Saturday, November 30, 2013

Farewell and our family tribute to the Monsons, Brian and Amy in Singapore Nov 2013

Many expat families of our Church have come and gone when the home of our family was in Malaysia or Singapore. Not to single out the Monsons, Amy and Brian, who came into the Church Clementi Ward in Singapore just barely 2 years ago, as being more outstanding then the others but the eye of Dad's camera captured the following memories which is appropriately shared here this year end of 2013 when they return home to the US :
They first came to our home in the auspicious Chinese New Year of the Dragon in Jan 2012 which happens also to be the dreaded year where the world was supposed to end on Dec 21 as interpreted by some of the ancient Mayan calendar.

To our family, the new year was ushered in with happiness and joy especially when we had two special families from America in our home that we regarded as our Angels ie the Dickson family who came to Singapore earlier and then followed by the Monsons. See our reference to them in our Never Ending Christmas Story of 2012

During their visit when the video of Mom was played on the computer of her exciting moment of having her dream come true to sing in the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir....

... Brian Monson pointed out that he was a choir member at that time. What a delightful coincidence.

The world didn't end in 2012 but Mom's sojourn in it did after a 7 year battle with cancer. Her last year in 2012 experienced the most number of days in the hospital during which Dad appreciated seeing Brian and Amy come by to visit Mom where prayers and blessings were also rendered with loving faith.

Mom had a most beautiful funeral service in memory of a woman of great faith and service to her family, her Church and her community. She was also known for touching lives for good. Brian and Amy were there to hug the family in time of our mourning....
...and their arms continued to stretch out to the family by having our family in their home on Christmas evening that year, the hardest Christmas for all of us without Mom.

We had a sumptuous dinner together...

...and enjoyed singing Christmas Carols together after dinner

Brian's vocal skills was manifested on Christmas that year when he sang a bass solo for the Singapore Church Stake Handel's Messiah program

They opened their home to us for family home evenings on Mondays too. One can see that Amy is carrying their first baby in the photo. Both of them had sacrificed their early mornings to teach seminary to the youth of our Church which included our two youngest boys!

Brian was also a sport with the Elders Quorum in various activities such as bowling...

...and even a cooking class of chilli crabs where he is seen killing a live crab for the first time for the meal

We learnt from the master chef and Elders Quorum President Alaster Tan

We got to visit their home on 2 Sept 2013 to see their new baby Issac for the first time!

We took our last family photo together with them at Church on Sunday Nov 24...

....and one of us just boys together. Missing is Han still on his mission in Manchester who left Singapore on 27 June 2012 shared on this journal post.

It was also the same day we went to visit Mom on the anniversary month of her leaving us on 6 Nov 2012

Photos and words cannot fully express our appreciation for all they have done for our family in Singapore. They were a young married couple who came like Angels to offer their love and assistance to us. We are happy that they could leave us with the first addition to their family with baby Issac and more will be added through time for sure. May Issac view this blog post one day and any of their future children to know how wonderful their parents have been to our family in their stay of two years in Singapore from 2012 to 2013. We wish them not just farewell but all the choicest blessings for their growing family and that they may always be blessed with safety & protection wherever they may live. We know that Mom would want us to do this for them and the link to this post has been added to her 1st anniversary blogpost of her departure found here.

They left a nice momento to remember them, a lamp shade from their home now placed on our family piano. We will surely miss them but will never forget them as the couple who came into our lives to bless us as true angels from heaven. May our friendship be forever till we meet again to rejoice with one another recalling our eventful days in Singapore!

Post dated event :

March 2017

Han in his Spring break while at Yale University Connecticut reunited with the Monsons again when he met them in Boston while visiting with his sister Su and husband Jay and his niece Baby Leah. See Baby Leah's cute greeting on video here.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sharing of my brotherhood feelings for my classmate on the passing of his teenage son

Feelings of brotherhood and compassion, shared for a  former classmate from school, Wong Kien Mun, in time of the loss of his son recently after years of fighting with leukemia in Spore

We were buddies in school in the years 1974-75

Here was our year end gathering of our 5 Science 2 class in 1975 when we parted ways

After my graduation from Australia and had returned to serve as a missionary in Malaysia, he was with a group of other classmates who came to visit me during the Chinese New Year celebrations of 1982

After the release from my mission, I found a fiancée in Singapore where he was based and he had a fiancée there too so we went to Pulau Ubin together as part of our courtship days spent together.

He and I got married in the same year of 1982, his wedding being earlier, and our classmates were present too

We could occasionally have a get together at school reunions like this one for the 100 Anniversary of the school celebrated in July 2004 in Kuala Lumpur…

…and there were other occasions when he was in reunions in our home in the Chinese New Year celebrations of 2005
Singapore seems to be the place we could get together again, this last time in Sep 2005…

… and more recently last month of Oct 29 for dinner with other classmates and their wives.

Before we parted, I was inspired  to tell him that Elders from my Church could offer prayers and blessings to his son. We also took a snap shot with the manager of the Japanese restaurant where we had dined earlier.

It was just recently that I left a comment on facebook in response to what my busy niece had typed on her status, “Wish there were 48hours in a day” with these words, “Same here but I’m glad I had at least 55 years of the regular 24hrs per day ones!” Yes we do get busy in life fulfilling many responsibilities and chasing after many goals of life at times but some of us never get the opportunity to live a full life till at least retirement age!  In such moments when a friend suffers a lost of a loved one, especially one still so young , I cannot help but feel for him during this time of sadness in his life and to render my sincere condolences.

I am particularly touched to recall that Kien Mun and his wife Annie were in our Singapore home to spend much appreciated personal time with me when my own wife, Geok Lee , passed away in November last year. I regret that when I got his phone message on the passing of his son in the morning of Nov 19, I had to respond with my apology that I was in Malaysia in the middle of holiday plans with my sons in KL & Kuantan and therefore could not be present in his home.  This blog post is an extension of the expression of my feelings to Kien Mun and Annie in their hour of grief with prayers from my heart.

I had also messaged him that I "Will pray for your family and try to see if I can have Elders from my Church to represent me."  I called Elder Lambert from my ward of the Church in Singapore and gave a cell phone number and home number to try contact the family to arrange a time when they could go visit to represent me. I later received feedback that they couldn't get through the phone and was unable to visit. I am therefore conveying my prayers through another Elder of our Church on a mission in Chile, South America whose name is Elder Archuleta, who will sing 'The Prayer' for the family. You can watch and listen to him by clicking here or click the video below.

The Next Generation
My wife actually ran into this American Idol star in Singapore.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Saturday in Singapore

If I drive my car into Singapore, I cannot sleep in the next day if I don't have my parking coupons properly placed on the dashboard, else I have to pay fines when an inspector comes around any time of the day to check and find out that I don't have a valid coupon during the time of inspection. I normally use the SG10 coupon at the start of a new day that covers for all day parking including the night till the next morning but I had run out of it. The HDB office that sells it opens only at 8am and my night parking coupon runs out at 7am. So I was up at 6.45am to get dressed and take the car at 7am to drive to the HDB office in the neighborhood.

When I reached the office, I found that the usual car park close to the office was fully occupied and I parked my car at an illegal spot where glaring in front of me was a reminder that I'm liable for a SG400 fine if I violated the condition of that parking slot which was for the disabled! My plan was just sit in the car at that spot until 8am to hope that someone will drive off their car from the parking lot.

8am came and as the parking bay for the handicap was at the very end of the parking lot, I couldn't have a view of any vacant lots if there were any and I reversed my car to the middle of the parking lot and double parked there confidently to observe if any car would be coming out. Somehow my mind was vividly recalling on my birthday last year when I rushed Mom to the hospital in Singapore that I was faced with a lack of parking space problem too. This birthday experience was recorded in a blog post with video here. 

Lo and behold within minutes, I saw a lady approaching toward my vehicle with some market bags and keys in her hands. I thought she would either be walking back to her flat nearby or to a car.  It turned out that the lady was heading to the car parked on the left side of me beside a taxi. Here is my video clip of the experience to record my good fortune again :

For those who know me well or have been with me in a car looking for a parking spot, 9 out of 10 times a car pulls out for me to give me a parking lot without me having to drive round and round looking for a vacant lot. I would always refer that consistent luck to my name 'Sun Fu' which in Chinese means mountain of luck!

I walked to the HDB office which is always opened punctually to get the new stock of parking coupons that I needed.

With such a great start for the day I went about my schedule of errands. I met a nice man on an errand to pick up things for her daughter and became instant friends!

Since the day started so early, I made breakfast with left over 'Chee Cheong Fun' from KL that I had brought to a party.

I would then do some running for other personal errands which was to some banks, electrical supplies and house repair items and make it my morning exercise. I love to run along the short cuts through the flats with good covered passage ways to head to all these places nearby.

I am appropriately dressed with a good pair of shoes...

...running along these many many passage ways that cut across the town ship

Up some stairs to pump my heart a little more

through shady trees

and out to the commercial area

with access to banks... 

...and more banks... spend your money anytime of the day! haha

But I only need to hunt for little things in the shops like a new cover for the ironing board  well used by the boys!

NNN... a Spore 3 letter acronym for Nice and New Now!

Buying sealants and electrical parts...

To fix leaky sinks....

...and faulty lamp ICs or integrated circuits

Then the fan suddenly stopped with a loud noise...

.... and was caused by the parts getting lose so I took them out and washed the dirt off and assembled them back tightly to make it work again.

More errands to help the youngest son to pick up some things from a family moving back to the US to be brought to Church for distribution

He was given a nice lamp to sit on the family's piano

He himself had to take part in a practice session for an up coming play at Church so I left him there to return home for more errands.

Back home again in the afternoon to clear the laundry

Of course the boys have been good to be helping to do their part when they are free and/or motivated...

...not forgetting there is always food to cook and feed the family especially on weekends

Then there is still time left in the evening to have the Elders come by the home who brought someone living close by to have missionary discussions where I could share my testimony that God lives and that it was the Spirit that led the person to be found and taught! I know how it works as I was a missionary before too!

Oh yes, despite the busy day, I didn't forget to get some new flowers for Mom for our anniversary visit  and decided that each year I will always get different flowers, though they are not fresh ones which are not appropriate for the columbarium, so that she will at least have a different set of everlasting flowers each time we visit. We didn't forget her 1 year anniversary on Nov 6 but just was too busy the previous weekend, with a farewell and birthday celebrations, to arrange a time when all of us could gather at her memorial place. I had posted an anniversary blog for her found here.

We got to visit her the next day on Sunday after our Church meeting.

We miss you very much Mom and we're doing the best we can to take care of ourselves in Singapore!

Last but not Least.....
.... Dad finds or makes time to update the family webpages and blogs on one screen while he watches the world TV news on another. On this date, China had change it's policy of one child a family to now two! Well they are fast improving their laws to catch up to Singapore's policy when we first got married in 1982 of which a commentary can be found in a previous blog post here or see a whole video clip about how it changed Mom's life here.

Well that's all I could record in one Saturday with a slight overflow to the next day. What I've done at other times to better reflect life in Singapore on videos can be found here.

(For those who came to this post following Mom's never ending story, please follow the instruction of the last line below to continue the story. Note that the story first started from the blog post here. The last post before this one for the story is found here.

Click here to continue to the next post of Mom's never ending story.)