miles away from each other, they never take for granted my pieces of advice because they understand that it’s for their own good, not mine. Thanks to for the modern technology of video calling, which offers a great way of easing homesickness.

My fellow OFW mom’s (single mom like me or not), it is very important for us to stay positive in every situation we are in because we are away from our love ones. Let us be optimistic, don’t let problems drag us down, let’s keep our faith, pray, for God is our greatest refuge.

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Cinderella’s reality

Cinderella’s reality 
Thirty minutes past six
Phone starts ringing
Six times six times six
Cinderella is late
The monster red dot father is in rage
She was treated like a real princess
At the castle beside the bay
True smile surfaces on her face
Happiness she longs to embrace
Appreciation she wishes
Dignified and a real bless
Thirty minutes past six
Slowly monster shedding her flesh
Cutting her sanity bit by bit
Stepping her dignity to pieces
Rude words suffocate her breath
Now she is drowned in tears
The monster with a mouth like a sword slashed her with words
Thirty minutes past six
Doors open, door shut
No one can save her in that shack
Corners hear her cry
Rooms fill her anguish
Home she calls imprisoned her freedom
Family she says cuffs her equality
Thirty minutes past six Cinderella faces reality
She is nothing but a maid.
#rolinda77

My First Love

The night I lost my First love

 

The night I lost my First Love

It was a painful time of my life

As I held him in my hands

Lifeless and almost cold as ice

 

I sobbed to death for his passing

I cried a river for he already left me

In this most depressing situation

Tortured by a lot of thoughts

 

He is my teacher, who taught me lessons about life

He is my king, who moulded me to be a warrior

He is the leader of the band, who allowed me to write my heart out

He is my first love, my first kiss and my only one

 

He was breathless, though I tried hard

He left me grieving so much for his death

My greatest critic and my dear debater

Left, without arguing what there is to come

 

The night I lost my first love, will always be remembered

How he fought the battle and won eternal life in heaven.

 

By Beckerbone Millado

 

#CarnivalofPoetry

#Fatherhood

#poetrybleeds

Dear Abbu

Dear Abbu, I love you

By – Zakir Hossain Khokan and translated by Ranak Zaman

I was really very upset when I first arrived here in Singapore. I  missed my country, my family, but the person I missed most was my father. Many moments I used to hear his voice: Khokan, Khokan! I would stop and look for him, where are you, dad? Why are you calling me? And how are you? Some nights I woke up from my sleep thinking that he was calling me or he was standing near me. But he was not there! I cried out some nights like the child I used to be once, a long time ago. I can recall that morning when I heard his voice in my head and I wrote a poem after that about this.

“I can’t see the mornings anymore hearing the birds singing.

Like my father called me and we, then, used to go to mosque for morning prayers.

My dear Abba,

Oh my dear Abba,

A thousand years I have not seen you!”

The poem I wrote about my dad was published as a lyric in a music album named ‘ Exile life’. Singer Shoriful Islam from Bangladesh sang the song.

It was 2003, when I came to Singapore. It was not easy then, like now, to call long distance and talk an hour to my family. So I used to write letters one or two times a month and in those letters I mostly wrote about my father. I don’t know why, but those letters were never sent to him.

I thought I would give them all at once to him when I would visit him at home. I wanted to surprise him, or maybe just wanted to see his reaction when he would read them. But all those letters got lost when I changed dormitory once.  I could not go to work and couldn’t eat well two days after that. My boss scolded me for my absence, so did my foreman. They asked me the reason and when I told them why I was upset they were astonished and they said that I was a fool.

I never wrote any letters to my father after that.

If anybody asks me about my favorite personality, I answer without thinking twice—my father, of course. I have met many people in my life but never found a person like him. His personality, works, thoughts, philosophy and his humanity and his care to the family keep impressing me all the time.

In my school life, I had to write essay about ‘Your favorite person’. I read in books about the writers, scientists or prophets but it has always been my father who is my favorite personality. When I asked my teachers if I could write about my father, they replied no, ‘you have to write what have you read in the text book.’ But one day I wrote about him nonetheless when I was in high school. I can remember the day when my headmaster called me to his room and my father was there—standing, trembling fingers and a smile full of tears in his eyes.

In 2011, Zarif came to the earth and I became a father myself. But I was here, in Singapore, doing my jobs, with so much guilt. I promised myself that I would give him a better life, as my father did his best to give me. But my son is growing up without me. He use to say to his mother that he smells my scent in his pillow. He asked my clothes that I left behind, take me on your lap, dad!

He is growing up without his father. This is one of the saddest thing for a son—I can’t even express this in words. I tried in my poem, ‘Blade  of kisses’ which was published in a poetry anthology with eighteen Bengali migrant poets. The anthology was named ‘Migrant tales’ and edited by me and Monir Ahmod.

I submitted three poems to the first Migrant Worker’s Poetry Competition Singapore in 2014. Those are ‘pocket-1’, ‘pocket-2’ and ‘pocket-3’. In pocket-1, I wrote about my son Zarif and my country, Bangladesh. In pocket-2, I wrote about my lovely wife and in pocket-3,  about my father.

Pocket-2 won first prize. Ms  Raka Mitra’s company ‘Chowk’ performed two days dance event titled ‘From another land’, based on my these three poems and runner-up poet Rajibs ‘Shades of Light and Dark’ at the Esplanade. The performance touched the audience’s heart and made them cry. It was a great arrangement where audience were amused and mesmerised what was really great to me. I felt happy that day to see the Singapore was loving my poems.

Pocket 1

On holiday, back to my land, I see the country with my son.

We see the open sky, the white cloud, the flock of flying birds.

Water lily, green fields of crops and yellow mustard flowers in the flowering good.

We see the memorial monument, and the Shahid Minar, the love of the people.

Putting all of them aside, I need to come back here.

 

I find a piece of paper in my pocket

Seeing it with my teary eyes

A flag amateurishly drawn by my son

a flag—red and green

the Flag of Bangladesh

 

Written down

‘Dad, standing down the flag at school

When all my friends sing the national anthem: Oh my golden Bangla I love you

Then I sing –

Oh my dear Abbu, I love you.”

 

Pocket 3

Every morning in my childhood,

When dad was set to go to the office,

I jumped on his lap and put a hand in his pocket.

Took some coins and I said, I’ll buy some chocolate, dad,

And I laughed and he laughed.

 

He put his hand on my head and used to say,

This boy will be a great man one day.

 

With the rhythm of the sound of coins when I moved,

With that happiness I moved from here and there and

After a butterfly—I ran and ran and I’m here now

As a migrant.

 

Now, when I go to sleep with much loneliness

In my sleep, I hear—some footsteps and that butterfly’s wings sound

And a voice of my dad.

I wake up every time and notice the dawn in my door,

I realise, this is not  one like my childhood mornings were,

This is a colorless canvas, with so many watermarks of life—hard to see.”

Long live every child and father with so much love and passion.

Happy father’s day.

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Photo of Zakir Hossain Khokan..

Zakir Hossain Khokan is a writer, poet, journalist and photographer. Born in Dhaka and a graduate of the National University of Bangladesh, he moved to Singapore in 2003 to work here. Presently he is a quality control project coordinator in the construction sector. Zakir’s poems are extremely well- received, winning the first prize for two consecutive years at the Migrant Workers Poetry Competition in both 2014 and 2015.

An established Bengali writer, Zakir’s has published not only poems but also history books and song albums. He has published poetry anthologies, titled, “Lover heart” and “The river reaches in city”. Using his journalism skills, he has also published a non-fiction book entitled “Singapore riots and a love story”. He has also published a song album “Emigrant Life” in Bangladesh. Finally, he is editor of “Migrant Tales” an anthology of poems by migrant Bengali poets in Singapore.

Zakir is a prominent spokesperson for the migrant worker community in Singapore and has been invited to speak at many events. His poems, articles and interviews have appeared in journals and anthologies in Singapore, Bangladesh, and Taiwan and international media. He was rewarded for journalism and poetry in Bangladesh. He can be reached at zakir.journal@gmail.com

This article got written for the celebration of father’s day this June but got delayed due to the need to get it translated. Since fatherhood deserves to be celebrated every day, we publish it now for you to savour.

An amazing gift

Jofel has been staying at HOME shelter for some time, where she has volunteered to help out as our shelter leader, and discovered several new passions. One of these passions is writing, and this story by her won her a special award in the writing competition HOME hosted together with the National Museum of Singapore. She has written more since, so watch this space for more stories written by this very inspiring writer.

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An amazing gift 

By Jofel Dosano Villaruel

When I was young in the Philippines I never experienced to play in a real playground. With my friends I used to play at the beach, especially when there was low tide. I loved to play baseball, Chinese Garter, luksong tinik or leapfrog jumping with my friends.

My first experience at a playground in Singapore was with my employer’s son, who is a 2-year-old boy. Unlike many parents here in Singapore, my employer let me and her son free to play and experience creative games. Whenever I told him: “We are going to the playground” he would immediately run to take his shoes. Just seeing him happy, made me happy too.

At the playground, he loved sliding and climbing, but his real passion was the swing. As soon as we reached the playground he would run quickly towards the swing area and as soon he was on the swing I couldn’t take him off again. He always asked me to push him to swing higher and I was always scared for him; I felt that it wasn’t safe. I would have felt more relaxed if every swing had a sort of safety belt to prevent them from falling down and getting hurt. But when he saw my worried expression, he knew that I cared about him and he always tried to reassure me: “Don’t worry, I will hold on tight.”

And that make me laugh, so much! I admired him, he was so young but at the same time brave and strong.

My very best memory at the playground was when he was able to climb the rock wall for the first time. I was so happy and proud of him! I knew that climbing was a great exercise to strengthen both his body and his spirit. Spending his free time in the playground has helped him to grow active, smarter, creative and independent. Every time he climbed the rock wall he was very excited and after reaching the top he would be so happy he clapped his hands.

Sometime we need to let kids choose what they want so they can explore new ways and express themselves. What I personally observed about Singapore is that people here can be overprotective of their kids. Some parents or grandparents never allow their kids to play at the playground, they are worried because playgrounds are dirty and might have a lot of bacteria.

They don’t realize that a playground is a good starting place for young kids to make new friends, to learn how to communicate with other kids, to learn how to give and take, how to share – and most of all to experience the beauty of being a kid, an amazing gift that we won’t enjoy anymore, later in our whole life!

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He Played my Heart

We are proud to announce the winner in the poetry category of the ‘The More we get Together’ writing competion: Rolinda Onates Espanola

Her beautiful poem ‘He played my heart stole the hearts of judges and audience alike!

Above you see Rolinda (left) with  runner up in the poetry competition Jean Raquel (right)

 

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He Played My Heart

 

At 5:30pm everyday we go there

With bags full of goodies and water

You on your scooter

Me, you always tell to walk faster!

 

Playing is fun, full of laughter

You play cops and robber

Hide and seek makes you feel better

Racing and Virus let you ask to stay but longer

 

Sometimes you get bruises

Sometimes you cry endless

Sometimes you’re disappointed

Sometimes you’re a stubborn head

 

I watched you grow in here

I watched how you behave to others

I watched how time moves us together

I watched how this place brings us closer

I watched how I love

The child that I can never have.

 

#rolinda77