Monday, August 31, 2009

Grandma's Funeral

15-18 August 2009

As the night drew near, the prayers had to commence the following day. I stayed up through the night to watch over Grandma's body. It was a feeling all too familiar.

The next morning, the same priests, that came down for Father's funeral, came to do prayers conduct for Grandma. I got to know that these priests were well-known throughout the Hakka community. More than a decade ago, they had also conducted prayer rituals for my ancestors. The rituals were recorded on VHS tape and Grandma used to enjoy watching it over and over again, until the player malfunctioned.

Wreaths and funeral blankets came pouring in. The first wreath to arrive was from People's Association to Uncle. I thought the gesture was sincere.

I was reminded of my promise to Grandma on buying her a big house and driving her around in a big car, when her future mansion came.

On one of the mornings, Aunt cooked chicken porridge for us. The smell and taste of the porridge so reminds me of that cooked by Grandma. I miss this porridge which I used to eat every day.

According to Hakka tradition, a dragon was carved out of sand. Coins were embedded within the sand and Grandma's descendants would pick them out after the rituals that night.

Every night, the seats were filled with friends and relatives of Grandma. A distant relative, who has a "third eye", actually saw Grandma standing beside our maid.

At the last night, cousins, brother and myself slept around Grandma and then in the morning, all of us sent Grandma off in her last journey...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Grandmother, Lum Chung [1922-2009]

14 August 2009

The night before, I stayed up late after hearing from Aunt that Grandma is in unstable condition. I eventually retired for the night.

I woke up early and decided to head to the hospital, and then to school. I didn't manage to go to school.

When I reached Grandma's ward at Changi General Hospital, I can feel the staleness in the air. My Uncles and Aunts were already at the Hospital.

Grandma was gasping hard for air through the oxygen mask. She was unconscious with a low heartbeat rate. It was not a good sight and I had not expected that. Soon, she was transferred to a single-bed ward.

We were clueless what the beeping machines were and what the numbers represented. Hence, I asked the nurse. She said that the healthy heartbeat rate would be in the range of 90 beats per minute, but Grandma's averaged 30.

It was odd to see Grandma lying silently on the bed. Since Grandma had difficulties in mobility, she would always whine in pain. If not for the ongoing conversations, the room would be in dead silence.

Soon, Mother came from her office. Cousins also rushed to the ward.

Slightly before noon, a nurse that came in passed a comment. She said that perhaps Grandma was waiting for someone to come before she leaves. I thought that was Father. The passing of Father had not been communicated to Grandma.

Some of us went to the lounge after noon. We were suddenly called to enter the ward. According to my Uncles and Aunts, Grandma opened her eyes and took a look around the room before closing her eyes slowly. They said this so that she could see that she's not alone when she leaves.

Grandma's heartbeat rate slowly declined. Her gasping slowly ceased.

Grandma left behind 5 generations of descendants. I felt a deep sense of loss since Grandma took care of me for 20 years since I was born. I recall pushing her on the wheelchair in the park and promised her that I would drive her in my car and buy a big house where we could live together in the future.

Grandma and Father had been my inspiration and motivation for my life up to this moment. Guess I would have to discover for myself how the vacuum could be filled...

PMTA Mandarin Toastmasters Chapter Meeting

11 August 2009

Was invited by Angie to her Toastmasters Club's chapter meeting. When she asked me to be a Project Evaluator, I thought it would be a beneficial experience since it would be my first time presenting an evaluation in Mandarin.

The refreshments was a healthy mix, with brown rice specially prepared by members, and other light snacks.

I evaluated 陈智芳 who presented her project 5, titled <<误机糗事>>. In my previous attendance to the meeting, she did her first project. Now, she's much more confident and exuberant in her presentation.

I was caught off surprise when the Club President announced that I won the Best Evaluator Award for the night.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Eunos National Day Observance Ceremony

9 August 2009

As early as 7am, residents and grassroots leaders falled in at Eunos Petal Garden (think Parade Square) to participate in the National Day Observance Ceremony.

The Guard-of-Honour is the NPCC cadets from Bedok North Secondary School. The flag was masuk in by grassroots leaders and CC staff. It was like a mini-NDP parade in the heartlands.

After singing of community songs, National anthem and pledge-taking, the launch of the Harmony Hub Skate Park by MP Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Mankid prepared some recruitment flyers for the YEC, which were distributed to the youths and young parents. This year's National Day celebrations would be a memorable one, especially with the success of Youth OUT!, Eunos first National Day Dance Party.

In the evening, watched the National Day Parade on TV. It really rouses my patriotism (as always, but this time significantly so. The entrance of the bomb suit man was really cool! Mother and I even recited the pledge at 8.22pm!.

Eunos Zone '3' Repair & Redecoration

6 August 2009

Members of Eunos Zone '3' Residents' Committee met at the RC centre to decide on the colour scheme for the HDB flats in the estate, as part of the Repair & Redecoration project. R&R usually takes place once every 8 years, to give the estate a new and fresher look. As a relatively new member of the RC, it was a good learning opportunity for me.

The committee reached a final decision to have this as the colour of my block:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Eunos National Day Dinner 2009

1 August 2009

Just after a night of dance party, Eunos Petal Garden transformed into a formal setting for the annual Eunos National Day Dinner 2009.

The Guest-of-Honour is Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, who's also an MP for Aljunied GRC. He is accompanied by the host MP, Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. In their speeches, both MPs highlighted the importance of racial harmony in the light of recent terror attacks in the region.

The 20-year long service award was also presented to community leaders. Congratulations to Mr Loh and Mr Willie from Eunos Zone '3' RC:

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Youth OUT! 2009

31 July 2009

2 weeks of In Camp Training is over! Picked up the addictive game of Foosball during lunch breaks. Looking forward to compete with fellow soldiers in the next ICT.

Into its 4th consecutive year, Youth OUT! had its roots as a void deck dance party and then subsequently held in Eunos CC hall. This year, Youth OUT!, for the first time, is held in celebration of Singapore's 44th Birthday at Eunos Petal Garden. Spearheaded by the Eunos CC YEC, the event is jointly organised by Eunos Grassroots Organisations, in partnership with Eunos CCC Family Life Champion.

After my stint as chairman of the organising committee of Youth OUT! 2008, it was great to be partnering Hock Rong as co-chairmen to organise Youth OUT! 2009.

Night after night, weekends after weekends, YEC members combed many HDB flats, distributing publicity flyers, informing residents and selling tickets door-to-door. Close to 50 flats were covered in 3 weeks! Exhausting as it might be, new YEC members enjoyed the experience and everyone seemed to having fun.

On Thursday, the barricades reached Eunos Petal Garden. One by one, YEC members carried the heavy barricades and arranged to form an exclusive dance floor for Youth OUT! participants.

After changing out from my military uniform, I went over to Eunos Petal Garden eagerly to check out the preparation.

Our Youth Staff was of great assistance to the success of the event.

This is the first major grassroots project for Pristine, who is the Programme I/C, together with Faiq. The seamless transition of performances on stage and the proper briefing of the Emcee ensured the success of the event.

Jialing, Rahayu and Erlina took charge of the inflatable. In line with our objective of getting the family involved, children are entertained with the inflatable as well as balloon sculpturing by Mr Lightning Finger.

Mankid was pivotal in getting all the refreshments stall working good. Participants had free flow of popcorns, crackers and coke during the 3-hour event.

I seriously love this photo. Ming Choo made some balloon sculptures that could be donned by the volunteers at the inflatable booth. Abdillah, in his wacky manner, looked funny in this photo as he transported all the crackers over to the event venue.

At 7.30pm, The Fizzy Fabulous (T.F.F.) performed a Hip Hop dance which incorporated the dance to the beat of "Reach Out for the Skies". Flavaone kickstarted the first beatbox performance for the evening. Cypher Crazed Crew wowed the participants with the neck-breaking break dance performance. Next, Fresh Dice did a rap. Eunos Zone '7' RC idol, Infamous, did a Hip Hop Dance.

At 8.20pm, Mr Lightning Finger went to mingle with the children and sculptured with red and white balloons. Concurrently on stage, UDC performed a Hip Hop Dance. Percussion Band, Voodoo, pumped up the night. Next, the emcee, MediaCorp LOVE 97.2FM Radio Presenter Jeff Goh conducted a stage game "So You Think You Can Dance?"

We are honoured to have Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & MP for Aljunied GRC, to be our Guest-of-Honour. He was chaperoned by Bhangra dancers who proceeded to perform on stage. In his address, he highlighted the various achievements of the Eunos Youth Club.

Beatboxer Bryan went up on stage to trumpet "Majulah Singapura" with his vocal chords. F2DM did the last Hip Hop dance of the night, before Cypher Crazed Crew went up on stage to wow the participants with a different set of head-grinding performance. National Beatboxer Champion Charles drew everyone's attention to the stage.

Grassroots leaders went up on stage to lead everyone in singing "Stand Up for Singapore!" The atmosphere was so awesome that almost everyone on the floor jumped and sang the song together.

After the lucky draw, the dance floor opened with even the senior line dancers getting themselves immersed with the youths.

Felt great working with everyone! Go go Eunos!

5th term Kg Chai Chee Mandarin/English Toastmasters Club 1st Chapter Meeting

28 July 2009

This is the first chapter meeting of Kg Chai Chee Mandarin/English Toastmasters Club since the new Club Officers were installed. I had looked forward to this meeting and made some preparation on my opening speech for the Club.

New members Joanne and Jacky presented their first project. Andrew from one of the RCs in Kg Chai Chee attempted his first Table Topics speech.

A parent of a participant from the WEC Colouring Contest came to attend the meeting. He is none other than Zafarullah ATMB, a Toastmaster from Whampoa Toastmasters Club.

Best Speaker:

Best Table Topics Speaker:

Best Evaluator:

Aljunied GRC & Hougang SMC Racial Harmony Celebrations

26 July 2009

Took a short nap before going over to Hougang Mall for the Racial Harmony Celebrations.

The pavillion outside Hougang Mall was packed as everyone gathered to celebrate Racial Harmony month. Eunos GROs assisted in manning food stalls, such as Muah Chee by my RC.

As early as at 2pm, my RC members had already started cutting the dough and sprinkling peanut powder on to it. The redemption of Muah Chee could only commence at 4pm. At first I thought that we packed too many packets of Muah Chee within that 2 hours. However, when 4pm strikes, the Muah Chee packets vanished in no time.

Besides the variety of food stalls, participants were engaged in stage performances such as the magic show by the Mystifying Imran, and cultural performances.