Friday, May 14, 2010

goodbye, grandpa

this is my maternal grandpa (i call him 'yi-gong').

this picture was taken on my iPhone by my aunt in 2009, look how dark my grandpa's hair was for someone of his age - and he never once dyed his hair.


in the early hours last Saturday morning, he left the world peacefully at the age of 102, while everyone else were sleeping. he will be remembered forever, and we will miss him.

my grandpa was a mild-tempered and kind man. a man of few words, he never went to school but could actually write in chinese. when i was young, i remember seeing him scribbling chinese notes and tallying accounts on the back of old cardboard boxes and cigarette packaging, and thinking, "wow, where did he learn that?"

grandpa spoke mostly in the Hock Chew dialect, a little bit of Hokkien but would also understand my broken semi-Hock Chew-Hokkien-Mandarin sentences :)


i grew up at my grandparents' home, i was babysat by them.
i know i will always look back fondly upon my childhood days, the cherished memories of my grandpa - him and his big old bicycle with the huge bamboo basket in which he used to carry goods and equipment for the family coffee stall. once he ferried my cousin in it and both of them fell into the drain along the road.

i remember him always fishing coins out from his piggy bank which he recycled from old 'Marlboro' or '555' cigarette tins (even though he didn't smoke). i loved those tins, wish i had kept one before.
when i was in primary school, grandpa would give me 50 cents everyday to buy tidbits whenever i came home from school. i later learned that he had done the same with my youngest uncle (his son) and my eldest cousin (his grandson) too. those tins must have provided for the few of us for many many years. grandpa never had a lot of money but always managed to save the best of everything for his children and grandchildren and even great grandchildren.

my grandparents ran a coffee stall in an old hawker, so there were always a lot of coffee-stall-related equipment at home - large metal tins of tea powder, coffee making tins and filter 'socks', large cardboard boxes of all kinds of cigarettes (which often became my make-believe boats in which i sat in and 'rowed' about; smaller boxes were used to build 'houses' for my barbie dolls), and cans and cans of condensed milk tins...

he used to sleep on a mattress in the living room at the old flat, and sometimes i would see him 'fight with the Japanese' in his dreams. i had never seen him scold or beat anyone up but in his dreams he would sometimes remember those days during the war and he would fight and scold in Japanese in his dreams.

so those were some of the good old times i had with my grandpa.

just wanted to post a little something in remembrance of him.

5 comments:

Chow Chow said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Celest. Your grandpa sounded like a great person. Grandparents are the best, aren't they?

ashieloveful said...

Wow this was an amazing post. I'm so sorry for your loss, it sounds like you have some amazing memories of him though. 102, that is simply amazing!!
I pray you have strong support around you to get through this time. This post was an incredible tribute. God bless, ash x

ashieloveful said...

I just realised I said amazing a whole lot...sorry only way I could describe it. x

celest said...

@Chow Chow: thanks, Ashley. this is part and parcel of life... i'm glad he lived a blessed life and didn't have to struggle at the end. yup, grandparents are the best :)

@ashieloveful: thank you for your comments and thoughts, i appreciate it. don't worry.. i don't think we can say 'amazing' too many times.

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