PONTIAN, Jan 23 (Sin Chew Daily) -- "She treated me like her own grandson when I was very young, and now it istime for me to reciprocate her kindness."
Zan, the 50-year-old penghulu(village chief) of Kawasan Enam, Mukim Rimba Terjun, always enjoyedplaying at the house of the Chinese couple since he was just five, and indeed the couple treated him like their own grandson.
For all these years, the penghulu hasbeen making an effort to visit the old Chinese woman, whose husbandis no longer around now, during the Chinese New Year festivity yearafter year.
Although they do not share any bloodrelationship, Zan said smilingly that his relationship with "grandma" Lin Li is much more intimate than many with true blood relations.
He told Sin Chew Daily in an interview that Lin's husband was a very serious man much feared byhis own grandchildren.
However, he said the old man would invariably take him along inhis bicycle to the couple's estate and other places after school.
"They treated me like their owngrandson. Amah used to walk some 500 meters to bring kuih and other food for me and my family."
After Lin Li's husband passed awayabout 30 years ago, she gave her husband's bicycle to him as asouvenir.
Zan was well aware of the deep agony Lin Lihad to go through after losing her loved one. As such, he would travel toher house every day to keep her company during her toughest days.
Now at an advanced age of 102, thewheelchair-bound Lin Li is still very much concerned about Zan's health, and would constantly advise him to take good care of his body and eathealthily.
"She always tells me to serve thevillagers conscientiously and not to cheat people. Otherwise I willnot get to live long!"
He said he would make an effort tovisit her every year during Chinese New Year celebration.
He also said he hoped his unusual relationship with Lin Li would inspire others to appreciate theharmonious coexistence among Malaysians of different ethnicities which he said must not be undermined by any political issue.