I Wasn't The 'Ideal Child' But My Single Mum Never Gave Up On Me

"Seeing your mother sad is heartbreaking. Knowing that you are the reason behind her sadness feels like something's tearing your soul apart."

Cover image via Subohthini/SAYS

26 November will forever be a date that Subohthini remembers. It was a day she honoured her mother with her academic success.

Image via Subohthini/SAYS

That memorable day was Subohthini's convocation ceremony and she was overwhelmed with happiness as she has finally achieved something in life that will make her mother, Vasanthi a/p Ramasamy, proud.

"I perceive my first degree to be the biggest gift to my mum, who has never expected anything from us in return but to study well and be the crafter of our own dreams," she said.

Subohthini has gone through so many trials and happy moments with her mother and younger sister, so it's only natural for her to dedicate her first class honours degree to them.

Subohthini grew up with an absent father and her mother single-handedly raised the two children up to be two fine young ladies today

Image via Subohthini/SAYS

In her own words, the 26-year-old said, "Her husband (whom I do not wish to refer as to my father) was more of a Chipsmore, now you see and now you don't."

Growing up, Subohthini did not face much problems or difficulties because her mother's family was there to provide support and care for the family.

"They provided care, love and attention that we lost from a dad," she said.

Subohthini knew that her mother would go to great lengths to give her and her sister the best so that they will not feel like they lacked anything because they did not have a father with them.

"I do not feel the absence (of my father) but maybe if he was there by being a responsible husband and father then, things might have been better. My mum would not have had sleepless nights thinking of the financial constraints and the gossips from the community because she's a single parent."

"I didn't face the difficulties, my mum definitely did. But she smartly hid her difficulties from my sister and I."

Image via Subohthini/SAYS

Her mother's ultimate goal is to provide for her children with the best education and she did everything she can to ensure that they would have a bright future.

"Despite being a single mother and having a tough childhood, my mother strives to provide me with the access to the highest level of education possible that is within her means."

"Although our finance was scarce, she never showed it to me. My mother's continuous sacrifice and effort to bring my sister and me up as successful people have yielded its fruits."

Her mother showed her how to keep persevering and be persistent at the times when she felt like giving up.

But Subohthini has not been always conscious about doing better in life for herself and her family. She used to slack off and did not have any care in this world.

"During my schools days, I did not show much interest in studies. My teachers always complained about my grades to my mum."

"It was not hurtful to me since I did not care but I think it those were the times that my mum felt like she failed in parenting."

"I never thought that education is the ladder that will help us to elevate ourselves to better places in the future. Back then, it was just a burden to me and nothing else," she confessed.

Eventually, things got better. But things went downhill when she spent two years pursuing a degree, but failed miserably.

Subohthini went to college and graduated with a diploma in accounting and finance in 2010.

"This is when I saw my mum being a bit relieved with my accomplishments. This point of my life was the wake-up call. I totally understood the sacrifice of my mum when I started reflecting on the past."

However, she found herself failing one semester after another when she did her degree at another college. She wanted to leave her college to pursue her studies at the previous institution where she completed her diploma programme.

"All the money that she earned this far to educate me was wasted in the college I pursued my degree. My mum was so sad."

"Seeing your mother sad is heartbreaking. Knowing that you are the reason behind her sadness feels like something's tearing your soul apart."

At this point, Subohthini made promises - promises she vowed to keep - to her mother that things will be better if she could start over at the other college. After a momentary burst of anger and shock, Vasanthi lends her support to Subohthini, who resumed her studies in September 2013.

"Regardless of the determination I had, the little voices in my mind always held me back. It made me doubt myself. It was the fear of failing my degree again," Subohthini said.

"When I had those thoughts at the back of my mind, I would force myself to remember my mum, who was so fearless to reinvest in me and my education again. If my mum could continually sacrifice herself for me, why can't I shut the little voices in mind and focus on my studies?"

Finally, all those hard work paid off. Subohthini kept her promise and she has definitely come a long way since.

Image via Subohthini/SAYS

"I owe the responsibility of admitting that despite the struggle she went through to being a single mother, I was not the ideal daughter to her in terms of my grades in high school, the friends I hung out with, and the way I managed the little finance I received from her every week."

When she was younger, she never understood how much her mother had sacrificed for the two children in the family.

"The pocket money that my mum gave was never enough for me. I always wondered why does my mum give me so little?"

"It was only when I started my tertiary education that I realised my mother's hardships and the value of education. Ever since then, I did not turn back and now I am constantly motivated to achieve higher and higher."

The recent convocation meant a lot as she could see with her own eyes how her own efforts brought smiles to her mother

"I realised that having this success is the reason behind the beautiful smile on my mother's face. I am also grateful that I am finally able to let my mum have her sigh of relief," she said.

"All the victory that I have achieved belongs to none other than my mother."

Subohthini is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Logistics Management and she vows to continue doing her best to provide a better life for her family.

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Previously on Malaysian City Life #43, an old patient tells Kaveena Ng Amirthalingam why he quit smoking after more than 20 years:

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