Your Father’s 39th Birthday

Your Father’s 39th Birthday

Dear Boys,

This 39th birthday I truly understand the meaning of family. It is simply because I felt a sense of abandonment from my mom and brother. I heard from my mother’s sister, my aunt, that my mother and elder brother has moved, she invited her sister to her house for some kind of house warming but she didn’t inform me. Given the kind of relationship I have with my brother, I can understand why she didn’t invite me, at the very least, tell me where they’ve moved to.

That is quite a psychological reality check for me, I guess I should have seen it coming, things hadn’t been the warmest between me and my brother and mother, but I still would think of them as family. The signs are there when I visited them one Chinese New Year and me at the gate, roused my brother from his slumber, only to hear him said, ‘Brother? I don’t have a brother.’ That was when I greeted him and asked him where is mum, and I’m his brother!

So now they’ve move, and without an address the cut is complete, and absolute. Perhaps is better this way, boys, I don’t know, things are always happening in future tense that leave us with little preparation in the present. The reality is that, I felt the loneliness in a deep and profound way.

So this birthday, it was a very small family affair, just your mum, and the 2 of you, there’s really no one else left who will remember my birthday, not to mention the mere celebrating the day. When I die, if anytime sooner, my wife will have her parents and little brother to remember her birth and celebrate with her, she has the both of you, that kind of birthday song, would sound a little louder.

For me, this 39th birthday for me, looking at the 3 of you, singing the song, made me really, really wish, and I want to hold true to that wish, ‘I wish that the 3 of you, sitting before me, will be by my side for as long as I live

Posted February 23, 2015

How we spent our Deepavali-Istana Visit

How we spent our Deepavali-Istana Visit

Dear Boys,

I decided to give your mum a ‘me time’ for the hardwork she put in helping you, Ian with your exams. So I took you boys out so that your mum can go for her nail message, compliments of Auntie Chai Ping.

Where can we go, 3 male members of the Lim family? The Istana was hosting an open house and it is free entry for Singaporeans, so why not? We packed up and headed out, looking forward to spending some time at the official residence of our President. After all, it is free entry and its been a long time since I’ve step foot in the Istana for a visit.

We reached the place and found it to be raining a little, and got heavier as we approached the Main Building. the compound is really a nice place to visit, with the sprawling greenery, and magnificent lawn. Once we passed the tight security, the first sight that draws us towards was the Swan pond.

Swan Pond. Admiring the Swan

The both of you were fascinated with the single white swan there and snapped pictures like it was the last living White Swan on earth. Thankfully the turf on the Istana ground is quite well maintained, despite of the rain, and wet grounds didn’t translate into a muddy quagmire, despite of the heavy trampling by the large crowds.

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As we walked up and towards the slight gradient, the both of you chatted that this was where they saw on television the funeral procession of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and wondered where is the Sri Temasek.

The Sri Temasek

The premises was out of bounds and we can only stop to appreciate the diminutive building, where so much of our country’s history has happened there. While we watch, our minds played the mental image of Mr Lee’s cortege rolled out from the place, in a wet day no different from the day we visited Istana.

The Main Building

We had to seek refuge there along with many ‘un-umbrella’ folks, as the sky decided to open up on us. We learned from a Scout there, that we can actually buy a ticket to go into Istana for a house tour. With nothing better to do, I decided to leave the 2 of you with the Scout and headed out in the downpour to get the tickets. There is no photo taking allowed inside so we have to keep our pictures in our head.

The interior is a grand place, which is of course, as we have to host our nation’s guests there. There is an air of importance as well as decorum, you can’t help but feel the importance of such a place to us ordinary Singaporeans. it is important that we host our country’s guests in the highest pristine so that we get the respect and voice in the global community.

The Gun Terrace

This is certainly the highlight for the both of you as you boys take turns to take pictures of it, walk around it and explore this World War 2 relic.

The Military Guardroom

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We did a few fun shots there with a few ornamental mini cannons, your little brother, as usual, is such a pain when it comes to making him look at the camera and do a decent pose!

Our signature childhood photo

This is the kind of photograph where we can look back, decades from now and relish the memories. I am sure many of us and our parents out there has a photo like that taken with a soldier standing at attention. This will certainly be a journey I hope the 2 of you can cherish and remember fondly.

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Posted November 19, 2015

The New Year

The New Year

Dear Boys,

As mentioned in my Facebook post, this is my 38th New Year, having celebrated 38th times, what makes a New Year ‘new’? Isn’t new technically means that you are doing something you’ve never done before? So how can New Year be new, when I’ve experienced it 38 times?

I used to be ambivalent towards the ‘new year’. because I want to look at things on an equanimous opinion. Besides, when the ‘new year’ comes, the radio station will still be playing ‘last’ year’s songs, It is still yesterday’s news on the newspapers, the people you know, and knew were from last year. There is, technically, nothing different, this day from the one just ended.

This changed a little when I caught this movie called ‘New Year’s Eve’ back in 2011.We were out on a date and we didn’t know what movie to catch, this one was showing in the cinema and it was a star studded cast, so we chance to catch it. It was a life changing movie, well, gradually that is.

It changed my perspective on New Year’s Day. It was a significant event.

People being people, will seek a certain closure, promises made, promises kept, resolutions made, kept. People to meet, places to go. The end of the Julian Calender is a timely reminder for us all to make good what we want to do for ourselves and for other people. The Year’s End and the New Year is of the spirit of continual closure and renewal. Things that we didn’t do so well, we will resolve to do better in the ‘new’ year. People who have died, we seek a closure, the New Year is an opportunity for us to move on, start anew.

This New Year. I planned to sleep through it, there was no place to go, I’m at home with all the people I love and treasure the most. All the other places are too crowded, the world is getting too commercialised, you want to party on New Year’s eve? Pay.

Besides, there was an air crash, Air Asia QZ8501 went down on 27 December, and as I typed this, rescuers are still trying to reach the plane wreckage under the sea. No, I don’t know anyone there, but such news, depresses and sullens me. I’m also concerned about Uncle Vincent, who has gone over to New York to further his studies and I hadn’t heard from him since. His Facebook is closed and there is no way for me to ascertain his well being.

But the New Year has a different plan for me!

Massive fireworks gone off right outside my bedroom, there is the usual New Year Celebration and the fireworks was spectacular! we lived on the 15th floor and the view was magnificent. You boys are so excited about it and so is everyone downstairs. More importantly, we are serendipitously granted a grandstand view to the fireworks!

The celebrations jolted me out of my blues. There is no way the new year is going to let me go without a bang!

What is the significance of the New Year? It gives us courage to forgive, even if we do not want to forgive ourselves. It gives empowers us to try again, and give us hope. and because everyone celebrate and is aligned to this day, it gives us collective energy. Everyone is in the spirit of renewal, everyone is given the same new year, the same chance again. Everyone starts fresh.

So let’s start fresh as a family and fill our 2015 with meaningful experiences and endeavour to find new meaning to fill the pages of our lives.

Posted January 1, 2015