Every year, Singaporeans and those living in Singapore celebrate 9 August for various reasons - whether it's patriotism, or the lack of it, or simply just because it's a public holiday. My family celebrates 9 August every year because my father had a kidney transplant two years ago during that period of time, and came home on National Day.
Maybe to those working in hospitals and medical facilities, transplants are a regular thing. But when I learnt that my dad needed a transplant, my world fell apart. This was my father, the man who've put food on the table, who've worked his ass off to take us on holidays all over the world, this was the man who would protect us, no matter what happens and what I've done, he'd berate me but stand by my side.
My first instinct was to donate my kidney. I have two kidneys, hell, if my dad could live another lifetime I would give him both my kidneys. But my mum volunteered instead - she said she'd do the tests first, and if she wasn't a match, my brother or myself could try next.
My mother is nothing at all like me, if anything, we're polar opposites. She's a meek, petite woman, who's always smiling and always keen to offer a listening ear. She doesn't talk too much, but she doesn't have to. My mother means the world to me, even if I don't say it out loud.
And my mother donated her kidney. I didn't know what to do with myself for that few hours whilst both my parents were in the operating theatre - our home was painfully empty, and the sterile walls of the hospital were too overwhelming for me. That few hours, as clichéd as this sounds, felt like days, years even. All I could do was to keep holding my breath periods at a time to keep myself from crying.
A couple years on, my dad is healthy. He had three kidneys in him, and my mother has one and she too, is healthy. My mother - she may not be a world leader, a brain surgeon, an athlete; hell, she barely speaks English [but she does speak two other languages!] but my mother is the most incredible woman I know. And I would be thankful just to be half the woman she is.