Thursday, November 02, 2006


"Xiang ar... Jiak peng lou..."

Upon hearing Grandma's voice, my cousins and I would put down whatever (most of the time) we're playing and went down from the third level of their semi-bungalow to the dining room.

The dishes were the usual: Rice, claypot stew pork and skin and tau pok in soy sauce, long bean fried with minced dried shrimp chili, canned cocktail hotdogs and stir fry veggie.

She would be sitting at the dining table waiting for us to start our lunch, with her favorite Camel brand cigarette, sometimes the 'Ang Hun' in her hand and cup half filled with OX liquor in the dining table. At the end of the dining area, the Buddhist chant will be play from the CD play which was on the altar.

She would tell us about her past. How she became the head chef of a certain restaurant back in the old days, how she have to be very careful with the money in order to raise my mom and my auntie after my grandpa passed away.

At times, when I went to visit her, she will be in her room watching teochew opera on the TV, while smoking her 'Ang Hun'. I will twiched my nose as I hate the smell of the smoke. She will always ask me how's school, whether I've got enough money to spend and when will I start having a girlfriend and bring her here. I'll always nod to her every question.

Grandma passed away 4 years ago at afternoon, in a ward at TTSH. She passed away peacefully, while my mom, my uncle and auntie and I by her bedside. She told us she do not like people crying in fort of her. So we hold back our tear until the moment she took her last breath.

Questions that I'm tried of listening are lost words that I yearn to hear again. Smells and tastes that I once thought are foul and bland are now sensations I seek to experience once more.

If I could have one day, just one more day with her, I'll spend just like the days we spent in the house.

The simple joys of Life...

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