Today is a day of catching up with relatives dead and alive.
I remembered lately that I need to go to Kiew Lee Tong (http://ow.ly/JMNaL) to pay respects to my grandparents(your great-grandparents), their epitaph is there and I got to know about that just a couple of years back, from my dad…well more of how I reconciled with my dad later.
So I woke up in the morning, and rushed off to the temple to pay my respects, your mum has packed the necessary fruits for me to bring and I remembered that there was a bus service to the temple, and somehow or rather, I couldn’t seem to find out which bus that is. Anyway, already late, so I set off, a little pissed and was a little frantic in trying to get there on time. It was about 8.30am when I left and I have to be at the airport by 11am to send Melvin off, he is going to Taiwan to work for Google for good.
So with a tight schedule, I set off and thankfully, traffic was light on this Sunday and I made it on time which was about 9.40am. I set out the fruits and put 3 joss sticks to burn, and offered my prayers to my ancestors.
While I waited a while for the joss sticks to burn, I pondered about me and my past, the existence of my grandparents and how I came to know about it. I only reconciled with my dad, briefly, and he passed me the temple’s card with a number scribbled on it. So I resolved to make my way there to dig a little bit more about my past.
It was not an easy temple to find, but I already knew of its existence, as I’ve gone past Thomson Road many times, and seen the grand, front gates, little did I know that I am linked to the temple in such a long shot.
Anyway, I did bring you boys there the first couple of times, when we managed to borrow your mum’s parents’ car. This time I made it there on my own, as it was too early for the 2 of you little pigs to wake up. Besides, Ian has homework to do.
So while I waited the temple, I was thinking and exploring the temple a little more, the epitaphs was placed in rows and rows and there are numbers assigned to the epitaphs, your great grand parents’ was ‘1298’. (by the way, we struck lottery, albeit a small one, last year! Blessings from our ancestors!)
I noticed that the epitaphs can be accessed by 2 sliding panels, which was unlocked, so I had a curious thought to clamber up, and pick out my grandparents’ epitaph to see and actually hold it. but then again, of course I wouldn’t have done it fearing untold, perhaps paranormal consequences. I also noticed that for Chinese New Year, they changed the lanterns and did decorated the place a little. Then I realised that as I continue my visit to the same place, we will learn a little bit more about it every time, so the same old place is actually the same, new place, as we continue to discover more nooks and cranny about it. With that thought, I made my prayers and bid the quaint temple ‘au revoir’!
“You’ll always learn something new, visiting old places.”
Later in the evening, we hosted dinner for your 阿姨 ( My mum’s elder sister) and her 2 sons, your Jonathan 叔叔 and Tuck Wah 叔叔, they also brought along 2 distant relatives from Penang. Well, actually they have been working in Singapore for a long time, its a pair of distant cousins we’ve met, in a distant past, but never got really close.
They were nice people and we had a good meal, your mum prepared steamboat, with room for extra thankfully, so that we can accommodate another 2 mouths. It was a sumptuous meal as how your mum would make it, and the conversation was good.
Our 2 cousins, spoke Cantonese, coming from Malaysia and it was a good exposure to the 2 of you, who are predominately English speaking. but I can tell that exposing the both of you to my distant cousins was good, as it did push the both of you to try and speak more Mandarin.
Our conversation warmed up considerably as the warm food filled our stomachs. The feeling is very cordial, and we connected well. It was a meaningful evening as I seldom get to mingle with my relatives. The closest we ever got was to our dear 阿姨 and your 2 叔叔, who dote on the both of you so much.
As the evening aged, we have to bid farewell, our distant cousins has to drive back to Johore Bahru and my 阿姨 has to make her way back home.
I certainly hope to see my 2 Malaysian cousins again and have another hearty meal!