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Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Scarf Mum Made Me

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Last year, when I decided to take the offer for a year-long exchange programme in UK, mum made me this.

The Scarf Mum Made Me

It's a scarf.

You surely wouldn't want it even if I were to give it to you. The truth is, it's not the best scarf around.

It's not nearly long enough for certain (cool) ways of tying it. Stray fibres stick out from every square millimetre of it on both sides (that's the consequences of using some kind of Japanese yarn). Having it in direct contact to your skin really itches. What made things worse was its colour -- the shade of unhealthy green poo.

We mortals are always easily dissatisfied. I have a functioning camera which produced countless great photos, yet I can't conceal my desire for an SLR. I love my phone, but seeing newer models released every month just makes me drool. My home is great, but sometimes, when I see a nice house, I just can't help but think, wow, wouldn't it be great to live in a place like this.

But then again, however unsightly our homes may be, it is still the warmest and best place in the world. Perhaps we have grown attachments to our homes, for they have provided us shelter from the rain and sun for the many years. Perhaps the locked doors gave us a sense of security. Perhaps staying with our family makes us feel safe and loved. Or maybe it is just because of all the memories we've made in our homes. Either way, I would easily prefer two nights in my own messy bed to three weeks in a grand four-poster in a five star suite.

Looking back at the green scarf, I realised how the same principle can be applied to that simple piece of fabric. I can easily adapt to its many short-comings. After wearing it for a few times, I got used to it and it itched less; I simply draped it around my neck twice instead of attempting some fancy knots; I could've easily hidden it underneath my jacket if its colour clashed with my other garments.

That, however, wasn't the real reason I put off the idea of getting a new factory-made scarf. Mum spent weeks knitting the scarf for me, all her precious time, effort and passion woven carefully into the simple piece of fabric, flick by flick, under the gentle guidance of her warm hands. Simple was her sole desire: to equip me with a cover from the snow and a shield from the cold.

I was heavily reminded of an ancient Chinese poem, one which tells the story of a loving mother, hastily sewing a shirt for her far-travelling son, all while hoping he doesn't take too long to return home.

When the winter reached its peak and the winds were strong, I would whip the scarf out of my bag and wrap it around my neck. Knowing that it was made by my mother's own fingers only made wearing it doubly warm.

And no, I don't usually hide it from view, for it makes me feel absolutely certain that no one else in this world could possibly be as lucky as I am.


  1. aww lol. that scarf looks like it's made from someone's hair.
    just came back from dinner with mom. she paid. as usual.

  2. haha. we are bad, bad children huh?


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