Mother’s love has no bounds

TWO videos of two men paying homage to their mothers that went viral on Mother's Day were so moving and emotional that the images will be etched in our minds for a long time.

They show the sons washing their mothers' feet and then bowing down to reverently kiss the feet they have just cleansed.

I know many of us shed tears watching these videos and for all the brickbats that social media has been getting lately for viral fake news, we give credit to this digital platform for doing a fine job on this one. Well done.

Although the two men featured in the videos might not be Muslims, the images struck a very powerful chord with Muslims because Islam taught them that the Heaven they seek in the afterlife lies at their mothers' feet. What it means is that whatever they do in life won't count for much in the hereafter if they don't accord the highest of respect to their mothers.

It brings back to my mind the comments about their beloved mothers made by two entrepreneurs, who are listed among the richest Malaysians.

I once asked one of them what he thought was the secret of his huge success in business.

Instead of giving me a straight answer, he fired back with a question: "Are you kind to your mother?"

When I replied "yes", he retorted: "Don't just simply say yes, think hard."

He explained: "In my own case, my mother doesn't want my money because at her age what is there to spend? She wants our respect, love and care and for this she'll shower you with her blessings. A mother's blessings are something that money can't buy."

His words of wisdom are awesome.

Malaysia's richest man, Robert Kuok, rarely gives media interviews but some years ago, in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) Kuok, now 93, was quick to single out his mother as the person who had the most influence on him.

"She always advised me to be humble and to help the poor and she hoped I would be a businessman with good ethics," Kuok said.

"She knew I would be successful one day. But she was worried that I would become an irresponsible businessman and she gave me valuable advice, including reminding me not to be greedy."

And Kuok, whom I met in the mid-1990's and chatted with in Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong which he owns, is most humble and down to earth, even telling me that the Malaysian media when reporting on him almost always made the mistake of addressing him as a "Tan Sri".

"I have no Tan Sri or Datuk. I'm only Datuk if it means I'm a grandfather as I have many grandchildren," he told me.

In the CCTV interview, Kuok said if his mother were still alive today, she would still remind him to continue to be humble and to help the poor, adding that "my love for my mother is forever".

Taking the case of my own mother, Dayang Rokayah Abang Suib, as an example, her 10 children can never stop marvelling about how she single-handedly managed to raise us all during those times of my generation which were so much in contrast to that which our children and grandchildren are in now.

If anything, it proves true the adage that says "a mother can raise and care for 10 children but it's not certain if 10 children can care for their mother".

With much due respect to present day mothers, it was a much more personalised kind of motherhood in the past when mothers were full-time homemakers while now women are dominating the workforce pursuing careers in their own right.

I lost my mother 25 years ago and there's never been a day since then that I did not mourn her.

For me, a mother is someone who no matter how much good deeds you think you have done for her in return, they are not even a drop in the ocean when compared to her sacrifices, care and above all, unconditional love.

I would like to conclude today's column with what I consider the most incredible example of a mother's unconditional love that I have ever come across in my long career as a journalist.

Seven years ago, what happened in a quiet village of Batang Rokan near Gemencheh in Negri Sembilan shocked the entire nation and beyond.

A 32-year-old man, who told police that he was under orders from a "suara halus" (inner voice), stabbed to death his father, 22-year-old sister, grandfather and grandmother in what could be described as the world's most macabre multiple murder case in recent history.

He even beheaded his grandfather and was on the way to burying the head somewhere in Selangor when police arrested him.

A week or so later, I met his mother at another son's house in Seremban and the story that she told me was heart-wrenching.

She said she was somewhere else when the gruesome murders took place and believed she would have also met the same fate had she been at the house that day.

"I can perhaps come to terms with the deaths of my husband, father and mother-in-law as they are already old but not that of my daughter. How could he do this to his own sister?" she told me.

And the most classic case of a mother's unconditional love came fast and furious when she said, in answer to my question: "Yes, despite what he has done, I still love him, he's still my son. And when he goes on trial, I'll be sitting in court every day and give him some home-cooked food."

To all mothers wherever you are, let it be known that you are the most wonderful human beings ever created.