(Courtesy of kiplingbagsmalaysia.com)
On Labor Day, my mom and I were sharing bowls of piping hot mami in one of the country's oldest restaurants, when I noticed her bag, one I hadn't seen before.
"Is that new?"
"Oh." She started patting the bag. "Yes. Well, you know naman your sister just came from the States. And she called me up while she was there, telling me "Ma, I bought you a Kipling bag."
"So was this something you asked her to buy?"
"No!" She started laughing. "I don't even know what the brand is. Kipling? I've never heard of it. And to which your sister said, "Are you serious?" Sorry, I don't know it."
Honestly, I'm surprised that my sister was even surprised. One of the things I remembered most growing up was by how simple my mom was. And by simple, I mean "hardly preoccupied with brand names." She was more from the matibay school when it came to retail purchases. As long as something was usable, there was no need to replace it, which she felt was a matter of frivolity.
One memory that remains etched to this day is when she once went to school for some conference, and she came across a co-parent, who was all dolled up, with hair obviously galing sa (from the) parlor, and with clothes that looked to be "the latest." My mom raised her eyebrows, then whispered to me in Chinese, "I dread to know what she is teaching her daughter." And she's right: based on her online pictures, the daughter who was my schoolmate seems to be preoccupied with what she just bought.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my mom for imparting this view of things by her example. She taught me to never be bothered by what people thought of what I was wearing, as long as it was clean. In doing so, she let me know that while having branded items are nice, they aren't necessary, the way so many people nowadays live and die by brand items.