Bye, Grammy.

My grandmother who brought me up passed away two weeks ago. It was a tough time for my family. I realised three things, though.

1) I’ve always been an extremely emotional person, but when it came time to be strong because everyone else was breaking down, I realised I could. I never knew this before. But every time someone started crying, I would automatically stop and go and comfort and support them. It’s nice to know I can count on myself that way at times when it’s needed.

2) I’m a fairly independent person, actually, ferociously independent of late. And yet, at a time like this, all I wanted was to be in someone’s arms, really. I guess that’s when I realised, yeah, I really could use somebody in my life.

3) I had asked my mum if anyone was delivering the eulogy, and she had said there was no need for one. And then she asked me to write one at the last minute the night before the cremation. My mind was blank, and I was feeling pretty flustered. Maybe more due to the pressure of not being able to do a good job on such an important task. But now looking back, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to write and deliver that eulogy. I think, at the end of the day, writing really is my thing. And this was my way of saying goodbye to my Grammy. It’s really personal, but I guess I’d like to share it with you too. Maybe you’ve lost someone in your life too, maybe you might be able to relate as well. Anyway, thanks for all the condolences and support and concern you’ve offered me in the past few weeks. I really appreciate it all.

***

Hello everyone. I’m Grandma’s eldest granddaughter. I’ve been asked to say a few words before we say goodbye to Grandma / Mummy / Chwee kor / Kor po / Kui bu / Kui ma etc.

It’s funny because I distinctly recall when I was in Primary school and realised people would one day pass away, I asked Grandma, Can you don’t die can or not? She said I was siao (crazy), everyone has their time. She said when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I guess this was just her time.

My Grandma loved me a lot. How do I know? Because she always made my zhang (rice dumplings) plain, no filling, and my pineapple tarts without pineapple, cuz she knows that’s how I like it. She always said I’m very gong (silly) cuz I dunno how to eat the ho liao (good stuff). But she also always just wanted the best for me, 开心就好 she would say. (What’s most important is that you’re happy)

Thank you for coming to not only pay your last respects to my grandmother, but also to support my family in our time of loss. It really means a lot to us.

I think every loss is heartbreaking and difficult but I think what makes this loss that much harder is because it’s so easy to miss her. It’s so easy to recall the days when Grandma was well, when she could still talk and eat and laugh and enjoy herself. I’m glad that when she still could, we got the chance to bring her out as much as possible, celebrate birthdays, Chinese New Year, go on holidays overseas, and eat durian with her when we can.

It’s so easy to recall how much we enjoyed being with her. It’s so easy to recall her singing hymns, cooking in the kitchen, and of course, scolding people.

Right? She always scolded us for all kinda things. Down to the last few years she was still tell the missys (nurses) at the nursing home: You naughty ah, I smack you.

I think when we remember Grandma it’s how jovial, cheerful, happy, and humourous she was. She was always talking nonsense, making everyone laugh. In other words, yi jin chu bee lah (she was really cute lah). Even one of the nurses also said it yesterday when they visited her at the wake – she said, she was the best patient ever that they ever took care of. Yes, it was so easy to love her.

But Grandma was also a tough woman. Not only how hard she fought to stay alive over the past few years despite strokes and ailments, or how even if limping she would take the bus still. This was a woman who lived through two world wars. She adapted however she could working for the British, she learnt Cantonese to work as a seamstress. She did everything she could with whatever she could to bring up her family. I don’t know about you but I think she did a fantastic job. Although she had no sons but they say five filial daughters are worth more than a distant son, right?

And family was very very important to her. She was very kiam (stingy) about everything but always generous to us. One thing my cousins and I will always remember growing up is our Saturday dinners. She would cook and all of us would come together to have dinner together. It was something we would always look forward to. She singlehandedly united our family. And you know what? It’s the reason why till this day, all her granddaughters are still so close. And why family also means so much to us.

There’s a quote that says “The love of family is life’s greatest blessing.” Today we say goodbye to someone who was a great blessing in our lives. But knowing that her memories and love will always, always live on inside our hearts. We love you Grandma. Always will.

 
<3

Growing Up in Singapore

Was reading a friend’s post and I didn’t really realise it if she hadn’t said it, but I kinda actually really liked growing up in Singapore.

Back when we “swung around MRT poles and ran around trains”.

Back when fun was spending time with your friends at the nearest neighbourhood playground playing catching.

When projects meant making clay model cars and crushing cans to represent petrol stations, and listening to ABBA and The Carpenters.

When you could leave me for hours at the library and I’d still never want to go home.

How I’d look forward to things like visits to Popular bookstore and being allowed to buy ONE book.

Or the rare drive-through at Macs and to get some Happy Meal toy (Hot Wheels! 101 Dalmatians! Sesame Street mini bean pals!)

And sitting by the radio waiting to record our favourite songs on cassette tape, wishing that this time the DJ wouldn’t talk over the intro.

Or dancing to the Macarena.

Back when “dating” meant taking slow strolls home with my first love everyday, or putting a song on the jukebox at A&W.

When the highlight of the year would be an amazing trip to the zoo or bird park with childhood best friends.

When you only went to Orchard Road during Christmas time, to see the lights – a yearly tradition with my cousins.

When taking photos meant holding up one side of your skirt and posing like a princess – and everyone’s favourite backdrop was that fountain at the airport terminal 1.

When a treat meant still having enough money to buy an extra chili fishball just before recess was over.

When I could wear the same terribly mismatched thing every other day and nobody judged me on what I wore or what I owned or didn’t own or how stupid I looked (Ok shuddap if you actually did but never told me haha).

When success was scoring a 51 on my Chinese test.

And knowing I was growing up when I admitted to my teacher I was going to cheat for my test but decided it was wrong to.

I miss growing up here. I miss the Singapore I grew up in. *Nostalgic*

I Am My Tabs

Today I finally caved. My computer was being retarded and hanging up on me. I figured this meant I needed to give it a little kick in the behind and restart it. I’d been putting it on sleep mode far too much cuz I didn’t wanna lose my browser tabs. Lame, I know. I could have just bookmarked them / downloaded some plugin that will reopen saved tabs / whatever genius techy solution. But no, instead I just left them there hanging, with me making snow angels in the comforting fact that they were there. Not that I was actively reading any of those pages, it was just nice having them there.

But today, it was clear I needed to do something about it. So I decided to spring clean my tabs. You know, actually click on them, look through what I still needed or didn’t need, save some links and chuck the rest. That’s when I realised how intimate and personal one’s browser tabs are, they practically tell a story about you and the secret going-ons in your brain, well, at least for that period of few weeks or months you had been hoarding those tabs.

I decided to consciously analyse (well, more like look until my eyes glaze over and just ponder/stone while kinda looking thoughtfully in the distance) mine to discover myself in a way I never had before. I don’t suppose one should take these things too seriously though. It’s practically what you click on on a whim. Yes, that was a disclaimer to put on record just in case any of what comes up seems to make me look stupid. I was information drunk, yo.

So. There were a couple of articles on writing tips, links to short stories (which I have yet to read), information about a local writing competition – calling for submissions for a cat-themed anthology no less. Some local skit probably parodying our national state of complaints, but it was $30 and I’m a bit hesitant to spend that kind of money nowadays. A dailymail article with stunning photographs of dancers striking acrobatic poses in city streets, inspiration for a shoot I’d like to do one day (as in being in front of the lens, though being behind the lens might be fun too). Two gmail accounts open, one for my professional life, and the other for its sleazy, grimy underbelly, otherwise known as my personal life. A couple of craigslist listings of pre-loved macbooks, dryers and toilet cleaning services. Too many thought catalog articles telling me the pros and cons of being single, that I am important, and numerous numbered lists of all the things I should have done before I was 25 (too late for that), or that I should stop after the age of 25 (not too late for this I guess). That real Singapore post about fellow Singaporeans exposing their disgusting opinions about molest. An AWARE page open to information about rape.  A couple of design taxi pages on fantastic typographic design, some pages on tips for creativity. A few purpose fairy articles on making the best of this life I’ve got. One page on the orgasm as art. Hmmm. An article on getting offline and actually living a life (how morosely ironic, really). A whole bunch of YouTube videos – The XX playlist, The Script playlist, “Chances Are” featuring RDJ & Vonda from those Ally McBeal days, the Glee mashup of “Crazy/You Drive Me Crazy”, Sarah Blasko’s cover of Outkast’s Hey Ya (ohemgee good), a half-watched episode of MasterChef US S3, and the choreography to G.NA’s 2HOT.

So what does this all mean? It means there are a lot of things I want to accomplish which I have not. It means I am struggling to fit all my dreams into the 24 hours a day that I currently have. It means what I thought about myself before is more or less accurate though. And that’s a good thing. I know who I am, and I know what I want. I’m glad I’m clear on that. I don’t think many people are. Now, just to make all the things I want to a reality.