This nylon and Velcro wallet has been with me for twenty years. I got it from Metrojaya in Bukit Bintang Plaza in 1984. That was my first trip to Kuala Lumpur. I have been using it for as long. It is exceptionably durable. After two decades of use, there are little signs of wear and tear. I paid RM49 for it then, quite a handsome amount for a nylon wallet. However, it is worth every sen that I paid for it as simple arithmetic will prove.
While rummaging through it the other day, I found Mum?s silver ring in one of its compartments. She had given it to me for safekeeping when she was in the hospital. As I held it, memories of Mum came rushing back. The pangs of missing her and the gnawing emptiness filled my heart once again. She had worn this ring for a long time, having bought it during one of the Chinese calendar?s leap months. The Chinese believe that it is very auspicious to buy and wear jewellery during leap months.
This ring will continue to reside where it has been. It exudes more than just a sentimental value; it is Mum?s very personal effect, one she was fond of. It is one of the few treasured trinkets that I keep close to me. The other is the Sacred Heart of Jesus pewter pendant. Wuan and I bought a pendant each from one of the many stalls that sold such items during the Feast of St. Anne in Bukit Mertajam in 2001. I choose the Sacred Heart. I think Wuan selected one of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
At that time, I never thought I would accept the Christ into my life. Among the other items that dwelled in my wallet then included several Taoist talismans that I had been keeping since I was a teenager. We got the pendants as a souvenir of our trip there. There was no religious connotation to it. We tagged along with Mum and Peter and his family on their annual pilgrimage of thanksgiving, penance and intercessional prayers to St. Anne.
Very often, the keepsakes that we treasure most are not the most expensive possessions we own but the little items that bring back beautiful memories. They are ones that had meant something to us one time or another in our lives. Sometimes, they are big signboards that mark our passage through life. Other times, they are worn out marker stones hidden amidst overgrown shrubs by the road we seldom take. Most times their monetary value is negligible. Nevertheless their sentimental value is priceless. I shall always treasure this silver ring like I treasure all the other things that Mum has passed down to me.