Posted on September 22, 2012


I have always referred to her as my KuKu. That’s an infantile adaptation of the Cantonese word for aunt, Ku Ma.

It’s not really fair to call KuKu my aunt – especially in Malaysia. There, everyone from an older generation of the family is referred to as aunty or uncle. Same goes for your parents’ friends, older cousins, local businessmen who sell your groceries during childhood. It’s true the aunty who I am going to spend quality time with is my dad’s older sister. But she is much more to me.

A more formal title than KuKu would be Gon Ma. Literally translated, it means ‘godmother’, and has a similar connotation to the same term in Western cultures. Where parents become unable to provide for their children, a godparent will step in and fill the breach.

Since my earliest memory, she had always been my KuKu.

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