Closure on Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Closure on the death of a loved ones is actually much harder than the receiving the actual news of the passing on.  At least that is so to me.

During a funeral, there are lots of buzz going around; friends and relatives rallying around.

When all is done and the crowd disperse, the void, the deep pain of loss sets in.

I felt this first-hand when my maternal grandmother passed away some 7 years back. I wrote about it months after it happened.

Lung cancer took my beloved grandmother away too suddenly just weeks after her diagnosis; and just one day after she started chemotherapy.

I had the privilege to be part of the 4 persons family members which stayed with her all night in the hospital and shortly after the whole clan arrived, she opened her eyes one last time seemingly to bide us farewell.

Regretfully she left us.

Reluctantly we let her go.

For months thereafter, her family gathered together. We met more often than usual. My uncle (her son) did a memorial book which combined all our heartfelt thoughts. My sons were not born then. But if they were, I believed Xi En would have written “I missed you”.


23rd March 2015 marked the passing on of one of the greatest man in history, Singapore founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

A week of national mourning was the darkest I have ever seen in Singapore. Radio stations played nothing except soft sentimental music throughout the day.

Social media profile photos were changed to shades of black and white. Even the man-in-the-street went around our daily chores less spirited.

For me, I had the longest and deepest understanding of Singapore history since it’s Independence Day to today. I had these lessons through the many sharing online, on TV and in the papers.

It was a sobering week. And I believed I wasn’t alone.

From grief, it grew to respect, to admiration and appreciation for this man and his team which gave us modern Singapore. We are all beneficiaries of his foresight and sheer determination to build Singapore into a clean, green, corruption-free and hardworking nation.

I recalled when I was probably 6 to 7 years old, I ride in my uncle’s car to “make up the numbers” to enter the CBD. During those days, there was a rule to maximise car rides into the CBD, thus you need to have minimum 4 (or 5?) persons in the car to enter the CBD area. I was “the number”. I sat in the car quietly wondering to myself why are there trees on every single roads I passed. I searched for a single road without trees grown on the sides. I couldn’t find one. I was curious why so. Only this week, I remembered this fleetingly thought and realised LKY had the foresight to distinguish Singapore as a green city.

Last week, we visited tributes, paid our due respect to LKY and wrote in the memorial books.  Maybe we needed to do something. For memory. For respect. For appreciation. For closure.

I don’t know this man personally but it really felt like a closed relative had passed on.  Many had been said and I have my tributes set in my heart too.

I enjoyed reading tributes of those who knew him personally and I wept at the eulogies presented by his loved ones.

One of the interesting illustration which hit home to me was put forward by S Dhanabalan (Former Cabinet Minister). I learnt that Mr LKY is an idealist not just a pragmatist. We all knew he is a pragmatist but he is also an idealist and push his ideals to reality too.

“He was a pragmatist, yet in a very deep sense, he was an idealist. This is well illustrated by his approach to the language policy…. the easiest way to ensure electoral support would have been to champion Chinese language… To convert Chinese schools into national type schools and to push for Mandarin against Chinese dialects were the acts of an idealist not the acts of a pragmatist. “

More of each public eulogies can be read here.

At the private funeral, our Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong recalled a speech his father made in 1972 at a congress of cardiologists. I was curious and searched online to read the full article. The end of the speech probably summed it all:

“There will never be a final solution to the problem of life an death, other than death itself. And whether it is philosophy or logic or medicine or morality or law, we are all human beings with human imperfections, both as individuals and as societies. And Singapore is an imperfect society. But I hope, despite all the imperfections you have found some pleasure in having come here.”

If you are interested, read the full article here.

Because of LKY’s legacy, I can lift my head up high and proudly say I am a Singaporean.

Even months and years go by, for as long as I live, I will tell of this week’s story to my children, grandchildren and maybe great-grandchildren. And of your story, the Singapore story and the Singaporeans’ spirit.

Just like in remembrance of my grandmother, she lives forever in our hearts. Likewise, in our own little ways, we will remember the LKY’s spirit of doing good for Singapore and contribute positively to the society.

There’s nothing else to say except: “Thank you and Thank you, Mr Lee. May you rest in peace.”

LKY

Among all his speeches I’ve read last week, this is one of my favourite:

“You begin your journey not knowing where it will take you. You have plans, you have dreams, but every now and again you have to take uncharted roads, face impassable mountains, cross treacherous rivers, be blocked by landslides and earthquakes. That’s the way my life has been.

I’m grateful that I got where I am.

happy that I’ve made a contribution to many people. And reassured that I’ve helped select a team of people to keep Singapore going…

At the end of the day, all I have cherished are human relationships.

Your worldly wealth you can’t take with you.

Your life has been lived.

It is the friends you have made. your family ties. Which sustain your spirit with a certain warmth and comfort.

So you cannot say you plan your whole life.

And that’s why I feel life is an adventure.

Exciting, unpredictable and at times exhilarating.

What is crucial is never to lose the joie de vivre.

That zest for life.

To watch the sun go down

and wake up to a new day

rested and refreshed after a good night.”

– Mr Lee Kuan Yew 2003

LKY 1

Source of photo: Bloomberg

Morning with the fire engines

March holidays are here!!!

Whenever it is school holidays, I will be cracking my brains on where to bring the boys to expend their energy. The best deal will be a free-entry place and not too crowded; some educational value will be helpful.

Drum roll….if you haven’t already heard of this place as a parent, you should diarise this activity to bring your children!

Your friendly neighbourhood fire engine station

This had always been on my places-to-bring-children-list. And I am glad we made it on one sunny Sat morning!

We choose to go to Sengkang Fire Station as it is not far off from our place and gladly found out that you can park for free at the fire station premise; just don’t block the way!

I must say I am seriously impressed with this visit. The firemen on duty were real firemen and they were so patient with the little ones and inquisitive parents! They explained patiently about their work and duties and the daily running of the station.

All the stations are open to public from 9am to 11am every Saturday. You need not be a resident to visit. I saw tourists posing for photos! But you will need some form of ID for registration at the entrance.

More details on SCDF website.

These are the stations which are open:

1. Alexandra Fire Station
2. Ang Mo Kio Fire Station
3. Bishan Fire Station
4. Bukit Batok Fire Station
5. Central Fire Station
6. Changi Fire Station
7. Clementi Fire Station
8. Jurong Fire Station
9. Paya Lebar Fire Station
10. Sengkang Fire Station
11. Tuas Fire Station
12. Woodlands Fire Station
13. Yishun Fire Station
14. Tampines Fire Station

It is a systematic visit; the young firemen gave out plastic helmets freely when we entered; such greats props for taking photos ya. 🙂

Thereafter we joined a group where there were explanations on what goes into a fire engine. It is a huge warehouse-on-the-go with important equipment!

This is the part that I am really impressed with: 2 of the guys were ready with their gears to show how and what they dressed up with when they go and fight a real fire. They actually strip down and dress up again for every group. Wait, they have to pose for the children and eager parents too! 😀 Thank you firemen for your tireless efforts towards national education! 😛

And that’s not all. The favourite 2 activities of the day:

Experience with a real fireman hose with Daddy holding the fort! #FrisoMoment

Fire station 1

And….Riding on real fire engines!

We also had the opportunity to tour the office and control station. For our nation safety, many thoughts had been put in for such meticulous planning and execution.

I think I am probably more excited about this visit than the boys (all 3 of them). I learnt so much things! That Sengkang Fire station receive the most no. of calls for fire (they are the station which covers Pulau Ubin too!), the gears that the fireman uses, the response time and etc. In the midst of our visit, we also experienced a real fire call and the little red rhino that Eizac was sitting on sped off in seconds with 4 other crew members on board! How cool is that! I meant the real-life experience not the “fire” happening somewhere. 😛

A fire station visit top my list for national education, real-life learning and experiences with the entire family. Bring your family next Sat! 🙂

Do you have a parent-child experience to share too? From jumping in puddles to running down the hill slopes (and visiting an fire station!), do you have that special parent-child experience to share?

If you do and are keen to share your experiences, do check out the Friso Experience More Together campaign. Here is how to do so and win instant, weekly and grand prizes!

How to participate

Submit a photo of you and your child sharing a special experience on Friso Experience More Together. Include hashtag #FrisoMoment and a caption when you post the photos.

You may submit 1 experience each week.

Each photo submitted will earn you two instant rewards – A Friso Experience journal and a Friso voucher worth $5, $10 or $20.

One of the photos will also be selected and printed in 4R size with a Friso frame and mailed to you.

You will be eligible for weekly and grand prizes if you agree to display your image in the gallery to inspire other parents.

Prizes:

Instant prizes:

Friso Experiences Journal + Friso Voucher will be awarded to every entry.

Weekly Prize:

The best photos will be selected to win the weekly prize. If you didn’t win in the first week, you will still be eligible for the weekly prizes in the remaining weeks of the month.

Week 1 to 2 (7 Mar – 23 Mar) 8 x FujiFilm Instax Mini 8

Week 3: 5 x Rebel Kidz Retro Racer Balance Bike

Week 4: 5 x Annual Zoo membership – 2 adults + 1 Child

Week 5: 5 x GOPRO Hero Camera

Week 6: 3 x Port of Lost Wonders party package

Week 7: 5 x Fujifilm Instax Share Printer

Grand Prize:

A year’s supply of Friso milk.

One winner per month in March and April will be selected from the top 25 most voted entries for the month. You may vote once per day for each entry.

Period of promotion: 7th March to 30th April 2015

Have fun with parent-child bonding and win some prizes along the way! 🙂

5 things I will do differently in 2015

“Auntie! Auntie!”

I heard a voice, a distance away; behind me, as I was walking quickly towards the lift.

I ignored the voice. That voice seemed to come from a teenager-of-sorts or an army boy.

Of course, I ignored it.

The only “Auntie”  I response to come from little children of my own kids’ age group.

The childish and innocent voices. “Auntieeee……” ; so cute lah!

Of course, I will stop my tracks to help a young little one.

“Auntie! Auntie! Xcuse me, Auntie!” the voice loomed nearer.

I walked a little faster (maybe too deliberately).

Wrong move, THE VOICE chased up with me.

I had to stop my pace unwillingly, turned around and quizzed at THE VOICE.

It turned out to be as I have expected : a teen boy who is probably 18 to 19 years old.

“Auntie ah, xcuse me ah, where is Blk 5?”

“I am not telling you.” haha!; his face is a concoction of panic and puzzlement; unsure of what he did wrongly.

“I am not telling you because you called me Auntie.” I retorted; looking annoyed but more teasingly.

“It’s over there, little boy. Next time try using Miss when you need help” I stopped myself from pointing to a different block! 😛

“Oh…sorrie sorrie ah, Thank you.”

#truestory


That was my story. I hit past mid 30s this 2015.

Time and tide waits for no man. Wrinkles and eye bags wait impatiently for all (most) women. They come in waves; oh so subtly sometimes. At least that’s true for me!

Admittedly I have aged; matured and it’s perhaps time to live my life a little different from past years.

So I purposed myself to join this blog train hosted by a fellow Mommy blogger – Rachel – to list down 5 (or 15) things that I will do differently in 2015. I couldn’t list 15 ‘cos I am not sure if I can keep to even 5!!

I seldom do New Year Resolutions. Simply because it never worked for me! The husband said it’s no discipline. I choose to think of myself as free-spirited; spontaneous! 😀

But here are 5 little things I will commit to doing differently this year in a bid for some form of improvements in my life.

1) Exercise

Commit to exercising at least once a week.  This is A LOT coming from one who don her short shoes possibly only once a year? Truly not ambitious in this area; but now that I said it – I will endeavour to do it. 😀

First step to “un-auntify” myself. Some say the glow from exercising makes you look and feel younger too!

Just to share – there are a few places providing FREE mass lessons in open areas if you are keen to try out a new sports/activity (such as badminton, yoga, zumba etc) for yourself or your children. One of them is the not-so-new Sports Hub. Check their website for more details.

Eizac

2) Healthier Eating habits

Most friends who know me well know that I can almost be bribed with (good) food. But with age catching up and metabolism losing steam, I am trying to be more selective; i.e. less processed, less salt, less oil, more vegetables, fruits. Actually eating less food will work in my case. haha..

As I am still managing medication for hyperthyroidism since the 2nd pregnancy, it is a gentle reminder that health is wealthier than wealth. So yes, if you must treat me, bring me healthier food options ya. 😛

3) Spiritual Food

After becoming a Mummy, my permanent place in church is the nursery room. It is all so good that the church caters to us, Mummies’ needs, and provide a live telecast so we can catch bits and pieces of the service while we chase after the toddler/s. But it is still so different when you can bask in whole praise/worship and etc. Then again, it doesn’t help that I am one who finds it hard to let go. Truth to be told, I just don’t trust anyone with my boys. They have to have only Mummy around with them. My mind would be travelling a thousand miles to the nursery room even if I get to sit in the main service.

But I know I have been far for a while. So, I will do it a little different this 2015. Read a different translation of the Bible, rely less on my own strength (and more of God’s) and remember my first love.

4) Slow to speak, quick to listen

Now’s what that? My long-time friends will know me as a sharp shooter, in words. But over the years, I have mellowed down (seriously yes!). Nevertheless, sometimes I still shoot myself for saying something totally wrong or sensitive without putting my pea-sized brain to work. It can be in the form of digital/print or verbal words. Often, it became more tedious trying to take the words back and mend the relationships or change the image that was being portrayed. The intent can be benign but the outcome deemed as malicious if the words and actions came out totally wrong.

This 2015, I will bite my tongue tighter and grow my ears that longer to listen well.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, let every person be quick to listen but slow to speak, slow to get angry;” James 1:19

5) Dating the husband

Last but not the least! I list it as the last of the 5 things because some might just scroll down to the bottom of the blog post to get the whole story without reading the body! hahaaa..

After 2 children, the couple dates are getting rarer if any to start with. I wrote this blog post on my sons’ future girlfriends and the husband always remind me that when the boys are all grown up, he will be the one still walking next to me! The hint is loud and clear. I better sow the seeds now!

And so my dear husband, this is for you. Let’s date more.. at least once a month? 😛

Jus the 2 of us


There goes my simple fiver list for 2015. Do you hope to do something differently in 2015 as well? Journey with the rest of the mommy bloggers in this blog train for some inspiration!

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Next up on this blog train is:

Felicia

Felicia Tan

A homeschooling mama of two. She aspires to nourish the heart, mind body and soul of her family. “The world is our school” is her mantra so be it a stroll to the market nearby or a vacation to Europe, she encourages curiosity and inquiry from her children. Her passion for cooking and healthy living drives her to churn out nutritious but easy-to-prepare meals so you can expect to see some healthy recipes on her blog. She also shares her parenting thoughts and learning activities as she goes about her journey and discovery as a homeschooling mama of Princess and The Rock.