Trying To Put The Camel Through The Eye Of A Needle

How can one make space to fit the belongings from an apartment into a house that is equally full of similar items? That is the predicament that I am facing now as I prepare to uproot from Penang. I have been mulling over this for a while already. There are simply too many cherished mementos to be discarded or given way in this process of moving.

The apartment has been left vacant for two years already except for the occasional weekend trips that Wuan and I make up north. It is fully furnished for comfort. Little did I expect that Mum would leave so soon. She lived there for four years only. Nevertheless, I believe it was one of the happiest moments of her life. The environment was pleasant. We had great neighbours who were always ready to lend a hand.

The kitchen is full of Mum’s cooking utensils and appliances. There are kualis, pans, stainless steel, enamelled and aluminium pots that Mum used to cook perut ikan and other mouth-watering local cuisines. The kitchen cabinets are chock-full of plates, bowls and drinking glasses that are from a time before I was born. Those are the least of my problems.

It would truly break my heart if I am unable to take with me the items that are currently sitting in the living room which is lined with bric-a-brac that is of sentimental value more than anything else. There are several figurines of the Laughing Buddha and the auspicious Chinese mythological trio of Fu Lu Shou, a tea set from the post World War II era, a ceramic peach tree that Wuan gave to Mum on her birthday in 2002, and knickknacks that hold special meaning in my memory and heart.

Each has a story to tell. They are the little bits and pieces that make up the jigsaw puzzle that is the family history which I am a part of. They are all that is left of the material possessions that Dad and Mum left to me. Given a choice, I would want to preserve these keepsakes in remembrance of the legacy of my parents.

It is going to be difficult to decide which of those items to keep and which to give up. I had to leave behind many cherish items when I moved to the apartment. Looks like each time that I move, I invariably have to leave fragments of myself past behind. Hopefully, this will be the last uprooting that I will ever need to do. And then I read about the camel and the eye of the needle in Matthew 19:24.

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.

5 thoughts on “Trying To Put The Camel Through The Eye Of A Needle”

  1. Peter
    When my late father passed away in 86, I had so many great memories of him till today. Only realizing that I was heading to the US in 89 that I knew many of the cherished items will always remain in my memory. True enough, my mother was too sad to stay in our old place and she decided to move into an apartment. I was not around during the move and sadly, many of the cherished items that I wished I had kept of my father just went missing. Do keep those items close to your heart. Time to move on and I am with you always Peter.

    I will try to keep those items. They are the link to our past and truly invaluable.

  2. Hi Pete, you finally got rid of the mental arithmetic thingamajig that we have to do.I was getting kinda hung up on that!

    Anyways, isn’t it amazing the amount of “junk” one collects in a lifetime? If some of the stuff can talk, there’ll be lots of stories to tell- some good,some funny,some sad and some happy.If you had to choose, then keep those that tell you the best stories.

    My formative years in Penang revolved around learning to ride a bicycle in Pinhorn Road because it was nearby and void of traffic, cycling what felt like halfway round the earth to the Penang Chinese swimming Club to swim with friends,climbing up Penang hill during school holidays from Moongate, then to the Catholic Brother’s retreat to swim,have Laksa while up there (best in the world when you’re hungry)and then down the hill to Air Itam uprooting plants to slow down our descent and making the farmers real angry!!.Movies were 50cts for the front row seats ( movies look mighty weird from that position!)- Rex was good because there were a lot of hawker stalls around selling Bak Kua Bun,Kacang Putih etc,Capitol was nice and well located,Cathay screened some very good movies like the Sound of Music and Odeon was a regular haunt for us for the cheap matinee seats.
    Dad was the disciplinarian and Mom signed my report cards as Dad would fly into a rage at the sea of red ink!! TV for us kids were cartoons like Astro Boy,Gigantor(a robot),Speed Racer and japanese serials like The Samurai later dubbed in BM which was amusing!!
    Ahhh! memories are made of that.There’s more adventures and things to savour ahead Pete!Tally Ho my friend.

    This is a comment worthy of an entry. One coming up when I can gather my thoughts properly. Thank you for the memories.

  3. err… What has Matthew 19:24 fitting the camel of the eye of the needle got to do with your moving to KL ? Sorry, I am not versed biblical …

    I will tell the story in subsequent entries. Be patient ya.

  4. It’s a traumatic event, moving away. More so when there are so many special memories. Prepare yourself for the trauma.

    You are not helping!!!

  5. erh… any chance that there is some dumex crockery amongst your kitchen stuff?

    There may be. I still remember those times. Do you want any if I have it?

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