Saturday, December 29, 2007

Child carrying parents' burden

Before I go on, let me say that I do miss my working days. Sure there were stressful periods but which job isn't? I miss the interaction with adults and my ex-colleagues. We used to have such good times despite our workload. Going out for drinks and talking about our bosses behind their backs was just the norm and a way of relieving our stress.

I hear people say that your colleagues cannot be your true friends. I beg to differ. Some of my closest friends now happen to be my ex-colleagues. We would talk about work (goes without saying), our lives, hopes and dreams. We gave each other support, encouragement and a shoulder to cry on throughout our work and even our lives. We were really close. During our annual holiday season gathering, one of the things we would do for fun was to gamble, playing Gin, Backgammon, 21.

The one incident or rather, the one crisis that one of us was suddenly faced with which will forever be on my mind was that of my colleague Sally. She told us one day with her face all red and with tears in her eyes. Since I sat quiet close to her, I could see that she was somewhat disturbed and was frequently visiting the bathroom. I noticed that she was constantly on the phone and had a worried look on her face each time. We didn't want to intrude though we noticed that this had been going on for a couple of days. In the end, we asked her during one of our lunch outing. That was when she told us.

Her parents are gamblers, hard core gamblers. She told us that during the days when the country's economy boomed, they lived like kings and queens even though she knew her parents do not have a proper job neither do they own a successful business. Though she knew that potentially they could run into trouble but what could she do? She had to respect their wishes.

Her fears became reality one fine day. Her dad lost quite a fair bit of money, a lot and he hid that fact away from the kids. He kept it to himself for months until one day, when Sally was doing her annual spring cleaning of the house, she stumbled upon a stack of summonses together with letters from solicitors threatening to drag her father to court for the mountain of debt he owed to the bank plus numerous credit card debts. She first consulted her siblings and together, they confronted her dad. He admitted that he owed obscene amount of money while gambling at the local casino. The parents' trips to the casino was a daily affair. They played almost everything there is including Backgammon which coincidentally was our favourite game.

We were shocked, naturally. She didn't reveal the actual amount of money her dad owed and we didn't want to know either. The conclusion was that she and her siblings decided to help him out. They met with the banks, reached an amicable settlement without the dad having to end up in jail. The frequent calls that I'd seen Sally make was actually to her solicitors and the bankers. The entire family was involved. Sally and her siblings gave everything that they had to help her dad out. She cut down on her spending, even lunch was reduced to simple meals. No more going out for drinks or shopping for her. We really felt for her. In fact, we did ask if we could help in any way possible but she merely said “For the next gathering, please skip Backgammon” with a smile.


Tammy said...

I hope you have a great weekend!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

The human spirit is so resilient! :)

I have never been much for gambling...I spend the whole time worried that I will lose my money! It kind of takes the fun out of it!

Have a great new years!

Firehorse aka Kopi Soh said...

Gambling is definitely a vice when in excess :(
Came by to wish you a very Happy New Year dear!!

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