SIBU: Life has never been smooth sailing for housewife Tan Kim Hiok whose family has many hurdles to overcome.
All the 57-year-old has all along are faith and love, the two things which have been keeping her family together as they wait for blessings to come a little at a time.
First, she has problems getting a birth certificate for an abandoned girl she took home out of love and compassion.
After five years of struggle, things turned better when the girl whom she had named Nee Nee finally had the document in hand.
But as she keeps her fingers crossed, hoping that Nee Nee, now eight, would get her MyKad soon, her truck driver husband was cut down by a stroke, forcing him to stay at home.
Despite her Hokkien name — Kim Hiok — which literally means ‘The Golden Leaf’, the woman has never touched gold in her life. She is now doing house cleaning to keep her family together.
“But love is the power that drives me on,” she told reporters in her house at Merlin Lane last weekend.
Kim Hiok married her widower husband eight years ago.
“The struggles of life began shortly after I found an abandoned infant girl at the market.
“When I took the crying baby in my arms, her mother ran over and pleaded with me to take her, saying she could not raise her,” she recalled.
She said the mother then ran away in tears before she (Kim Hiok) could respond.
Kim Hiok said she was in a dilemma then.
“But my heart softened because when I embraced the baby, she stopped crying. I believe her biological mother had problems which she could not overcome.”
She did not believe that the mother was heartless, as evidenced by the fact that she kept watch over the baby for a while.
“But trouble started after I took the baby home. I was so ignorant about many things. I found out that I could not adopt the girl without the official consent of her mother.
“So for the next four years I had problem after problem despite trying hard to resolve them.”
Then she was eventually introduced to Pelawan State Assemblyman, Vincent Goh. To her it was a last resort.
She said it took Goh nearly another two years to get Nee Nee’s birth certificate processed.
“But at least, I saw light at the end of the tunnel,” she said, smiling broadly. “Nee Nee is now officially my daughter.”
The woman said she did not want Nee Nee to grow up feeling that she was abandoned and not loved.
“Therefore, I have told her the truth about her crying mother pleading for help from me. Nee Nee takes it well, and the two of us together with my husband have developed such a strong bond.”
On what she wants next for Nee Nee, Kim Hiok said, “My only wish now is for Nee Nee to get her Mykad. When that is done, I shall have no more worries.”
She said she might have to struggle to make ends meet at home, “but I have found a meaning in life”.
Regarding her husband, she said he was driving his lorry two months ago when he became unconscious.
“He got involved in an accident and was hospitalised. Now, I am doing house cleaning to feed the family.”
Kim Hiok recalled that before she adopted Nee Nee, she was a captain in a restaurant. But after a year she gave up the job to look after Nee Nee.
Kim Hiok said Goh was now helping to apply for aids from the Welfare Department for her husband and Nee Nee, who is a top student in school.
When contacted, Goh said he was touched when Kim Hiok sought his help two years ago.
He said in ten years as an elected people’s representative he had come across numerous touching stories of love in the community.
“There are similar incidents involving families that I have been helping. All that I can say is people who have sacrificed for love deserves to be happy.”
He confirmed that it took nearly two years to process Nee Nee’s birth certificate.
He advised couples who wanted to adopt a child to process the adoption papers properly.
Kim Hiok said he was touched by Goh’s sincere help.
“He even sent a staff member to go to Kuching to process the birth certificate. Now he is helping to apply for financial aid from the government.”