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Audra Maryssa
Binte Hamblee, 10

Audra Maryssa_edited.png

About Audra

Since she was 8-years-old, Audra Maryssa Binte Hamblee has been a caregiver to her three younger siblings. She takes on duties like cooking, feeding, showering, and getting them to sleep. What does she hope most for her future growing up?

Featured Caregiver:

Mother, Aminah Ahmad

Dish of Choice:

Dadih (milk jelly)

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Have a listen to Audra's reflection in this journey of documenting her mother making this dessert or read on in the transcript below.

Interview with Audra
00:00 / 04:24

Shiyun: I understand that you have quite a lot of responsibilities to take care of your siblings. When did you have to start taking care of your younger siblings?


Audra: For Aqis, I think about three years old I start taking care of her. Then for Rizqi… about one years old.


Shiyun: So what were some of your caregiving duties?


Audra: Switch their diapers, make for them food and mmm…


Shiyun: Make them go to sleep?


Audra: Yeah


Shiyun: Make for them food… What sort of food do you make for them?


Audra: Porridge


Shiyun: You make porridge?


Audra: Yeah



Shiyun: Is it like those rice porridge you have to cook or those kind of cereal porridge?


Audra: Erm, like the rice porridge


Shiyun: Rice porridge… that means you have been like maybe eight or nine years old, when you first had to take care of your siblings.


Audra: Yeah


Shiyun: So you often eat just white porridge at home? Just you and your siblings. And you like it… you guys are okay with it. How often do you eat porridge?


Audra: Almost everyday


Shiyun: Almost everyday… are you the one cooking the porridge?


Audra: My mom and me


Shiyun: Is there other food your mom cook on a daily basis?


Audra: Maybe… rice with egg


Shiyun: Rice with egg… like a fried egg? Sunny side-up with rice


Audra: Yeah

Shiyun: So you guys eat very simple


Audra: yeah, if my mom cook, then later nobody eat, then waste food


Shiyun: Oh, it is because most of them don’t eat anyway. How about you?


Audra: I eat whatever my mom cooks


Shiyun: You eat whatever she cooks


Audra: Mmhmmm


Shiyun: How did you decide to make this jelly dadih? Did you decide it on your own, or did you talk to your mom about it?


Audra: Talk to my mom and she said “okay can, but don’t take my picture”


Shiyun: Why did you guys choose dadih?


Audra: Cause it’s more easier and faster


Shiyun: Easier and faster… you guys don’t have much time everyday?


Audra: Mmm

Shiyun: What are you actually busy with the whole day?


Audra: With siblings and with my phone


Shiyun: With siblings and with your phone… So let's say if you recall the whole day. You wake up at 1030(am), then what happens next?


Audra: We get out of bed then after that we go and shower. Sometimes it’s really hard for them to go to take a shower. Really takes them so long (time) to go to shower. And we have to check them

Shiyun: What about your own time?

Audra: My own time? I play my phone and if they wake up, I have to make them go fall asleep back


Shiyun: Make them fall asleep back… hmmm… why?


Audra: Cause I want play my phone (laughs) 


Shiyun: So your whole day, you’re thinking of how to make your younger siblings fall asleep, so that you have your own time


Shiyun: If you were to describe your mother, how would you describe her?


Audra: Very kind and nice. Erm… really patient. Because sometimes my siblings cry and cannot take it, and she has to be patient and make them stop crying.


Shiyun: Is there one particular experience that is very memorable with your mother?


Audra: I cannot remember


Shiyun: Cannot remember? So it’s almost like everyday you guys spend a lot of time, but it’s a lot of housework and taking care of the younger siblings. How about for yourself? Is there a memorable experience you had growing up?


Audra: No


Shiyun: Okay, how about this. Let’s not think about the family. Let’s think about yourself. Let’s say you have some hope for the future. What is one hope that you have for the future?


Audra: I want to be a teacher and then…


Shiyun: Would you want to start your own family?


Audra: Not sure


Shiyun: No?


Audra: No


Shiyun: No, you wanna enjoy your own time


Audra: Mm

Shiyun: What is the thing that you really dislike doing everyday?


Audra: Throwing my cat poop and my sister when I have to clean her poop


Shiyun: Cleaning the poop of small animals and small children at home


Audra: Yeah


Shiyun: So really, a lot of your daily life is about taking care of your family. But maybe it will get better 2 years later. So are you thinking about that? Just waiting for the kids to grow up, then you can find your own life.


Audra: Yeah


This project was completed in 2022. Photography mentored by Larry Toh.

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