Monthly Archives: March 2015

More catching up over the lunar new year 

The lunar new year and the concept for reunion served as a good reminder for everyone to get together. Before CNY, I had met up my ex-colleagues from TSP a few times. During CNY, despite being away for a few days, there was time to catch up with an old school senior, a couple more friends and also our favorite family friends.EditAll our offsprings 

Some turned into mutants though 

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A closure to the mourning

Beautiful eulogies, on most parts, were said.

Tears fell when we were reminded of the humane side of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He was a leader of the country but he was also a father and a grandfather. As many said, there would always be a gap in our lives. It was our loss but he was finally united with Mrs Lee. We should find solace in this knowledge.

We could never thank him enough. I was very touched when X uttered ‘thank you’ alongside with Ms Cassandra Chew. At this tender age, he knew what mattered to us.

It had been a long time since we recited our pledge or sang the national anthem. I did not understand their true meanings till now.

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.

我们是新加坡公民,
誓愿不分种族、言语、宗教,
团结一致,
建设公正平等的民主社会,
并为实现国家之幸福、繁荣与进步,
共同努力。

It was the very first time I said the pledge with conviction and tears.

Even with Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s departure, he taught us the most important lesson in National Education. It was far more powerful than any of the NE exhibition, NE tours that we had been on as students.

Gratitude and appreciation had been much said.

We lost a great man but we received an important lesson and reminder. We should always treasure Singapore, regardless of the good and bad that came with it.

Z had seen the outpouring of grief, both from us and the TV. He asked a genuine question. One which Mr H had thought was rude but one which, as an afterthought, was asked in the right spirit. His question was, “Why are we so sad that Mr Lee Kuan Yew has died? We have another Prime Minister.”

He did not mean it as a malicious question. We explained we grieved because he had done so much for Singapore. From Z’s perspective, he was more concerned about Mr Lee Hsien Loong. He believed that our current Prime Minister would do as well as our founding Prime Minister. You could tell that this boy had thought a lot because at night, he told us, “Mummy, I want to make a card for Mr Lee Hsien Loong. He has lost his father so he must be very sad. I will draw his family and him in the card. When I finish the card, can you help me to pass to him? What is his company’s name? Where is his office?”

Children were indeed more progressive and forward thinking. They had moved on, more concerned about the future and we should look to doing our part for the future too.

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A grateful note from school

For the past week, as zealous as I had been in catching up on newsfeed on Facebook, eulogies, tributes and watching the special programmes on Mr Lee, I had been recounting as much as I could to Z.

I printed simple stories from the web to read to Z. We sat through the documentaries and I answered as many of his questions as I could. Z actually had been banned from watching television programmes but in view of the enriching information, we had allowed him to camp in front of the TV for as long as the documentaries and news run.

Some people felt that children were too young to understand and did not need to pay their respect at Parliament House. Though there was probably information overload, the trip down helped Z to learn. We obviously had not thought so much on what he could absorb.

On Friday evening, when we picked Z up from school, his teacher thanked us for sharing so much information about Mr Lee. It helped her in teaching the kids. He was the only child in class who understood and asked many questions which kept the “lesson” engaging for the rest of the children.

When Z saw the car decal, he got very excited too; because even he knew it was a symbol of remembrance.  

X, our 2-year old toddler, recognized the symbol too. When he saw the simple black ribbon on my nails, he pointed ever so excitedly too.

While X might not understand appreciation for the great man at this point, I was glad that my 5++ year old did. 

It struck me that had I not been a mother and an immediate family unit of my own, I might have not been able to appreciate all that he had done for us. We worried more, we wanted to protect our children and we wanted the best for them. With our sense of awareness of the environment and anxiety heightened, it made us feel thankful that we could bring our children up safely. 

We had something to defend, we would protect our home. 

How right he was, on many counts; including the one that having children was more satisfying than having a Phd. 

Uniquely Singapore – Like clockwork

When I used to work with regional counterparts, I recalled some commented that Singaporeans were overbearing to work with. We had pressing deadlines, we were particular about details and we were insistent on results, and never failed to request for contingency plans. When the news broke earlier in the week, I had been affected to the extent of going to work with swollen eyes. My friends and I were sharing our grief through whatsapp but we still went to work.

We still had our reports to write, emails to clear and deadlines to meet. It was a major event for Singaporeans but everything still moved like clockwork.
What was more impressive was how the organizing team stepped up to extend the hours for the public to pay respects to Mr Lee, how they improved the process on the ground, how they had created a priority queue, how orderly Singaporeans had been and how kind the businesses in the area had been too.

When we went to the Parliament House, no matter how long hours the team had worked, they were always warm and polite. For once, for a rarity, there were few keyboard warriors. It was a welcomed change. There was no one stomping people. Everyone was helpful, kind and thoughtful. We always had a good heart but we had been poor at showing that. We had no excuses for the poor show of compassion, be it due to hectic schedules or stress. I hoped this could be the start of a caring society.

Paying our respects 

Last night, we managed to pay our respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House.   

I was immensely thankful that our family of four had the opportunity to do so. In view of the long queue, we had initially decided against bringing X. He was only 2. When the news reported of the 8-hour queue, it was impossible to bring Z. I would fare pretty well by myself but with Z, I had to worry about his loo needs. Meals and rest could be easily settled. I even asked if he could don a diaper!

We were very lucky that a friend was in the queue and helped us check about the priority queue. One moment we were home, the other moment we were flying out of the door.

Z mustered a simple note in our haste

My note which was written by the river 

I was glad to bow in front of his portrait and to utter a quick thank you. It had to be quick because there were so many more people waiting to walk past his wake. 

I was really glad that our family of four had the chance to be part of this historic and significant moment, and to be able to show our gratitude in this small way. On a greater magnitude, I hoped we would be able to teach our sons to follow his ways, to be contributing Singaporeans and to start this wave ourselves too.  

他们是国家的栋梁,是我们未来的主人翁。他们会从您的身上学习坚决的态度,勤奋和胆识过人。今晚非常特殊,将永远是人生最重要的一堂课。

Legendary tales

The documentaries, the special editions contained amazing tales of the late Mr Lee. We mostly knew what he did domestically but did not know he took the international stage with ease. He was also a very loving husband.

//edited.

This was published before I completed. I dozed off intermittently and lost my train of thoughts.

What I wanted to say was a man with so much responsibilities, so much work, so much to do for the country and still could find time to appreciate his life partner was indeed amazing.

His discipline, his way of life encompassed so many details. As they shared more and more of his stories during the time before I was borned, my awe for Mr Lee ballooned.

I would love to retell his tales to my boys when they grew up.