100 Days

On the 27th February 2017, this was the 100th day since you left us.

In the blink of an eye, 100 days had gone by. You have left behind a legacy that few people can match up to, your best testimonial is the unity and bonding of the extended family tree of five generations under your matriarch leadership over the past few decades, beyond the times when you are no longer around us.

I wrote a tribute to you and your legacy as the matriarch of the extended family, after we marked the 49th day, this testimonial to you took a bit longer than what I had initially planned to write. I am glad and relieved that it was off my chest, into my own tribute and testimonial article for you and on you.

As we marked the 100th day, the extended family come together again to remember you, your wisdom, stories and adventures. Walking up the hill on a beautiful Monday morning, paying a visit to your final resting place, we saw nice little plants growing on top of your little garden. I personally think it is a fitting tribute to you, I still remember you growing vegetables and crops in the garden beside your home.

There was a little red flower that stood out among the small plants and crops when we were there visiting you, blooming beautifully on your 100th day. Do I want to put photographs in this article? I should though, then I decided to do something different, a photographs only article of my 100 days tribute on my photography site.

Dearest Grandma, you may not longer be physically around us, your presence, aura, legacy, divine protection and blessings will always be among us, looking after us , all five generations under your charge, from above the sky.

Lest We Forget. Your memories and legacy lives forever. I will and we will always remember your teachings and wisdom.

Remembrance – A 99 year old matriarch of 5 generations

She might be small in size, however, don’t ever underestimate her. She was a fierce and commanding figure, the head of the extended family for 36 years since her husband’s passing in 1980. Her awareness of situations and meticulous to details, numbers and things gave her a reputation of – don’t try to pull any tricks or cheat me. Growing vegetables at the side of her home, tending to her ducks and hens in her backyard, climbing up the starfruit tree in her front porch to pluck fruits. She was full of life, energy and zest till doing all the above things until she was in her 70s to 80s.

Having to take charge of the family, she was fierce and protective at times because she loved her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and a great great grandchild. Being the eldest grandson of the family probably has its perks, extra pressure and responsibilities. I do get quite a lot of nagging and scoldings from her, all in the name of love, care and concern for me.

I remembered an incident very clearly when I was a young kid, probably during my early primary school school days. I was back home in Malaysia, celebrating Chinese New Year festival. I was running around and playing in the village, I encountered a wild dog bigger in size than me, barking and chasing me. Since I was just a small young boy, I got scared, turned and ran back to my grandmother’s home, I dropped a slipper behind. My grandmother asked me what happened, I replied that a wild dog chased me at the corner of the road down from the house. She held my hand, walked with me to the place where I encountered the wild dog. She chased and scolded the wild dog with my other slipper, helping me to retrieve my other half of my slipper back. That’s my grandmother in action!

Her travel wanderlust was just as amazing and inspiring, traveling to many different countries. In the village, she would probably be one of the most well traveled seniors! I have yet to match her travel feats at this point in time! She traveled down regularly to visit my family in Singapore during my childhood and teenage years.

My paternal grandmother was an amazing role model, I think I got some of her traits from her – hardworking, not giving up, travel wanderlust and very meticulous.

At her 90th birthday celebrations, I still had many fond memories of her big birthday bash and those photographs will be wonderful memories for the entire extended family when they all came together to celebrate a milestone for her.

As she started to age over the past few years since entering into the 90s age band, old age and deterioration of the body was inevitable, every human being will face it some day in the future. Her movement became slower and she required walking aid. Yet, she was also very amazing, still being alert of her surroundings and people when she was in her 90s.

She was planning to celebrate her 100th birthday in the month of May 2017. Sometimes, things in life don’t go as planned like we all want it to be. She passed away peacefully on 20th November 2016 at a ripe old age of 99. I was very shocked, not expecting it to happen even though I was pre-empt by my parents a few weeks ago to be ready in case it happens. I had it really hard because I attended my university junior funeral wake on the night of 19th November 2016, she was just 36 years old. Their passing, were like “back to back”, this was a double blow that shook me really hard and to be honest, I was lost for three weeks – pain, shock, agony and sadness penetrated inside me heart, mind and soul, you can read all of them here.

I did not visit my Grandmother as often as I should and could, over the past few years. I would like to confess that I am very sad and disappointed that I did not get to see her alive for one last time before she left us. I was still having hopes that I can do something special for you on your 100th birthday celebration in 2017 with my photography and story telling. This is not going to take place at this point in time and I am planning of another photography channel to remember and honour your life.

During her funeral, it only dawned upon me on my role and status in the extended family since I was the eldest grandson in the family. I had to perform some of the rituals along side with my dad and uncle.

Reaching a ripe old age of 99, she’s the big mother of the extended family of five generations under her. That’s another remarkable feat that not many people can meet up to. She led a good life with a big extended network of descendants under her, guided and taught by her authority, teachings and lessons. She may not have live a life of rich and wealth during her life time, she definitely live a great and good life with many filial descendants of good upbringing and teachings.

Our dear matriarch is now watching all over us from the sky above, taking care and blessing us, just like before, nothing much has changed. I have a personal photography project (on my grandmother and the 5 generations under her) in my mind that I hope that I can produce and show it to you when the time is ripe. This will be a testimonial and tribute to your matriarch status as well a legacy for the current and future generations to remember you.

Goodbye and farewell to my beloved Grandmother, I will always remember you in my heart. Yes, I do miss your scoldings and nagging on me.

Remembrance of a junior from Uni

I can still remember when I first met her, it was during our University days at The University of Queensland (UQ). I was in my final semester and she arrived to start her first semester. Being a smaller campus (Ipswich Campus) than her other main (a.k.a big sister) St. Lucia campus, the international students community were a lot smaller in size and it was easier to recognise and know who were fellow international students, as well as those who were from our home country, Singapore.

As I was one of the seniors there on the campus during that time, I tried to help in whatever possible for the juniors who just arrived from overseas preparing to enter university life. My first impression of her, as a junior from UQ, was very friendly and bubbly, full of life and enthusiasm. Her personality and character made her well liked among the international students community in the campus.

Upon my graduation and return back to Singapore, our paths did not cross again until a few years back, I met her again at one of our local alumni gathering events in Singapore, organised by University of Queensland Alumni Association of Singapore (UQAAS). Thereafter, she got more involved and active with UQ alumni as well as UQAAS events. Her energy, enthusiasm, friendly and bubbly character and personality, are like a shining light for the rest of the UQAAS community. She made many more new alumni friends that would also give her the same and even higher level of testimonial and recognition that I wrote here.

She was an amazing young lady entrepreneur, helping out in her family business, driving new ideas and innovation forward. Her leverage and usage of marketing in all different aspects and channels, combining old and new, made me respect and admire her a lot. She’s a very good role model for young entrepreneurs, as well as giving back to society too. She’s not just the brains, she also had the skills and hands on experience in running a business. When I saw her documentary feature on Channel 8, Tuesday Report, a Tuesday night documentary on local stories in Singapore and they were covering on local home grown businesses, she showed it all, with great confidence and pride. She was a trained and skilled butcher, oh yes, I sometimes introduced her as the “lady butcher boss”, to my friends, it might sound crude, yet this described her perfectly.

Her warm hospitality and friendship never fails to amaze me, as well as our local UQAAS community. Whenever I met her at UQ or UQAAS events, or event going down to her warehouse and purchase goods from her company. I would always have a chat with her whenever I can. Life goes on as usual, chatting and gossiping, exchanging stories and future plans.

Suddenly, on a Saturday afternoon in November 2016, I received a shocking message from a fellow UQAAS friend that Linda had passed on suddenly while overseas. Upon receiving that message, I was totally shell shocked, wondering what had happened to her. A few days later, the local newspapers picked the news and more information started to come out from the press. I decided not to talk too much about her sudden passing and just kept it inside. At her funeral wake, I saw her for the last time, a beautiful and capable young lady, gone too soon.

It took me some time for me to recover from her passing (and dealing with another passing right after) and pen out this short story sharing, to remember her and a testimonial to her character, personality, achievements and friendship.

Life is so unpredictable, she was still young. I (and we all) lost a good friend of our alumni community, a great role model.

Goodbye Linda, so long and farewell, you will always be remembered.