I was organising my mother's clothing in her wardrobe when, last week, Kak Lin called to inform she would drop by thrice weekly - while her husband will be having his dialysis at the centre nearby my mother's house - for Qur'an reading session.
When I told her that my mother had been staying with my sister for already some months now, she was surprised that I did not rent out the flat - Well, she's not the first person to say that.
Kak Lin, one of the very old neighbours since Geylang days whom many neighbours like her, are more than relatives now, had known my mother much longer than myself - from her childhood days to now, with 3 grandchildren.
My late father had been renting out houses, around 7, as long as I could remember.
My duty then was to collect backdated rental - and it wasn't an easy task.
From next month to middle of the month to end of the month - then, only one month rental paid up. The one month rental paid was inclusive of the forever bring forward months - and the ballooning months can stretch forever...
That bad experience etched eternally in my mind.
Some friends and those they, whom friends recommended do ask for flat rental from me being the owner, but, as what My Husband and his friends practice, if we want eternity in friendship, never to have any business deal with friends - Let others make money from our friends, not us - I may sound selfish, but it's always not a nice scene to see house conditions when tenants move out - We have to touch-up the house all over again.
It's sad to ask my mother to move in with my sister - but her age just doesn't permit her to live all by herself.
Relatives, neighbours and friends are unanimous in going against her staying alone after my late father passed away in 2005, but she insisted. Nothing could come between her idea - My sisters will take turns to drop by. She'll fast on alternate days and my brother will take her for her occasional marketing at Mustapha.
The last fasting month, for the first time in her life, she agreed to spend her last 10 days of Ramadhan and celebrating Hari Raya in JB.
My brother took the opportunity of her absence in renovating the flat to suit her needs.
When she went back, she was taken in for a great surprise of the overall renovations - Even then, relatives, neighbours and friends still insisted that she stay with her children.
Hopefully, she listen to them, if not her own children.
As for her flat, I will let it be vacant for now. If my action is to mean depriving others of their much needed humble shelter, maybe... ???