Kinfolks From Hell

When all else fails, we usually fall back to family for support, be it moral or financial. I wished I could say that with absolute conviction. Unfortunately, these are the people who had let Mum and me down again and again. When help was most needed, they abandoned us like rats scurrying away from a sinking ship. In times of need, the ugly and two-faced are thoroughly weeded out from the true and the sincere. I had blogged about this on June 10, 2003 titled True Friends in which I wrote:

There are those who help and there are those who yelp. There are those who are sincere and there are those who act sincere. In times of crises, we see who is genuine and who is false. Blood relations do not figure in this equation. Brothers and sisters could just stand aside and watch indifferently while friends and neighbours provide helping hands that aid unconditionally. It is in times like these, true friends shine brightly, and false friends, like a sore thumb, are revealed prominently.

Several incidents after that entry extremely disappointed as well as offended my good sense, and Mum?s, too, I am sure. People who should be helping us, especially Mum in her hour of need, did not, and people who were helping were accused of having ulterior motives. Instead of giving Mum peace of mind during her illness, they came and tormented her with gossips and chided her in her sickbed for not listening to them. I am very convinced that Mum was deeply hurt by those callous actions but she was too weak and too sickly to say or do anything.

And then there were those whom Mum had greatly helped during their times of need but never once had they come to help Mum when any little help was most welcomed, knowing very well that I could not look after Mum all by myself. Then there were those who had misappropriated Mum?s share of my father?s estate and who had refused to give us the money that Mum rightfully deserved so that I could at least get a maid to help look after her during those crucial times. I was not asking for more than what Mum ought to receive yet they ignored my pleas without hesitation.

Looked after Mum by myself I did, with a lot of help from friends and neighbours. Ah Lian, Soon Leong?s wife, had helped with the housekeeping, cooked lunch for us for several months and then helped Mum bathe when she was too weak to do it by herself. For all the times that Mum was hospitalised, Mr. Tan had fetched me to see her in the evenings after work. Whenever he could, he would also visit Mum during his lunch break to check on her. The one week that Wuan was here, she had helped clean and change diapers for Mum who had become bedridden. Not many people would have done that but she did it with such care that anybody who did not know better would have thought that she was Mum?s daughter. Such caring friends are hard to come by indeed.

And I tell those who had forsaken us during those times of need to look into their hearts and see how they had short-changed Mum for all the kindness and generosity that she had so unconditionally showered on them when she was able. These were also the people who had kicked up a fuss when their names were left out of the obituary. These are the petty minded people with greedy hearts and no compassion. These are kith and kin I do not need and do not want to have anything to do with, ever again.

However, for every false and unkind relative I have, God has richly rewarded me with caring friends many times over. Friends like these did not need to be asked favours from. They came and volunteered to do whatever was needed of them and after their tasks were accomplished, they left quietly without expecting reward of any kind. Mum was blessed despite her condition. I, too, am blessed for I had seen the face of God in those who had rallied round us when we needed it most.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

13 thoughts on “Kinfolks From Hell”

  1. Glad you’re learning. I’ve been there, done that and I can assure you of the perfidies of human nature. People can be so cruel, sometimes needlessly so. However, let us thank God for the few jewels that each of us encounter in our time of need. Let us also remember to return that kindness, if not to them directly, then to others who are in need.

  2. Eric,
    I am truly grateful for having received more than I could ever give back. People who give from their hearts are people who are wealthy in every sense. They are the epitome of all things good.

  3. Peter

    There is a saying “we can chose our friends but not our relatives.
    I myself have found that my friends are my family,if you know what i mean.
    I am truly blessed
    to have such caring and loving friends.
    But of course my children our my first family 🙂

  4. Dr. Cheah,
    Kindness begets kindness. Where I am unable to repay kindness, I pray that they will be divinely rewarded. No deed, however small should be forgotten.

    When family fails and friends prevail, that tells a lot doesn’t it? I had noted down in my blog dated May 28, 2003 this line: “It is better to have one sincere friend than one hundred pretentious kins.” I am thankful for every true friend that I have. They have coloured my otherwise dull life with hues of care and honesty.

  5. yeah, some folks always seem to stir trouble and a hornet’s nest. This is most probably due to their own self interest in an agenda, not the consensus of all.

  6. KA,
    It is people like these that makes us a better person. We see in them everything that we should not be.

  7. Hey Peter.

    Know what? God is fair. Everyone of us have a good chance of having these relatives or friends from hell. Haha. Sometimes, when we are not at our wisest, we follow our hearts and react to what they have done to us. This will cause us a lot of pain.

    Instead, we should take our relationship and encounters with these people as lessons that we have to learn in life…lessons that make us stronger, more understanding and more tolerant. Would you agree? 🙂

  8. Chee Wai,
    Yes, every thing we encounter has a lesson in it. Every day I learn some new things about myself – the good and the bad. Every day I improve on the good and discard the bad, and hopefully become a better person.

  9. “It is better to have one sincere friend than one hundred pretentious kins.”

    very true. (can replace kins with family too)

    i am never close to any of my relatives at all, and i don’t depend on them too. family? well of course better than relatives but i can’t say i’m very close to them too.

    it’s true sometimes friends are better than family. there are many things i can tell to friends but not to family.

    peter, you are indeed very blessed to have sincere and caring friends to stand by you. i don’t know yet if i have sincere friends….

  10. Lucia,
    Look around you. You have more caring friends than you ever realised. Just because they do not openly display it does not mean they do not care.

  11. “It is better to have one sincere friend than one hundred pretentious kins.”

    Agree on that too. My mum’s relatives have let her down on various occasions and they even tell other people that they’re not related! I never liked them too. Luckily, she has her friends to cheer her up. =)

    I’m also glad that you have true friends, Peter…

  12. Andy,
    We all have our fair share of true and false relatives and friends. We see their true colours, learn our lesson and move on.

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