Snails and simplicity

MY home includes a simple garden in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Whilst my neighbours quickly tiled up their gardens to be used as a triple-car park with scattered potted plants, I decided to leave mine just like that – au naturel.

I would never give up my garden for anything. It doesn’t have a pergola, a koi pond or a gazebo. But it has far better and simple things, like snails, grasshoppers, butterflies, bees, earthworms and the occasional squirrel. My garden is simple and green. No big flowers for me. I want to keep it green with tiny blossoms of white, purple and red.

I am a small-town girl (woman, actually). I like to wake up in the morning and see dew on my plants and the reflection of the sun’s ray on the dew-coated leaves.

Life in the big city can be very hectic nowadays, but for me, the view of my garden gives me a deja vu feeling which always keeps me rooted to simplicity.

This must have been the reason I decided to give up my career 12 years ago and be a stay-at-home mum. My family never thought that having completed my legal studies, I would opt for a much simpler life.

I believe education is to give me knowledge which I can use to help myself and others. I never really cared for making it big. I’m a simple girl, remember. Thanks to my husband, I have the opportunity to bring simplicity to reality.

I do tutoring part-time in the evenings to contribute towards the family’s earnings. I love teaching my students and try my very best to relieve them of their exam tension.

Kids as young as seven years with issues as big as their school bag are a pity. Parents want results, which they ardently believe show in their kids’ diagnostic tests.

They miss out on the bigger picture of discovering how the class was, what new knowledge their children have acquired and what new stuff they can learn from their kids. When parents are intrigued by their sharing of their day at school, it makes children feel important about attending school.

My son is on a home-schooling programme whereby he attends a full-time guidance centre. When he comes home I cannot wait to share his knowledge on the subjects, people and things around him which he has observed that day. Somehow, I learn many life lessons from him when he shares his simple observation and understanding of things.

When I decided to trade my career for being a carer of my kids, the world around me said I was wasting my life and education, and giving up many opportunities. I always look at my garden to remind myself that I have come a long way and am sure of my decision.

My garden calms me when the world seems too advanced to handle. It strengthens and grounds me when the world pushes me down. It comforts me when I’m in distress. It cleans and freshens me when I am toxicated by the increasing materialism, power and success in the driven world.

I have snails in my garden which my kids can see. My garden has stuff I grew up seeing and remember fondly. Chasing butterflies, running around the garden in the afternoon sun, catching tiny grasshoppers and digging for earthworms to fish with, playing with mud … It all starts with a garden.

I love gardens; town folks should have their own, even if it’s a one-square-metre patch.

Don’t tile up the fun. You are tiling up the simplicity of life with hard facts that will eventually crack under the scorching heat of life. Make life simple as it was and should always be. Let snails visit your garden once in a while.

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