COVID-19 SPECIAL

Celebrating mummy during circuit breaker

Five-year-old Natalie Rai (above) is treating her mum to a special breakfast menu at "Natalie Cafe", where she will help prepare her mum's choice of sandwich and drink.
Five-year-old Natalie Rai (above) is treating her mum to a special breakfast menu at "Natalie Cafe", where she will help prepare her mum's choice of sandwich and drink.PHOTO: ANGELA YONG

Since dining out is not an option this year, five-year-old Natalie Rai is treating her mum to a special breakfast menu at "Natalie Cafe".

With her dad's help, the young chef will prepare her mum's choice of sandwich and drink.

"When I make breakfast, mummy will be happy and I will be happy too," Natalie says.

It seems that more thought is being put to celebrating Mother's Day this year, given that the usual suspects - cake and flowers - are less readily available today.

Some, like 20-year-old Jian Jingying, also want to show more appreciation for their mothers' tireless efforts during this period.

"Seeing her cook for us every day reminds me of the huge sacrifices she's made, like when she quit her job after I was born," says the student, who is waiting to begin university.

She and her siblings, aged 21 and 13, will perform the popular 1990s Mandarin song The Way I Care by Chen Hanwei and Leelian Chua for their mum.

To keep this a secret, she stays up late practising on the guitar, while her brother and sister rush to rehearse singing whenever their mum is out grocery shopping.

On the other hand, those living apart from their parents are turning to virtual cards or food deliveries.

Data analyst Heather Armstrong, for instance, designed a collage of family photographs for her mum using Adobe Spark.

The 26-year-old Singaporean, who has been living in Canada for seven years, says she hopes the e-card will bring back happy memories of their time spent together.

 
 
 

Ms Ara Luna-Reston, a Filippino magazine editor based here, also plans to surprise her mum back in the Philippines with barbecued pork, pichi-pichi (a gelatinous snack made from cassava and coconut) and a chocolate dedication cake.

She ordered the food from a restaurant there and it will be delivered to her mum's house.

"I miss my mum terribly," says the 32-year-old.

"We love eating together, so I hope that though I can't be there, she'll still feel my presence via this feast."

In Singapore, home-bound families are also improvising with small but meaningful pot luck parties.

For example, account director Tina Tan, 49, will have Sichuan grilled fish delivered to her 80-year-old spice-loving mother Lim Yang Kiow.

Also on the menu is Madam Lim's favourite durian cake and homemade sugar-free jelly.

Madam Lim's elder daughter Karen, with whom she shares a flat in Bukit Purmei, will be there to receive the food and set up video calls between relatives.

Fresh graduate Rainbow Lim says her family has similar plans. The 25-year-old lives with her parents at her grandparents' home in Serangoon Garden, where relatives often drop off dishes like roast duck or chilli crab.

Her relatives will be bringing over some dishes for her grandmother for Mother's Day.

"We are very close and always looking for excuses to meet, so this circuit breaker has been quite hard on my grandmother.

"Bringing food over is a great way to show that everyone still cares a lot," she says.

Data analyst Heather Armstrong designed an e-card (above) containing a collage of family photographs for her mum.
Data analyst Heather Armstrong designed an e-card containing a collage of family photographs for her mum. PHOTO: HEATHER ARMSTRONG 

Another 400 or so people across the island have sent short dedication videos to Families for Life, a people-sector council under the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Families for Life will showcase some videos on its Facebook page during the Homemade For Mums online show at 8pm today, as part of a full-day programme to celebrate the occasion.

 

Of these is a clip of Madam Angalamma Marimuthu thanking her 75-year-old mother for the tender care she has been given since being born with a nerve-related disability.

The 57-year-old, an officer at the Registry of Marriages, says: "My mum is the reason I am the person I am today.

"I want to wish her happiness and good health."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 10, 2020, with the headline 'Celebrating mummy during circuit breaker'. Subscribe