Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lesson for all

Was chatting with 2 friends from China and we were discussing about the difference in medical care between the two countries. One of them had recently undergone a minor surgery. She mentioned that chose the private option in the hospital to avoid the cumbersome processes. In turned she had to pay 5 times more of what the other subsidized options had to pay.

Then friend 2 said that normally, when a person needs to go for surgery, just before he/she was wheeled into the operation theatre, their family would stuff a red packet full of cash to the team of surgeons, nurses etc that would be operating on that patient. This helps to "ensure" quality medical care of that patient. Well, no one knows what are the statistics for those who did not survive the operation because their family did not give the surgical team the red packet. But no one dares to test the integrity of the system either. Most of the families would end up giving some regardless of how tough it'll take them to get hold of the money.

It suddenly dawn upon me that perhaps, that was the reason why my dad did not survive his heart attack. What seems to be a pretty mild case to me lead to his death in a foreign land.

1. discomforts throughout the day, rested in the hotel room
2. further discomforts after dinner, dad was brought to A&E, still pretty much alive
3. nurses and "docs" saw him and started CPR on him
4. heart rate came back on and off, CPR continued throughout the night from 12midnight till 7am
5. around 6am-7am, when it was time to change shift for the hospital staff, my brother-in-law was asked to take over the CPR
6. no defrilberator was used on my dad
7. pronounced dead early in the morning

After analyzing the situation with me, both my friends agreed that there was a possibility that things might be different if there was the red packet to the hospital staff.

a. dad was sent to this hospital under the recommendation of the tour guide
b. shouldn't the tour guide pick a better hospital?
c. shouldn't the tour guide advise them better?

To lose a dad is not easy.

To lose a dad in a foreign land is tougher.

To lose a dad and only to find out years later that perhaps, there was a possibility that he would still be alive today.... is a torture.

Yes, we'll never know the difference today.

But today, we can make the difference by sharing with all our family, friends, loved ones this same information:
Be ultra prepared with loads of emergency cash whenever you travel.
Be in touch with at least a couple of friends wherever you are.

You may never know all the local cultures and practices, some times all it takes is someone who knows to tell you to do the right thing at the right time and that makes all the critical differences.

Here's to all who have lost a parent. My love goes out to you. May the Lord bless their souls and give us peace in our souls!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Goodbye Godpa SC

Learnt many lessons tonight as I celebrate the passing of Godpa SC with his family & friends.

Yes, the word is celebrate. Because as much as it is our earthly loss of Godpa SC, it was much more of Jesus's gain. We believe that Godpa SC is in a better place, right in Jesus's house. A place where every christian longed to be. And he got there first before us.

Hearing the eulogies from various members of the family was enlightening, as they shared about how Godpa SC played pivotal roles in their lives. Memories of Godpa SC came flooded to my mind.

I remember how lovingly he always looks at his wife. Even after a 2hr conversation over dinner. Yes, even if he was silent during the entire dinner, he'll be looking at her with such loving gaze.

I remember his cheeky smile before his cheeky comments.

I remember how gentlemanly he was, at 80yrs old, he'll pamper a young lady like myself by opening the doors, or pulling the chair for me. Usually with a cheeky comment that follows.

He's got eyes that sparkle like a child which totally goes along with that active mind that churns out cheekiness.

He's got a fatherly charm that is hard to resist. One which I wished I had more of, but definitely grateful that I have a share of.

I get to see how many lives he's touched by simply rejoicing in God's love. Its amazing.

How not to love a man like him?

How not to miss a man like him?

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

3yrs On

Its been 3 years since that faithful night that turned my world upside down. Right about this time 3 yrs ago, I was possibly scanning my passport, birth cert, trying to stuff some clothes into my bag while printing out the maps around GZ. Yep, you might have recalled my previous entries about the last night that my dad was alive.

On retrospect, I regretted not having that dinner with him & mum the day before he left for his trip. I regretted about not making that phone call to the hotel after numerous urging by the Holy Spirit.

There are still many loose ends left to be tied up. Interestingly, this was also the start of my stronger relationships with some of my relatives. Its through their sharing of stories, their lives, what makes them cry that brought us closer. Helps me to understand them better too!

Papa, I miss you. I miss calling out your name when you get home from work each evening. I miss bargaining with you for a movie treat (that always end with a grin on your face). I miss your voice. Wished you were still around to see how your little grandchildren are growing up as cheeky monkies. Wished you were around to share another good meal together. Wished you were around to share your thoughts about the political climates. Wished you were around to just sit around to chat with. Wished I can watch you play table soccer again, to see that child-like grin out of a 70yr old... is simply priceless.

These were the strong mental images left of papa and I hope that they'll always stay with me.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Things occur for a reason

Yes, I firmly believe that things do occur for a reason, sometimes reasons. Most times, beyond our comprehension.

This morning, when I opened my inbox, I received a chain of emails depicting the pain that a friend is going through with her continuous stream of emotional torment. A close member of the family fell ill for the past month, arrangements has to be made from sending her to hospital, check-ups, post-discharge care, hiring a maid for the first time and then dealing with a runaway maid!

It may sound funny on hind sight, but for now, my friend is really just feeling emotionally exhausted welcoming the end of the nightmare.

Its a familiar situation I recall back in 2001 when my world seems to just turn upside down. I started the year resolved to finish my MSc with a bang and write it up into some life-long achievement book. On the first day back in the lab, I received a phone call from my sis's house in the mid-morning. (Always NOT a good sign to receive an unexpected call) Turns out that there's serious shit there occurring, took our family many months to come to terms with it, deal with it and move on with it.

Few months later, one of the nights when I went out partying with my friends and received a phone call from mum (again NOT a good sign), telling me that my dad had been sitting on the toilet bowl for the whole night with some vomiting. Being chinese, they popped some bo zhe pills and it did not help with the situation. So I headed home early that night and went to check on dad. His face was rather pale and we thought that it was just dehydration. My dad could still climb down 4 flights of stairs to our vehicle so that I can drive him to A&E.

The moment we arrived at A&E, he turned even more pale! There was a doc nearby and saw him in the state and quickly found him a wheelchair and whisk him away for the checks. Yes, you guessed it, it was an heart attack! After his ultrasound scan, 3 of his major arteries were blocked. Ballooned him in the middle of the night.

The following month, my mum got a mild stroke after having to take care of my dad from his heart condition.

The month after that, I went for an op...

Feels like a house full of sick people!

The morale was pretty low in the house. No one could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were waiting to see what other shit will fall into our laps. We really just have to keep moving forward to get our minds out of all the darkness, finding the right kind of emotional support that fits our needs.

Moving from those dark years, we have all grown to another new level of understanding.

We know our physical limits. Mental limits (how much shit we can take before we fall apart).
We know what kind of emotional structure keeps us in check (be it a tub of ice cream or a bottle of beer, or some real good bitching with some friends, hey, whatever works for you man!)

And most of all, I've learnt to be more human when someone else is in some kind of shit. Brings out the humanity side of me.

In another incidence, one of our friends bought a new car! Being a new driver, he was fairly careful on the road, sticking to speed limits (I've not seen anyone MORE anal about the speed limits than him! He's car never felt what was like to travel beyond 80khm before I took over the wheels! ha ha) So you would think that this guy would be accident free on the road right? Well, not so much, he had 2 tyre punctures, 1 died battery on his way to VOTE during the last GE, 1 accident involving motorcyclist crashing into his boot (his car was stationary @ traffic junction), threw both the rider & passenger off his car, with a huge dent in the roof + smashed rear windows. I think all these occurred in the first YEAR of his driving experience! Such a nightmare! Never knowing what you're going to get when you get into your car that day.

But hey, his experience at changing tyre came in handy a few years later when he was traveling overseas in the desert. Tyre puncture in the middle of a desert where there's NO mobile phone signals! He was cool about changing the tyres all on his own! Damn cool if you ask me!

So my dear friends, if you feel like u r in alot of shit right now, know that it occurs for a reason. Know that you'll survive!

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Fabulous 2008!

2008 was a fabulous year despite all the economic turmoil, we still found alot of joy, laughter, fun and most of all LOVE.

Thank you to all of you who has made our 2008 so memorable!

Here's something to remember 2008 with....

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Understanding our roots

This June is a special month for my family as we remember the passing of Dad in a different way.

We chose to go do a little study trip. A trip to understand the journey, the background my grandpa took to come to Singapore all the way from Niu Mian Shi (Cow Sleeping on Rock) village in Dongguan. We wanted very much also to return to Guangzhou to thank all who has helped us in one way or another during the same time last year. We knew that we were very fortunate to have so many helping hands when we were so far away from our actual homes surrounded by our relatives from our ancestral home.

This journey took 9 adults, 3 young children on a 4hr flight across the globe....

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Qi Qi is 1!

yes, our lovely niece Qi Qi turned one last month, she has such a huge birthday bash that she could hardly recognise herself... why do I say that?? hee....

just check out how she's dressed in....

check out the happy faces of two grandmas, one grandaunt and a set of parents hee... yes u noticed that CK got decked in his Korean Hanbok again, in our hot, humid weather, he was definitely not a pretty sight hee

check out the house! We were welcomed by the happy birthday banner!

Qi Qi had the most interesting birthday cake that I've seen to date, its a rice flour cake weighing over 5kg, flown in from Seoul, hand carried by grandma who just arrived the night before the party and its HUGE! Interior is filled with nuts, rasins and berries, giving it sweet, sour, crunchy texture in addition to the super filling baked rice flour. It measures 30cm in diameter with a height of 15cm hee hee

Oh oh, the round ball ball on the top is glutinuous rice balls with different fillings of bean paste, peanuts etc, I would say that the ingredients and the texture is pretty similar to our chinese cooking but just using a different combinations of the ingredients to come up with such an interesting cake.

And the birthday song was sang..... with a lovely family photo....

Did you notice there were some interesting items in the front of the table?
There's rice, noodle, $50 dollar note, a calligraphy pen and a book....

did you guess it yet?? YES, like the anciet chinese, who used to put similar items at one end of the room to let their toddler crawl towards the item that intrigue them the most, here, Qi Qi was given these 5 items to chose.

CK guessed that she would zoom towards the plate of goodies to eat as she naturally enjoy Food.

However, our dear girl, took a long hard look at all the different items set before her.

She thought long and hard before she finally decided on this:

amazing huh??

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Daddys in our lives

Something strike me a while ago while watching how children mimic their parents in the way they walk, talk and respond to different situations. In some documentaries like Child of Our Time, they also did specific studies on the importance of fathers in a child's life.

For many aspects of a child's childhood, the fathers may seem redundant as they cannot breast feed the child, they dun seems to understand the different cries of a child, they cannot change their nappies as well, cannot feed the kid without making a big mess, cannot get the sleeping times in their head, these physical needs seems to be done best by the mummies, so what are daddies for?

Rough play! this enhances their risk-taking nature, sense of adventure and fun. In adulthood, it gives them a baseline of confidence when they meet with difficult situations, this sense of risk-taking propels them forward. Daddies instil in their kids a sense of confidence that on one else can give. When a dad give his child a nod of approval, the child's lights up and beam, because he feels loved and accepted.

What about the impact of the fatherhood in our lives?

In the older days, when the fathers are not so well-read or perhaps more focus on bringing the dough back home instead of asking themselves how good a father they have been, these fathers did not realise the impact of their actions on us, their children.

My dad was never really involved in my life, I only speak to HIM one-to-one twice a year, that was when I come home with my report book. He will glance at it, trying to figure out what the numbers mean (hardly any 100% so its harder to figure out if 66% was good or average haha). As the youngest in the family, I have to admit that my results were nothing to be proud of, since my sister has ALWAYS aced her exams, there isnt really one that she was not either the top student or the 2nd in the entire cohort! How to beat?

My dad's comments were always, work harder on this and that which ever that looks the worst. Sometimes he will refer to the previous years to compare if I had any "improvements" and try to give me a "not bad lah your maths improve". That was all I ever got from my dad as the attention from him was 5min x twice a year. He would go back to his cigerettes and tv and so would I.

I only remember him losing his temper with him once when i was about 6, when I took something that I should not even though I really did not realise it was wrong. He caned me :(

The next time the was really mad with me was when I got much older, this time, I could sense that he was totally disappointed with me and we never really talked about the situation ever again. Because by the time I realised how we ended up in that situation, dad was gone. I never got that "I forgive you" from him.

For a long time, I could not understand how could he get so mad with me for so long and not think of How I feel! It seems so unfair.

Then I realised that he did not have the best parents to show him how to be the best father hence he was still learning and it did not help that I did not tell him how hurtful his look of disappointment was, how much it meant to me to receive that acceptance from him.

The hurt that I felt as painful as well as puzzling.

Today, as I look around amongst my peers, I see some of us having issues with our parents which we could not get past. If so, isn't the best way to get over it by talking to them direct? At least we can say that we have tried to clear the cloud of doubt and chose to be "re-born" again in the relationship with our parents. Don't wait till its too late.