In the lead up to celebration of Willie Kee's 80th birthday, we will share a series of "This is your life" stories, written by us for him and maybe even some written by him.
It was Christmas Eve.
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
The week before everyone had been on watch and alert.
But just like the boy who cries wolf, the moment of concern had passed.
People were jovial, celebrating Christmas Eve and their safety.
"I woke up to the sky, pinching myself to know if I was awake or if it was a dream,"
"The ceiling had completely disappeared, there was glass everywhere,"
"I shared a house with others who slowly but surely woke to the same picture as me,"
"I couldnt find my shoes, so my friend piggybacked me until we were able to find safe ground,"
"It was surreal, it was like waking up to a nightmare,"
"We just hadnt seen anything like it and to cope, of course all we could do is joke with one another,"
"But what I will remember and never forget, is how we all rallied together somehow,"
"I witnessed people, with their families, some who had lost someone,"
"So much helplessness and not knowing where to start,"
"I travelled by car down to see my family in Sydney, all along the way help was forthcoming,"
"That was my personal experience of the Aussie spirit, everyone wanted to give and to help in their own way and its what sustained me,"
"It was unexpected, I was amazed at people's kindness and generosity,"
"Being with family helped me imnensely, soon after I returned to Darwin, vowing to help with the reconstruction,"
"I was an electrician,"
Did you know 60 percent of the original population never returned?
"Im glad I went back, it was good to be part of rebuilding the entire city,"
And in the following years, Willie went on to meet Mie mie, get married, have and raise three children in Darwin.
In 2003 they packed up, sold their house and began an adventure in Brisbane.
"This was definitely one of the moments in my life where I began to realise my mortality,"
"I vowed to make the most of every single moment of my life, to experience all life has to offer, to have fun, to spend my time doing the things I love and being with the people I love,"
"To this day, I dont take things too seriously, I think laughter lightens the load,"
Willie Kee turns 80, Sunday, 7th February 2021.
How do you feel about the world around you?
We started learning about having a world view from 2005, when we learnt what it means to be human and that we are all in the same boat, literally.
We are all on this one planet, perhaps with different circumstances and situations but for the most part we are each facing similar challenges and concerns.
When we began Makanan, we discovered we had created not just a restaurant for people to meet but a place of learning for future entrepreneurs, creatives, thinkers and innovators. Little did we know what they would all go on to do, but we like to think we played a small part in helping them to see they are the creator of their lives. This was our team but also the customers who frequented our restaurant!
You see what you want to see, you create what you want to create. We saw an opportunity, to bring life to a space, to create community within community.
When we opened Mamaku, we had 25 years of experience to carry with us. This doesn’t mean it wasn’t without its turbulence and speed bumps.
Mamaku has had its highs and lows, but what we are ever so grateful for is the continuation of creating community within community.
This time we are all living in, calls for more face to face time, more one on one time, more connection with human beings, more being related with one another. This is what we aim to do: bring people together around a love of food.
It was in the beginning a necessary for us to support our family, to have a business that thrives in order to support not just our family but our extended family.
There is a bigger purpose to what we do that drives us to do better everyday and that’s being able to connect with the humanness of being human that we all face together in this big world.
Sometimes we are not always aware what will happen next or what’s next in store for us. As in who do we need to be for this world, for us, to truly help and be of service?
Remember we are just like you, and you are just like us. Stepping though and discovering road blocks here and there, navigating as best as you can through both the unfamiliar and familiar.
What do you want your legacy to be? This is ours - a family of shopkeepers.
We are a family of shopkeepers. We share our journey with the world, right from where we are. If we were to plot on a map where our family hails from, of course, the majority are from China and Indonesia, and now Australia, however we are still discovering the facts of our heritage so much is still unknown. We were raised in Darwin, Northern Territory, and when our ancestors arrived to Darwin, unfortunately, after the tropical cyclones Darwin is renowned for, a lot of our records disappeared. This journey we share is about documenting our lives now, for our next generations and also for providing the difference we want to make right now.