Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back At Work

After more than 6 months of a 'domesticated' life, playing in the kitchen and being a devoted wife, I'm back at work! Spending over half the day outside the house now. No more time and energy to prepare meals or sit down with Jerome for breakfast & lunch. We've just started ordering Tingkat meals (4 dishes) now for dinner.

When I reach home at around 7pm, dinner is all ready as Jerome cooked the rice. Jerome does most of the housework now too! It's good to be back at work, more fruitfully occupied! Just hope that I'll not be over-consumed by it. Life's good and it's going to get even better! :) I'm enjoying myself!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jerome's Grandmother

Jerome's grandmother passed away peacefully last Friday morning (8th Jan 2010) at the ripe old age of 105, leaving behind 3 sons, 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grand-children.

I have only met grandmother for a couple of times every year for special occasions like the Chinese New Year, birthdays, etc. An amazing woman from the stories that I've heard from Jerome, she had became senile in her old age. Alone, in her twenties, she came to Singapore from China with just $1 in her pocket. Surviving the long voyage was already a feat. Her husband passed away young and left her alone to support 3 young children. Her eldest son, my father-in-law was just 12 years old then. The family was so poor that he had to walk for hours to visit his principal and borrowed some money to give his father a burial. Regardless of the financial hardship, she insisted on giving her children a good education. Although her brother tried to persuade her to move to the city (Chinatown) to stay with his family, she continues to stay in the countryside (Lim Chu Kang). She believed that there were going to be too many distractions in the city and wanted her sons to stay in the countryside to stay focused on their education. Her efforts paid off as today all her grandchildren are graduates or graduates-to-be.

Her funeral was a grand 5 days affair, done in the traditional Chinese way with a lot of rituals. This was my first time to be personally involved in a funeral for a family member. My own paternal grandparents passed away when my father was still in his teens. And when my maternal grandparents passed away in Butterworth, it seemed that I couldn't take days off work to pay my final respects. It was never a good time to take leave. Hence, now I would always feel guilty if I have to attend other's funeral.

At first, I didn't want to miss my training and apply for leave. However, at the eleventh hour, I decided that I better apply for compassionate leave. I should help out at the funeral in whatever ways I could, that was the least I could do. Moreover, almost everyone in the family was going to be there. Only a couple of relatives who are overseas and can't return for one reason or the other were absent. It's really a show of final respect for the amazing woman. As Jerome said, all of us are her seeds. Without her, none of us would have existed.

Death brings people closer. We met relatives and friends that we've not seen for a while. We spent days together, shared stories about the dear old woman who had brought us together in the first place. The grand funeral is really a great show. As her sons put it, she should be proud and happy with her grand funeral. Of course, the younger generation, wonders about the rituals. We have little clue about the traditional practices and customs. But as a sign of respect, we just did as we were told. Folding and burning paper gold and silver ingots, believed to provide wealth for the dead in the afterlife. There were prayer sessions led by a monk on 1 night. On another night, a Taoist priest led some other rituals.

My 9 year-old niece pondered aloud "I wonder what my funeral is going to be like..."

(To be continued...)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Really Matters

"It doesn't matter what you are doing. What matters is you feel happy doing it."

Attitude makes all the difference...