Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Future of Funerals

Over a timespan of 7 days, the siblings go on rotating shifts to stay at the funeral, taking care of the food, coffin and guests.

On Monday it was such an emotional day.
That dreadful high-tech machine that slowly allows you to transport the coffin until you can't see it anymore, before the final push into the cremation machine.

The wails of the relatives, my cries amidst.

I shall cut the drama and skip to the thanking part.

Kudos to dearest Neng who though, couldn't make it, have been constantly checking on how my family and I was coping; Mr Ting who dropped by to say hi and asked about my attachment; as well as Ying, Fung and Minty who talked to me for over 2 hours.

During our conversation, I shared with them about how businessmen are being "smart" of providing better funeral services, like folding incense papers for $20 per pack, and 50 packs minimum. Others including paying $300 for somebody to help out at the funeral, taking over and staying up from 11pm-7am. Even better, bigger paper houses for the dead that would need to build additional tent out of the HDB block, rounding the total cost up to 10K.

Fung then joked about the future funeral being them taking over the entire funeral, while family members just have to stay home/office and observe the whole ceremony through a CCTV.

Funny thing is, it's not hard to believe.
They do everything that I find us being there kind of useless.

Well since my family isn't exactly a small one, and especially when you have a uncle doing big business, it is no wonder we received many condolences flowers and blankets, so much so it's blocking all the walkways.

Orchids, Chrysanthemum, Liles ... you name it.

What surprised a us was this:

A fresh new concept that we like.

Tears dried, rituals over, ash locked.

We live, we die.
That's the way it has to be ...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Watching Her Dance

A performer should feel proud and confident when he/she performs on stage.

A week before my attachment starts my sis was involved with her school dance and we all attended it.

Last year there was a similar dance, and from what I observed, I saw improvement. While she was swirling and swinging and doing all sorts, I was so anxious for her, as if worried she might do something wrong because her expressions spells S-C-A-R-E-D.

So the Temesek Polytechnic Dance Ensemble consists of both hip-hop dancers and contemporary jazz dancers. I liked the choreography and the attitude they deliver. However, what I feel was that the hip-hop dancers outshine the jazz dancer because of the music, the attitude, the costumes etc.

The worst thing an audience would want is the uber lousy lightings within the auditorium.
Note to TP: Please do something about them, it's not like you're not rich enough (considering half of the Bedok Reservoir belongs to you).

I understand when my parents feel left out because the entire auditorium were filled with youngsters, what happened to all their parents?

Frankly speaking, I like their theme of designing the brochure into a SBS bus guide booklet (it doesn't look like one!), yet I don't see them following the theme such that the dance doesn't say
about SBS buses. Inside, there were only the dancers' names and a couple of black and white photos of their instructors. Boring.

In the feedback form, it asked, "How much do you think the tickets should be?"
  1. Less than $6
  2. $6
  3. $10
  4. $15
We bought it at $15. You say leh?

Jian Wei had to wear formal because last year when he came to watch, he came in singlet/T-shirt, shorts and slippers, which displeased my sister a lot. Plus, he came in late and missed one od my sis's dance. This year, he came 10 mins early. Woh, things a guy would do to make one happy huh?

Just in case you're interested to see TPDE's standards, the whole dance concert is uploaded HERE ON YOUTUBE.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Taiwan Elections

Kuo Min Tang's 马英九胜利!

58% to 42%.

All right daddy, it's time to revisit Taiwan again.

Even at the funeral, everyone was constantly updating themselves with the election news.
And yes, I'm finally catching up.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


Just if case you want to drop by, it's at Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 Blk 552.

I don't mind having some company as well, instead of just folding the incense papers and burning them.

I'm only back home an hour ago.
A bit tired.

Thank you all for the kind comments.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lingering Death

I was sipping my bubble (milk) tea when my Sis's mobile phone rang.

Within a minute, she hung up, looked at me and said,

Get ready to go out, we're going to the hospital to see Ah Ma. She's in the ICU, urgent. Daddy asked us to meet him at his workplace so he can drive us there.
Meanwhile, I admit it didn't bother me THAT much because I've never seen how patients in the Intensive Care Unit(ICU) is like, and I was quarreling, so it was very frustrating.

What puzzled me was, the news came so sudden. 2 days ago I just spoke to her and she was still her character, and then next thing I know she is admitted to the ICU and her heartbeat had stopped in the noon.

My family reached at around 10pm and had to register at the queue to get in. At the point, I started to get worried. Our steps hastened as we walked along the corridor, to join 20 others waiting outside the ward.

I took a quick glance at them and clearly, a dozen of them had red, puffy eyes.

Dad brought us into the ward.

What lay in front of me on the bed doesn't look like my Ah Ma at all.

How come, just within hours, she looked so haggard? Her face was bloated and white as paper. I almost couldn't recognise her.

With her dry tongue lolling to the the side of the mouth, I can see brown flaky spots on them. My heart ached.

Her eyes were squinting, yet I was able to see the small little sparkle still glistening.

She had difficulty breathing, gagging for air even with the life support machine and many other scary-looking machines. I was afraid.

All I mumbled was,
Ah Ma... Ah Ma...

Then I started weeping. She was so strong even with diabetes, high blood pressure and eye problems. Why then, because of a fall that led to so many complications?

The doctor told us, at 11am she started to throw up, as there was food stuck in her lungs. Lung infection causing the oxygen not able to reach her other organs. That fall had worsen all her existing problems, and her kidney had failed to function. The maid told me she had not passed motion nor pee for the past two days already.

After the vomit her heartbeat stopped, scaring a lot of people. The doctor managed to save her, but said the condition wasn't pleasant. Her oxygen level was gradually dropping, and her blood pressure was nowhere near 100(safe level). At 4pm she was admitted to the ICU and at 6pm they gave her the first jab. (There's three jabs, the first one being the mildest and the last one is the strongest.) At 8pm, the doctor announced Ah Ma was not responding to the medicine. So they need to give her the second jab. I reached at 10pm, just in time the doctor said the second one didn't work as well.

In his words, if by 12am the situation is not improving, we have to prepare for the worst already. At this point, I panicked. My aunties cried. In goes the final stage of the medication and I waited outside the ward.

One of Ah Ma's closest sons was in Shanghai for a business trip, yet waiting for his midnight plane to come back to Singapore to see Ah Ma. I crossed my fingers, hoping he can make it back in time.

Slowly, I see Ah Ma's data on the computer screen increase in tandem. I was relieved. I went home, thinking that she managed to survive.

Before I go, I told my Ah Ma,
Ah Ma, le hak kin ho ki lai, le ai ki lai.
(Ah Ma, hurry get well soon, you must wake up.)
She was unconscious but my sis and I thought we saw her moved her pupils and moved her head, as though she agreed. I continued tearing.

Back home, I called Neng and told him everything I knew, in between sobs. I've lived with my grandma for 8.5 years (K1-Sec1) and I've never respected/appreciated her. I felt so guilty, I wanted to say I'm sorry and Thank You, but I won't get a chance to unless she wakes up again.

I saw so many flashbacks last night, those of when she shielded our cane attacks from mom, teaching me how to fold incense paper ingots, smoking, her laughter, her taking photos with us during our birthdays etc.

Giddy I was when I fell asleep, because I cried too hard. I had to work this morning. With my heart heavy, I lulled myself out of bed to prepare for work. All this while, my head filling with thoughts of her. Daddy woke up early as well, telling me that he's going to the hospital now.

My uncle had reached Singapore and rushed over to Tan Tock Seng Hospital(TTSH) at this point of time.

Daddy told me her condition was same as yesterday when I was on my way to work. I was waiting for daddy to tell me when the need arises for me to rush over.

Then at 8.20am, Daddy sent me an sms:
call me. ma has passed away.

That instant, I halted. I phoned my dad immediately, demanding the details. He said to come over now, and he had to discuss about the funeral with the adults.

On my way there, the journey really seemed much further when there were only 5 stops. I plugged in iTouch, numbed. And seconds later, I was crying on the train. I ran out of the train station later and into TTSH, to the ward.

When I reached, it was almost 9 already. Needless to say, almost everyone present had cried their hearts out. Even daddy (I only saw him cry once in my entire life, this is the second time. The first time was also in TTSH, when he was the patient.).

0805 hrs. Kim xx xxx passed away. My father's mother. My grandmother. Gone.

They were cleaning her body when I reached, so I can only look from the outside while waiting (until the nurse asked me to go away). I was scared. It's only about 10am or so I get to go in.

This time, her face was different again. She wasn't gasping. Still swollen, her tongue now sticks out slightly, her eyes closed (her left eye was a teeny weeny bit open). I looked into them and cried "Ah Ma". I still saw that sparkle.

Her hair still black and soft, her skin taut.

It was uncontrollable. Tears flowed down like a river.
I wanted to touch her, but I'm afraid.

Her limp, lifeless form just lay there, silent. I tried to find a trace of her body bobbing up and down, but all stayed still.

It's unbelievable. She left, just like that. So sudden, so fast.
That was her deadline. I believed, she had already tried to persist till the morning.

While the others were out discussing, I sneaked into the room again, wanting to see her.
This time I was alone. I stood by her side and cried out loud, moaning, grieving for her loss. I remembered shouting "Ah Ma" a few times, "wake up!", "I'm sorry I should have come to visit you more often!", "Thank you, I didn't even say that before you go...." .

I felt remorseful, horrible.

Then I looked at her left eye, they seemed even smaller now, almost closing, the sparkle in her eye died.

Daddy and the maid were dealing with the grief in a different manner. They avoided. They just can't face Ah Ma. The knew it was too much to handle, and so they'd rather watch her from afar.
Before I leave for her house in Ang Mo Kio, I took one long look, I want to remember her forever.

We searched and gathered for her photo to use for the funeral, and all of her favourite things. I lived there before, and so many memories came flooding back.

At 3.3pm her body arrived, and my stupid tears filled to the brim of my eyes. The Taoist ceremony lasted for an hour, and when we walked past her, it was yet another look.

With all the make-up and perservatives in and on her, she looked nothing like the Ah Ma I know. Nothing. She looked peaceful, cold, and detached. I peered through the glass, wanting to hold her but I couldn't.

After changing down the funeral clothes, I went home.
I am going to see her for the next five days, until they cremate her on Monday.

I regret doing the things I do to you Ah Ma, I miss you.

Can you forgive me?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

May The Attachment Begins

Goodness, my first day of attachment starts officially in 9 hours time!

I'm so scared I'm not sure if I can fall asleep after this entry. It's like back to those primary school days, you feel the butterflies in the stomach (no, more like churning crazily), and even if you fell asleep, it would be dreaming about the first day working in a new environment.

I knew because last night I dreamt of calling up my company's director, who is also my supervisor, and he turns out to be an ang moh. Walao, the thought of all these doesn't help at all I swear.

So anyway the results are out and I'm finally moving on to Year 3 (actually I'm not so sure if I'm looking forward to it). I'm not so sure if I'm up to it though. I have mostly Bs and B+s, only Advertising a C+.

Most importantly, I can no longer be late!

Okay, so if you happen to be around Tanjong Pagar, ask me out for lunch or dinner!
I'm really nervous now, just got scolded by my dad. I'm going to bed now!


The Unnecessary Evil

I lost my watch exactly one week ago. Yep. The O.D.M one. Must be some bitch stolen it.

Why I say?

I was asked to perform with some NC juniors/seniors at Sheraton Hotel. They booked a hotel room for us. We changed and I took off my watch, putting it right smack in the middle of the big big bed (white sheets). Very obvious.

Only dancers and committee members were granted access to this room. After performance, the watch is gone. Doesn't that make a lot of sense?!

So anyway, the person deserved to be kicked in the groin by me.

* * *

It turns out I shouldn't be so excited about the dinner after all. Other than the food was great, the company wasn't fantastic (excluding Desleen and friend).

Us girls in the dance costume.

The dining table was lovely because of the rainbow lighting effects, first time I ever see this. It really does enhances the mood.

I was asked to go to the toilet so I tagged along. And found a cute little angel lying on the sofa one level below me.

The toilet lamp nice only. I had the urge to cut the line connecting the glass and bring home some of them.

That's Desleen Decinta Yeo _____ ______ (insert Chinese Name). Funny girl she is.

I might consider holding my future wedding dinner here. Seriously. Very good ambience and food. Beyond those glass windows, it's like a rainforest setting.

And a toast to Nan Chiau for 61 years of Chinese(haha) education. I brought home the cup by the way. Heh.

What? We are allowed to!

Those Dance Days

Back in 2003, my school held an arts event at the Victoria Theatre.

The performance includes the String Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Opera,Wushu and none other than Dance (us!). Weird thing that the drama people didn't out up a programme though.

Dance was the main highlights because if I didn't remember wrongly, we had about 5-6 items.

Those dance days were the best. As a couple of days ago I was feeling nolstalgic, I wanted to relive those glory days looking at my dance videos and photos, but guess what?! THERE WAS NONE!

Like seriously, WTH?!!! No videos of the extravaganza event nor Singapore Youth Festival(SYF) 03 and 05.

I only managed to find a couple of photos for the extravaganza event, which in this case, the SYF 03 item was showcased.

Note: It's not simple recognizing me here (I totally look like Ren Yao {transvestite}). Heh.
EXTRA Note: Don't laugh at the costume and makeup and props leh, please?

I still recall then when we trained so hard 3-4 times a week, sometimes even on weekends, and we have bruises all over the knees. Plus, the stretching, chatting, playing afool etc.

And many theft cases as well. Tsk.

Then of course at the backstage there were many vain pots(no, I wasn't one of them then) ...

We require lots of stretching and Ametz Yoko Yoko (the heating effect on skin makes us sweat, thus open the pores and make us even more 'warmed up').

"This is my lunch."

Not forgetting play pals and biscuits. Haha.

The Story of Initiative

It's only when we girls, despite shy, pluck up the courage to ask the guy if he could make us some candy floss at New York New York (ogay, I admit I didn't know it's free for all).

Then everybody started to queue up, even came over to ask us. Heh. :)

Zhi Min, who flew back to Australia, take care there and don't dare come back empty handed again. (Haha!)

And to Yong Lin the absentee, this gathering was held for YOU! It's ogay, we'll meet again. You have fun and take care doing your attachment far far away! ^-^

I swear I'm loving NYNY! The pork ribs is heavenly!

Mass Wedding

That was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my grandparents, uncle/auntie and Tiu Gong and Gor Pou.

If I didn't remember wrongly, there were 62 couples renewing their vows, and 6 other newly weds.

Because it was an event that's huge, some media coverage, and even printed wedding cards (some more!) for each and every guest, I thought the hall where we dine would be grand as well, thus we need to dress up.

See I made my hair so neat!

I even wore my new dress from Revoltage, while Sis permed her (fake) hair. Heh.

And also applied eyeliner.

And to our great disappointment, the wedding was held in the middle of the road (the reason why the streets were closed for the evening). The weather was humid, and it was packed. We sat on cheap plastic chairs that stretch over the entire street that's a tad bit too far from the main stage (like can see anything like that).

Even the 舞狮舞龙 troupe looks bored (they were yawning while waiting, caught it act).

Bright lightings, red prosperous greetings hung everywhere.

The event began with introducing all the wedded couples. This first pair is the oldest, and are my relatives! Cute only.

The buzz and excitement really uplifted the sian-ness. But then, as it continues with the 12th couple, my sian-ness was back as the naming dwells on. Imagine he announces the 64th couple.

Each couple gets a traditional gift hamper (in old-time baskets) and a new cute certificate!

The host of the night was Marcus Chin (can't believe I have to Google for his name), with him dressed in not-s0-traditional Chinese robes.

There, my grandparents. The first time in my entire life I get to see my grandparents getting married!

I got really bored while waiting so I walked around the premise, taking snapshots.

The VIP seats, doesn't look like they're all filled huh?

Following that the new couples were introduced and did the exchanging of vows etc, also a lengthy procedure.

Initially, I thought I would be dramatically touched but no, I was pretty dull, what with the humid weather.

I walked further away. I reckoned this is the bridal salon where they rent their gowns and suits.

My other relatives, looking hawt! :D

I walked back to my seat and chatted with Neng. Standing right in front of me was Henry Thia. Tsk tsk, he was checking out girls along with two other guys, like it's not obvious. Haha.

Ah, his skin was badly burnt, so pardon his sad face.

Gosh! The real exciting part, for bloody 18 years, I've never seen my grandparents close before (they always argue, and sleep in different rooms), but they kissed! Yes, smooched. Not once, not twice, but thrice for the press! Heh. Juicy.

Looking forced ...


The younger generation has a shorter attention span, it's scientifically proven ogay.

Another celebrity loitering around.

The ceremony is finally over! Couples walked hand in hand, receiving congratulatory greetings from family and friends. ^-^

My cousins and family.

My Tiu Gong (very loud) donned in an adorable outfit.

Grandma changed back to her normal clothes, and took with us couples. Heh.

Mommy seems to have a fetish for old women, really old women. She was so eager to go over the old woman(third from left) and hold her hand, talk to her etc. Funny.

The dinner was buffet style, it was nice, but we were expecting a full-course dinner right?!

I think he looks like Edison here, no? Ogay, maybe not the eyes.

He (right) almost did not want to take photo because of the height difference. Hur.

He's actually not that far in hitting the board you know.

Daddy drove us all home. I reached home, feeling empty (walao what were they thinking? No tables nor fans nor Shark Fin's soup!). Powered by Blogger.