According to the doctors, my grandfather had only one or two years of life left in him but he fought back against one of the world's worst diseases. Eventually, after seven years, he did succumb to cancer.
I was only ten when he passed away but even now, I admire my grandfather for his courage and his will to survive. I knew his determination to succeed started when he himself was ten years old. It was then that his father who had emigrated to Malaysia many years before died, leaving behind his wife and many small children.
As the eldest child of the family, my grandfather assumed the role of head of the household. He worked very hard in an estate many miles from home to support the family. Since he could not afford any form of transport, my grandfather was forced to walk all the way there each day. By the time he reached home, his feet were full of blisters but he never complained.
Instead he reared cows at home to supplement the meagre income he got from tapping rubber. He knew success came from hard work and he was a conscientious worker, eager to make the best of the situation.
My grandfather married at an early age and had six children. He used to cycle ten miles to the estate where he toiled diligently. As the years passed by, he saved up enough money and made many intelligent investments. He soon became the owner of several estates.
Once he found me crying. I had done badly in a test and thought myself a failure but he advised me to persevere and told me a story that changed my life.
During the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese had confiscated his only means of transport, his trusty bicycle. My grandfather was e without his bicycle, he would not be able to go to his s easily. However, he still continued the long journey on foot.
This story still sticks in my mind. Every time I want to give up, I think of the odds against him as he was growing up, and then I decide to persevere instead and make sure that I finally succeed.
Although my grandfather was not highly educated, he knew the importance of education, so he insisted on sending his children for higher education. Many people thought him mad when he insisted that his daughters too should be educated. At that time, it was unusual for Punjabi girls to get a university degree, but my grandfather ignored all the usual trends. He made sure that my mother and her sisters had the privilege of tertiary education.
My grandfather wanted his eldest son to be the first doctor from Kuala Krian and sure enough, my uncle was. Needless to say, his siblings, including his sister, my mother, have all succeeded in life too.