Year 2007 was indeed full of surprises at many angles of life. Our employer, the Malaysian Goverment service ugraded their pay structure but by differrent rates for different grades. A mockery for those studying hard to get to the greater positions. Worst still is the price hikes for fuel announced that year (twice for diesel) which contributed to the price increase for all other essentials. Thus, the pay increment given to the government servants merely covers the monthly fuel consumption to enable their travel to work by cars. To attain a better living standard, they are to forgo a lot of other things, maybe cycle to work!!
We are also surprised by the fast deterioration of the health of the late mum. Within a month of complaining of irregular bowel activities, she was soon hospitalised for two weeks, treated and another week of critical condition at Sarawak General Hospital, Kuching.
Fifteen years after our late father, our mum was called to be with the Lord on 17 October 2007. She had had her lives well and fruitful to the optimum thinking of where they came from. She was a cause for the children to gather and remember the struggles put up by both parents in bringing us up from the interior of Borneo until we settled in the towns and make a living for ourselves as part of their legacy. On 28 December, the family visited the completed grave of the late mum and prayed together in her remeberance.
We were in Marudi for Christmas and it is also the time for my eldest brother to retire (Christmas eve). He had laboured for 37 years with the government as an extension officer for agricultural activities in the rural areas. He is well known in the interior of Baram and it is easy for us, the younger siblings to identify ourselves in that community by saying "I am his brother". They will answer, "Oh! patut awak macam rupa dia... tapi dia tidak cakap Kayan.. etc". In conjuntion with our family gathering and dinner on 28 December, he is honoured by the family to speak on our inheritance and future undertakings. Rather important to note here, he is in the opinion that there is only customary rights land inhertitance left by our parents and all those are in Long banga and therefore should be shared perpetuity by the Odaus.
The year-end family gathering is only the second in the series after 1997 Brighton Beach photo taking and dinner at Grand Palce. After ten years, we had the chance to celebrate at Imperial Hotel with a Danum function room available for us. We had good time in the rememberance of our late mum, honouring the works of both late parents and listing the children and grandchildren. The flow of wine and beer was rather smooth and we ended the year as a family reminded to stick together and look after each other in various circumstances and more importantly to build a pace to stay in Long Banga in the coming years.