The Orchid Garden

A special space for tributes to the most important women in our lives.
Mothers, grandmothers, nannies, teachers, friends – whoever they are, these are the women who provide the inspiration and guidance in our everyday lives.

Also listed in The Orchid Garden are the women who have been honoured by organisations and publications in annual awards.

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Rosalind Chelliah

Honoured by her daughter, Mrs Leaena Tambyah

My Mother has always been the most special woman in my life. She was gentle, loving, caring and self-sacrificing. She showed us by example what the ideal woman should be like.

Mum had longed to be a nurse but in her time, nursing was frowned upon as a career for Tamil girls. After marriage, she did a St John’s Ambulance course. During the second world war, she often rendered first aid to casualties at St Andrew’s School. Later on, Mrs Francis Thomas and she, with boys from the St Andrew’s School, ran a clinic for the needy in Potong Pasir. And so her service continued for years.

When I was a child, we did not have flush toilets. Night soil carriers used to come in a truck to collect the buckets. If she noticed that one of them had a sore or injury, she would clean and dress their wounds. She also grew beautiful flowers.

One of my most precious memories of Mum is of her kneeling in prayer by her bedside every night, praying to God for all her loved ones as well as the needs and concerns of others. Mum’s favourite Psalm from the Bible was 103. It starts off, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.”

Sadly, Mum suffered a stroke and went to heaven four months later at age 65. To me, she is the embodiment of the woman mentioned in Proverbs Chapter 31 verses 26 and 28. Verse 26- “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” Verse 28- “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also and he praiseth her.”