Mother’s Day Special – Cotton-picking, pillow-making by Simone Chan

There is much to see and do in a small town like Alor Star. Life is unhurried, predictable, with plenty of room for leisure.

An evening stroll will likely take you through a city center housing area with spacious, abandoned parks that still have those old concrete slides, tunnels and spring-less seesaws. Right beside, you’d cross a bridge to a completely different landscape – of dirt paths, kampung houses and railway tracks, big drains and small streams teeming with haruan fishes, surrounded by insects n frogs and others.

One evening, we stumbled upon a lone cotton tree. All the pods were dried up and ready to be harvested. But only one or two was within our reach. Plucked it and decided we had to come back for more another day. Kids cracked it open right away n all the lil tiny seeds all come spilling out onto the path. Oddly, they were more obsessed with picking up the seeds than in the cotton itself!

A week later, we went back. Same spot, with a long stick n a makeshift ‘S’ hook cable-tied to its end. We managed to pick more than our hands could carry! So, we quickly scrambled to find a plastic bag or some sort of carrier among the bushes as we heard the blaring thunder. Found a torn net of some kind, bunched them all up and raced home in the rain!

Right away, Grandma got to work on sewing the kids a lil tiny pillowcase for their baby soft toys. And we got to work on separating the cotton from the hundreds of seeds in each pod. It was painstaking work! And it was snowing cotton! Everywhere! You can imagine their amusement…

When both pillows were stuffed, the kiddos even got to rummage through Grandma’s fabrics to pick a favourite for their pillow covers. The girly girl went for pinkish purplish flowers and the boy chose teddy prints.

The final product: Two teeny tiny pillows that they hugged to sleep like precious gold that night! So cute! You could see how much more they appreciated it cos they made it themselves. To see and touch and pull out all that soft fluff and turn them into something beautiful… so precious!

I was born and bred a city girl. But when I see my kids acquainted with nature, I beam with pride. It’s pure and it’s raw – the many unplanned little moments of discovery n adventure. There’s really nothing quite like it.

Can’t wait to see what we will find on our next evening walk….


Contributed by Simone Chan

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