Showing posts with label Grandmother. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grandmother. Show all posts

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...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Chinese New Year 2009

25 January 2009

After a successful event at the market the day before, I had a great rejuvenating rest.

I managed to make the karaoke system working and started to sing a few songs as the steamboat dinner was being prepared. It is the tradition of every Chinese to enjoy reunion dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year. We have always adhered to this practice. I remember Grandma would always cook great Hakka dishes, with the help from my relatives. There were so many of us that we needed to take several shifts to eat at the table.

This year, my family and I watched an exciting Ip Man film as we dipped our utensils into the steamboat.

Also on the eve of Chinese New Year, there is a practice of 守岁(shou sui). It involves staying up late into the night. There is a belief that doing so would increase the longevity of the parents. I think this is related to the legend which says that the mythical beast 年 (nian) would come by during the new year and to guard against it means staying up late. Even though it passes out as a good story to coax young children, but I strongly believe in 守岁 and I do it every year. This year, I slept at 6am on Chinese New Year's Day.

From Wikipedia,
守岁(守歲) (Shou Sui) occurs when members of the family gather around throughout the night after the reunion dinner and reminisce about the year that has passed while welcoming the year that has arrived. Some believe that children who Shou Sui will increase the longevity of the parents.
一夜连双岁,五更分二年 means that the night of New Year's eve (which is also the morning of the first day of the New Year) is a night that links two years. 五更 (Wu Geng – the double hour from 0300 to 0500) is the time that separates the two years.

26 January 2009

Went to visit my Grandma at Aunt's place. We ate vegetarian dishes as a usual practice on the first day of Chinese New Year.

My little cousin, Felica, is so cute, always giving me a signature blank stare. I was heartened when she patted on Grandma's hands and told the maid that Grandma was her Papa's Mummy. When Grandma coughed, she even patted on her chest. I think Grandma would be so happy to have such a kind granddaughter.

And yes, it rained on Chinese New Year.

27 January 2009

Mother, Lin Qiang, Shi Hui, Baohui and I went to my fraternal Uncle's place for a New Year Gathering. As per past years, we had steamboat lunch.

The house was very crowded. Uncle Roland is a distributor for Chang Lao beer and brought some for everyone to sample. It was made with mineral water instead of tap water and thus the beer tasted sweet.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dementia - Patients or Family Suffers?

In Singapore, "one in 20 Singaporeans may suffer from dementia at the age of 65"^. In percentage wise, it's 5%. If we have a class of 40 students, 2 classmates would lose their memories after 65. If we have a school of 1600 students, 80 students would forget their peers at 65. That translates to 2 classes of people. What a high percentage!

Imagine yourself losing your precious childhood memories. What would it feel like? Painful, neutral or peaceful? At current scientific progress, we don't really have the answers to this question. But one thing is certain, and that is people around Dementia patients suffer.

It hit me hard when my Grandma couldn't recognise me. As my guardian for more than a decade, I thought I would be the last of all things to be forgotten. It took me quite a long period to get over it and I finally did. I realised, to a certain extent, it could be a positive outcome for Grandma to forget the bad (inevitably the good) memories and be in a peaceful state of mind.

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, in his eulogy to the late S. Rajaratnam, mentioned that "A few years ago he began to lose his memory. When I visited him in 1998, he did not recognise me."^^ He dropped tears for the second time on television.

Nevertheless, showing care and Love for dementia patients is still very important. They didn't want to lose their memories. They have given us the best memories. And the best we can do is to make them feel positive about themselves. A recent comment by an influential medical ethics expert completely made my heart boil.

I strongly condemn Baroness Warnock's point of view!

Baroness Warnock: Dementia sufferers may have a 'duty to die'
By Martin Beckford Social Affairs Correspondent

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.

The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.

Her comments in a magazine interview have been condemned as "immoral" and "barbaric", but also sparked fears that they may find wider support because of her influence on ethical matters.

Lady Warnock, a former headmistress who went on to become Britain's leading moral philosopher, chaired a landmark Government committee in the 1980s that established the law on fertility treatment and embryo research.

A prominent supporter of euthanasia, she has previously suggested that pensioners who do not want to become a burden on their carers should be helped to die.

Last year the Mental Capacity Act came into effect that gives legal force to "living wills", so patients can appoint an "attorney" to tell doctors when their hospital food and water should be removed.

But in her latest interview, given to the Church of Scotland's magazine Life and Work, Lady Warnock goes further by claiming that dementia sufferers should consider ending their lives through euthanasia because of the strain they put on their families and public services.

Recent figures show there are 700,000 people with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's in Britain. By 2026 experts predict there will be one million dementia sufferers in the country, costing the NHS an estimated £35billion a year.

Lady Warnock said: "If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.

"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

"Actually I've just written an article called 'A Duty to Die?' for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."

She went on: "If you've an advance directive, appointing someone else to act on your behalf, if you become incapacitated, then I think there is a hope that your advocate may say that you would not wish to live in this condition so please try to help her die.

"I think that's the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you'd be licensing people to put others down."

Her comments were criticised last night by MPs, charities and campaigners.

Neil Hunt, the chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "I am shocked and amazed that Baroness Warnock could disregard the value of the lives of people with dementia so callously.

"With the right care, a person can have good quality of life very late in to dementia. To suggest that people with dementia shouldn't be entitled to that quality of life or that they should feel that they have some sort of duty to kill themselves is nothing short of barbaric."

Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, said: "I believe it is extremely irresponsible and unnerving for someone in Baroness Warnock's position to put forward arguments in favour of euthanasia for those who suffer from dementia and other neurological illnesses.

"Because of her previous experiences and well-known standing on contentious moral issues, Baroness Warnock automatically gives moral authority to what are entirely immoral view points."

Phyllis Bowman, executive director of the campaign group Right to Life, added: "It sends a message to dementia sufferers that certain people think they don't count, and that they are a burden on their families. It's a pretty uncivilised society where that is the primary consideration. I worry that she will sway people who would like to get rid of the elderly."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I Love my Grandmother

After meeting a prospect who wanted to recruit me as his associates in the morning, I hurried myself back to Eunos Community Centre to attend the appreciation lunch for Kampung Spirit Launch Day.

Soon after, I returned home to ballot for tutorials, something I find quite complicated until I formalised a system of my own to simplify the whole endurance process.

August 18 happened to be my maid's birthday. Ironically my maid's not staying at my place. Mother and I went to my Aunt's place to wish her a happy birthday with a cake and some gifts.

I was told that my Grandmother was unwell on the first lunar day of the 7th month. She actually lied on the bed with eyes rolled upwards. For the entire day, she lied on the bed without uttering any words. I can still remember how my maid described her. My Aunt and my maid were scared out of their lives during the period.

She forgotten my name and laughed over it. Even when I was talking to my Grandmother, her eyes were not focused at me for most of the time. When I was about to leave the room, she stared at an open space and began to talk, as if some one was listening.

When I looked at her eyes, tears filled my eyes. I Love my Grandmother. The same pair of eyes saw me through my childhood, my schooldays. They filled 90% of my life up to this date.

There are promises that have not been fulfilled. If I ever have to describe my Grandmother, I guess I would take forever to do so. If I can, I would sacrifice myself for this wonderful woman. The pain she's suffering hurts me. And I reckon that I have been dodging from this issue.

As I left the room the second time, I promised my Grandmother that I would take her out one day. I am grateful to my maid and my aunt who went through great ordeals to care for her.

I dare not think of the should-not-be-thought and I guess I would never be able to deal with that. As for now, I will go against time to deliver my promise to my Grandmother.