the gambling addict

Jiamin was born on 13 September 2005 (Friday). As a gambler, her mama Lucy believed that among her children, she would be the jinx in her life. Since young, Jiamin was treated badly. She would be asked to run long errands, do household chores and prepare the meals for the family. Jiamin had fond memories of her papa who died from prostate cancer when she was only 3 years old. Among the children, he doted and protected Jiamin the most as she needed more care and attention as she was born deaf and dumb.

Despite the different treatment, Jiamin would always obey her mama. She would not throw tantrums or demand things unlike the rest of her siblings. Often described as godsend by the neighbours, Lucy would always shrug the praises off and reprimand Jiamin for not doing enough.

On the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year 2010, Lucy had arranged for a casino trip with her friends. However, realising that there was not much for her capital, she ransacked the children’s room hoping she could find some money.

While at it, she chanced upon Jiamin’s diary – a little pink booklet with their family photo pasted in front. Out of curiosity, she flipped through and landed on the page with a bookmark. Lucy wept uncontrollably as she went through the passage that read “ Papa, I miss you greatly. I know I have not been good and that must be why you did not bring me along with you. I know I am different from other children but I will try to be good and listen to mama so that one day you will come back to fetch me.” The next paragraph read “Another $0.50 saved. Total savings: $43.75. $6.25 to go before I present this to mama on her birthday next month”

Lucy immediately dashed out of the house holding onto the little booklet. Moments later, she was at the void deck frantically looking out for Jiamin. She went to her favourite playground and found her sitting all by herself at one corner.

She picked her up and hugged her tightly, profusely assuring her that she is the best gift in her life and that she would kick her gambling habit and dutifully fulfil her role as mama. Jiamin gently wiped away Lucy’s tears and gestured to her, “Mama, I love you and I will take care of you forever. I will be a good girl to you and Papa.”

Written by Chin Hock

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Chin Hock (Holdinghands in the Media)
Founder of Holdinghands and Filial Piety Award Recipient 2013