See You In Heaven, Daddy

This blog has been silent for a couple of months. I have shared the reason on a couple of other social media platforms but not here.

My dad went into hospital at the end of October 2022 and was very ill. He passed away 13 Dec 2022, in his sleep, at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore.

I have not been able to say very much on social media, except to post the wake and funeral announcements.

It has been a month. There have been good days and bad ones. I still am not able to watch the videos which my cousins filmed of the wake and funeral. There have been moments of great sadness and moments of thankfulness for the wonderful father, husband and man he was. My mum is extremely sad and I know my brother has his own moments.

Over the next few blog posts, I want to share some memories of my beloved Daddy and process his passing for myself. This is not to get sympathy or any attention, it is simply me processing my thoughts and emotions; creating more memories for myself.

These are the words I said on that first evening service of the wake:

Thank you all for coming. It means a great deal to know that my dad is well-loved.

Most of you know my dad quite well. For those of you who aren’t as familiar, I want to tell you a bit about him.

He was a loving husband; every night he would make my mum a cup of tea after dinner, without fail, until his poor health stopped him. A wonderful father, he did his best to make sure my brother and I had whatever we needed to go as far as we wanted. A delightful grandfather who loved carrying his grandson on his shoulders. A caring brother, uncle and friend; offering a helping hand and kindness whenever someone needed it. He was a man who worked very hard to give his family the best he could afford because he had very little in his growing-up years.

I hope that you will hold onto whatever beautiful memories of the times you have shared with my dad. Thank you.

There were so many other things I wanted to say; little things such as him teaching me to fry the perfect sunny-side-up egg, putting me on a tall stool and making me draw the big tree on the hill across from our flat, him always driving me wherever I needed to go (he was a taxi driver and a very knowledgable one).

My dad would go to all lengths to make sure we got the education we needed; he went to speak to my brother’s technical teacher personally to make sure he understood how to help, he would search high and low for the various things I needed for my many projects at school. It wasn’t just academics; he passed on much of his knowledge of various know-how to my brother and I so that we could always fix basic things and more, if necessary.

My dad loved my mum so dearly; he would always make sure we remember to get her birthday present and never make her angry. He always deferred to her opinions and put her needs before his. He could never afford very much but whatever he did have, he spent on us. My favourite watch is a very plain one which my dad bought for me just one day when we were out walking around – it has a white face with the outline of a cute piggy – my dad’s nickname is Tur Kia (Hokkien), meaning piglet. It hasn’t worked in a number of years but I still have it and will always keep it.

I am grateful I got to spend time with him in his last days on this earth, even if it was at the hospital the whole time. I am who I am because my Daddy loved so deeply.

We miss you, Daddy.


Autumn Holidays with Friends…

Over this past autumn holidays, we had a couple of friends from Singapore staying with us. It was so lovely having them with us for a week. Of course, we took them to some touristy spots but we also got the opportunity to visit a couple of places we have not been to ourselves, such as the sweet little village of Stein am Rhein and the Lavaux-Vinorama (Vevey).

Here are a few photo highlights:

We also visited a chocolate factory we have never been to before but I was so focused on the chocolate and chocolate making, I didn’t take any nice photos. But it’s a chocolate factory I would recommend – Camille Bloch Chocolate Factory.

Looking forward to more friends coming next year.


Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Talk about being swept off one’s feet, this book certainly has done that to me. All the accolades about this book are truly well-deserved.

From the get-go, you are drawn into the world of Eleanor & Park. You might not have lived the same teenhood or in the same country or faced the same situations. But the universal ache of first love, of wanting to be loved, of being young and lost is something, I believe, all of us can identify with.

Rowell‘s narrative shows off so well the inner dilemmas and the outer peer pressures that this pair of young lovers face. It makes me remember those feelings of uncertainty in a new blossoming relationship, that fear of loss and the ramblings of a teenage brain. It was all at once wonderful and terrifying. Her writing presents these intense feelings in a real and raw way but it’s not mushy or sickly-sweet. The way the chapters alternate between Eleanor’s point of view and Park’s is brilliant.

I like how the characters around Eleanor & Park are just as imperfect as they are. I also really enjoy how they exchange music and reading materials. Oh, and the sitting by the phone, waiting for THAT phone call… such memories… the days before digital music formats, the internet and mobiles.

The ending is just perfect… yes, like everyone else who has read the book, I am ever so curious about those three words but I understand why Rowell won’t tell anyone, not even her mother, what those three words are. Maybe even Rowell doesn’t know. Those words belong to Eleanor & Park and we need to respect that. We can all enjoy some time fantasising about what those three words might be and how Eleanor & Park go on.

Just a word of caution, I will repeat what is stated on the back of the book: Not suitable for younger readers. Because the story touches on bullying, abuse and suicidial thoughts.

Hope you will find some time to indulge in another world through the fabulous books.

Happy Reading!