My grandmother, Lye Beng Heoh (seated 3rd row, 2nd from left), and the flowered people are my papa’s brothers and sisters, except for Lim Kim Eng who was the match maker for my parents. Many were originally Buddhist or Taoist but later converted to Christianity. Gerard Lim (1st row, 2nd from right)’s son is currently Monsignor Daniel Lim.
My great grandmother in China.
We always called our mummy, Mie. Mie was just BEE-U-TI-FUL, like an angel with curls who had fallen to Earth. I got my papa's straight hair and am plain from end to end (or shall I say from Anne to Anne).
Ohh, my papa was a handsome gentleman.
Papa and his grandkids - Savvy K in the front.
Pa spoilt his two girls rotten. He always put 20 cents knotted into our hanky, and a sweet in our school uniform pocket every day. We would untie the knot and safely take the coin out to buy snacks during recess. Mie was the dragon who spewed fire. Us four kids were like St. George slaying the dragon. Alas, this dragon was way too powerful!
My parents' firstborn child gravitated towards trouble like insects to light. He was the "run-away Sun," (opps, run-away son, his name is Jin Sun). Ohh, I remember the catastrophes – he rode on the top tube of a bicycle downhill and returned home with a broken arm, played truant from school and returned home with 2 slaps from the disciplinary master.
He ran away with his 4 years-old brother to “popo” ’s house in their pyjamas early one morning, ran away again from KL to 'popo"'s house just becos' us siblings dared him to. He hitched a ride from a stranger for the 197 km to Ipoh, and then walked the rest of the way. He finally ran away to join the Singapore Army, and then ran away home without an official discharge. What a rascal? My parents must have been exasperated.
This second son LOVED Mie. He would buy ice cream cones after school and run like lightning all the way HOME to give Mie before they melted, in contrast to Big Brother who ran all the way AWAY from HOME! Genetic oddity certainly runs in my family.
The youngest in the family was artistic. But, like Vincent Van Gogh, she lived a life others could not understand. I drew flowers, she drew scary cactus, I sewed, she painted, I studied, she painted. Mooi (little girl) was so gifted, she was asked to paint a large mural on the school wall when she was only 16. Her imagination was limitless. She created a piece on time with the real insides of clocks. But, sometimes things happen to people and they are not equipped to deal with them, and Mooi passed on too early.
Pa, Mie and Mooi have passed on. Only my brothers and I are left with memories. We keep them private. Some memories live on our tongues like the taste of a familiar dish, or in our eyes with the sight of a forgotten flower, and with a certain smile or a song from a bygone era, we are brought fleetingly to revisit our past.