It’s Not Really Goodbye…

This is the third post in this series where I pay tribute to my dad, who passed away on 13 Dec 2022.

Here is what I said during the final funeral service, before the cremation, it was the final goodbye, at least for this earthly life:

Many thanks to our dearest family; our aunts and uncles, our cousins, especially for all the love they have shown in standing with us in this very difficult and sad time. Also for helping in so many practical ways; driving us around, getting food and holding our hands.

Thanks to dear friends who are part of our family for also showing their love and support.

Thanks also to Pastor William, Irene, Brenda, Anthony and his team at Church of the Epiphany, and Nicholas and his team at Celebration of Life.

We’re able to walk this heartbreaking journey only because you walk with us.

I want to share 2 things I have learned from my dad.

He taught me to love fiercely and protect, fight for our loved ones. I see it in his devotion to my mum. I remember an incident where my son’s pram was potentially going to get crushed in a crowded bus and he physically put himself in between to protect my boy. He would always fight for our well-being, not just physically but in every aspect. He would talk to whoever needs talking to, get whatever we needed in order to ensure we have the best.

He always told me: if you have it, flaunt it. He didn’t mean it in a showoff way. But if you have a talent, then you should use it, share it with others.

That really sums up the man my dad was, a man who shared whatever he could with the people he cared for and loved.

Thank you, Daddy, for being a loving husband, a dedicated father, a doting grandfather. We will miss you dearly.

At this point, I could not carry on. So my son read out the last bit which is a poem by E.E. Cummings, i Carry Your Heart(i carry it in)

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

One thing which I have not mentioned in all 3 eulogies is that my dad was in a band in his younger days and I remember as a very young child being asked to press the record button on the tape recorder while they were dubbing tapes. My dad loved the classics from the 60s and 70s, these songs were constantly on play in our flat so these are still the songs I really like. Another part of my dad I will carry with me.

I want to especially mention the wonderful, compassionate service provided by Celebration of Life (Nicholas and his team) and the Resting Place Ministry (Anthony and the Church of the Epiphany). They were very kind, handled everything professionally and with great consideration. Between them, they took care of all the logistics and gave us the room we needed to grieve. Many thanks to them.

It has been a difficult and extremely sad time for my family and I, especially for my mum. But I know that in remembering my dad, we keep his memory alive and we have him in our hearts. So it’s not really goodbye. He’s just gone ahead and is scouting out heaven for us and when our good Lord calls us home in turn, my dad will be there to show us around, as he always has done.

So, Daddy, enjoy heaven and time with Jesus. While we miss you so very much now, we know we will see you when we get there.


Still Saying Goodbye to My Beloved Father

This is the second post in my series dedicated to the memory of my Dad who has always been so central in my life.

Here is the second eulogy I gave during that second evening service of the wake:

This evening I would like to share some precious memories with you.

I remember:
We watched lots of Cantonese period series together – that’s where I learned Cantonese from. We used to be regulars at the video rental shop.

I remember:
He bought me various different cameras over the years and we would look at the photos we took together, discussing what makes a good photo. Because of his influence, I chose to specialise in photography for my diploma.

I remember:
He would talk about various significant historical events with me. He loved history and we would watch historical films together.

I remember:
He would take us across the whole island to get the best foods. Unfortunately, lots of these places are no longer there. He was a great cook, my mum is a fabulous cook. Many of you have tasted their wonderful cooking and most will remember his famous pork chops. Together, my dad and mum taught to cook, starting with frying the perfect sunny-side-up eggs.

I remember:
The underwater world was his paradise. Jacques Cousteau documentaries were a big part of my childhood. And as a family, we spent much time at beaches and pools.

I hope you would recall fondly the times you spent with my dad.

I remember so much more; his corny-Dad jokes, his love of thick, black coffee, his hidden talent for drawing. My earliest memory was of him standing tall like a tree and letting me climb up over him. Being a diver, we were taught to swim at a very young age and I was literally taken to the deep end and told to swim towards him. I absolutely love being in the water till this day.

I remember how he would teach me about things that were considered “boy-stuff”; remote-control cars, planes, climbing trees, and watching WWF. The one thing he believed in was that I should be able to take care of myself, especially as a girl. So he showed me how to punch, how to defend myself. He also trained me to know when I am at my limit with alcohol so I would not be taken advantage of.

I remember how he would always point out all the landmarks as he drove us from place to place. It gave me a good sense of direction and developed my love for driving and cars. I remember how much he loved the colour red and painted all the bedroom doors a bright red.

I remember, most of all, his sense of fun and zest for life.

We miss you, Daddy.


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.