The Days I Made My Mother Cry

I made my mother cry on four occasions.

The first was in 1972, during the Primary One registration.  Born to a family of 9, and having spent the first 6 years of my life running around a tiny 1 room flat at Mattar Road, I was a super lazy kid who ended up last in my PAP kindy because I hated going to school.  I had been expecting to go to Mattar School where my 5th sister was studying, but somehow my mother got wind of an opportunity to register me in St. Andrew’s Primary from a neighbour.

It was the final stage of the registration and we had to ballot.  My mother brought me to the school to watch the ballot.  There were like 50 people bidding for some 20 places.  We were all packed into the school hall, waiting nervously, as a man dipped his hand in a box to pull out a slip and read out the name on the slip.  Each time he did it, my mother’s hand will squeeze my hand tightly, and then relax.  I glanced at my mother’s face.  It was taut with anxiety.  I thought: "wow… she must want this badly" and for the first time in my life, I got scared about my future.  What if uncle never called my name?  Does it mean I won’t get to go to school like other kids?

My name was the last to be called.  I looked up at my mother’s face again.  That was the first time I have ever seen her cry.

The second time was in 1973, when I got my report card back after the P1 final exams.  I was First Boy and was promoted from the worst class in Primary 1, to the best class in Primary 2.  I refused to let my mother sign my report card because I thought parents were supposed to use English to sign their names.  My mother didn’t understand a word of English.  She cried when she found that I had signed my own report card by writing my father’s name in English.

The third time was in 1985, when my parents were invited to attend the celebration dinner for winners of the overseas scholarship.  I had worked very hard for this all these years and felt that I had done it all by myself.  So I told my mother that maybe she shouldn’t go since she was supposed to interact with the bosses and people who had so kindly given me the opportunity to study abroad, and I don’t want them to be prejudiced by my parents.  She locked herself in her room for hours.  I knew she cried her heart out.

When I came back to Singapore 5 years later in 1990, I was met with a woman I could hardly recognize.  My mother’s grey hair has gone almost all white, and she now walked with a distinctly bent gait due to the years she had spent at the sewing machine.  But she was still the same caring mother that loved me despite all the times I had made her cry.

Her years of toiling to help eke out a living for our family finally caught up with her in 1997, when she was felled by a massive stroke that put her in a coma.  I spent that night squatting on the floor beside the bed, asking her to wake up and talk to me.  I told her I needed her to tell me what a horrible and selfish son I had been to her, to have let her suffer all these years instead of spending more time with her to thank her for all the sacrifices she has made for me and the family.  At some point, in the darkened ward, I saw a tiny tear glisten at the corner of her right eye.  That was the last time I made my mother cry.

She passed away the next day, without regaining consciousness.  In the subsequent years, Mother’s Day no longer held any real significance to me, because not a day passes that I’m not reminded of my mother as I looked at the faces of my own children.

It is in their eyes that I see my mother looking back at me, telling me that the best way to repay her love for me is to love my own children, and to care for them in the same way that she has cared for me.

You really made me Cry....

You really made me Cry….

I am crying as many times i read your post ..

So Touching..

Chief.. You made me cry today :'(

Wonderful !

I felt very emotional reading your post. My mother is currently in hospital and totally unconscious for the past 3 days.

Mother cannot be replaced with anything in the world.

I really enjoyed reading your

I really enjoyed reading your post,it was mom is a strong woman i really love her.


Reading this TWICE and I

Reading this TWICE and I still tears the 2nd time.

Dear Chief, Thank you for

Dear Chief,
Thank you for your sharing. You have a great mother.

u made me reminiscent

 chief ur post brought back alot of memories of my mom the wonderful mum i always had though has left me 18yrs ago when i was 12 till today i cry when i think of her.

But i feel guilty till today cause she passed away without anyone by her side the night before she left she asked me baby u want to stay over with mummy tonight i told her no i turn down the last chance i could have spend with her.

Mummy i miss u so so much.


Thank you, Chief!

Dear Chief,

Was moved by your sharing. Shared with DH and he was touched by it too. We strive to become a better person each day of our lives. Once again, thanks for sharing.

Take care, Chief!

Mum's Love has no Height nor Depth....

My dear,

Mum’s love has no depth…coz it is at it’s deepest it can be. Mum’s love has no Height .coz it is at it’s Highest she can reach.

My dear, I think Your mum made that choice Not because she love U less, perhaps it’s becoz she knows you most.


Now that you’re a mother, speak to her as a mother. Do a mother to mother heart to heart talk. She most likely will open her heart to you like when she first did the day you were born.


This is for you, you & you …



with Love

I Dun Know Why

Chief, my mother was the

Chief, my mother was the strongest woman I have ever met.  She was the one who taught me to only cry in the shower.  But beneath that strong character, I am sure I made her cry buckets.

Thanks for reminding me how precious our mothers must be.  Now that I am a mother myself, I thought how fortunate I must be compared to my own mother.  My children express their love unreservedly towards me.  Yet, in our generation, we were too afraid to show or shower our mothers with the kind of love and attention they so deserve.

Thank you

Same here, I’m holding out my tears as I’m reading your story as I’m in office as well…..I love my mum too, she has been loving me with the whole heart, but recent yrs e had some dispute over child taking between my sis, my mom n me. I decided to give up snatching mum to take care of my kids n thus this worsen our relationship as I no longer talk to my mum and sis over this.

But deep in heart….I miss and love my mum most in the world….I will love her deep in my heart even though I don’t spell it out…I hope she can feel my love too….Sorry mum …..

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing chief. What a lovely and touching story. 

Thanks Chief Kiasu, your

Thanks Chief Kiasu, your story touches my heart. Not only did it reminded me of my own mum who passed away when im 6yrs old. And that she never had the chance to even participate in any registeration for my primary 1 studies. But i kept my only memory of her deeply in my heart, locked away. As such, you have DOUBLE CONFIRMED that i must do all i can to send my son to a good school. Even if i need to use my wife account to reply this, i say all parents must give a try. We are not kiasu, we just want the best for our kids. What does it matter if my action of 1 moment can get him into the top school compared to 1 moment of laziness on my part. Since more and more Foreign talent are competing with Singaporeans, i guess a good education background is and must be the only head start for my son to fight resillence in his future.

I must move house soon !


*sniff I love you Mom


I love you Mom

Watery eyes

I am almost in tears when I read this….but I am holding back cos I am in office…so touching. And yes, my sisters and I are taking my mum for lunch today to celebrate her birthday in 2 days time…….I will always remember this story.

This is so touching, Chief.

This is so touching, Chief. Thanks for sharing.

A touching story

Mother’s love is unconditional.They didn’t sad whatever son do.That’s mother’s nature.Don’t worry.You made her proud.She lives in your heart and always bless you and your family.

Thanks for sharing :)

Thanks for sharing 🙂

Sharing the story with my kids

I like to share this very touching story with my kids.  I like them to appreciate what they have now and not regret later.  I want to enjoy the motherhood with them understanding what I am going through.  This is also a reminder for me to continue to do my best for my mother while she is around. 

Dear Chief, Your story made

Dear Chief,

Your story made me cried buckets. I came from single parent family. Dad died before i was born. But my mom decide to keep me, her then unborn child. She worked hard to put bread and butter on the table for me and my 2 older siblings. She even had to pay a fine to the govt for having me, her 3rd child. At that time, the govt was promoting 2-child policy and penalise anyone having more than 2. Look how hard they hv to try to reverse this policy now??!!  I have 2 gals in pri sch now. I appreciate my mom more after having kids of my own. She now helps to look after my 2 gals.  Thanks mom. Where will i be without you.

It is touching

Your writeup about your mother is so touching. It has indeed reminded me not to take my mother’s love and care for granted. Actually, I love my mummy very much, but sometimes we have a clash of interest and that led to some arguements. To repay my mummy’ love for me, I always work very hard in my studies and get good grades to make her so proud of me in front of her relatives and friends.


good for you

I was staying at Matter road and went to Matter Primary School.. I guess that really showed me I need to give a headstart to my gal for having a good primary school like your mum did…

I have been debating with myself… and the other non interested half.. on the school.. she is k1 this year..

I will push forward..

Chief, That's very


That’s very touching story. You make me cry too..

Your mum will be very proud of You!

Hi Chief,

       Thanks for sharing. It is very touching! Like most fellow kiasu parents here, we all had made our parents cried.

     But I think for sure, your mum felt PROUD of you, every single moment.

I am sure she will still feel PROUD of you now from somewhere.

    And thanks for reminding us that we must not take our parents for granted. We should cherish every moment we have with them.




It reminds me not to take

It reminds me not to take our parents for granted. Love is unconditional between parents and children

Your article brought tears

Your article brought tears to my eyes…and inspired me to reflect on my own relationship with my mum. I’m a goody goody daughter (doesn’t mean you are not) and seldom make my mum cry…Hmmm ..I should be writing… The Days My Mother Made Me Cry

Thanks Chief for sharing...

Thanks Chief for sharing… it moves my heart so much to remind me how much i have not been a filial daughter.

My mum has sacrified much for us (there’s 2 children in the house). cos of her daily heart work in the past, her health has been failing badly. and i only know how to say i don’t feel luv enough cos she doesn’t spend time with us… this is because she has used her time to put bread and butter on the table.

yes, lots of regrets in the past. but but but life has to look forward.. i will choose this day to try to be more filial and luv her more as each day passes.. yes, also trying hard not to say back whatever i don’t like to hear from her…..


Hi Chief Its very touching

Hi Chief

Its very touching story.

I think you have redeemed yourself the last time you made her cry. She must have heard you and gone in peace. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you chose to return to Singapore and you stayed with her and that is all it matters i believe. 

Yes you had been horrible and insensitive but aren’t we all guilty of that towards our own parents at some time ? Its a growing up process we all go through and I tell myself to gear up in future if my boy should hurt me but i will continue to love him for who he is – unconditionally. I believe all parents feel the same way as me, including yourself 🙂

Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your story. Very touching.Smiley

Endless love from mother

The story is very touched. I cried…

Tribute to My Mum

Kiasu Chief,

I read your story a day after Mother’s Day, and I felt a familiar tug at my heartstring cos I, too, made my mum cried when I was younger (especially the teenage years). Like yours, my mum has toiled very hard for me and the family when we were little. Now that we are grown up, she has aged so much…so much that my heart ached for her. And she has not been in the best of health in recent years…

But unlike your mother, my mum is still around.  So I just wanna dedicate this poem I pen at the spur of the moment to her. Even though Mother’s Day is over, to me, every day is a mother’s day.

To My Mum:

"You toiled endlessly for me when I was little,

Not a word of blame, you gave me your all.

You were tough in your discipline,

But you have never stinged on your love.

Life was hard on you,

But you never once gave up and ran.

You stood and fought every battle,

You gave me the best you can.

Now in your twilight years,

You have lost your fighting spirit.

You always say you are tired,

Perhaps from all the years of toil.

Mummy, I really love you,

More than you will ever know.

May God bless you abundantly,

In good health and happiness always.



Thanks for sharing

Alamak Chief, now you’ve made me cry!!

Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts. I have definitely made my mom cry more than four times but I like to think that I have also made her laugh more than a gazillion times over. We should never take our parents for granted.

Ok, going to call my mom now to tell her that I love her.  

Thanks Chief!!


So sad

This is so sad. Very heavy hearted.   Me and mum are very close like sisters.  But your story did make me realise, my parents will not be here forever, so where there is time, take care of them well, and not take them for granted.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all mothers!



Thanks Chief for your

Thanks Chief for your honest sharing… u certainly made my throat choke.

Appreciate this your passage to honour your mother for her sacrifices.

best regards.

Thanks Chief for sharing

Thanks Chief for sharing your memories.

Nice to know I’m in good co. In kindy, I was hauled up on a daily basis for failing my spelling and then I guess my exams – it was a traumatic time; and in P/school, for whatever reason I was also first in class…

Enuf said….else I’m going to divulge my age also. :p

Bad boy

How could you do that to your mother, you bad boy!

However I applaud your honesty in sharing with us.

Most of the time, we regret when the ones we love passes on.

However, do cherish those that are around as they are the ones who need your love

Very Emotional

Hi Chief,


Thanks for sharing this cause every moment we spend with our parents we dont realize how much they have sacrifised for us and thus God has given us kids so that we can understand wat our parents have done for us and wat we can do for our kids..


Very very emotional i was almost crying…



Very touching story Chief!

Very touching story Chief! My eyes were already filled with tears half way through it 

When we are young, we always take our parents for granted. We are too preoccupied with our studies, careers, girlfriends/boyfriends. Only when they’re leaving us do we start to realize the things they’ve done for us and how important they are to us. Only till we have children of our own do we start to appreciate and understand the kind of unconditional love they have given us.

Happy mother’s day to all of us mommies and our mommies !

Thanks, everyone!

Your kind comments have really warmed my heart.  It doesn’t absolve me from the sin of having been a most arrogant and self-centred person to the very person that loved me most, and who has never complained as she went about caring for me in ways that I had taken for granted.  That warm horlicks and peanut-buttered bread that show up each morning, kept at just the right temperature so that I can gulp it all down and rush off in less than 5 minutes.  That bowl of soup that was always waiting for me when I get home, no matter how late, again warmed up to the right temperature.  Stuff that used to irritate me then, but that I now missed dearly, since I don’t have them anymore.

My mother was jovial and affable, and loved by many friends.  But she rarely expressed her feelings for us.  I do not recall her ever telling me or my sisters that she loved us, or hugging us.  She was fiercely independent and did not want to trouble us with any of her problems.  Somehow, we all had the silly notion that our parents were superhuman with the ability to take all kinds of pain and hardship without flinching.  There was a time when she had a bad case of gastric but tried to self-medicate until she couldn’t stand it and had to wake me up to send her to the hospital.  By then, she could hardly walk.  That was the first time I have ever I carried my mother in my arms.  I was surprised at how light she weighed.  She was just very embarrassed that I had to carry her, but that moment of closeness was something that I will remember for the rest of my days.  That was when I finally realized how physically and emotionally fragile my mother really was.

To all those with living parents, do something with them during Mother’s Day tomorrow.  Even the simple act of sharing a few minutes with your parents in silence just to enjoy each other’s presence is a priceless experience that you will get to treasure as a beautiful memory in the years to come.

Despite all those tears, I

Despite all those tears, I am sure your mum must be and has been very proud of you ……

My dad passed away around

My dad passed away around 100 days ago.  And I have one regret of something I did not do.  And it is just a simple act.

I miss him a lot and not a day passes by without me thinking ‘if only …’.

If you love and care for someone, show him/her now.  Do not wait.  Sometimes the chance may not arises again. Do not have regrets in life.


Aiyaya Chief,

Aiyaya Chief, your touching post on your mum always strikes the sentimental chord in us…  And now you make many mummies cry including me……..

Whether it is tears of  joy or woes brought to mum, I share as a mum that a child is forever delightful in the eyes of the mum, the meter only shows more or less, but still a DELIGHT.



A son's love....

 I am sure your mother heard you and the outpouring of your heart at the hospital bedside, Chief!  She understood and I am very sure she loves you unconditionally in spite of everything, Chief!  Now your sharing has reminded me to love my mother and to appreciate her for all her hard work as she too, was uneducated and work as a hair-dresser at home.  Thank you very much Chief!     Sob…..sob….sniff….sniff……

You made me cried too....

You made me cried too…. *tearing**

Thanks for sharing something so private, chief!

Your post has given us a glimpse of the man behind the penguin. It has definitely struck a chord in me and made me cry, the way your sewing machine post did.

I’ve never counted the no. of times I’ve made my mum cried, I’m quite sure I still do. Time to stop my rude, take-mum-for-granted nonsense.


Thanks for the sharing

Thank you, Chief.

Read this post after my lunch.

At the start of ur story, I was thinking, ‘hmmm, now I know how old is our Chief .’

Later part of the story… my eyes are wet .

I also have a great mum as my dad left us when I was in primary school. She worked very hard to bring up my bro & me.

U r great, Chief. Ur mum will always be proud of you.

Chief,you made me cry!  


you made me cry!  

子欲养而情不在.  I can understand that.

Hope you have some sort of closure when you talked to your mum that night.  I’m sure your mum was proud of you.  Now its your turn – PAY IT FORWARD

btw, now we all know how old you are…  😛 

compliment – you don’t look your age!  🙂

  Chief, This morning, as



This morning, as I was sipping my nespresso, I was reading your post.  Suffice to say, I had tears in my eyes. 

Your mom sounds like a fantastic, self-sacrificial and warm-hearted person.  Your experience, especially the last para, brings to mind this saying that I try my best to subscribe to:

"Life can only be understood backwards; But it must be lived forwards."

You are what you are today because of her … and you realize that.

Thank you for sharing, Chief.

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read – Mark Twain


wow,  very touching indeed

wow,  very touching indeed and lesson to note is not to procrastinate in showing love.   

 Dear Chief, when I

 Dear Chief, when I finished reading this, I felt a tear in the corner of my eye. Though you had made your mother cry on all those occasions, she still believed in you, until the very end. I hope that her soul rests in peace, wherever she may be, and, though she has passed on, I wish her a Happy Mother’s Day…


Simplicity is exquisite – Muffins

Making Mother Cry

At least you remembered those occassions that you made your mother cried.
 I’m sure I have made my mom cried before, but I could not recall any specific details about them.

Proud Daddy of P1 Boy at Tao Nan School …

Now I am gonna cry!!

Now I am gonna cry!!

Keep her alive in you..

You horrible boy! ( I say on her behalf okay? ) 

You horrible Chief! Now YOU made ME cry! 

I’m gonna do this straightforwardly, yo..

There is nothing you can do now except using those

instances that meant something to you in your growing

years as reflections, to a better you… to a better future

for your children and your family.

While there is nothing physical, tangible or emotional you

can give her now…. you can still offer her prayers… heartfelt

ones that may just well have her crying buckets in heaven…

True blue parents don’t ask for anythin’ in return..

True blue parents are magnanimous… very forgiving..

True blue parents have no malice in their heart especially

to their own offsprings… they only have love…

While the warmth of her hugs and love, caring for you in

sickness and in health, cheering you from behind wherever

you were, sharing your joys as if they were hers, are now no

longer there…. these memories of her keeps, her alive in you.

While most people would advise not to look back so success

is not stalled… that future we seek may not have happened

without that past… Each time you think you might lose your

mind / way in what you do today, think of those times when

mother was strong despite the things that came her way…

May mother provide that strength in you now… just as; when

she did before… before you realised it…

Mother had always been your strength all along, Chief…


Thanks chief for sharing

Thanks chief for sharing your story…….I dun make my mum cry as much as i know, i cried because of her doings. Not now anymore, cos my tears has dried up for anything related to her. Just can’t understand why she cannot be a good mum till today…..She was really heartless to just leave the 5 of us behind with my younger sibling at the tender age 5 & 8, i was then 12…..

Now myself as being mother of 2, i promised myself not to follow footstep of my own mum, i will fulfill dutifuuly for the whole HOUSE. (DH & DS)

Thank you, chief, for

Thank you, chief, for sharing such a heart-warming account of your mother’s unconditional love. While she may have passed away, she has continued living in your heart; and that’s a true tribute to any parent – being remembered fondly by their children even when they are no longer around.  Despite having made her cry a few times (you are sure only 4? ), you are one filial son and it shows that her love for you had not been misplaced at all!

With SA1 around the corner for some parents, this is a timely reminder that our children deserve our unconditional love, no matter what.

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